I've recently seen the following (actually very long and well accepted) question on MathOverflow. Examples of common false beliefs in mathematics. Which I think is a great "question" and one can learn a lot from such a post, because the thing about "common false beliefs" is that they are common.

I searched Physics.SE for such a post and of course didn't find one. Then I thought "okay maybe I could start such a post", recognizing that the "big-list" tag description explicitly says not to ask such questions.

So why do we ban questions like the one on MathOverflow cited above?

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ 1. See physics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/4561/50583 for discussion on list questions. 2. Physics.SE has, in fact, exactly the post you're looking for, posted in '10 when policies weren't as firm as they are today - it's just closed and locked because such questions are off-topic here. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Feb 6, 2022 at 18:07
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ One recent discussion here, and links within. I invite you to consider whether the 278 current answers on the linked MathOverflow question are actually useful. If you wanted to add your own answer to that question, would you be able to search and see whether your answer duplicates one that’s already there? If so, how many duplicate answers does that list question have? $\endgroup$
    – rob Mod
    Feb 6, 2022 at 18:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think, they should be allowed on some way. The strict regulations of the SO serve the purpose of prevent the terrible flood of VLQ content on most software development sites. The analogous PSE regulation was borrowed from them, but this danger is much lesser in physics. $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Feb 14, 2022 at 12:55
  • $\begingroup$ I think you need to spend some time reading Quora's Physics questions to realize just how bad it can get @peterh. Like the rules can be harsh here, I've had questions rejected and been yelled at before (for my thought experiment about what would happen with an instant gravity change if a hypothetical teleporter existed. I think the teleporter part rubbed people the wrong way. Fair enough). but that occasionally humbling strictness is a LOT better then the demented nonsense you see in some places. Lots of "I made a website that disproves einstein!" nonsense. $\endgroup$
    – Shayne
    Feb 19, 2022 at 15:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Shayne I boycott quora. They want registration to access the content. So I do not register and either read them by some browser plugin, or I do not read them. Teleporter things are mostly offtopic as non-mainstream. "I made a website disproving Einstein" would be killed here both as non-mainstream and as self-promotion. But a "Good introductive books into GR" would be imho good content here. $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Feb 19, 2022 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah I was actually a moderator of their Physics space and my god it was an uphill battle knocking off the giberish questions and answers. And by the time we had built it into probably the biggest physics forum on the net, (2mil members), Quora hijacked the whole thing and turned it into "Science space", so I resigned in protest. Honestly I've felt a lot saner ever since. $\endgroup$
    – Shayne
    Feb 21, 2022 at 7:33
  • $\begingroup$ That said, I still have a soft spot for the nutbag that kept posting his theory that whats ACTUALLY holding galaxies together isn't dark matter , but jesus. He was at least amusing. $\endgroup$
    – Shayne
    Feb 21, 2022 at 7:35


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .