Thursday, February 28, 2013

Stack Exchange

So, another one of my hobbies for a long time has been a web site called Stack Exchange, and I need to put in a plug for a future site dedicated to my new favorite hobby, Amateur Radio.

First of all, Stack Exchange is a website devoted to asking questions around a particular topic, and answering them. By asking and answering questions, you win reputation points, privileges on the site, and cool badges. There is a ton of Stack Exchange sites, I will refer you to this complete list for them all, but there are some which Hams in particular will be interested in.

First of all, there is a proposal to start a site on Amateur Radio. This site is still in the definition phase, essentially the people there are still trying to figure out what the subject of the site will be. One can ask questions, follow the proposal to keep a careful eye on it, and vote for questions which look like good (Or poor) candidates for said site. The Amateur Radio site is about two thirds of the way there, so I'm really hoping that it will be on to the next phase soon.

The next stage is called the Commitment Phase. Just to give you an idea (And to shamelessly promote my proposal;-), take a look at the Space Exploration proposal. At this point in time, people can commit to being an active participant in the site once it launches. As of writing this post, Space Exploration is about half way to the next step.

Beyond that, the site enters a Beta Phase, where the site hasn't received a formal design, but is being tested out. Signal Processing is one such example. Essentially, the site is being supervised more closely than normal by the Stack Exchange employees, but otherwise is like a graduated site. You can actually ask your questions here.

Finally, a site will graduate. The best example of these for a Ham is the Electrical Engineering site. These sites have their own theme, elect their own moderators, and in general, are self-policed. Stack Exchange can still step in if they need to, but these tend to form close communities.

Anyways, I encourage you to join one or more of these sites, and especially to help out the Amateur Radio site to launch. These communities have really helped me to learn a lot, and in the process, I have been able to help others learn.

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