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This post is the second post of a series; the first can be found here and the post that inspired this series of questions can be found here.

How much freedom are we willing to grant users in deviating from the goals of this site?

From the last post, the goals of this site are (by popular vote):

...[this] site should be "for active researchers, academics and students of physics and astronomy", and that we should encourage posters to think of the site as a tool for jump starting their thinking and not one for getting their work done for them.

With this in mind, some points to think about:

  • How much leeway should we give in allowing users to ask more basic questions?
  • How much leeway should we give in allowing users to ask about more practical applications of physics, such as experiment design?
  • How much leeway should we give in allowing questions that could be on chemistry.SE, on biology.SE, on astronomy.SE?
  • How much leeway should we give in allowing questions that are less conceptual?

Once the community has reached consensus, as before, an answer will be accepted.

Note: There will be one more foundational question after this one, and then we will return to the discussion of close votes.

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    $\begingroup$ Question that "could be" on another site may still be unequivocally on-topic here. There are wide bands of overlap between the many science—problems that are worked on by scientists whose degrees say different things—and as long as they are physics it simply doesn't matter if they are also chemistry or biology or astronomy. That's not a matter of "leeway" it's simply a matter of being on-topic. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Nov 12 '16 at 1:30
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    $\begingroup$ Gee, I seem to have left my leewayometer at home, could I borrow yours? (Or, more seriously: how do you even begin to quantify "leeway"?) $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Nov 12 '16 at 17:26
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    $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty Possibly with examples and explanations that show how it deviates from the goals and why the example is acceptable. I don't really know how to quantify it, but perhaps we can qualify it (so that future generations can squabble over our meaning and ultimately end up back in this very situation #CircleOfLife) $\endgroup$ – Jim Nov 14 '16 at 14:22
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    $\begingroup$ @dmckee This all circles back around to deciding what constitutes being on topic, so if you start to see some patterns or points which lend themselves to determining if something is on-topic, just remember that this is by design. The hope was to take the long road to naturally evolve everyone to a state where we'd agree on the closing policy. And since the end goal of this progression of questions is to ease people into the spirit of the close-policy holiday, you should expect that as we answer more questions, it's going to start looking an awful lot like Christmas. $\endgroup$ – Jim Nov 14 '16 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Jim "The hope was to take the long road to naturally evolve everyone to a state where we'd agree on the closing policy." That process started during the beta for the site and has been going on ever since. I appreciate the idea of a unified resource for the results, but I think the lack of activity on this post suggests that there just isn't a critical mass of users who are ready to put in that much effort. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Nov 14 '16 at 18:44
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    $\begingroup$ @dmckee and if it doesn't work, I made a suggestion and it was tried. I'd say that's all I could ask for. $\endgroup$ – Jim Nov 14 '16 at 19:08
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    $\begingroup$ I question the premise that my freedom here is anyone's to grant (which, given my libertarianish leanings, should not be surprising) $\endgroup$ – Alfred Centauri Nov 17 '16 at 22:47

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