As a completely self studying student, with no friendly post grads around when you need one, I wonder is a question of the format outlined below acceptable here:

An example of what I mean is: I currently understand say, the basic role of the Lagrangian in QFT and the math behind it. From there I would like to ultimately understand how to get to the math description of the weak force gauge bosons, going through group theory or whatever areas of mathematical knowledge, are needed along the way.

Please note I would not expect the answer to contain even one line of mathjax, as learning the math involved is obviously entirely up to me.

Instead, I would define my starting point, and state what exactly my destination is, and ask for a schematic of the intermediate steps involved. In 99 percent of the text books I own, there no "block diagram" of how concept A is used, through concept B, C.., to the end point. If you are lucky, the summary at the end might describe the process but this is rare.

Please don't misunderstood my motivation, I am not trying to avoid the sheer necessity of the application needed by all students to fully understand a concept, as I would not be studying physics if I did not enjoy it.

I just wonder, as this site is intended mainly for full time students in regular education courses, is a question using this schematic approach (with well defined start and end points, involving a small area of physics) suitable for this site, especially when studying alone?

EDIT I may have inadvertently rewritten this question, which I just spotted: Knowing X, how do I get to Y and if so, my apologies, if the above is a duplicate END EDIT

  • $\begingroup$ Not showing math is no more a virtue in a post here than showing math is. Each has it's place. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 15:15

1 Answer 1


If I understand correctly, you'd be asking for a visual outline of the concepts you'd need to study to get from what you now understand (e.g. QFT Lagrangians), to what you want to understand (e.g. weak force), showing the connections between those concepts.

We don't have an explicit rule about this, as far as I know, but I suspect people would consider it off topic. This is how we've treated other questions about educational prerequisites that have come up in the past. But you can certainly post the question and see what happens.

Another reason to frown on this sort of question is that questions and answers should be searchable. Text is searchable; images are not. So a question that absolutely needs to be answered with an image is not really well suited for this site. That's not a major issue, though, because an equivalent answer that presents an image and describes its contents in text would be just fine.

I'd also point out one thing:

I just wonder, as this site is intended mainly for full time students in regular education courses

Actually that's not quite true. The site is intended for researchers and students. It's just that there are a lot more students than researchers.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks David, I have a feeling it depends on the particular user who sees it, some may like it, some may not and also how specific I can be to one definite defined topic. No visual images intended, btw, completely text based, but I think it's probably going to be judged off topic, ah well. $\endgroup$
    – user81619
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 14:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @count_to_10 I'm actually a big fan of images, as long as they are not essential for understanding the post. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 15:10

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