As you may have heard, Theoretical Physics and Astronomy will shortly be closing, and we are considering absorbing their questions into this site. We will soon be having a chat session (or perhaps multiple sessions) to discuss these potential merges, probably either Sunday or Monday. There are two questions I would like to pose here:

  1. What needs to be discussed?
  2. When should we have the chat session?

For #1, please put any ideas of what should be discussed in the chat session in answers. If you have a preference for time, please leave a comment on this question saying what times you could attend. I will figure out what a good time is tomorrow and update this question accordingly.

(I know this isn't really a proper meta question, I'm just trying to collect some information in the quickest way possible.)

Update: it's official, 5-6 PM EDT (9-10 PM UTC) Monday is the time! I'd encourage anyone who plans on being there to register on the chat room schedule page.

Unfortunately I've just realized I can't be there until about 5:30, so whoever shows up will have to start without me. Some of the things we need to discuss are listed in the answers to this question.

  • $\begingroup$ Then next week (Mon-Sat) I am out, without any connection to the Internet. However: 1. I am in for of the migration/preservation. 2. The main question is what do you (i.e. physics.SE) want? 3. Some questions (esp. quantum-computing, quantum-information) may be better suited for cstheory.SE, see meta.cstheory.stackexchange.com/questions/1516/…. I'm in favour of that; however, what is important is to discuss with cstheory what who whants to take, so no to split the quantum theory in two parts. $\endgroup$ – Piotr Migdal Apr 28 '12 at 9:06
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    $\begingroup$ Too bad you can't make it, but then again the chat will only be a supplement to the meta discussions. Thanks for that link; perhaps some people from CS theory can also chat with us and we'll figure out how the questions should be best split. But in the end, our community seems generally in favor of "adopting" everything from TP.SE that has not found a home elsewhere. $\endgroup$ – David Z Apr 28 '12 at 10:06

Like I told you, I won't be there. But I can throw out some ideas:

  • Make sure the Astro and TP community is well-represented. Bug them via meta and chat to come by and drop in. I suggest you work out timings so that at least one mod each is here. And of course, it would be nice if we hade more than one Phy.SE mod, so that decisions can be made immediately. Roping in an SE member (maybe CHAOS) would be great, though not sure if it's possible.

  • Discuss If it's possible, do we want to expand the scope of this site to include astronomy? . Also how far we are willing to go in expanding the scope. (EDIT by DZ) The possibility of a name change should also be discussed, since it goes along with any possible changes in scope.

  • Discuss if there are any TP questions unsuitable for this site (doubt it)&

  • Discuss how to address the (I think) prevalent "we don't want our questions to be mixed with high school homework"/"Users who have gotten rep from easy questions(eg me) should not moderate our posts" attitude at TP. Also .See also: Area51 discussion on TP&P.SE overlap, post on MSO discussion on merger, Research-level tag proposal

  • Maybe ask common community members to prepare a meta post on the differences(if any) that one must take note of between the two sites. Since most of the rep gets transferred, we don't want high rep users not knowing that we handle certian things differently here. Or just discuss the differences first and decide if this is necesssary.

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    $\begingroup$ Hi Manishearth, you are such a valuable, helpful, dedicated, and cheerful member of physics and other SEs :-). You have the amount of reputation you have because you have done good things and helped others learning physics. So nobody should pick at you, and the people from TP.SE should aknowledge too that you just want to help ... Small misunderstandings or "powows" (as we had one too) can nearly always be resolved. $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Apr 27 '12 at 9:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Dilaton Thanks for the compliment :) . I'm not really worried about me, I don't think there will be any 'picking on'. The issue is that many of thr TP folks may not decide to stay (read the linked posts), because they believe half the high-reps are like me or something like that. Even if I wasn't part of the community, the issue would still be there--they're not talking about me, just a general type,of user for which I fit the bill :). I just put myself forward as an example, that's all. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Apr 27 '12 at 10:33

As far as Astronomy, there's only one thing that I think is even a point. Do we want to take stuff that relations to observations? Black holes, planets, etc all seem to be very much on topic here...

I don't think a chat is the best way to handle this in any case, unless it is somewhat of a work session to filter through questions. Meta tends to be much better at that kind of stuff.


Maybe we can assess which tasks have to be done "manually" in the course of the merging processes and recrute some volunteers for getting stuff done.


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