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Questions tagged [best-practices]

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33 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
20 votes
2 answers
424 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.
jinawee's user avatar
  • 12.4k
17 votes
2 answers
526 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
15 votes
1 answer
669 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 ...
14 votes
1 answer
322 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 ...
silverrahul's user avatar
  • 4,466
13 votes
3 answers
462 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 ...
user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
350 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 ...
SuperCiocia's user avatar
  • 24.9k
12 votes
1 answer
644 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....
SuperCiocia's user avatar
  • 24.9k
12 votes
1 answer
273 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 ...
user400188's user avatar
11 votes
9 answers
1k views

Discouraging the use of personal attacks and epithets such as "crackpot"

While some have noticed an apparent increase in the "noise-to-signal" ratio on this site, what concerns me is the rise in the "incivility-to-civility" ratio. Let us be clear about one thing - the ...
user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
316 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 ...
Cleonis's user avatar
  • 21.2k
11 votes
3 answers
413 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 ...
anna v's user avatar
  • 234k
11 votes
3 answers
476 views

old questions with incorrect answers

What is the best way to handle a case where a question was asked a long time ago and received several incorrect answers but no correct ones? To be more concrete, this was the situation with this ...
user avatar
9 votes
4 answers
306 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 ...
user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
246 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 ...
DavidH's user avatar
  • 3,265
8 votes
3 answers
243 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 ...
Patrick Ritchie's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
134 views

Preventing acts of spam

I came across a number of posts being sabotaged by a couple of new users. How do we prevent such indecent acts?
TheCuriousOne's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
101 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 ...
Billy Istiak's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
137 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 ...
Edouard's user avatar
  • 848
7 votes
2 answers
313 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
7 votes
2 answers
255 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 ...
jng224's user avatar
  • 3,778
7 votes
2 answers
161 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 &...
user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
213 views

Should I post a question if I know the answer? Should I answer my own questions?

Recently I had some questions and was going to post them here. While trying to find the best formulation for them I've found the answers. Posting questions with immediate answers is welcome e.g. on ...
Maksim Zholudev's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
261 views

Problem with new user

A new user has been asking questions (mostly) about Newtonian Mechanics from time to time (which happens to be my top tag). Said user generally begins questions with "I aspire to become like you ...
Stuti's user avatar
  • 702
6 votes
2 answers
173 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 ...
user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
366 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, ...
Roger V.'s user avatar
  • 59.4k
5 votes
1 answer
187 views

If I see a question mentioning an AI as the source, should I modify it?

I was reading this question and saw that it started by saying ChatGPT was providing a glimpse of the 8 possible gluon color states: This horrified me as current AI models are definitely not a good ...
Gabriel Ybarra Marcaida's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
229 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 ...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
79 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 ...
Jim's user avatar
  • 24.5k
5 votes
2 answers
330 views

How to organize a List of Free Resources in the conxtext of PSE

This very useful question (community wiki) list-of-freely-available-physics-books is collecting a list of freely available resources that we find out there. How to make it more organized, without ...
Helder Velez's user avatar
  • 2,659
4 votes
1 answer
73 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 ...
Winston's user avatar
  • 3,236
4 votes
1 answer
155 views

How can I fix an accidental downvote?

I recently downvoted a post by accident, but I didn't realize my mistake until some 3o minutes or so later when I noticed the downvote in my reputation log. I meant to upvote the post. Is there a way ...
Albertus Magnus's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
49 views

How do I flag questions to move them to Chem.SE?

This question was asked recently. @dmckee and I both noted that it might work on chem.SE as well as here. I then stared reading through the physical-chemistry tag, found a few questions, including ...
Colin McFaul's user avatar
  • 4,369
4 votes
0 answers
100 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 ...
ACB's user avatar
  • 2,578
3 votes
1 answer
234 views

What to do with a horrible question haunting my question record?

The third question I posted to this site was, in retrospect, awful. I deleted it after an hour of it being posted and learned to pose better questions since. Anyway, I’ve become aware that a deleted ...
Hokon's user avatar
  • 323
3 votes
1 answer
128 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"...
Eagle's user avatar
  • 580
3 votes
1 answer
85 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 ...
Babu's user avatar
  • 7,980
3 votes
2 answers
182 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. ...
James's user avatar
  • 1,881
3 votes
2 answers
149 views

Too many comments on answers?

E.g. Mechanics around a rail tank wagon It seems to me that when most answers have 30+ comments, it becomes very hard to follow what is going on or have a constructive discussion. On my answer I ...
Sklivvz's user avatar
  • 13.5k
3 votes
1 answer
90 views

How should I flag link-only answers?

I noticed this link-only answer and thought I should flag it, but discovered that "link-only" is not in the criteria under the "I am flagging to report this answer as... " "...
David Bailey's user avatar
  • 11.6k
3 votes
1 answer
245 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 ...
Bhavay's user avatar
  • 1,691
3 votes
1 answer
75 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 ...
Dale's user avatar
  • 102k
3 votes
2 answers
198 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 ...
Vishnu's user avatar
  • 5,306
2 votes
2 answers
427 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 ...
Dilaton's user avatar
  • 9,553
2 votes
2 answers
161 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 ...
Squirtle's user avatar
  • 249
2 votes
2 answers
119 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 ...
Bill N's user avatar
  • 15.4k
2 votes
2 answers
105 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 ...
Norbert Schuch's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
58 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 ...
Mike's user avatar
  • 15.3k
2 votes
0 answers
103 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 ...
DanielSank's user avatar
  • 24.6k
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 ...
Agerhell's user avatar
  • 729