Re Is there any reliable place where i can put my theory of universe (it explained/predicted the behavior of almost everything i came across) and my comment to it. Lots of similar things have been posted, and then put-on-hold as off-topic. And that's often probably a good thing.

But maybe not always quite so good. A "crackpot-but-not-too-crackpot" tag might allow some interesting ideas to be seen here. Or I might be wrong about that. How about we try it and find out?

And what's "too crackpot" supposed to mean? Maybe Pauli's "that's not even wrong" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Not_even_wrong which always cracks me up:)

    E d i t

In case nobody clicked through to my comment under the cited post, I'm cut-and-pasting it below because it elaborates my position on this issue, carefully distinguishing between crackpot theories and crackpots. And I think that maybe most readers aren't appreciating this distinction...

2 @amkmishra "at this point its mostly philosophical" and "it does work and explains/predicts behavior well" are inconsistent statements. Every halfway-decent physicist comes up with at least several crackpot theories during his career. But that doesn't make him a crackpot. Indeed, that just makes him creative. What makes him a crackpot is publicizing his half-baked theories before they're ready-for-prime-time. Your theory sounds sixteenth-baked, at best. Some 99.9% of crackpot theories turn out just plain wrong. Like Golda Meir said, "Don't be so humble. You're not that great." – John Forkosh 2 hours ago

...Firstly, of the seven comments already there (at the time I'm writing this), note that mine is the most critical of the op. And that, to repeat, is because the comment carefully distinguishes between crackpot theories and crackpots. And while I'm too polite to directly say it to the op's face, his post strikes me as the latter. And I don't have much respect for those. And I'm >>not<< suggesting that posts from crackpots should be permitted under the "crackpot_theory" tag.

On the other hand, the kind of crackpot theories developed (more likely in the process of development) by non-crackpot theorists can be more than a little interesting. Special relativity might have been considered a crackpot_theory in its very earliest days. Tell me, had physics.se been around in ~1904-5, and had Einstein written about it here first, before publication, would you have accepted it??? In retrospect, I think we can safely say that the rules of physics.se should be such that, yes, you would have accepted it.

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    $\begingroup$ stackoverflow.blog/2010/08/07/the-death-of-meta-tags $\endgroup$ Mar 18, 2019 at 8:47
  • $\begingroup$ @AvnishKabaj along with the "crackpot_theory" tag, a poster would presumably tag his post with additional existing tags that more concretely identify precisely what his theory is about. Sorry, I thought that would be obvious, so didn't explicitly mention it. Is that what you're objection is about? $\endgroup$
    – user89220
    Mar 18, 2019 at 9:05
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    $\begingroup$ I don't see how this could work, even if you gave the tag a neutral label. We don't want to attract non-mainstream stuff. The vast majority of the purveyors of grand new theories don't know enough science and the scientific method to say much of scientific merit, or to appreciate notions like falsifiablity. And on the rare chance that someone does have a theory worth discussing, analyzing it correctly sounds like hard work. ;) $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Mar 18, 2019 at 9:33
  • $\begingroup$ @PM2Ring Yup, I agree with pretty much everything you say, >>except<< that your "we don't want to attract non-mainstream stuff" kind of implies that the stuff already here is canonically mainstream. If I say riddled with stuff like physics.stackexchange.com/q/215061 then maybe "riddled" is overstating the case. But I also think the mainstream implication is somewhat overstated. It's basically a moderated newsgroup, not a peer-reviewed, refereed journal. Maybe the moderators are taking themselves too seriously (see the Golda Meir quote in my comment to the post I cited above) $\endgroup$
    – user89220
    Mar 18, 2019 at 11:00
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    $\begingroup$ I don't really get what you're saying with the last paragraph. The purpose of this site is not to find the next Einstein, it's to better explain mainstream physics. New physics can go into journals, which are much better designed for that purpose. Furthermore, it's pointless to add an exception for the next Einstein's theory, because every crackpot believes they are the next Einstein. That's why our policy is a blanket ban. $\endgroup$
    – knzhou
    Mar 18, 2019 at 11:40
  • $\begingroup$ That's kind of my point. We will always get non-mainstream posts, we don't need to encourage them. We can sometimes modify borderline questions to make them on-topic (eg, change a spaceship travelling at c to one at just under c). Personal grand unification theories are unlikely to be in that category. They may have some thought-provoking content, but that doesn't make them suitable for the main site; they may be fun in chat, though. And if we encourage non-mainstream questions, that will encourage the non-mainstream answerers, who already do enough damage. $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Mar 18, 2019 at 12:06
  • $\begingroup$ On the xkcd science forum, grand theories which don't actually explain anything are called theroys, here's the trope-namer thread: Ring Theroy. $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Mar 18, 2019 at 12:10
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    $\begingroup$ I think even using the term "crackpot" to address other users is a violation of the Stack Exchange Code of Conduct. You're free to think whatever you like of other users (I've seen some very unorthodox questions and answers here), but calling someone a crackpot or a kook goes against site policy anyways. You would at very least need to find a term that is far more neutral than "crackpot". $\endgroup$
    – JMac
    Mar 18, 2019 at 13:05
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    $\begingroup$ "Tell me, had physics.se been around in ~1904-5, and had Einstein written about it here first, before publication, would you have accepted it???" according to this answer: no $\endgroup$
    – Andrew T.
    Mar 19, 2019 at 9:45

2 Answers 2


As spelled out in Is non-mainstream physics appropriate for this site? we accept only questions about mainstream physics, where mainstream physics is defined as:

Mainstream physics is physics which has been accepted by a significant portion of the physics community. In the case of modern physics, if a theory has not been published in a reputable journal, it is not considered mainstream.

So while interesting ideas may well be interesting it is not appropriate for them to be posted as questions here. Consequently there is no need for a tag to describe them. They should simply be downvoted and then closed asap, and left for the automatic deletion to remove.

That doesn't mean the site members are boring old farts uninterested in anything new. There are no shortage of questions and answers about exciting new publications, and there is usually someone willing to explore the, erm, wilder aspects of physics in the chat room. It just means that if someone has an exciting idea the onus is on them to get it peer reviewed and published first, then come here to ask about it.


In addition to John's points, which are enough to make this a non-starter:

As mentioned in the comments: the tag you're proposing is a meta tag. Those are very seductive, sure, but they're extremely hard to get working correctly - it always starts with good intentions, say,

a poster would presumably tag his post with additional existing tags that more concretely identify precisely what his theory is about

but it very quickly spirals into users who only use such a question, post some pretty off-topic stuff, and use the existence of the tag to try to defend the presence of the content.

On this site we have exactly three on-topic meta tags (homework-and-exercises, resource-recommendations, and specific-reference) and they all serve very specific purposes to fulfil clear needs, which justifies keeping such high-maintenance tags around.

All of this is to say: there's a reason why meta tags are strongly discouraged network-wide. It takes a much stronger case than "oh, I think it will be all right" to get one going.


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