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There has been a lot of discussion in the past in regard to this.

And a page Physics homework questions on Area51.

On that page you will find a suggestion, to change the name of the site to Physics Learners.

I think this is a very good idea to keep well understood and text book level physics separate from current research topics.

The precise details may arrived at through a discussion, however what you think of the general premise of the idea.

Edit 1: This is an example of the kind of questions that I definitely want to separate out.

Just an example, I hope it will help making my point.

Please note technically this is not a homework question.

Which is not to say this is a bad question, I am sure everyone has asked that at some point in their life. But really is a distraction to a research community.

Edit2: If we make a new site, question such as this one would have receive ample attention, as it would stay on the main page for much longer and so on, it would not be lost in a flood of questions of the former type.

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  • $\begingroup$ I now see that you've already gotten (somewhat negative) feedback on this proposal in the Area51 page. How is this discussion moving forwards? What are your conclusions so far? $\endgroup$ – innisfree May 29 '15 at 22:58
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    $\begingroup$ The feedback you've gotten looks unambiguous and emphatic. Why do we need to revisit this proposal? What's changed? $\endgroup$ – innisfree May 29 '15 at 22:59
  • $\begingroup$ I think a large portion of the main page question can be answered with a little effort. It is also my impression that the quality of research level question has fallen considerably(There are some very good questions even now). I think separation of the sites will help gaining a larger audience interested in research. $\endgroup$ – Prathyush May 30 '15 at 2:31
  • $\begingroup$ What is the question and how does it relate to Physics.SE? $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos May 30 '15 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ @KyleKanos Explain yourself? $\endgroup$ – Prathyush May 30 '15 at 20:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Prathyush: So your proposal is like physics overflow but in the other way around? $\endgroup$ – Gonenc May 30 '15 at 22:01
  • $\begingroup$ @gonenc In a sense you can say that, On the meta of physics overflow where I participate on occasion, there is a discussion about starting a new site physicsoverflow.org/17130/… as a beginners complement. The point I am making in this discussion is it is really important to give researchers space to discuss, without being bothered by things they learn when they were in high school. – $\endgroup$ – Prathyush May 31 '15 at 0:04
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    $\begingroup$ Isn't it what physics overflow does? $\endgroup$ – Gonenc May 31 '15 at 7:31
  • $\begingroup$ As far as I remember, there was a "Physics Underflow" proposal on Area51 some months back. $\endgroup$ – 299792458 May 31 '15 at 16:03
  • $\begingroup$ @gonenc If you are suggesting that that all or most researchers leave this site and go to physics overflow? Either that or you make room for research here. Thedarkside: Yes it has not gathered momentum as of yet. I don't know when it will start. You will find the link in my previous comment. $\endgroup$ – Prathyush Jun 1 '15 at 4:49
  • $\begingroup$ No I mean there is Already a site for researchers for them to discuss high level physics. What I understand from your proposal is that you want to create one more step of how advance one can discuss physics in a particular site. $\endgroup$ – Gonenc Jun 1 '15 at 7:39
  • $\begingroup$ @prath: there is no question here, it is a statement about an area51 site, not the physics site. So I just want to know what is your question here? $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Jun 2 '15 at 1:35
  • $\begingroup$ @KyleKanos The Issue concerns the members in the site, therefore I opened it for discussion here. $\endgroup$ – Prathyush Jun 2 '15 at 3:47
  • $\begingroup$ @gonenc There are researchers here even now and my proposal to help them find a reasonable place for discussion. It will be possible if we can separate out the well understood physics from the research oriented physics. $\endgroup$ – Prathyush Jun 2 '15 at 5:20
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not in any way fan of physics overflow but here is a quote from their FAQ. "Physics Stack Exchange is a general physics Q&A library for physics at all levels, while PhysicsOverflow is an academic platform for open peer review and a postgraduate-level discussion forum". $\endgroup$ – Gonenc Jun 2 '15 at 6:52
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I have two objections, one practical and one more subjective.

From a practical point of view, I think low-level questions would receive less attention under your proposal. I think I probably quite often answer questions that you would filter to Physics Learners. If high- and low-level questions were separated, I doubt I'd ever look at Physics Learners or answer questions there.

Now I'm certainly not saying that my contributions are at all significant, but I suspect that a lot of people who might answer such questions might behave similarly to me, and ignore them if they are streamed into a separate site.

From a subjective point of view, I like the diversity of questions, users and backgrounds on Physics Stack Exchange - I think your proposal would damage the atmosphere and ethos behind the site. I enjoy a mixture of high- and low-level questions - even low-level questions can be quite stimulating, uncovering a new detail that I didn't know, or making me brush-up on something I once knew and have forgotten.

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    $\begingroup$ Well, the reason---as I understand it---for wanting that site is because here on Physics SE we insist that basic questions be framed in a way that is both difficult and awkward for students who just want help with their homework. But then I'm another person who wouldn't look at a site for that purpose: I do enough of that during office hours. $\endgroup$ – dmckee May 29 '15 at 22:35
  • $\begingroup$ regarding, I suspect that a lot of people who might answer such questions might behave similarly to me. If you are interested in both sites it would be your responsibility to check both of then, otherwise you would be missing out. This is will mostly benefit researchers, who want a dedicated site. I would probably spend more time of the parent site and occasionally check the othersite. That is best for me. $\endgroup$ – Prathyush May 30 '15 at 13:39
  • $\begingroup$ I'm telling you that I wouldn't be interested in both sites. $\endgroup$ – innisfree May 30 '15 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ @innisfree I understand that, And that would be your loss. $\endgroup$ – Prathyush May 30 '15 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ No it wouldn't be my loss - it would be a loss for PSE if people stopped answering questions/participating because questions were filtered to a Physics Learners site that they didn't want to look at. $\endgroup$ – innisfree May 30 '15 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ It is NOT a Filter please. It is a way to separate audience, the needs of a research community are very different from what this site provides. It is flooded with essentially simple questions, and the chances that a question that is non-trivial is lost is very highly probable. For instance this question would have received a lot of attention physics.stackexchange.com/questions/183575/… Had it been 2012 $\endgroup$ – Prathyush May 30 '15 at 21:55
  • $\begingroup$ If you really care about the questions on Physics learners then you should take the effort to click on the site once in a while. And calling these questions low level is pointless, they are good questions among well understood material also. If you are biased against the scope and potential of physics learners whose fault is that. I don't see any weight in your argument. $\endgroup$ – Prathyush May 30 '15 at 22:00
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    $\begingroup$ You've got your feedback. You're refusing to listen to it. Good luck. $\endgroup$ – innisfree May 30 '15 at 22:06
  • $\begingroup$ @innisfree I don't agree with it, it is rather different from not listening to it. In any case if this is all you have say thank you for your feedback. $\endgroup$ – Prathyush May 30 '15 at 22:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Prathyush Please avoid the rhetoric. "Had it been 2012" -- no, you don't know that, and as someone who was around on 2012 (and active in reviewing so I saw a lot of these higher level posts), I highly doubt the situation has changed much. I believe graphs were shown disproving the past claims of an uptick in homework too. Let's not get into that old argument again. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Jun 2 '15 at 5:58
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    $\begingroup$ @Manishearth Hey, can you write a simple code in the data explorer, just a code where I can choose a tag and it will show the monthly report something to this effect but with only 1 tag of my choice. data.stackexchange.com/physics/revision/320940/59734/… $\endgroup$ – Prathyush Jun 2 '15 at 6:42
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not in any way fan of physics overflow but here is a quote from their FAQ. "Physics Stack Exchange is a general physics Q&A library for physics at all levels, while PhysicsOverflow is an academic platform for open peer review and a postgraduate-level discussion forum". $\endgroup$ – Gonenc Jun 2 '15 at 6:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Prathyush Don't have the time now; but two caveats about the graph: Homework in the near past will be skewed up because closed HW questions get autodeleted later. Also there is seasonal variation in HW; so putting the two together it's got the same graph as QM. And the ratios of HW:topicofyourchoice seem to be steady, which was my point in the first place. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Jun 3 '15 at 7:51
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"I think this is a very good idea to keep well understood and text book level physics separate from current research topics."

I think that this is a horrible idea. Why keep them separate? We answer both. Our highest upvoted question is about cooling tea down.

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  • $\begingroup$ I for one don't find the question about tea cooling particularly interesting, It is a decent question, but nothing particularly conceptual or new comes out of that question. I would much rather keep these question out of my page when I am working on physics. $\endgroup$ – Prathyush May 30 '15 at 13:46

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