Why are questions concerning the consistency of different parts of mainstream physics with one another considered as questions about non-mainstream physics and put on hold?

I asked a question about how different parts of mainstream physics that to me seemed inconsistent with one another were consistent with one another.

The question was erroneously put on hold by the users

Dale, ZeroTheHero, and David

The question concerned is Explain this (critizism of the law of conservation of energy)

I would ask that the question is immediately put back, and that these users are relieved of their moderation privileges.

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    $\begingroup$ -1 "I would ask that the question is immediately put back, and that these users are relieved of their moderation privileges." is an instant red flag. We have reopen votes which are used where appropriate. You cannot simply scream that people who disagree with you are rogues who deserve punishment. Remember that they got those privileges by contributing constructively. $\endgroup$
    – user191954
    Nov 26 '18 at 5:56
  • $\begingroup$ Also, what part of Dale's comment is ambiguous? It describes rather clearly why the question can't be answered, and you didn't explain why you think it's wrong in that chat. Note that the number of downvotes there indicate that the three users who closed your question aren't the only ones who believe it's not answerable. $\endgroup$
    – user191954
    Nov 26 '18 at 6:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Chair, you are wrong, I answered and debunked Dale's objections in the comments to the article. But the comments were relocated to chat. Dale's comment is not ambiguous, it is simply incorrect in my opinion, and since Dale has been unable to meet my comments with counterarguments, we must have my being right as a basis for dealing with this. $\endgroup$
    – Alpha_Pi
    Nov 26 '18 at 6:19
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    $\begingroup$ I mentioned already that I've seen the chat and the fact remains that the question is still based upon an incurably large number of premises which violate our present understanding of newtonian mechanics. To me, that's sufficient justification for non-mainstream close votes. I'll step out of this conversation here because "we must have my being right as a basis..." doesn't convince me that this will be productive. $\endgroup$
    – user191954
    Nov 26 '18 at 6:25
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    $\begingroup$ ... for example; your issues with conservation of energy in inelastic collisions is confusing at best. First you give an example of Newtons Cradle; then start talking about inelastic collisions. Newtons Cradle is an example of elastic collision, so trying to use that as an example of a specific inelastic collision is counter-productive. If you really think all these things are incorrect; don't just describe what you think is wrong, show how it is wrong. If you use just words to explain the concern, people will just use words to "prove" you wrong. $\endgroup$
    – JMac
    Nov 26 '18 at 14:52
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    $\begingroup$ Adding to JMac's comments, it's worth mentioning that Physics SE isn't the place to pitch your idea if you've decided that newtonian mechanics is all wrong. $\endgroup$
    – user191954
    Nov 26 '18 at 15:35
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    $\begingroup$ I removed a blatantly insulting comment and its responses. Please note that while we tolerate criticism, we will not tolerate insults. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Nov 26 '18 at 20:41

I would personally have used the "too broad" close reason rather than "non-mainstream" to close your off-topic question. The experimental evidence supporting conservation of energy is a central part of a year-long introductory physics course, talking up most of two chapters of a typical introductory textbook. Your question is answerable, but it contains so many misapprehensions about how to describe a conservation-of-energy problem that a proper answer would contain nearly as much detail as a textbook chapter --- but with a lot of back-and-forth with you to ensure that some other misconception did not distract you along the way. All of our users who are educators have answered questions like yours from students in person, and that experience suggests that an answer which will satisfy you intellectually will not be a good fit for our question-and-answer format. That's why your question was closed.

We do not usually take action to change the close reason on a question, even in the more common case where attempts to make the question on-topic actually change the reason that it doesn't work for us. For instance, sometimes the asker of a "too broad" question will edit the question to make it more specific, and turn it into a "homework-like" question. Such questions stay closed, with (hopefully) a justification in the comments.

Furthermore, it's quite rare for us to need to revoke someone's permission to cast close/re-open votes on questions, and basically never in response to a disagreement over a single review. Your request for such censure is evidence that you don't yet understand how our community works. Stick around for a while and you'll start to see what I mean.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for your comment “I would personally have used the "too broad" close reason rather than "non-mainstream"” That is helpful for future reference $\endgroup$
    – Dale
    Nov 26 '18 at 18:57

With due respect:

If one is to challenge an established physical law, the onus is on the person to present a challenge that is:

  1. Very well researched,
  2. Clearly stated,
  3. and presents evidence of at least one situation in which the law is invalid, or proposes a situation in which the validity of the law could be challenged.

Your post does not meet any of the criteria.

We should always keep an open mind. This includes the possibility that we ourselves have misunderstood some aspect of a problem, hence the importance of the first criteria. I’m reminded pretty much everyday that very many people in the professional physics business are at least as smart as I am: this also highlights the importance of thoroughly researching any claims before suggesting they are false.

Finally, I am a believer in a variant of Russell’s teapot argument: that the onus is on the challenger to explain his/her claim clearly, not on the audience to waste time debunking this or that elementary misconception on the part of the challenger.


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