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The question


Op didn't format the question in a very nice/ didn't put a lot of background.. however I do think that what the actual substance of the question is actually high value. I recall being very confused about how the vectors behave under different transformations when I first started learning physics and I think it'd be a big help to other people if this question wasn't closed.

The reason being that I haven't seen even an introductory physics textbook which admits to the mathematical complexity of the true nature of vectors. So, I think that a new person would be able to appreciate how necessary mathematics is and be more motivated to study it if he just knew the real concepts behind the things.


Bottom line: I think that the substance of op's question is excellent even though the actual presentation of it is not so great.

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    $\begingroup$ You can always edit a question if you think it can be presented better/in a more on-topic way. $\endgroup$ – ACuriousMind Sep 12 at 11:55
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not quite sure how to bring the question to a way which is more acceptable by the community. I tried my best in editing it, hope it looks better now. $\endgroup$ – Buraian Sep 12 at 12:01
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I voted to close the question for the reason that it belongs on Mathematics SE. The main closure reason was the homework reason, which I do disagree with. I think this question aligns more with the "needs detail and clarity" reason.

To address some misconceptions:

however I do think that what the actual substance of the question is actually high value.

If the question is poorly worded (not barely worded at all) so that this "high value substance" isn't obvious to other users, then I believe it should be closed. One could make this argument about almost any closed question, so I don't think it should be used as a "keep open" reason.

The reason being that I haven't seen even an introductory physics textbook which admits to the mathematical complexity of the true nature of vectors. So, I think that a new person would be able to appreciate how necessary mathematics is and be more motivated to study it if he just knew the real concepts behind the things.

I agree with this, and certainly information about this is helpful to others. However, useful does not mean on topic. PSE has specific policies as to the types of questions and answers we are "curating". Unfortunately this means that some good content will be off topic, and not all users looking for help will find it here. And once again, this argument could be used on many closed questions, so it also shouldn't be used as a "keep open" reason.

Bottom line: I think that the substance of op's question is excellent even though the actual presentation of it is not so great.

Unfortunately, presentation is important on PSE as well. That's why there is an entire close reason of "needs detail and clarity". If I was encountering this student while tutoring I would work with them to unearth the true question they are asking in better clarity. However, PSE is not a tutoring site. If you put up a poor question then it should be closed, even if some users happen to be able to glean some meaning from it.

I think the reasons the question is unclear are as follows:

  1. The title of the question is unclear since I don't really know what they mean by the "value of the vector". There are many ways to interpret this in the context of coordinate transformations. Do they mean to ask about how the vector components change relative to the axes? Do they mean to ask about the actual vector itself, asking if we get a "new" vector entirely?

  2. The body does nothing to clarify their question. The body really doesn't say anything.

I just need an answer in a paragraph .

What else would the answer be in?

I will be very grateful if i get a quick answer

This doesn't add anything to the question, and this sentence might be why some users voted to close as off topic homework, as it seems like the case of "hurry I waited until the last minute to do my assignment so I need an answer now."

  1. I still don't know what physics they are asking about. The body could have been used to show the physics context their question comes from.
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  • $\begingroup$ After reading your points and taking it into consideration, I chose to re-write the question fleshing out the interpretation that I had of the question in more detail. Kindly have a look. $\endgroup$ – Buraian Sep 12 at 13:37
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    $\begingroup$ @Buraian I have voted to reject the edit. While what you have written makes the question better, as you have said, you have put in your interpretation. It's not obvious this is the OP's intent though. I would recommend commenting on the post, asking the OP to clarify. I don't think edits should be used to put "words into people's mouths", even if they are better words. $\endgroup$ – BioPhysicist Sep 12 at 13:40
  • $\begingroup$ Shouldn't the actual substance of the question be more valued than who is asking? If the user felt that the question was too different from what I've said, then maybe they could ask another question. $\endgroup$ – Buraian Sep 12 at 13:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Buraian That doesn't seem very fair. "Hey I know you asked this question, but I edited it to how I think it should be instead. You have to ask a new question now." You're essentially proposing highjacking someone else's question. $\endgroup$ – BioPhysicist Sep 12 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ Well, the whole reason for doing this was that they got their question closed. I can't argue that there is one single interpretation of a question, but I do think in my interpretation that, there is some true value for the question in the question statement itself. Now, I ask would it be alright if I just reposted the question in my understanding of it? $\endgroup$ – Buraian Sep 12 at 13:55
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    $\begingroup$ @Buraian You can post new questions if you would like. I was merely commenting on editing questions to be drastically different. You should still try to preserve the intent of the OP. Since, I would argue, that we don't really know what that is based on the little information we have been given, I don't see how that can even be possible. $\endgroup$ – BioPhysicist Sep 12 at 14:13
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It totally deserved to be closed. Indications are that the OP wanted something short and quick, possibly because of some deadline on a test or an exam. Moreover there is no way to answer this question using physics principles, so it is better suited to MathSE than PSE.

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In general:

Bottom line: I think that the substance of op's question is excellent even though the actual presentation of it is not so great.

Then edit the post to bring the presentation up to an acceptable level.

Bad presentation is absolutely a good reason to close questions. If you find a question that you care about which you think has a good substance but which has such a poor presentation that its closure is imminent, then the onus is on you to edit it to improve the presentation so that it is no longer close-worthy.

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I answered the question before it was closed (although I think Buraian’s excellent answer is better than mine) and I voted to reopen it after it was closed.

The reason given for closing was “off-topic”, but that is nonsense. The concept of a vector, the important distinction between a vector and its components relative to a given co-ordinate system, and the difference between a vector and a pseudo-vector are key in many areas of physics. To pick one example from many, understanding GR is impossible without being clear about these concepts.

I would (and will always try to) prioritise helping a poster with a genuine but poorly expressed question over obsessively maintaining absurd and arbitrary standards of perfect presentation and clarity. By closing this question we are throwing away a clear educational opportunity - and if we are happy to do that then one has to wonder why we are here at all.

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  • $\begingroup$ As I mentioned in my answer here, PSE policies are not intended to engage in types of questions that help in physics education. Of course one should help educate others; PSE is not the platform for this for all scenarios. Arguments for why a question should be open should site PSE policy, not subjective reasons. P.S. the question wasn't closed because it has no relevance to physics, but I think the actual close banner isn't visible to you. $\endgroup$ – BioPhysicist Sep 12 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ It seems to me that by the logic used here, people should be able to ask about concepts of multiplication and addition because both are very important concepts when understanding the underlying principles of physics. Obviously such a question would be off topic, because it itself isn't about physics but instead math. To me, this seems the exact same; but about vectors instead of addition or multiplication. OP doesn't really tie it into physics at all. $\endgroup$ – JMac Sep 12 at 14:29
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    $\begingroup$ @BioPhysicist PSE mission statement “With your help, we're working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about physics, astronomy and astrophysicsl.” Sounds like education to me. Close reason: “Closed. This question is off-topic.” So we have a reasonable question about physics that is deemed to be off-topic on PSE. Nonsense. QED. $\endgroup$ – gandalf61 Sep 12 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ @gandalf61 How is "Will the value of vector quantity change if the reference axis are changed?" a physics question? What about it goes beyond math? $\endgroup$ – JMac Sep 12 at 14:33
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    $\begingroup$ There are ample number of question on pse that are just purely mathematics/going to the mathematical side. I can post examples if you want. Understanding the math is crucial for getting the physics. $\endgroup$ – Buraian Sep 12 at 14:42
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    $\begingroup$ @Buraian If the question isn't actually giving any physics context, there's a good chance it should be closed. Please though, feel free to provide examples. $\endgroup$ – JMac Sep 12 at 15:11
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    $\begingroup$ physics.stackexchange.com/questions/155412/…, and see al the side linked posts physics.stackexchange.com/questions/572956/… etc $\endgroup$ – Buraian Sep 12 at 15:45
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    $\begingroup$ there is large number of questions on tensors in this site because people ask it because of gr $\endgroup$ – Buraian Sep 12 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ @gandalf61 If you can site specific site policy that says any question with educational value should not be closed then that's fine. Otherwise that view isn't supported and shouldn't be a basis for closure/reopening. Certainly not any question related to physics isn't allowed on PSE. There are conditions that must be met. Unless you think PSE should become a physics homework help site, for example? $\endgroup$ – BioPhysicist Sep 12 at 15:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Buraian IMO that first question probably could have a good case for closure, but given it's 6 years old and inactive, it might not be worth it to bother. That second question is clearly asking in the context of physics. It's actually talking about the math's relationship to velocity and distance. It directly incorporates the physics and the math, and asks about the relationship. This vector question doesn't make any clear tie to physics. It could be just as easily about a pure math scenario for all we know, not about anything physical. $\endgroup$ – JMac Sep 12 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ @BioPhysicist You make my point for me. You show an obsession with legalistic policy over common sense and a bureaucratic compulsion to enforce standards and conditions at the expense of helping people. Since we clearly have entirely different reasons for participating in this community there is no point in continuing this discussion. $\endgroup$ – gandalf61 Sep 12 at 16:15
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    $\begingroup$ @gandalf61 The way I see it, it's not really "obsession with legalistic policy"; but more a matter of fairness. The way this site operates, the rules are generally decided by a majority consensus on meta (within reason). If we're going to enforce rules, it's probably best that we do it based on the agreed consensus, instead of just deciding what policies each user likes best and acting based on that. To some extent, we need to follow our rules as they are, or change them, or else this site would be extremely inconsistent in how we treat questions. $\endgroup$ – JMac Sep 12 at 16:21
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    $\begingroup$ @gandalf61 PSE isn't here to help all people with all questions. I myself also engage in tutoring and teaching elsewhere. There is a place and time for everything. I wouldn't walk into a physics homework help session and expect the tutor to help me with my calculus homework just because they could. I participate in the site to help answer questions, but that goal is hindered if policies are applied inconsistently as then users don't know what to expect and what can actually be asked. I don't follow policies for the sake of following policies; there are good reasons for why they exist. $\endgroup$ – BioPhysicist Sep 12 at 16:36
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    $\begingroup$ Of course, for people who aren't as familiar with the site, its policies, and the reason behind those policies, I can see how they would think it's just a bunch of legalism. I've encountered accusations like yours before, and I'm sure it won't be the last time. If you think the current site policies are poor and should be changed (or just completely abandoned, as it seems like you are suggesting) then you should start a new meta post discussing what you dislike and what you think needs to change. $\endgroup$ – BioPhysicist Sep 12 at 16:42

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