Question: Buoyant force on an object observed by two observers

Hold reason:

Homework-like questions should ask about a specific physics concept and show some effort to work through the problem. We want our questions to be useful to the broader community, and to future users.

I understand five people voted to close my question, so I admit I have obviously made some great mistake in posing my question. I wish to correct my mistake. The problem is, I do not understand where my mistake lies.

According to me, I have:

  1. asked about a specific physics concept: My question talks about the difference in the buoyant force observed by two different observers. I could sum it up in one line, so I think it is a pretty specific question. The question is not excessively mathematics oriented, and I have only used a small formula. So, it is indeed a physics question.
  2. showed some effort to work through a problem: I have clearly shown my logic as to what I expect the observed buoyant force to be for both the observers, with proper reasoning and mathjax. I have also drawn a diagram on my own and pasted it in.

According to my naive logic, my question satisfies both the requirements mentioned in the close reason. But, I am not here to challenge the close vote or the rules. As I said earlier, I am here to learn exactly what I am missing from what I question that made it deserve a close vote. Thank you!

  • $\begingroup$ Most of the hw questions could be easily saved by rephrasing it into a conceptual one. But it happens very rarely. From that point, you get the reopen, either directly, or by a meta discussion. From around 300 rep, also you have a close/reopen vote regarding your own questions. $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 6:07

1 Answer 1


At its core, this is the question you asked:

I thus want to confirm if my reasoning for $O_1$ and $O_2$ is correct.

That is not asking about a specific physics concept.

In general, if your question presents some work (whether that work represents a full or partial solution or some initial thoughts or anything in-between) and just asks to confirm whether that work is correct, it is not on topic here. If your question is of this type, often a good way to start fixing it is to think about why exactly you think it might not be correct.

For completeness, asking what the correct approach to a problem is would also be off topic. If your question is of this type,a good way to start fixing it is to start working on it and identify what you get stuck on.

These two types of questions (asking to check some work and asking how to solve a problem) are the archetypal examples of what we call "non-conceptual questions", which are off topic as described in the homework-like question policy.

Technically, what you posted isn't even a question. Now, it doesn't have to be; in other words, it's not strictly necessary that your post includes an interrogative sentence. But I find that it sometimes helps make a question more clear if you do phrase it that way. If nothing else, people who want to cut through the extra information and focus on exactly what you're really asking might start by searching your post for a question mark, and it doesn't hurt to put one in there for them to find.

  • $\begingroup$ So, do I simply end my post with a statement: "I don't know what mistake I am making in my reasoning. Can anyone guide me to exactly understand the situation?" $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 4:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That would be a valid way to phrase your question as an actual question, but in this case it wouldn't really help since what you're asking is off topic. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 4:25
  • $\begingroup$ "since what you're asking is off topic. " As far as I can understand from your original post, my question is off topic because "questions which just want to confirm whether a solution is correct are not on topic here". Now, I propose this: I am not asking to check my work. I am giving a question, showing my attempt on it, telling that this is not the expected answer, and then asking what would be the correct way to approach the problem. Is this proposed plan also off-topic? If so, why? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 4:28
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, that is also off topic. Sorry if I misunderstood. Let me edit my answer to include this. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 4:36
  • $\begingroup$ I feel kind of stumped here. I understand the causes for off-topic you've described, and I also understand why my question has that problem. But now I honestly am not able to phrase my question in a way that it would be on topic now. Please edit my question to make it fit the rules, so that I am able to comprehend your rule to the full extent. I will be highly obliged for the same. Thank you! $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 6:04
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    $\begingroup$ @GaurangTandon Honestly, it may be that you simply don't have a question which is on topic for this site. I can't see a way to edit your post to make it "fit the rules" as you say, without turning it into a different question entirely. This is to be expected sometimes; as you might see written in some places, this is not a homework help site, nor a site for help with educational exercises, like the one you made for yourself. Maybe this is just not the right place for you to be seeking help. That doesn't mean your question is bad, just that it may not be a good fit here. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 6:08
  • $\begingroup$ Hi, I had reworded my question. And it seemed good now. But the re-open request was turned down. Please have a look at it. Thank you! $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 9:35
  • $\begingroup$ It's definitely worded better than it was before, but I'm still not totally sure it's on topic - at least, not clearly enough that I feel comfortable overriding a community decision to keep the question on hold. I'll see what the other mods say. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Commented Jan 13, 2018 at 12:55

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