I just found and answered this question on why some particles are defined with square roots in their expressions. It has a bunch of downvotes, but the comments doesn't seem to clarify the reason for this. Also, there doesn't seem to be any close votes at the moment I'm posting this question.

After showing the question to friends, I noticed people without a background in particle physics might not be familiar with the notation and hence the question might seem quite unclear. Is this what is going on?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You don’t need to be quite acquainted with quantum mechanics to understand the $\sqrt{2}$ factor: elementary notions of quantum mechanics should do this. $\endgroup$ Dec 31 '21 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ @ZeroTheHero I agree. My comment on the question saying "quite acquainted with QM" was because there was another comment saying "it is a common choice of normalization in QFT". While the factor itself is elementary QM, the term "QFT" might not be familiar (and I wanted to avoid mentioning it explicitly in that comment) $\endgroup$ Dec 31 '21 at 17:49

I didn't vote on the question either way, but I'm not surprised it is being downvoted:

  1. I'd wager people who understand the question and know the answer expect anyone who cares about the technical notation for particle states and the $\sqrt{2}$ to understand how quantum mechanics and normalization works in the first place, i.e. the question jumps in "at the deep end" when it shouldn't and that's what it's being downvoted for.

  2. In contrast, people who don't know the answer can't really tell what it's about because it just throws a Greek letter and some fraction with a square root in it at them. There's no link, no context given by the asker except the vague reference to "particle compositions". While I don't think anyone should downvote questions just because they don't understand the subfield being asked about, there is a clear lack of effort on the asker's part here to make the question approachable.

Note that the lack of close votes just reflects that people agree this is indeed a question about physics that is sufficiently clear to people with expertise in the subject. The downvotes reflect their opinion that it's not a particularly good or useful such question.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ That does make a lot sense. I guess I wasn't used to thinking of downvotes as also a way of marking whether a question is useful (despite it being written on the hover text lol), but under this interpretation I can understand much better $\endgroup$ Dec 31 '21 at 17:52

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .