Questions tagged [best-practices]

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What to do about old unanswered questions? [duplicate]

I am relatively new to SE and I am wondering what is the best thing to do when I ask a question that remains unanswered (not even through comments) for a long time? Is it allowed to re-ask the same ...
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1 vote
1 answer
79 views

Do you have to be responsive to comments on your question to get good answers?

Do you have to keep looking at the site to look at the comments and respond to them?
7 votes
1 answer
95 views

Cite documents rather than linking only

We should tell people to cite from documentation when they use link. I always look at old posts to learn something new, but some answerers give some link, but they are dead now (e.g., this). His first ...
12 votes
1 answer
270 views

What to do when duplicate targets disagree?

There are several questions on Physics S.E. which have been marked as duplicate targets, yet their answers disagree with another. Two such examples would be Is energy conserved in an expanding ...
0 votes
1 answer
67 views

Once a question has retained one net upvote, is it undesirable for each answerer to upvote it?

I've been in the habit of upvoting each question I'm answering, but it has recently occurred to me that this may be counter-productive in a collective enterprise such as PSE, since whoever posted the ...
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5 votes
4 answers
340 views

Helping out in comments, when the question is too weak

I encounter quite often questions that are based on poor research, misunderstanding basic definitions, and likewise. In my opinion such questions should be closed rather than answered. Nevertheless, ...
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2 votes
0 answers
102 views

Do we have a policy or guidance for questions with no one right answer?

This question does not seem to have a single correct answer posted. Which of the following are true: Assume that there will never be one right answer posted (i.e. because there is not in principle a ...
  • 23.5k
4 votes
0 answers
99 views

What should I flag as duplicate? New question or old question?

Someone asked this question: Why linear displacement is length of the arc? which is similar to this question: Confused about linear displacement in circular motion. The second question has been ...
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11 votes
3 answers
308 views

When I post a self-answer, is it expected that in the question I should pretend I don't know the answer?

Stack Exchange explicitly encourages writing a self-answer, when appropriate. Derek Muller posted a video about a wind-powered vehicle that can go downwind faster than that downwind itself. (The ...
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7 votes
2 answers
159 views

Should I refrain from marking a question as a duplicate of my question or of a question that I answered?

Clearly, marking a question as a duplicate of either my own question or of a question that I answered is not against the rules. But, there seems to be a conflict of interest in the context of the &...
15 votes
1 answer
316 views

Is it okay to edit your answer to make it better after seeing some point that is addressed in another answer or is this bad etiquette/stealing?

Let's say i have written an answer to a question. I feel like i have done a good job of answering it and covered all the points that needed to be covered. Now, if i see some another answer that i feel ...
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2 votes
2 answers
116 views

How much editing of a question is acceptable? (e.g. Chicken Question)

In regard to the chicken question meta post one of the answers included this paragraph: This opinion is based purely on the actual question, and ignores the silly story. Surely the silly story can be ...
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-7 votes
1 answer
106 views

Is it okay to edit a question (on the main site) to downvote it after you initially upvoted it?

On the PSE main site (so not on this site), I normally never downvote a question or answer, but sometimes you change your thought about this (after upvoting). Is it okay to edit (when I wanted to ...
7 votes
3 answers
127 views

Languages of references

I understand that Physics Stack Exchange "is an English language site", but I'm wondering whether it's acceptable to provide a generic reference (such as a link) to a source, written in a ...
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0 votes
3 answers
338 views

Language that can be perceived as sexist

I consider the phrase “you guys” to be sexist and unwelcoming (even though I am well-aware that many people don’t). I don’t think I’m alone in thinking this. After a back-and-forth in comments with ...
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2 votes
1 answer
81 views

What are the principles for editing another person's question?

If I wish to edit a question to improve its quality, what are the general guidelines to keep in mind? Sometimes I feel I deviate from the OP's original style when I use formatting. So, what all ...
3 votes
2 answers
196 views

Do we need to delete informative, off-topic comments under old questions?

When I read old posts, I come across some informative comments below the questions which are off-topic, i.e., not aimed at asking for clarification, but they do add some value. I have noticed such ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
129 views

Why isn't it the norm to put a "TL;DR" one-line answer at the top of an answer?

It's worth to mention that I'm still a newbie on Physics SE and SE in general, but during this year or so I found that different sites have different "standard" ways of answering (and there'...
7 votes
2 answers
250 views

Should comments trying to answer a question be deleted?

Note: I do in no way want to say that the current moderators somehow do a "bad job" at moderating Physics SE. I think that they do a great work at, well, moderating this network and my full ...
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3 votes
1 answer
198 views

Answering question with multiple parts?

Suppose a user post a question with multiple parts.I know it's not recommended but suppose he does. Ex: A question with multiple parts I know it's a closed question but it's enough to illustrate my ...
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9 votes
2 answers
243 views

Is mass editing of old posts encouraged?

There are badges awarded ("excavator" and "archaeologist") for editing old posts; it is clear that encouraging this can improve the site by ensuring that as many posts as possible ...
  • 3,286
12 votes
2 answers
339 views

Can I correct grammar in questions/answers even if the message is clear?

I am talking about stuff like principle/principal, its/it's, your/you're, effect/affect. Can I correct these things even though the meaning of the question/answer is clear? Would it come across as ...
  • 23.7k
1 vote
1 answer
104 views

Acceptability of soliciting comments from participants familiar with a major but untagged theory in PSE

Shortly after a very mild online altercation with an extremely high-reputation user who had overlooked the fact that Einstein-Cartan theory (ECT) requires (as I was obligated to point out, vis-a-vis ...
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3 votes
2 answers
175 views

What should be done about a user asking the same question 5 times in two days?

A user has asked five almost identical questions about a misunderstanding of rope tension during the past two days. They are receiving similar answers, but don't agree with or accept any of them. ...
  • 1,781
2 votes
2 answers
104 views

Flagging vandalism

If I see a post which is vandalism (like this one, only visible to 10k users -- consisting of random characters), what am I supposed to flag it as? (Concretely, I remember both "spam" and "rude or ...
3 votes
1 answer
67 views

Completely changing a question vs asking a new question [duplicate]

When a OP has one of their questions closed one of the main desirable outcomes is for the OP to edit the question to address the issues that led to the closure. However, where should we draw the line ...
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16 votes
2 answers
508 views

Can we do better at reducing bike-shedding?

"Bike-shedding" is a phenomenon where there is excessive discussion of a topic because it seems easy, so everyone feels that they are competent to discuss it. We seem to have a couple of recent ...
user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
78 views

Can I present an answer in the form of a leading question? [duplicate]

Like "Jeopardy" presents answers in the form of questions can I post a physics question and post my own answer to it? The presentation I want to make is a new type of math method to calculate and ...
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4 votes
1 answer
72 views

Should we flag all comments that are no longer needed?

Parent question: Erasing comments for questionable reasons I am trying to get a general policy. My initial concern was about comments to answers that asked for details and/or corrections, and were ...
  • 3,189
2 votes
2 answers
157 views

Question unilaterally closed by a moderator without any chance of editing

I had recently asked the following question: Uniform discrete physical theories (now closed and auto-deleted as RemoveAbandonedClosed; screenshot). And the question was closed without any comments ...
  • 239
13 votes
1 answer
471 views

What is the policy for linking? E.g.: Why should we link to abstract pages rather than pdf files? How do we cite arXiv preprints?

As a comment to one of my contributions, I received the comment: In the future please link to abstract pages rather than pdf files. Fine. I am happy to follow up on this suggestion. Can anybody ...
7 votes
2 answers
308 views

Cases in which self-edits are an unethical mean to generate attention

I made 6 minor edits to my latest answers. The last edit (addition of a link to a lecture on the topic) I did 2 days after I gave the answer. I noticed that the question received a lot of new ...
user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
97 views

Referring people with SR-questions to test-bodies in the Schwarzschild solution? [closed]

I guess mostly because of how relativity is taught in schools, with a strong focus on exercises in special relativity where gravity is totally ignored and then maybe a little bit of info on general ...
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1 vote
1 answer
91 views

Ask to have questionable activity reviewed

I have seen some similar questions answered by a certain same person. And when I post my answer, it immediately get voted down by that person before even enough time for them to see it. They may be ...
  • 1,609
6 votes
2 answers
162 views

How to respond to an answer to a clearly duplicate question?

I have often noticed that even when a question is an obvious duplicate and it has been pointed out in the comments, some of us are posting answers to such questions without clarifying as to why they ...
13 votes
3 answers
452 views

Should a rude comment be deleted if the addressed user doesn't mind?

On the linked post, a comment was made addressing me with words that might be considered mildly rude by some. I had absolutely no issues with the comment (and thus, I didn't flag it). And yet, the ...
9 votes
3 answers
411 views

Cascade of mostly trivial edits by a user

Example today . Many times I cannot see any real changes between the left and right side, but it might be my browser or his/her browser. Are people increasing their reputation by corrections? It ...
  • 228k
1 vote
1 answer
54 views

Dealing with edited questions/answers

While it's not something usual, I've noticed that sometimes people edit my question or answer with a more complex notation or incorrect information/formulas. While I don't think this is done with ...
  • 1,062
9 votes
4 answers
299 views

Should I not edit my old questions on a spree?

I recently visited a couple of old questions that I had posted and there were a lot of edits (mainly grammatical but not all) that I wanted to make. I edited a couple of them and went back to the ...
3 votes
1 answer
126 views

Should I prefer the most up-voted answer or the accepted answer?

I came across this question, where the accepted answer had a score of $-7$, but there was also an answer with a score of $31$. As a student who has absolutely no idea about quantum mechanics, or the"...
  • 550
5 votes
2 answers
228 views

Should One Downvote a Question While Voting to Close It?

The title pretty much conveys what I want to ask but I would elaborate a bit. If a question is appropriate to be closed due to either of the listed reasons for a question to be closed, should one also ...
-7 votes
3 answers
173 views

A "Requires Expertise" Notice?

The Problem I was going to write a question here asking what the appropriate response is to incorrect upvoted answers, but I realized that I'm far from the first person to ask this, e.g. How should ...
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10 votes
1 answer
563 views

Straight $\mathrm{d}$ or italic $d$ for differentials?

I have had comments on my questions and answers questioning my use of $$ \int \mathrm{d}r \qquad \text{or} \qquad \int dr.$$ I have always thought that it should not be italiced as it is an operator....
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-2 votes
2 answers
146 views

Explicit references matter!

I know that this forum should not replace a good bibliographic research, but... It is quite useful to know which book or paper or tutorial or any other external source of information that people have ...
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30 votes
4 answers
1k views

Let's not have posts look like revision histories

Inspired by this meta post on RPG.SE: I think we should keep in mind that posts with lots of "Edit:" and "Update:" sections are a bit hard to read from beginning to end, and we should strive to avoid ...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
76 views

Can I use one of my previous answers to answer another separate, but related question?

A little while ago I answered this question: What is the sun's spectral series?. For whatever reason (I'm not exactly sure), I went well outside what was expected in answering it; I provided a ...
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2 votes
2 answers
420 views

What can I do if I note that answers are abused to troll, flame, and/or advertise personal nonsense theories?

Just as a most recent example (I could give many more posted by other users too), this "answer" does not answer the question, brings up confused rhetoric intended to troll about fundamental physics ...
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2 votes
1 answer
57 views

User "talk pages"

Sorry if everyone else knows about this stuff, but I can't find any information about it anywhere. I see occasional comments about one user putting something on another user's "talk page". I have ...
  • 15k
19 votes
2 answers
414 views

Answering old questions

Should I answer old questions (over a year), even if they have been already answered? I think that this practice is correct, but since in many forums it is discouraged I'm not sure.
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7 votes
3 answers
235 views

How to best to correct a poorly asked question?

I asked this question: How to calculate the effect of the earth's magnetic field on a HZE particle? Which after some more research I realized is at best unclear and at worst unanswerable. At ...