Continuing my discussion of online resources for designers and engineers, I have to recommend a visit to eng-tips. This is a website catered to engineering professionals because it has forums for every facet of engineer and design - from hard topics in specific disciplines down to the softer topics of ethics and computer programs. And the best part, the posts are peer-reviewed. There are no moderators on this site. Well, no specific moderators per se because every member is also a moderator by using the red-flag link. The red-flag notifies site management about a possible abuse to the codes of conduct every member agrees to prior to becoming a member. Also, members are also reminded of the main points each time they post.
Promoting, selling, recruiting and student posting
are not allowed in the forums.
This is what makes eng-tips one of the best online locations for engineering knowledge. You don't have to worry about flame wars, students posting homework questions, or getting spammed by recruiters or salespeople. The threads tend to stay on topic; answers are quick and to the point, saving you valuable time; and there is no finger pointing either. Posters can't blame a moderator or administrator for censoring posts because the entire community reviews posts and determines their worth. This allows for very easy, open discussion on a variety of topics without worry of recourse because of a difference of opinion (so long as the post is tactful and professional). How many times have you criticized Autodesk or SolidWorks on their forums only to find your post removed? It's OK to air dirty laundry on eng-tips so long as the post follows the site codes of conduct.
So if you have that tough engineering problem that you can't find text-based resources to resolve, try a post on eng-tips.com. If nothing else, you owe it to yourself to see everything that site has to offer. Add some forums to your threadminder, even if you just have a passing interest in the topic. You never know what you may be able to learn.