Let's ignore all the other things that I find wrong with this question for the moment:

Is there a tool online that lets me convert acceleration-time graphs into velocity-time and position-time graphs?

I was surprised to see the appear on it, given that it's more of a software recommendation rather than a book or paper. All of the meta talk I recall and even the tag wiki and banner seem to imply the tag is intended for written resources and not for software.

Are things like this the intended use for this tag? Should software recommendation questions include the ?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is this meta post only about whether this specific question should be closed/remain open? Or is it meant as a general discussion on what constitutes resource recommendations? Resource recommendations are not just books. It also includes e.g. electronic files, videos, websites, data files, software, etc. $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic Oct 29 '16 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Qmechanic General question about whether resource-recommendation applies to software. I was under the (perhaps mistaken) impression that it was for things that did not cover software recommendations. Books, papers, written material, datasets -- those are all things I would have expected. But not software. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Oct 29 '16 at 19:52
  • $\begingroup$ Is it a problem? For a practical standpoint, it is easiest to treat all kinds of recommendations in a unified manner. $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic Oct 29 '16 at 20:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Qmechanic Well, my last recollection was that all software recommendation questions are off-topic, so including them under the tag would be a broader scope than we had intended before. I can't remember what the last question on it was, but this one is what I remember: meta.physics.stackexchange.com/q/3980 $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Oct 29 '16 at 20:44
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, sure but that's a matter of the community to close off-topic questions. That's independent of which tags are used. Since the community seems split on whether software questions are allowed or not, I will usually not close them single-handedly. $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic Oct 29 '16 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Qmechanic But if a question is off-topic, how can a tag cover it? Just like we got rid of engineering because the question isn't on-topic, does it make sense to tag software questions as resource-recommendation? If somebody came on asking about what camera or telescope to buy, we would tag that resource-recommendation until it got closed? I don't think it should have been tagged that way because it isn't something the tag was designed to cover -- unless I am mistaken in the intention of the tag, which is possible. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Oct 29 '16 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ And "who cares?" is, I suppose, an acceptable answer to this question. I only want to make sure I understand what the tag is meant to be used for to ensure consistency in use. If software questions should be tagged that way, I'll make sure to tag it like that when I see them in the future. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Oct 29 '16 at 20:57

The tag was originally "my" project, so I'm probably best placed to speak about the original intent of the tag.

We have to consider the history of the tag. It started out as , and that tag was created with a very narrow purpose: to collect recommendations for textbooks treating a certain topic at a certain level. Basically, a question would be asked by someone looking to do the equivalent of taking a physics class, except that since they would be studying the material on their own or in a small group, they wouldn't have the benefit of a syllabus that tells them what books to use. The topic and level named in the question would act as the class specification, e.g. "introductory Newtonian mechanics" or "undergraduate statistical mechanics" or whatever.

Eventually we generalized the tag to because some people got hung up on the word "book" and thought that only literal printed books should be allowed in answers. That was not the intent. Anything that fills the same role as a textbook would be a valid answer, e.g. a technical blog or a video series (like Khan Academy). However, using "resource" instead of "book" was not intended to change the type of question that the tag would cover. It was still supposed to be for questions seeing recommendations of textbooks or textbook-like resources. The question you're asking about is certainly not of that type, and as far as I'm concerned it should not have the tag.


I) Speaking in general, the tag also covers journals and non-paper electronic materials, such as, e.g., video lectures, on-line resources, software, experimental data files, etc, cf. e.g. its tag wiki.

Moreover, from a practical point of view, why have different standards for books, software, etc? E.g. it seems they should all be CWs.

II) It seems relevant to acknowledge (see several meta discussions, e.g. here and links therein) that the Phys.SE community is split on whether resource-recommendations and/or software-recommendations should be allowed or not, since unmoderated, they often tend to turn into too broad, primarily opinion-based link-farms, or even duplicates. The consensus seems to be to allow a limited number of resource-recommendation question as CWs. It is up to the Phys.SE community to decide which to keep/close by reviewing and by policy making on meta.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .