I posit the following:

  • Most circuit questions on this site can be easily answered by drawing a circuit diagram, so asking a circuit question without a diagram often bumps up against the homework policy (i.e. show your effort).
  • A circuit diagram almost always makes a circuits question easier to understand.
  • The point of this site is to create useful content. Circuit questions are more useful if they include a diagram.

With those things in mind, I propose that we add a rule that circuit questions should include a diagram. I personally want this so that I can direct users who ask circuit questions to an authoritative statement indicating that they should include a diagram.

Yes, I'm grumpy about this issue right now, but I still think it's the right thing to do. What do you say?

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    $\begingroup$ I think you need to be more specific about what you mean by "circuit question". What about more general questions about circuits? I just pulled the most recent question with the electric circuits tag. Would you say this requires a diagram? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 11, 2021 at 9:18
  • $\begingroup$ Can you add some examples (without it becoming about those examples)? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 11, 2021 at 11:21
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    $\begingroup$ Many circuit questions are likely to be closed as off-topic homework-like questions, whether they have a diagram or not. $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Commented Oct 11, 2021 at 13:34
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    $\begingroup$ Would we enable whatever system that EE uses for circuit diagrams? If the question depends on a specific circuit diagram is it really a physics question, and not EE? $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Oct 11, 2021 at 14:51
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    $\begingroup$ Although I support clear questions, which here would almost always imply a diagram, I fell I should add to @PM2Ring ‘s point by asking what variation of a circuit question has NOT been already covered here? I’m sure there are exceptions but they must be rare indeed. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 11, 2021 at 23:31
  • $\begingroup$ @JonCuster I am under the impression that EE use images for diagrams. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 13, 2021 at 3:31
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    $\begingroup$ @StephenG No, EE has an integrated circuit editor (it’s an external service but integrated in the site, which allows also circuit simulation). $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 13, 2021 at 7:18
  • $\begingroup$ @MassimoOrtolano Interesting. Didn't know there was such a mechanism on SE. Wonder if we could arrange something like that for Physics re general diagrams ? Question for another day I guess. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 13, 2021 at 12:45
  • $\begingroup$ @StephenG question(s) for another day indeed ;-). The EE circuit editor is in principle easy to enable here (it isn't much more than flipping a switch on SE's side) but it comes with a nontrivial performance hit, so we need to demonstrate that it is really needed. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 16:47
  • $\begingroup$ @BioPhysicist That sounds like a pretty moot point to me. It's pretty easy to word a policy accordingly. Say, "Questions about a specific circuit should include a diagram", or equivalent wording. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 16:52
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty Indeed! I was questioning the proposition put forth in the post: "I propose that we add a rule that circuit questions should include a diagram" What you said is a refinement I definitely agree with, but that isn't what is (currently) proposed. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 16:54
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    $\begingroup$ @Daniel, as the instigator: what software route would you recommend for newcomers? I would argue that until we have a streamlined solution to this similar thread on offer, making this mandatory is just making the site hostile to newcomers. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 17:00
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    $\begingroup$ What would be even more hostile is to tell the OP to add a circuit diagram, and then after they go through the effort of doing that, we close the question anyway under the homework-like policy. A similar thing happens already with MathJax. $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Commented Oct 20, 2021 at 5:19
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty I use Inkscape 'cuz it's free. I have a file with circuit fragments and I copy/paste them together to draw circuits. $\endgroup$
    – DanielSank
    Commented Oct 22, 2021 at 22:39

1 Answer 1


No. Next thing you will want is that all questions require equations. No need to limit discussion to professional physicists. There are many others out of a deep interest who would like answers.

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    $\begingroup$ Requiring circuit diagrams on questions that ask about a specific circuit is not the same thing as requiring every question to have equations. Also, why do you think only professional physicists can use circuit diagrams? Students use them all of the time. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 22, 2021 at 9:56

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