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48 votes
11 answers
2k views

Question self-destruction: why don't experts ask more questions?

I've been kicking around this site for a little while now and I've realized that I'm very rarely even tempted to post a question. I'm an astronomy grad student with a background in physics, so ...
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  • 18k
45 votes
3 answers
3k views

What counts as sufficient prior research when asking a question?

On Physics Stack Exchange, people asking questions are expected to demonstrate that they've put a certain amount of effort into answering the question themselves. What exactly counts as sufficient ...
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  • 73.9k
42 votes
12 answers
958 views

Is over-vigilant monitoring of questions driving people away from the site?

Now, I know the need to create standards for asking questions. However, particularly for first time users, the ability to ask questions in a way that this forum expects can be difficult, often due to ...
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39 votes
11 answers
1k views

Should we rename the homework tag as "problem-solving", or such?

The "homework" tag is often controversial among new users who complain that their question isn't from a homework assignment (so they get offended, so edit wars happen, and posts get blocked -- e.g., ...
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38 votes
4 answers
2k views

Discouraging the use of textual screenshots in questions

[This was originally posted as an answer to another question and was transformed into a question following a comment to this effect.] To discourage rapid postings of the type alluded to in another ...
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  • 38.8k
33 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why are all questions I visit from other sites protected by Qmechanic?

I normally only come when clicking on some questions from other StackExchange sites. Every time the questions are protected by user Qmechanic. Is that something like the Community user? I don't see ...
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30 votes
13 answers
1k views

What can be done about the (current) ongoing flood of homework and very basic questions overwhelming our site?

Since quite some time, the amount of new incoming higher level questions is decaying and the number of very basic ones is increasing, but the current inflood of bad homeworks (the good ones I ...
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  • 9,213
29 votes
7 answers
1k views

Should we rename the homework policy?

The homework policy is a constant source of confusion for new (and sometimes established) users. We see this confusion, for example, when users respond to closures based on the homework policy by ...
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  • 22.9k
29 votes
2 answers
630 views

Poor reception of 'why' questions

Several times, I've seen 'why' questions dismissed unfairly when a better answer could be given, because of a kneejerk reaction that a 'why' question can never have an answer, because physics is built ...
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  • 95.3k
29 votes
1 answer
437 views

The $F=ma$ competition was February 18th, 2021

The $F=ma$ competition is the largest physics competition in the United States, and took place online the afternoon after this Meta question first appeared. It is a multiple choice exam with tricky ...
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  • 95.3k
29 votes
0 answers
538 views

How I learned to stop worrying and start asking questions

As has been noted in the past, particularly in Question self-destruction: why don't experts ask more questions? and in Does reputation correlate with the question-to-answer ratio?, and also here, this ...
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28 votes
2 answers
830 views

Should history of physics questions be on topic?

When we last visited the issue of history questions, the dedicated History of Science and Mathematics Stack Exchange was in its early stages. At that time, we decided against closing questions for ...
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  • 73.9k
27 votes
6 answers
818 views

Very Naive Questions

I am troubled by the comments on this question and many others like it. The (obviously very naive) questioner posits a physically impossible situation (often FTL travel as in this case, but there are ...
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  • 12.5k
26 votes
1 answer
1k views

Are questions about mathematics used in physics always off topic?

This question looks in imminent danger of being closed on the grounds that it's a pure mathematics question. This is something that happened a lot when I was more active on the site, and is one of the ...
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  • 32.5k
26 votes
2 answers
398 views

Add a link and hint to use MathJax to the new question dialog

We like to see MathJax used on Physics SE for equations, but at present when you are typing in a new question I think there is no on-screen link to the MathJax "guide" or a reminder to use ...
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25 votes
2 answers
526 views

Does reputation correlate with the question-to-answer ratio?

Reputation is a rough measure of a user's experience with the site. It can also be used as a (not very accurate) proxy for their overall expertise in physics. Our user population consists of people ...
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24 votes
3 answers
727 views

Users that post every question in their homework/exams

Everybody who's been here for a while knows that the homework policy is not as advertised. If the exercise is sufficiently interesting, and the OP is sufficiently polite, the question often stays ...
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  • 95.3k
24 votes
6 answers
1k views

Is the demise of Stack Exchange (as we know it) ineluctable?

I feel concerned about a thought that I had recently. I am wondering if the current policy about duplicate questions may become problematic in the (very) long term for the health of Stack Exchange. ...
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  • 1,075
23 votes
1 answer
403 views

Canonical question about the flow of time

I was looking at: Is there really a direction of time? which is yet another question related to the flow of time, and I was thinking that it would be nice to have a master Flow of Time question that ...
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22 votes
4 answers
677 views

Is an asker's age relevant?

In Why does Newton's Third Law actually work?, the asker states their age in the question. (They are 10 years old.) On the one hand, their age does not have anything to do with Newton's Third ...
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  • 199
21 votes
5 answers
372 views

Are questions about the identification of physical phenomena on-topic?

This question was just closed as off-topic. It is a well presented question, which was well-received, and it got a good, canonical answer. The stated reason for closing was that "it doesn't ...
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  • 3,442
20 votes
3 answers
477 views

Is it encouraged to write an answer to your own question if it is just a summary of the comments?

I recently asked a question on how the uncertainity principle applies to a situation described there. There have been some comments, which, I think are at least partial answers. I commented that and ...
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  • 3,567
19 votes
1 answer
501 views

Why am I in risk of a questions ban after one duplicate and one closed question?

A moment ago, I wanted to ask a question on this SE about the amount of energy in human blood, but it warned me that I'm in risk of no longer being able to ask questions on this account due to a large ...
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  • 388
18 votes
3 answers
574 views

I am having trouble improving how my questions are received

Is there a way I can improve how my current questions are received because no matter what I do they get received worse? They don't even tell me what needs improvement.
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18 votes
1 answer
299 views

Which of several disagreeing answers to accept?

Last week, I asked a question about an everyday physical phenomenon (In aluminum, how does electricity travel through the surface oxide layer?). I was fortunate enough to get two answers and some ...
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  • 3,898
18 votes
4 answers
666 views

Bounty on "entrance exam" question

On the question Why is the center of a torch beam visible even through an opaque body like my finger?, the OP started a bounty stating I really need this material to answer my entrance examination ...
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18 votes
5 answers
526 views

Is error-analysis not a physics topic?

I have a question about my Physics Stack Exchange post: How to incorporate the uncertainty of the model coefficients in the prediction interval of a multiple linear regression I am dealing with a ...
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17 votes
2 answers
451 views

Is PSE getting "flash mob" questions?

In the past couple of days (Jan 1 & 2, 2017), there have been questions asked that have received over 20 votes and over 2000 views. Answers have received dozens of upvotes. Look here and here. ...
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  • 14.9k
16 votes
9 answers
918 views

Opt-in to be always pingable to answer questions

Original idea: List of users with specialities who are willing to be pinged--should we do this? This is a place where users can opt in to be pinged by other users regardless of their chat status. ...
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  • 18.4k
16 votes
3 answers
447 views

Unusual Upvote Trends (Discussion)

Recently, I answered a question, How exactly does gravity work?, which received as of now, 30 upvotes, and I am glad that the community found the answer helpful, and of above average quality. However, ...
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  • 18.5k
16 votes
3 answers
1k views

How to deal with questions based on videos?

Here are two recent questions that I would consider low in quality: Is coherent light required for interference in the Young double slit experiment? What theories explain the wave-particle duality as ...
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16 votes
2 answers
500 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 ...
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16 votes
4 answers
473 views

The Brahms vs. Bieber Effect

Brahms' music is rich and interesting, but not easily accessible to a layman. Justin Bieber's is not very interesting, but he gets downloaded from iTunes a lot. In the last week or two, there have ...
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16 votes
1 answer
289 views

When are questions with multiple different possible answers good?

It is well known that we do not encourage/allow questions that solicit open-ended discussions or that can only be answered by providing personal opinions, etc. However, at least to me, it seems a bit ...
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  • 1
15 votes
5 answers
739 views

Our best questions come from non-expert users

Earlier today I was eyeballing other people's badges because, you know, badges, and I came upon something of a curious observation. If you look at the answer badges - specifically Nice, Good and Great ...
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15 votes
2 answers
180 views

A way to mark questions as non-duplicates?

I'm new to SE but practically every day I come across constructive, thought-out questions that are very quickly marked as duplicates -- while a simple comparison with the alleged duplicate shows very ...
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  • 860
15 votes
3 answers
787 views

Do we want and need a set of canonical questions with canonical answers?

This is a proposal that has been discussed to some extent in the h bar chat (especially with @ACuriousMind and @alemi), and a meta post to gauge the response of the rest of the community is long ...
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  • 15.7k
15 votes
2 answers
442 views

Are homework questions becoming more common?

After hearing that homework questions are far too common one too many times, I decided to take the initiative and try to prove whether homework questions are now the primary new content of the site. ...
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  • 16k
15 votes
0 answers
177 views

Education tag and questions on physics education

Today, I have seen this question closed as an opinion-based question. I have read previous (short) discussions about the issue of questions on physics education topics in SE (see also this), but I do ...
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  • 23.5k
14 votes
2 answers
254 views

Care over closing "duplicate" questions

On a number of occasions, I have seen questions closed as duplicates although the linked question either did not have answers, or had only poor answers, and in some cases it had already been closed (...
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14 votes
1 answer
566 views

What is the reason that there are so many questions at this stack (physics) comparing to the others?

As far as I know on this physics stack are far more questions posted than other stacks. But why is that. I can't imagine that a study of biology, chemistry or history etc. would comprise less detailed ...
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  • 3,218
14 votes
1 answer
215 views

I am being told conflicting resolutions for fixing a closed question, what should I do?

I had a question that was closed, and I was given the following instructions: Those questions listed did not provide me with the answer to my question, so I followed the advice and opened a new ...
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13 votes
4 answers
323 views

How to stop asking duplicate questions?

Whenever I ask a question that is found to be duplicate. If I search the question previously to make sure it was not asked before it does not appear as the language of me and the question is not the ...
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13 votes
4 answers
196 views

Can we include homework guidance in the How to Ask sidebar?

This question is a follow-up to this question about what some of us feel is a large spike in low-level homework questions. I propose we include a specific link to our canonical homework meta question ...
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13 votes
1 answer
262 views

Making good posts discoverable when the original question isn't obviously related

I recently answered the question "Which Is More Fundamental, Fields or Particles?" essentially by explaining what second quantization is and why it makes so much more sense than first quantization. ...
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  • 22.9k
13 votes
4 answers
339 views

Rethinking the "too broad" criterion

I was sad this morning to see Gil Kalai's great question about the role of rigor closed for being too broad. I was even sadder this afternoon when Prof. Kalai's narrower follow-up question, was also ...
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  • 95.3k
13 votes
1 answer
528 views

20 most viewed questions that need answers

Here are 20 most viewed questions that need answers. Some of these questions may have answers with negative votes. Only questions with upvotes will be removed from this list. This list will be updated ...
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12 votes
2 answers
341 views

"You did the measurement wrong" is not an answer

I've seen two hot network questions in the past two days where one of the highly upvoted answers was a variation on "you did your measurement wrong". In both cases, this answer was ...
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  • 3,442
11 votes
3 answers
300 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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  • 15.4k
11 votes
3 answers
545 views

Why is Phys.SE so restrictive in the Q&A it is willing to accept?

There is already a Physics Overflow. Why then not being more lenient in the Q&A to be accepted in Phys.SE? Mathematics SE has 10 times as many questions. SO leads with +10M questions. Those other ...
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