This question Good books to understand the basics of material science Was marked as duplicate and redirected to Best Materials Science Introduction Book? The thing is, the second question was particularly about Neutron scattering.But in the first question, I asked for an introductory undergrad text like the book by Van Vlack(Fortunately someone answered my question).Clearly, Neutron scattering seems to be advanced(at least for me).Does this mean, this site is only for researchers and scientists? While voting a question as duplicate, do people read the content of the question or just compare the titles?. I even flagged the question, explaining that it is not a duplicate.But, I got no response.(In particular, I think "Chair" was one of the persons who voted it duplicate.I am not accusing him.But would like an explanation from him.)

Apparently I'm one of the people who voted to close this, so I can easily give my opinion on this situation.

His question specifically was:

"What would you suggest as a good introduction to materials science?"

While yours stated:

"suggest me some good books(introductory level) to understand the basics of material science."

These two questions are identical besides formatting.

There is a note added which says:

"Prior usage and examples would be wonderful, my particular focus is neutron scattering"

but that doesn't really change the base of their question. The question is still about a good introductory book for material science. They didn't even really say the books had to discuss those topics at all. They were just showing what their interests/focuses were.

You can also see this good related answer on a very similar topic which gives a good rundown of some reasons why such questions would be closed as duplicates, even in less obvious situations.

  • Ok.That note might not change the base of the question.But the answers were all about that "Neutron Scattering".I read these answers and I didnt get the answer I needed.So thats why I asked a new question.I even explained this while I flagged the question.But got no response.Doesnt this qualify it as a new question? – user196272 Sep 10 at 19:12
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    @Mohan Not really, no. The link I put at the end explains some of the difficulty with Resource Recommendations and Duplicates. I think it's possible for you to perhaps explain in more detail to make your question specific enough so that it is not a duplicate. I think it's very unlikely though. To be perfectly honest; I don't think this site is the best for handing resource recommendations for such a topic like this anyways. – JMac Sep 10 at 19:19
  • And from the link you mentioned,I can understand that restrictions are needed for these type of questions.But a question about books on neutron scattering(I have no idea about it,I assume its a part of material science) can be redirected to a question about books for material science but the other way doesnt seem logical because material science is general but neutron scattering is specific. – user196272 Sep 10 at 19:27
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    I don't really buy the claim that the answers in the open duplicate are all about neutron scattering; some of the suggested resources are specific to that field but several are marked as more general. If the claim were true, and the currently-closed question were substantially improved, I'd see a case for editing the old question to give it an exclusive neutron-scattering focus and reopening the new one, but I don't really see it. And it doesn't really help that the new question is far out of what site policy sets as the standard. – Emilio Pisanty Sep 10 at 19:28
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    @Mohan You need to re-read his question then. It's not specifically about neutron scattering. The body of the text is quite clear; "What would you suggest as a good introduction to materials science?" He then leaves as an additional note that he's focused on neutron scattering. That doesn't mean the text should focus on, or even technically mention it. They just provided some motivation for learning the topic, so there's a chance that some suggestions would be geared towards approaching scattering in the future. His wording is still almost identical to what you asked for. – JMac Sep 10 at 19:30
  • I think, except the book Callister discussed in the answer, nothing else seems to be about introductory material science.Does this one word make this question generic about material science?(I had tried Callister but I couldnt understand certain things.Thats the reason I asked the question in the first place I think it doesnt matters here) – user196272 Sep 10 at 19:37
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    @JMac It is not about the question itself, it is about the responses it got. That small remark on neutron scattering impacted the recommendations made in the comments. "This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question." - The answers in that previous clearly did not address Mohan's concern. – user190081 Sep 10 at 19:40
  • @EmilioPisanty " If the claim were true, and the currently-closed question were substantially improved, I'd see a case for editing the old question to give it an exclusive neutron-scattering focus and reopening the new one" - That seems like a good solution, why not implementing it? – user190081 Sep 10 at 19:42
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    @Mohan The existing question is specifically worded to ask for general texts, so it's pretty tricky territory to edit the question in a way that leaves parts of the answers as off-topic. At a first brush, this puts you in the situation of "I wish an existing question had better answers", which isn't enough grounds to re-post the question. – Emilio Pisanty Sep 10 at 19:43
  • @Mohan It's actually the entire sentence before the question mark (i.e. the question) that makes it generic about material science. I will re-iterate this for the third time, his actual question literally states "What would you suggest as a good introduction to materials science?" while yours states "suggest me some good books(introductory level) to understand the basics of material science". You've basically just re-arranged the words. If you've looked at another answer and it didn't help, at very least I would mention why it didn't help so people don't have to guess your intent. – JMac Sep 10 at 19:43
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    @user190081 For one, I don't think the claim is true. But more importantly, the implementation of that solution rests on whether Mohan does (or doesn't) perform the substantial edits required to bring the new question in line with the site policy for resource-recommendation questions; as detailed there, it is not enough to say "I want books on X". Recommendation questions are a terrible fit for this site's format, and the hard-fought consensus was to allow them if they clear a high bar. The existing question doesn't. – Emilio Pisanty Sep 10 at 19:46
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    @user190081 We close questions based on the questions themselves, not on the answers they got. If you are going to ask a new question, you at very least need to explain that you've found the other one and it wasn't sufficient, then elaborate on what you need that isn't included there. The fact that no one really answered it suggests to me that not many people here have the desire to suggest introductory materials science books. Recommendation questions are really hard to make good quality here. They just don't jive well with the format. – JMac Sep 10 at 19:48
  • Ok guys.Thanks for trying to help me.Actually, as I have mentioned in this question(physics meta question),I have got my answer(fortunately someone answered my question).I was just trying to explain what happened.It seems certain things cannot be changed.I have nothing to loose.But some other person might experience the same I experienced. – user196272 Sep 10 at 19:51
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    @Mohan " If you are going to ask a new question, you at very least need to explain that you've found the other one and it wasn't sufficient, then elaborate on what you need that isn't included there" + ''o bring the new question in line with the site policy for resource-recommendation questions' Mohan, I think the message is clear now, you need to be more specific, write a better question. – user190081 Sep 10 at 19:52
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    @user190081 Well, the idea is that the question will pick up more answers that are not so focused on solid state physics in the future. It's not an unusual thing that the answer(s) to a given a resource recommendation question, at some point in time, focus only on a subset of the topic being requested. – David Z Sep 10 at 21:01

I'm Chair!

I didn't have vote-to-close privileges at the time, so I have no idea how you knew that I had flagged it as a duplicate (maybe the auto-generated comment has been deleted?)

Anyways, I think that the older question was about as general as yours: the author clearly specified "introductory", which is similar enough to your usage of the term "basic". Furthermore, the mention of neutron scattering was in brackets, so I very strongly believe that the author was adding that as a plus-point, not as a main focus.

I had checked on the answers of the older question, and neither of them seemed to focus particularly on the concept of neutron scattering: they both included more general stuff. There is only one title recommended because of its focus on neutron scattering. A question explicitly about neutron scattering probably wouldn't merit a resource reccomendation tag in the first place (in my opinion): my experience with resource recommendations is that they're really, really broad.

That being said, if you're still extremely sure that none of those books are applicable, you can edit your question to mention that you have read the other thread and you have found that those books are to advanced, despite the title of that post.

Looking at your comments under JMac's answer, I think that you're particularly bothered by the fact that you didn't get a response when you claimed that it isn't a duplicate in a flag. Did you check your flagging history? Near the top-right corner of your profile page, there's a line saying "$x$ helpful flags". If you click that, you'll be able to see the status of your flags. Odds are the moderator who reviewed it (presumably you used a custom flag to describe the situation) left a reply. Alternatively, you could have tagged me with "@Chair" in another comment to discuss the situation. But we're discussing it here, so hopefully that aspect's resolved.

I haven't seen what an asker is shown when someone flags their post as a duplicate for myself, but from what I've read on Meta Stack Exchange, you'll be shown a yellow banner saying something like "your question may already have an answer here. If the answers there do not address your difficulty, please edit your question to provide more details", with a link to the suggested duplicate, before your question is actually closed. I suggest that you could have concatenated something on the lines of

I've read the post Best Materials Science Introduction Book? but I believe that the focus there is upon neutron scattering and the recommended books are hence too advanced.

...to your question. It would show favorably that you've done a significant amount of prior research by looking at physics SE posts and attempting their solutions, and it would also give readers a clearer idea of the level you're looking for.


It does not help at all that you chose to vandalize your own post. And for no apparent reason, you made an edit to remove the word 'please". Twice.

  • Ok.I agree to the fact that vandalizing my post and removing the word "please" were foolish.I will make sure to include all the details, next time I ask a question.But still now I cant accept the fact that the books recommended in the other question were about basic material science(they were about solid state physics except for the book by callister).Maybe its because I am not accostomed to those books(and solid state physics). – user196272 Sep 11 at 5:31
  • These are the resources recommended in the question other than Callister, Chaikin & Lubensky for scattering,Kittel or Ashcroft & Mermin,John Hudson out of RPI taught an excellent course on CharacterizationMethods, a short review called "Neutron Scattering - A Primer"(fas.org/sgp/othergov/doe/lanl/pubs/number19.htm),Condensed Matter Physics: Michael P. Marder.This discussion doesnt seem to be about basic material science(not even close). – user196272 Sep 11 at 6:22
  • @Mohan If you vehemently believe that the answers aren't appropriate (I disagree), you add a bounty there (if the community wiki status allows it). You don't ask the question again. There is no appreciable emphasis on the neutron scattering part of that question, so repeating the question after omitting the parenthesized portion doesn't change much. – Chair Sep 11 at 6:50
  • Ok.I just have one more question.Would you really suggest the above mentioned text books( Chaikin & Lubensky for scattering,Kittel or Ashcroft & Mermin,John Hudson out of RPI taught an excellent course on CharacterizationMethods, a short review called "Neutron Scattering - A Primer"(fas.org/sgp/othergov/doe/lanl/pubs/number19.htm),Condensed Matter Physics: Michael P. Marder.) for a student who asks for a basic material science book? – user196272 Sep 11 at 7:13
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    @Mohan Can't say my personal opinion because I haven't read them: I only searched for their reviews on google and that's potentially skewed. But yes, Callister looks like it's an introductory text. – Chair Sep 11 at 7:17
  • @Chair Chaikin & Lubensky ---> Solid state physics, Kittel ---> Solid state physics, Ashcroft & Mermin ---> Solid state physics, All those are there just because of the scattering remark made in the question. Can a user with 83 reputation add a bounty to a question? – user190081 Sep 11 at 12:59
  • @user190081 The limit for adding bounties is 75 rep. And it looks like Community Wiki posts support bounties. But really, IMO the ideal solution would have been to mention the prior research and the faults of the existing thread, rather than just blatantly reposting a very similar question. I very strongly doubt that the OP actually hunted about and saw that older question. The cores of the two questions are similar, and the answers on the existing question include useful information. That doesn't make for a very strong case to defend the decision to post this new question. – Chair Sep 11 at 13:08
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    For clarity on the mechanics - the initial vote to close as a duplicate will automatically generate a comment (and, I imagine, the same is true for flags); further votes to close as a duplicate will automatically upvote that comment, and it is automatically removed if the question is closed as a duplicate of the thread in that initial comment. – Emilio Pisanty Sep 11 at 13:52
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    @chair I cant prove that I saw the older question before I asked the new one(I dont need to).The thing is, if you really want to help the situation, do something to prevent any user who comes in search of basic material books being redirected to the solid state book recommendations.Either add a few basic material science book suggestions to the old question(the one with scattering reference) or make them two seperate questions(one for basic and other for scattering). – user196272 Sep 11 at 16:35

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