The question Are the following claims flaws in Relativity? was closed for not being mainstream physics, and it received a number of down votes.

Now, I haven't studied SR past brief coverings in my undergraduate and graduate classes, and I haven't really covered GR beyond knowing its conceptual underpinnings, so I could be missing something. But I can't see why this question was poorly received. It just looks like a question asking about the compatibility and validity of SR and GR. There are even well-received questions covering the various parts linked to by one of the close voters. If anything, I could see it being closed as lacking focus, but the two claims do seem to go together into a single post asking about how these theories work together.

So what am I missing here? Why is this a poor question, and why is it non-mainstream? Hopefully such a discussion will help me know how to interact with other SR/GR questions in the future.

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    $\begingroup$ So I am, the OP of the question, and ok, the question was off topic. Neverthless, my 'friend' was more of an internet troll, and had pretty outlandish ideas and peddled around his crackpot theories. And he is not my friend anymore. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 15:40
  • $\begingroup$ @KshitijKumar Thank you for the information. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 15:50
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    $\begingroup$ No problem. The troll attacked Einstein specifically with those challenges I mentioned, and soon attacked Evolution, Quantum mechanics, and other mainstream scientific theories, which became pretty red flags for me, and he soon devolved into nothing more of a crackpot. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 16:00

2 Answers 2


It's all about phrasing:

"How are accelerated frames treated in special relativity?" is a perfectly fine question.

"Special relativity cannot work with accelerated frames! Prove me (or "my friend") wrong!" is not. It presents a non-mainstream claim ("SR can't explain non-inertial motion") without any substantiation beyond "my friend told me". If someone wants to know how a specific thing works, they can just ask that, there is no need to ask us to debunk random claims with no substantiation about that thing.

From the viewpoint of the voters (at least in my interpretation, of course I cannot read other people's minds), the first is an honest question asked by someone interested in relativity. The latter is output typical of non-mainstream "physicists" who will reject any mainstream explanation anyway, so there's no point in bothering.

Relativity, both special and general, are a favourite target of non-mainstream "physicists", and therefore the reaction to such questions in these tags might be more hostile that you would expect e.g. in Newtonian mechanics. The amount of good faith people are willing to extend gets lower when there's a higher rate of that good faith being abused. One could make the argument this question isn't actually off-topic because it is "clear" the OP really just wants to understand relativity rather than evaluate the specific claims from their friend - but then again, OP could be bothered to actually phrase the question in those terms.

If saying "My friend told me X, is this true?" made a question on-topic, we'd just invite every non-mainstream "physicist" to suddenly get a bunch of friends repeating their inane theories back to them so they can ask about them here.

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    $\begingroup$ "If saying "My friend told me X, is this true?" made a question on-topic, we'd just invite every non-mainstream "physicist" to suddenly get a bunch of friends repeating their inane theories back to them so they can ask about them here." I completely agree with this. However, in this case it doesn't seem like the question is pushing a personal theory, and certainly just because a question includes "My friend told me this, is it true?" it doesn't mean that question is putting forth an outlandish theory. Shouldn't we be evaluating questions on their content and not by common key phrases? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 14:09
  • $\begingroup$ Also, hopefully you are not getting the impression that I am saying a question saying "My friend told me X, is this true?" should make it on-topic. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 14:10
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    $\begingroup$ @BioPhysicist I'm not sure we're looking at the same question. The question starts with "[...]supposedly his follwoing claims are proof that STR, and GTR are wrong" [emphasis mine]. If that's not "pushing a personal theory", namely that SR and GR are wrong and the claims that follow are correct, then I don't know what is. I agree with you that there is a good faith reading of this question where it isn't actually trying to get us to engage with the non-mainstream claims here, but that's what my second-to-last paragraph is about. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ (commented before your comment edit) It seems unfair to judge the OP like this because they used "incorrect" wording. I mean just scrolling down past the claims they say that they think the first one is false, and they are open to the possibility that they are misunderstanding the physics. This is a far cry from other questions that put forth "This is why Special Relativity is wrong!". They even have accepted a well-received answer. I just can't see how we can conclude that the OP is actively pushing for a personal theory here. They just stated their confusion and where it is coming from, IMO. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 14:28
  • $\begingroup$ Additionally, I didn't know close votes were supposed to be based on perceived intent of the asker. The OP seems confused about current physics theories, not "the general correctness of unpublished personal theories". $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 14:30
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    $\begingroup$ @BioPhysicist I see it exactly the other way around: My position here is the one that avoids ascribing intent to the asker - the fact of the matter is that the question includes non-mainstream claims and asks us to evaluate their correctness. This is precisely what the non-mainstream policy is supposed to prevent. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ Then I need help further understanding the policy... on the meta for non-mainstream physics, we have "a question that proposes a new concept or paradigm, but asks for evaluation of that concept within the framework of current (mainstream) physics is OK." Why does this particular question not fit into this? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ @BioPhysicist It doesn't "propose a new concept", it just makes some claims without anything to back them up or explain how they were arrived at. In my eyes, the bar for "proposing a new concept" is that you actually present a coherent argument for why what you're saying should be true. Also, saying "this part of mainstream physics is wrong" can't ever really be a "new concept". $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 14:46
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    $\begingroup$ Compare with: "Newton's laws cannot deal with acceleration, they just focus on inertial frames!" is (to me, at least) obviously not a "new concept", it's just nonsense. Now, it is the case that there are certain ways SR is often taught that could give you this impression about SR, but the question would need to at least explain how this nonsense has been arrived at starting from mainstream sources to escape the non-mainstream close reason. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 14:53
  • $\begingroup$ That makes a little more sense, thanks. I would attempt to edit the question myself to make it align better with site policies, but, as I mentioned in the main meta post here, it seems like doing so would then bump it into "needs more focus" territory, so I think I will just leave it as is. The OP seems to already have gotten the answer they wanted anyway. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 14:56
  • $\begingroup$ OP here, So ok, I had written a question too fast, and seemed ill worded. can I get clear summary of discussion, as to what i did as mistake, to not commit in future? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ @KshitijKumar please take your time to write questions. Writing good questions is hard and your question does feel rushed and (to repeat myself) poorly researched. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 16:21

I voted to close but I’m not sure it was for the “non- mainstream” reason (I actually don’t remember… it could have been).

I have multiple issue with this question.

First, as a variation of this post, there is a question of attribution, and I think I would have VTC for “more details”. If we want the site to be authoritative, then “my friend and I” rarely meets this standard.

Next, any post headlining “flaws” in a theory based on a discussion between two friends does not do good to the site. For this reason alone I could have VTC as non-mainstream.

Finally, the OP shows no attempt to research the claim and back it up by solid arguments. In fact it’s not that hard to debunk.

I think the question was rightly closed, lest we implicitly want to encourage people “shooting from the hip” and posting questions with provocative titles but minimal contents. If you want to ask about “flaws”, you should know your stuff first and ask later.

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    $\begingroup$ OP here, First of all, I researched most of what I could, but i came on stackexchange specifically, because I had many doubts and lacked a clear understanding. Other thing is, this answer is unfortunately sounding too offensive. And I necesarrily didn't want to attack any theory, but rather needed clear understanding on why those claims are wrong. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 16:05
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    $\begingroup$ For the record: All five closing votes were for the non-mainstream reason. (This is visible to moderators in the timeline, but I don't think it is for other users) $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 16:11
  • $\begingroup$ @ACuriousMind thanks for the clarification. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 16:13
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    $\begingroup$ @KshitijKumar with due respect it is difficult to believe that you researched all you could, but if you say so then you should back it up before suggesting that an established theory has “flaws”. You can still improve your question via edits so take the chance to do so, although there’s already an accepted answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 16:17
  • $\begingroup$ @ZeroTheHero Actually I was able to debunk the First claim, using wikipedia but still was bit unsatisified. Moreover, the wikipedia included heavy mathematics which I can't comprehend easily. So I came on stakcexchange for a more comprehensive and less mathematical answer. My question was ill worded, which shifted the tone of question, which is my fault that I accept. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 16:23
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    $\begingroup$ @KshitijKumar with due respect: if you do not understand something, please do not claim or suggest it is flawed. Your question can be improved by careful rewording (which you should always do). $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ @ZeroTheHero with due respect; I have edited my question to best of my abilities and should be considered for reopening. thank you. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 16:51
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    $\begingroup$ It has already collected 3 votes to re-open. Best of luck! $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 17:38

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