Yesterday I asked this question following the thought that an inner structure of spacetime can be embraced in a structure function $s(x)$, to allow for a field theory with macroscopically curved background that is also microscopically nontrivial.

This is a problematic question because the concept "inner structure" of spacetime was not well-defined by me; I don't have this concept more than at the level of an image or intuition. Also the field theory I was referring to is not explicated: I didn't give an expression for $\mathscr{L}$, because interested only on $s$.

I still want to ask this question, because I desire to know about the subject of spacetime topology (maybe is a more correct term), so how can it be asked, considering the intrinsic ignorance of who's asking? How can it be made more clear or detailed?

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    $\begingroup$ One thing to do might be to hit up the h-bar chat room and see if one of the folks who answers questions in that area is around to chat with to clarify concepts? $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 14:06

2 Answers 2


If the true purpose of the question is that you want to learn about some subject, then that's what you should ask for. Use the [resource-recommendations] tag together with a description of your background, the reason you are interested in this subject, and maybe what kind of material you're interested in (books, articles, popular explanations, etc.). Your personal thoughts can be included for context, but they shouldn't be the focus of the question (since by your own admission, this is a subject you don't know much about).

Broad questions such as "I want to learn about spacetime topology" tend to not be a good fit for this site, because they would require very long answers. Book-long answers, in fact, which is why we have resource recommendation questions, so that people can direct you to a resource instead of trying to fit a book in the answer box.

  • $\begingroup$ I didn't ask about spacetime topology, that is the subject about I would like to know the state of the art research, since I knew it was problematic: I think I asked in the past and the question was closed. Here I tried with a specific example, a pretext that may trigger a discussion, explaining the little I could since I don't know about the subject, but was not well-accepted neither. In conclusion I found very problematic to ask about this and similar subjects, and maybe I won't never do it again, since it is too difficult and the response is not an happy one. Thanks for the tag suggestion. $\endgroup$
    – Rob Tan
    Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 10:00
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    $\begingroup$ @RobTan I'm not sure I understand your comment - you said "I still want to ask this question, because I desire to know about the subject of spacetime topology", so my advice is to ask directly about spacetime topology. Questions involving personal theories and the like are usually discouraged; not because we're all old farts who refuse to listen to anything outside of the mainstream, but because they tend to be hard to understand and the answer is "you should learn the standard theory before proposing your own version". $\endgroup$
    – Javier
    Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ It didn't want to be a personal theory, just a pretext to discuss the subject: that approach particularly yes, just to know if it existed, pure curiosity, but I was very very happy if something totally different, standard theory if you want, was cited. I thank you for your advice and maybe in the future I will just try asking about spacetime topology, hoping that won't be any issues like here. Thanks again. $\endgroup$
    – Rob Tan
    Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 13:55

I tried similar things, but they didn't work. I found that Stack Exchange is the wrong place for such discussions.

Stack Exchange is for software programmers. They want short answers to specific, well defined questions. If they don't like you, they delete your post or downvote you. I will be surprised if this answer goes through.

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    $\begingroup$ All SEs are for Q&A and are not intended for discussions. Discussions can be held in chat rooms. Physics SE is used by people, including professional physicists, with an interest in physics. The format does not allow for long answers to poorly defined questions. It is part of the site design that downvoting poorly defined questions is the correct behavior, particularly if users don't respond to clarification requests. Post are not deleted because people don't like other people - there are actually automated site safeguards to monitor for such behavior and punish it. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 0:55
  • $\begingroup$ You may be right (grammatically), in this statement of yours: "Post(s) are not deleted because people don't like other people". Indeed you don't delete posts because you don't like other people, you delete posts because you don't like those posts. Not the person who posted them. This is like "You are fired, but don't take it personally!" You state: "actually automated site safeguards". Really ??. It's not you people behind the walls who delete unwanted posts but you have an "automated" computer program which does that. How smart! $\endgroup$
    – Arpi Sz
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 6:32
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    $\begingroup$ Automated site safeguards monitor for personal attacks and I don't know the details of how they work (only the site administrators do, i.e. specific SE staff) but I have seen them in action when I've been personally attacked myself by someone with a grudge downvoted a load of my posts. As for "you people behind the walls" note that site moderators are elected by the general membership and that most of the up- or down-voting and deletion is done is by the general membership. Moderators don't generally take unilateral action. I'm just an ordinary member, not a moderator, BTW. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 10:22
  • $\begingroup$ "They want short answers" - This is not in general true of SE sites. For example, there's such a thing as good subjective questions, as opposed to bad subjective questions; part of the difference is the former tend to have long answers (see guideline 2 here). $\endgroup$
    – J.G.
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 19:35

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