Yesterday, I asked a question about capacitors. It was closed under the "homework-and-exercises" tag and my submit-to-review appeal was rejected. I'm not coming here to complain, I'm just genuinely curious what the actual issue is.

See, I am used to the culture of close votes over on MSE (Mathematics Stack Exchange site) where I spend a lot of time. I cast a fair few close votes myself. But I claim:

  • My question had as much of my own thoughts and efforts as possible, given my confusion
  • Was about as concise as it could have been, to cover all those thoughts and what the issue is
  • Contained more detail than is common in "good" questions
  • Is certainly not an actual homework question, in my edit I made it clearer that I'm focused on the concepts that would help me figure out the electromotive force in an unfamiliar situation

On MSE this would tick all the necessary boxes. Indeed, questions with less effort or detail would and do still pass for good questions, with no close-vote issues. So, the 'etiquette' over at physics SE must be different. Maybe you're flooded with more homework question problems than we are on MSE, so that the rules are stricter (or the fear that something is just a homework problem is higher), or maybe it's something else.

At any rate, I do have some interest in physics and I'd probably like to keep posting here from time to time. But I can't do that if I'm met with this baffling difference in the 'etiquette'. Could someone please explain this difference?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Have you read the meta posts on homework-like and check-my-work questions linked in the closing notice of your post? You are correct: physics.SE is different from math.SE with respect to such questions, but I'm not sure what sort of explanation you're looking for here except that this is, in fact, a difference between the two sites. Please also note that questions closed as off-topic are not necessarily bad questions - they are just off-topic here, that doesn't mean there wasn't any effort put into them or that they're "bad" in some more general sense. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Mar 25 at 21:26
  • $\begingroup$ @ACuriousMind "The only kind of "check my work" I think we should allow is the one where a derivation is presented, leading to a wrong result, and the question is "It seems as if step X is wrong? But it should be right because of Y, so why is this not the case?"" My question uses a false derivation, indeed two false derivations, that both had physical motivation. I wanted to know why they were wrong, this seems to broadly match with your message. Knowing why they are wrong is a matter of getting physical concepts correct (I lack a proper and general understanding of potential difference) $\endgroup$
    – FShrike
    Mar 25 at 21:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Your post is extremely confusing, and something like “how exactly do you figure out the rate” makes it definitely look like an assignment problem. If you can clarify and edit your question so the conceptual aspect is clear, then it should be reopened. $\endgroup$ Mar 26 at 1:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Let me clarify even more. There is no apparent connection between the title and the body of the question. In the body you talk of attraction and counter action…. I mean: this needs serious editing if you expect people to read it, make sense of it, and answer it in a meaningful way. $\endgroup$ Mar 26 at 1:47
  • $\begingroup$ @ZeroTheHero I talk about attraction and about counteraction because I am not sure which one "to go for", there seem to be multiple effects at play and I didn't know how to balance them. If there is confusion, that's because I'm confused at that point. My post begins with an example computation from an easier situation, which I try to mimic and so that the reader knows what I'm working towards. Then I explain why I'm confused, giving two possible resolutions. I show that both of them fail. End of post. I really don't see what is extremely confusing $\endgroup$
    – FShrike
    Mar 26 at 8:27
  • $\begingroup$ The title is currently: "How do you determine the electromotive force when the negative plate of the capacitor is connected to the positive terminal?" and the point of confusion that the question focuses on is about literally that: not being sure what the net emf should be. The "rate" is the same thing, up to a constant $R$, as the emf, but I've reworded the closing sentence now. $\endgroup$
    – FShrike
    Mar 26 at 8:32


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .