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General Engineering Codidact Website

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(This may look like I'm copying and pasting a lot from my previous site proposals... and you're right! This saves a little time.)

Introduction:

Having some sort of website where we could talk about engineering concepts such as design, specifications, quality control, engineering economics, modeling, processes, and applied mathematics and sciences could very beneficial for engineers, hobbyists, students, enthusiasts, and people who wish to know more about the topic.

This website would mimic the idea from the Electrical Engineering StackExchange and Engineering StackExchange (yes, they're different).

Purpose:

Creating a website like this could allow professional help to those who need it with their jobs or for school. This could be an educational opportunity and help provide better infrastructures and environments all over the world with new technologies.

Categories:

Engineering fields could include, but are not limited to:

  • Electrical engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Civil engineering
  • Aerospace engineering
  • Chemical engineering
  • Industrial engineering

Feedback:

In order to prevent engineering topics from colliding with future mathematics and science websites on Codidact, there does need to be an explanation of that separates these topics, i.e. engineering is application of science and mathematics and therefore we should avoid giving lectures on these particular topics of mathematics and sciences when providing questions and answers for this site.

What do you all think? Is this something that would fit the scope for what Codidact has in mind?

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3 comments

Re "engineering is application of science and mathematics and therefore we should avoid giving lectures on these particular topics of mathematics": mathematicians and engineers probably have different perspectives (and possibly terminology) on areas like control theory, so there may be room for some overlapping scope. Peter Taylor‭ 6 months ago

I'm a dipl. computer engineer and if you ask me what an "engineering site" is about, I wouldn't be able to answer. The only thing that brings all the diverse engineering disciplines together is structured workflow, scientific methods, critical thinking and other broad terms. Plus a tonne of math. So what would this site really be about, without getting too broad, fuzzy and subjective? Lundin‭ 6 months ago

Looking at the existing SE engineering site, it's just looks like a place to dump questions that don't fit in anywhere else. Mostly because one specific engineering discipline couldn't raise enough users to form their own site. Lundin‭ 6 months ago

2 answers

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I was active on the SE Engineering site (still #2 all time, although I haven't been there for 1½ years).

My perception as to why it never really took off is:

  1. Too broad.

    The site was not so much about anything in particular, as any engineering that didn't fit on a more specific site, like Electrical Engineering and Software Engineering. In theory, this was the place to ask about general engineering questions not about a particular discipline, but we got very very few of those.

  2. It was a magnet for crackpots.

    Since the scope was so loosely defined, the crackpots who had very little knowledge of science felt this was the place to present their brilliant ideas for free energy and such to the world. I still remember much volunteer energy dissipated on explaining how the Tower of Babel couldn't have been miles high, and I'm not sure we ever got thru to the OP.

In the end, the site became mostly about mechanical and civil engineering. I think it would have been better to have had separate sites specifically for those. Each individual site would have been healthier because the scope was better defined and the experts would feel more comfortable knowing they are going to get questions more along the lines they were interested in.

We also got a few questions that really would have been better off on the Electrical Engineering site. Since they weren't off topic on the Engineering site, they weren't migrated. (Migration in general never really worked well on SE, so no loss there). When someone with a vague electronics question browses around and finds the Engineering site first, they may ask there, not realizing there is a more specific site to ask on.

For all these reasons, I think a general Engineering site will fail again. Instead, create engineering sites about particular disciplines. They may start small and have low volume, but there is little harm in that.

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0 comments

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I agree that this site should focus on questions about "engineering in general".

As I said here, many interesting technical questions span multiple engineering domains, but nearly always, the important part of the question focuses on one of those domains, with the others simply providing context. I would see this site being used primarily as a feeder for those questions, migrating them[1] to the domain-specific sites once the key domain has been identified.


[1] Is migration even a thing here?


Upon further review, it seems that the only form of migration currently being considered is "change category" within a site, with no ability to migrate among sites on a given server.

Does this mean that in order for my concept to work, we would have to make all of the engineering domains (electronics, mechanical, civil, environmental, aerodynamic, hydraulic, etc.) categories within a general engineering site?

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1 comment

There likely will be migration between communities at some later time. However, that is one of the less critical features, at least until we have a lot of communities! Yes, different engineering domains could be categories within a general engineering site, but that might be a bit too much in one site. I am not an engineer (well, a Software Engineer, but that's not formal training, just my title du jour) so I don't know whether having them all in one community would work well or not. manassehkatz‭ 6 months ago

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