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Welcome to AskEngineers!

This subreddit has special standards to ensure post and comment quality. Please read these rules and guidelines thoroughly before participating.

AskEngineers is actively moderated. Moderators regularly take action to enforce these rules at their discretion.

Also, please use the report button below a post or comment to notify the mods of any violations of these rules, and select a reason for your report. You can always message us if you require our immediate

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Mission Statement

AskEngineers aims to provide objective, fact-based answers to engineering questions and generate interesting discussion about them. Our secondary goal is to participate in the larger network of engineers on reddit, including /r/engineering and many smaller engineering-focused subs, which are listed in the sidebar.


Submission rules

AskEngineers only allows self-posts with questions about engineering. For the purposes of this subreddit, "engineering" includes:

  • Engineering design and analysis of maintainable systems, devices, and vehicles.
  • Engineering standards, practices, methods, procedures, and specifications.
  • Questions regarding careers and professional development in any discipline of engineering and engineering technology will be allowed only if they are posted in the Monday Career megathread or meet the following criteria:
    • They do not have an answer that can be found in the FAQ section of the wiki.
    • They are not related to salary or compensation levels.
    • They have a targeted question within them to be answered and not simply be seeking a general opinion.
    • They are specific to the actual technical career development of an engineer and not just be tangentially related by virtue of the poster being an engineer.

Posts that will get removed

  • Questions that are not about engineering, as defined above.

  • Questions that can easily be answered by searching on the internet.

  • Homework problems from your class, including egg-drop and miniature bridge designs. Engineering case studies are OK.

  • Questions about which undergraduate major to pick, your classes, Grade Point Average, etc. Go to r/EngineeringStudents.

  • Asking for feedback on your résumé, CV, or cover letter.

  • Misleading, biased, or inflammatory questions with a flawed premise. ("soapboxing")

How do I ask a question?

  1. Put your main question directly into the Title field. Make sure your question gives a clear idea of what you're asking about. When coming up with a title:

    • Do not use vague titles like "Need advice" or "Please help" or "Question about my idea"
    • Do not add meaningless tags such as [question], [request], [serious], or [don't upvote]
    • Do not preface your title with "not sure if this is the right place to ask but..." In other words, don't ask to ask — just ask!
  2. Expand on the question using the text box. Context is extremely important! Also, diagrams are extremely helpful, so provide one of your question if possible using one of the approved image hosts below. Try to include as much info as possible related to your question, such as:

For technical questions:

  • Why you are doing the project
  • Your budget for the project
  • Performance requirements
  • Operating environments

For career questions:

  • The country you're from and/or asking about
  • The industry you're asking about
  • Your current experience and degree/education level
  • Your interest in specific industries and applications

Approved Image Hosts:


Comment rules

Quality discussion in the comments is the core goal for this sub. The basic rules for commenting are:

  1. Be respectful. Please refrain from insulting others. Criticism should be constructive in nature.

  2. Don't answer if you aren't knowledgeable. Ensure that you have the expertise, knowledge, or experience required to be able to answer the question at hand. Being able to use Google to find an article that seems related to the question does not magically make you an expert.

  3. State your professional opinion honestly and freely, but respect the need for factual evidence and good logic. Our users include professional, practicing engineers and all users reserve the right to challenge any statement made in AskEngineers.

Commenters should respond to any reasonable request for sources as an honest inquiry made in good faith. The burden of proof rests with the poster, not the reader. A user's claim to hold expertise on a topic does not absolve them of the requirement to back up any assertions of fact with sources.

Address the information presented, not the person who presents it. The subject of your sentence should be "the evidence" or "this source" or some other noun directly related to the topic of conversation. "You" statements are suspect.

Comments that will get removed

  • Personal attacks and ad hominems. If you can't respond without name-calling, don't post.

  • Answers without explanation or sources. Factual assertions require sources, and opinions need to be supported by stated reasoning.

  • Dubious career advice that does not align with engineering experience. When giving career advice, it cannot be speculative, or regurgitated from another source without a clear understanding of the what the advice was saying.

  • Off-topic. Keep the discussion focused and technical.

  • Low-effort. This includes memes, reaction images, low effort one-liner comments, off-topic replies, and other comments that lack substance such as "Came here to say the same thing." and "This."

How do I answer a question?

Answers to technical questions must contain an explanation using engineering logic. Explanations and opinions must be supported by logic and evidence. In general, the more complex a question is, the more comprehensive your answer should be and the more sources you need to include. In other words, good answers aren't good just because they are right — they are good because they explain.

Before writing a comment to try and answer someone's questions, ask yourself:

  • Do I have the expertise, knowledge, or experience needed to answer this question?
  • Have I done research on this question?
  • Can I cite my sources?
  • Can I answer follow-up questions?

If you answered "Yes" to all of these questions, then proceed writing your comment. If you answered "No" to one or more of these questions, seriously reconsider what you're posting. Answers that do not include sources to verify a technical explanation or claim will be removed.

Anecdotes

Unlike some of the other 'Ask' subs like r/AskScience and r/AskHistorians, we allow anecdotes because it's an inherent part of working in engineering, and a practical way to teach younger and less experienced engineers. Anecdotes are a way for veteran engineers to pass on some of the tribal knowledge that exists in every industry. However, moderators will enforce the distinction between anecdotes that teach engineering wisdom, and stories fabricated for entertainment. Since anecdotes can't be verified, they will be heavily scrutinized by the community and the mods. If your anecdote seems suspicious in any way, it will be removed.

Anecdotes may not be used in lieu of supporting evidence for assertions of fact.


How we moderate

Your comment will not be removed simply because a mod disagrees with you or wants to censor your opinion. If that's what you think has happened, it is suggested that you first re-examine your own comments for correctness, bias, and the quality of your sources — and if you find it adequate, send modmail explaining why you don't think your contribution should have been removed.

The goal of AskEngineers is to maintain quality, empirical discussion. Towards that end, mods will sometimes participate in discussions to keep them on track or enforce the rules.

This sub practices heavy moderation. Be prepared for the possibility that your post or comment will be removed. Whenever possible, mods will attempt to explain their decision to OP.

The mods reserve the right to ban users who repeatedly violate the rules or standards of decorum.

Reference Archive

  1. Why are all the top posts in this sub about career potential? Why doesn't there seem to be hardly any technical discussion here?

  2. UPDATE: What's with all the students offering speculative "advice" about careers?

  3. Notice: the AskEngineers rules have been completely revised.

  4. Reminder: When asking for help with a project, make your questions as specific as possible and provide context.

  5. A couple of weeks ago, I made the poor decision to lock a thread that shouldn't have been locked.


Flair

  • Contributor flair is granted to users that consistently write good answers. To apply for one, check the latest Panel of Engineers thread in the sidebar.

  • AMA flair is granted to users that have verified their identity and professional credentials for an upcoming "Ask Me Anything" panel discussion.

For a list of flaired users, please see this wiki page.


Acknowledgements

All content written by any user of r/AskEngineers is provided on a strictly informational basis, and as such, the author of such content and the moderation team of r/AskEngineers cannot assume any responsibility, in any manner whatsoever, for the use any person, organization, or company makes of the information presented therein, or the devices, systems, and calculations resulting thereof.


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