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Review of Physics Forums

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The Electrical Engineering Forum that is part of the Physics Forums is rather small, but the members that post answers there are generally very competent. However, the main advantage that this forum has over other forums that discuss Electronics, is the close proximity to the other forums of Physics Forums. This makes it a very valuable place for students of electronics, especially undergrad students. There is a Classical Physics subforum where questions that are related to electromagnetism can be posted. If your question involves any advanced mathematics, they have several mathematics subforums where some incredible competent members hang around. There is also an Academic Guidance Forum where you can get very good advice about studying in general.

Maybe a few warnings are appropriate. They are not meant to scare you away. On the contrary, I think this is a real cool forum, and you can gain so much by participating in it. So you should make sure that you do not run into trouble and get banned (you can sometimes see posts where the member name is stroken through, which means that the member has been banned, either temporarily or permanently).

First, they have very strict rules when it comes to homework. If you have a homework question, do not post a question in the Electrical Engineering forum or in one of the Math forums. Post it in one of the Homework Forums instead and show how you tried to solve the problem. They want to make sure that you do not just transfer your homework to them without showing any own efforts. In general, I agree with this policy (getting into the habit of letting other people do your homework would hurt you really bad during your exams.) However, if somebody really has no clue how to solve a problem and is desperately looking for a solution it might be pretty frustrating. In this case you might want to ask for help at allaboutcircuits forum instead. They have a Show-your-own-efforts-before-we-help-you policy too. But they do not implement it as strictly as Physics Forums and have probably a bit more sympathy for a clueless beginner. But you have to be aware that many members of allaboutcircuits are hobbyists, you cannot expect the same level of competence there as in Physics Forums.

Second, try not to get into a fight with people. Over the years I have seen a few members who made very interesting posts and who seemed to be a valuable and respected part of the community. Then one day they got involved in a controversial thread, the discussion deteriorated into personal insults and now they are banned permanently (or have chosen to stay away from the forum because they felt they were insulted). So you should seriously consider whether you really want to risk to permanently loose the opportunity to benefit from the forum, just because of a stupid fight. Do not participate in a discussion that looks highly controversial. In particular, stay away form the Politics-and-World-Affairs subforum (or threads in the General Discussion forum that are related to politics). There are many other places on the web where you can discuss politics, and if you get into a fight there and get banned, it will not hurt you as much as being banned form Physics Forums.

Third, you will get into trouble if you try to start a discussion about any wild physical theories that are not accepted by the majority of the physical community. A classic example are the never ending (and generally very boring) attempts to prove that Einstein and his theory of relativity are wrong. Now this probably does not apply to you (it is typically more of a problem with completely clueless amateur scientists, not so much with students). But perhaps you would like to discuss some new theory you have heard about in the news. The rule, however, is that only those theories are OK to discuss that have been published in a peer reviewed scientific journal.

For the vast majority of the forum members, English is either their native language or they have learned it very well. I have seen a few cases where members criticized others because they found some grammar errors in their posts. If you have problems writing in English, it is probably a good idea to say so right at the beginning of your post, and to apologize for any grammar errors you might make. Then people have no reason to criticize your grammar any further (except if your English is so bad that it is hard to understand what you mean).

Registration is free. If you want, you can donate some money, in this case you will become a Contributor. The main advantage of being a Contributor is that you will be allowed to create a cool avatar that will show next to your posts, and your own signature. But normal forum members have complete read and write access to all forums and subforums just as the Contributors.

There is no dedicated subforum or thread for the introduction of new members. Just start a thread in the General Discussion Forum, say Hi (or whatever else comes to your mind) and you will receive a friendly welcome. One last advice: If anybody should ask in your introduction thread what kind of fish you prefer, make sure to specify the smallest fish you can think of, no matter what kind of fish you really like...

You should also take a look at some recommendations for other electronics forums.

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