I'm a newbie here and I've noticed that a lot of the questions are at a pretty high level. (I'm just starting a masters program in physics). Does this site have a philanthropic goal of speeding up the research process or is it merely an experiment in social media? Is it a site that aims to impact the way researchers work or is it like a hobby site, where you get what you want out of it?

My experience has been "so far so good" but I'm curious as to how far I can go with this.

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    $\begingroup$ Duh. World domination. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 16:12
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    $\begingroup$ In an ideal world: That the posts become valuable resources of knowledge, as opposed to mere infotainment. $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic Mod
    Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 11:59

1 Answer 1


The Stack Exchange sites are run by a for-profit company. Their ultimate goal is to make money by providing a service on the internet. The service is host question-&-answer sites.

The level of each site depends to some degree on decisions made by the user base. Stack Overflow (the original model) accepts questions starting from a very low, but not trivial level.

Physics.SE is pitched just a little higher than that: we discourage basic pedagogical questions (things that look like "homework") in favor of a conceptual approach to the foundations of our discipline. Note that there is also used to be Theoretical Physics which is was targeted at "research level" theoretical and mathematical physics but was deemed to be diying and merged with this site, look for to find that and related content.

For other sites in the network, see the bottom of the page and area51 (the place where user input defines and launches new sites, and where you can find all the beta sites).

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    $\begingroup$ interesting i had no idea this was a normal commercial enterprise, i though it was one of those non-profit wikipedia type deals $\endgroup$
    – Timtam
    Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 9:40
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    $\begingroup$ How do they plan to monetize the site? I don't see too many ads around. $\endgroup$
    – Joebevo
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 6:41
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    $\begingroup$ Partly through Stack Overflow Careers, and partly through the few ads that do show up, but beyond that... I'm not sure. This has definitely been brought up on Meta Stack Exchange, though, so you could check there and see if you can find any information on it. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 9:36
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    $\begingroup$ Seems like a good idea for people to be able to pay to host a site. I'd love to see theoretical physics stack exchange take off again, but payed for this time without the pressure to succeed in numbers. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 2:46
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnMcVirgo Early on there was an option to do that. That is, in fact how MathOverflow got going, though there has been some kind of detante recently. Not sure what the current status is. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 3:01
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnMcVirgo I'd like to see a restart of a theoretical physics site (maybe better outside SE because of the pressure to have enough views etc) a lot too. Seems they have tried to do it here, but not much seems to be going on at present. Maybe these efforts could be reactivated? I sadly observe that the number of new good theoretical questions has dramatically dropped since about a month ago and certain theoretical, fundamental, and HEP topics people on TP.SE used to be interested in, are actually fading away here on Physics SE. So a new TP site is really needed. $\endgroup$
    – Dilaton
    Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 10:22
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    $\begingroup$ The Stack Exchange sites are run by a for-profit company. Their ultimate goal is to make money by providing a service on the internet. The service is host question-&-answer sites. I got slammed for saying the same thing, essentially (currently at -4 votes). $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 15:40
  • $\begingroup$ To make money out of providing the service of hosting QA sites, someone has to be demanding for them to host these sites, right? Like who exactly is paying then to host the physics Q&A website? Sorry, this probably a very misguided question but I'm naturally dumb at understanding business models 🤦🏽‍♂️ $\endgroup$
    – user87745
    Commented May 7, 2020 at 21:19

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