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#23844 - 03/29/03 12:06 AM Re: How-To, Need Quick Answer type Threads at ECN
Webmaster Offline


Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 3142
Loc: NY, USA
Regarding How-To, Need Quick Answer type Threads at ECN:

I'd like to take a few minutes to explain something that hasn't been touched on in a while including some of my beliefs and the intent and policies of this Forum.

1) I firmly believe that many people do not take Electricity or electrical work as seriously as they should.
2) I don't believe that an Internet Forum is the best place for a novice to learn basic electrical installation and safety procedures.

It seems that the longer I am in the Electrical Trade the more variables I can see in any situation. Choosing methods and materials is not always easy and can be especially difficult when the situation is being vaguely described by someone that is probably not aware of all of the factors that would affect the decision. If correct terminology is not used, misused, or not understood by them that can be another major problem when trying to offer correct advice or instructions. All in all, finding a solution or figuring out the correct advice to give can be a tedious procedure at best, and then, possibly prove to be a dangerous choice anyway if the person does not possess the skills or knowledge to perform the installation safely. For these reasons, and more, I don't think that threads of a How-To and 'just need a quick answer' nature are suitable or desirable for our Forum. Threads like this are usually closed or removed with an explanatory email sent to the originator.

It is not my intention for this policy to seem like it is making any judgements or statements about who should, or shouldn't be doing what, etc. as that is a big and controversial issue that I don't want to get into here. The main intention for ECN Forum has always been to be available to, and used by, those in, or somehow related to the Electrical Trade, its' Study, Codes, Instruction, Theory, Inspection or Safety. (I hope that covers everyone here )

To summarize, this Forum was never intended to be a place for untrained people to try to get quick answers or instructions for their project of the moment. There are many other Forums that do cater to those types of questions. Even if the most Excellent advice is given in a thread like this at ECN the post may still be removed so that it does not appear to others that ECN is a place to ask these types of questions. I don't think that the majority of our Members would really take kindly to being inundated by a mass of vague or elementary questions on a daily basis either.

In closing, I'd like to say that I hope that any members here that may have been involved in a discussion like this that was closed or removed can understand (and hopefully agree) with my reasoning and does not take it personally.

Your Comments are welcome,


[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited 03-29-2003).]

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#23845 - 03/29/03 01:02 AM Re: Re: How-To, Need Quick Answer type Threads at ECN
BuggabooBren Offline

Registered: 11/15/01
Posts: 336
Loc: NM
Ok, I'm ticked now... ok, only slightly miffed... nah, I'm actually glad I've been welcomed with my mundane question and outsider's perspective on technical and non-technical issues alike.

I would note that in my initial search for clarification of a contracting issue, I understood immediately that the site would most likely be a gathering of electrical CONTRACTORS by the obvious statement of such in the domain name. As such, I wouldn't expect a contractor to be uninformed, untrained, or uninterested in safety or code and I certainly wouldn't think most contractors would spend their off-hours giving away their skill and craft for free as is implied by some of the requests on 'how to avoid paying someone to do this' or if so, it would be an intentional give-away in the hopes of future business but that would be done in person in the form of performing actual work.

These forums have given me valuable insight on dealing with the contractors, the facility managers, the contract managers and the AHJs that I might encounter and the realistic situations that are involved with delivery of a vital service.

[This message has been edited by BuggabooBren (edited 03-29-2003).]

#23846 - 03/29/03 03:54 AM Re: Re: How-To, Need Quick Answer type Threads at ECN
iwire Offline

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4343
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
Webmaster (Bill?) I have not been here as long as many people but I have been impressed with the way this site is run.

I have posted to topics that have "disappeared" no big deal, a webmaster has to do what they think is in the best long term interests of the site.

Keep up the good work, I have learned a lot from other members answers and from others questions.

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician

#23847 - 03/29/03 03:55 AM Re: Re: How-To, Need Quick Answer type Threads at ECN
zapped208 Offline

Registered: 02/18/03
Posts: 201
Loc: Somewhere in USA
Webmaster,- is there any way to keep non-electrical type people from registering on this forum?
Shoot first, apologize later.....maybe

#23848 - 03/29/03 04:17 AM Re: Re: How-To, Need Quick Answer type Threads at ECN
walrus Offline

Registered: 07/25/02
Posts: 671
Loc: Bangor Me. USA
First off, its your site so you get to say where and why you want the site to head.
My experience is mostly in relation to Gasoline dispensing. I have a Masters because of the way Maine laws are written in that any and all experience counts towards one hours and I took the required courses and passed the exam first shot. But because my experience has been pigeon holed in one area I lack the knowledge needed to be a "real" master electrician, thats why I'm here. To read about real world stuff that happens in the field. I'm also smart enough to realize when I'm out of my league so I ask for help .

I don't know if you a have a mission statement posted somewhere but maybe that would help folks understand what you want this site to do and who its aimed at. Put it somewhere at the top of the forums so they have to read it before proceeding.

#23849 - 03/29/03 04:21 AM Re: Re: How-To, Need Quick Answer type Threads at ECN
Electricmanscott Offline

Registered: 01/12/02
Posts: 1478
Loc: Holden, MA USA
Bill, you are correct in saying that people do not take electrical work as seriously as they should. In our business we see it everyday. My mantra has always been "Hire an electrician". The problem I see is that around the country rules governing electrical contractors vary to the point that there are no rules in some areas. Seeing this, and the fact that some people will work on their homes regardless of knowledge and skill level of the project they want to do (myself included), it may be safer to give some advice that may at least keep someone from getting killed. I suggest directing people to diy sites such as Bob Villa. I have been on there for a while and Joe T is the moderator. I take great discretion in the info I offer and I will stress hiring a pro in many situations.

#23850 - 03/29/03 06:20 AM Re: Re: How-To, Need Quick Answer type Threads at ECN
electric-ed Offline

Registered: 07/08/02
Posts: 184
Loc: Canada
As a retired apprenticeship instructor, I agree 100% with what you said.

My greatest frustration was students who wanted "the answer", so that they could "pass", but were not the least bit interested in "learning".


#23851 - 03/29/03 06:46 AM Re: Re: How-To, Need Quick Answer type Threads at ECN
SvenNYC Offline

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 1685
Loc: New York City
Thanks for the clear-up Bill.

You're right, it is risky giving advice over the net for something like this.

The ideal thing would be for someone who wants to "play electrician" ( ) to spring for a copy of the NEC and related how-to books and study them, get catalogs (preferably ones with lots of pictures) and to visit one of those big orange stores and examine the materials and understand how they get put together.

Also, what goes where, and when.

It's not hard to do, but it does take some expenditure of time. But even if you're not planning on doing the work yourself, you know what to watch out for when you're discussing things with the professional you hired, and also so you can notice when some unscrupulous person ripped you off by doing shoddy and dangerous work.

You're able to speak the language, in a way.

I've always been a firm believer in DIY, but you should know your limitations.

For instance I will not work with gas pipe, rip out and rebuild a boiler or do anything electrical that's beyond replacing an existing cable in the wall or a device in a box. I will not tamper with a meter or do hot panel work. I would question any non-electrician who intends to relocate a meter or panel. I would not be comfortable rewiring my aunt's entire apartment for instance because there are issues aplenty with that place, up to and including replacing the existing fuse box!

Swapping a circuit breaker on a deactivated panel with an excact replacement is one thing and soemthing I might be able to do. But what do you do when you run across a Stablock panel or messes like what are frequently shown here where sometimes even complete replacement of the entire fuse box is needed? I guess the answer is obvious!

I frequent this board (and now also Joe's new board) because I don't want to be one of those who are guilty of nailing 16 AWG zipcord on the wall, plugging one end into an existing outlet and hooking up a bakelite surface mount receptacle at the other end and thinking it's a masterpiece of electrical craftsmanship.

Thanks for tolerating me, guys.

[This message has been edited by SvenNYC (edited 03-29-2003).]

#23852 - 03/29/03 06:49 AM Re: Re: How-To, Need Quick Answer type Threads at ECN
Bill Addiss Offline

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA
Good Comments so far,

As far as limitimg membership to one group, there is no way to confirm any information in an non-invasive way, and that's not really my intention anyway. I don't know if I can describe my 'philosophy' on this but I will try by example here:

Besides the obvious groups that you would expect to be involved in an Electrical Trade Forum I think there are others that should be welcomed as well. Those interested enough in the trade to ask advice on training, study materials and methods, or pointers on finding applicable code sections and their meanings should be encouraged. People asking for advice on Safety issues - Is this Dangerous? Should I worry about this? - etc. (which in my opinion would not include a person asking how they can fix it themselves). There may be others too, who go to the trouble of putting their nose in the Books and Codes and look more for general direction and explanation rather than asking which wire goes where, and I just bought this, what should I do?

As far as whether it's better for a determined DIY person to get advice on Electrical work or not I honestly don't know and am trying not to make any judgements on that issue. I would just rather that it is not done here. I have to admit to not having a great tolerance for people that just want quick answers to something I've spent a long time learning and I know has no easy answer.

I can be sympathetic to these questions myself sometimes and I have sent many emails, and given advice to them sometimes but that is not something I would want to do here publically. Then, there is the issue of Time and there not being enough of it... And I usually do mention that there are other Forums like that would be more suitable and receptive to their questions.

I have thought about posting some guidelines that I think should be followed, but don't really know how to explain my goals here.

Clear as Mud?


#23853 - 03/29/03 07:07 AM Re: Re: How-To, Need Quick Answer type Threads at ECN
txsparky Offline

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 578
Loc: Magnolia,.Texas U.S.A.
Clear as Mud?

Yup !!

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