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Engineering Stack Exchange

Engineering Stack Exchange

Around two years ago I wrote a post rhapsodising on the benefits of Stack Exchange, about how it was the best thing in the world and why Civil Engineers should totally have a presence there. It finished with a link to the petition, which needed X amount of signatures to get it off the ground.

Well- it died a horrible death.

It turns out, however, that civils weren’t the only engineering discipline attempting to float this idea. Those few of us who had seen our hopes and dreams of a better future for our metaphorical children banded together on an island of “Engineering”; and like a phoenix from the flames the stack grew to the point where it will now be given a chance…

But we’re not safe yet: Before Engineering is granted space on the Stack Exchange, we need to prove that there really is a big enough community out there.

For those of you who aren’t long term readers or are particularly adverse to following links to previous posts- a Stack Exchange is a Question and Answer site. In fact, for a few disciplines (and software engineering comes to mind here) it is the Question and Answer site.

And why would it be the best thing since sliced bread for Engineers to get their own Stack Exchange?

Well, apart from the amazing potential for knowledge sharing and the growth of a community of people willing to chip-in and answer all those difficult questions- it is also brilliant promotion. It’s hard to imagine anything more accessible than a public site where engineers meet to ask and answer real questions from the profession for those who are curious.

But we’re not safe yet: Before Engineering is granted space on the Stack Exchange, we need to prove that there really is a big enough community out there to kick-off by asking and answering questions and maintain activity during the crucial early stages of the site’s life.

And that’s where you can help. I’m not asking you to devote your life to engineering (especially because you probably already have), but to register your commitment to actually use the site when it enters the beta stage. Let’s face it- who wouldn’t want to?

It’s really easy, just click this button:

Stack Exchange Q&A site proposal: Engineering

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  1. Andy T

    I have committed! (Although I’m not sure why we need to replace the eng-tips forum, but hey)

    • I know what you mean; but I think the Stack Exchange format is so much more engaging than your standard forum- and when I think about the amount of use I’ve gotten out of StackOverflow, it’d be good to have something similar for engineering!

  2. Tim

    You should consider posting this on the engineering subreddits. They’re active, relatively well populated and 90% of the posts are either pictures of machines or Q&A.

    • Thanks for the suggestion Tim- although I wonder how well it would go down; it is (in an oblique way) a bit of a competitor.

  3. Pete

    Love the idea hope it kicks off nicely. I think we as a profession could learn a lot from the tech community and software engineers etc, there’s really so little opportunity for ambitious engineers online to get together and chat and share problems etc. Will try and post some questions to get things kicked off (y). Now if only we could wear our own clothes too as well as share like programmers!

    • Thank’s Pete for your continuing support! I find StackOverflow invaluable for my ability to program, so it’s hard to imagine that it won’t improve my ability to engineer…

      As for wearing your own clothes- well, I’ve be there, and it’s not as good as all that!

      • Pete

        Cheers tom! We really should hang out some time think we’d get on really well.

        I’d also like to back you up on eng tips, i post there quite frequently whenever an interesting new problem comes up however I think that we need some place a bit more motivational or even aspirational as every time I go there I can’t get rid of the feeling of “frequented by hard nosed miserable bastards”. I am of course speaking not for everyone there and over generalising

        I think the closest we’ve got is the IABSE which is such a fantastic organisation and full of bright up and coming people. Really I’d love to find a bunch of people to network and hang out with who are:

        1. truly passionate (ugh hate the word!) About engineering, in particular structures and want to master as many of its sub disciplines as possible
        2. Want to put in the extra mile beyond the crushing retrospective tedium that is cpd.
        3. Take on the world in design competitions etc take some gambles while were young. Expedition engineering was formed on the basis of a professor and Chris wise and some other chap working out of a bedroom, winning a competition and going on from there and look how far they’ve come in 15 years

        Anyone else feel this way or am I just a bit of a weird? In my twenties and could easily make a boatload of cash as a banker or offshore engineer with my maths skills, went into structural engineering out of love for it. Also all I want is to wear flip flops to work and smoke a pipe in front of a 4 monitor workstation and mechanical keyboard, is that so much to ask?? :3