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Questions tagged [scope]

For discussions about the site's scope - what questions and topics should and should not be on-topic on the site.

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42 votes
12 answers
1k views

Folks, we need to talk about the surface-area-of-a-chicken question

This question How do I find the approximate surface area of a chicken? underwent a severe close/reopen yo-yo cycle. It was closed once by a moderator, then reopened by community members, then re-...
Emilio Pisanty's user avatar
33 votes
3 answers
2k views

Experimental Physics & Engineering

I know that most of us are "paper theorists," but I think we need to remember that experimental physics is physics too! We have several tags for experimental physics (with tag excerpts): ...
Kyle Kanos's user avatar
  • 28.4k
32 votes
3 answers
942 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 ...
David Z's user avatar
  • 76.7k
30 votes
6 answers
10k views

Should any check-my-work questions be made on topic?

It's long overdue that I make this post revisiting our policy on "check-my-work" questions. These are questions, often (but not necessarily) homework-like, that present a complete mathematical or ...
David Z's user avatar
  • 76.7k
30 votes
13 answers
2k 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 ...
Dilaton's user avatar
  • 9,581
29 votes
4 answers
711 views

If it's possible, do we want to expand the scope of this site to include astronomy?

It was recently announced that several SE sites are closing, including Theoretical Physics and Astronomy. Given that our scope here is basically a superset of the scope of Theoretical Physics and that ...
David Z's user avatar
  • 76.7k
28 votes
4 answers
1k views

Ultimately, what will the Physics Stack Exchange Become? Are there long term goals?

It was sometime back that I realized what we are synthesizing here (possibly) is an archive for an expert system. Put the Physics Stack Exchange together with an AI machine and you have a super-...
docscience's user avatar
  • 11.7k
28 votes
8 answers
2k views

"No math, please" questions

There are more and more questions, which are formulted like "Can you explain that without math?" or "I know that there is math, but is there an explanation in plain words?" or even "Can you tell ...
Kostya's user avatar
  • 20.1k
28 votes
2 answers
744 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 ...
knzhou's user avatar
  • 103k
28 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 ...
N. Virgo's user avatar
  • 34.3k
26 votes
4 answers
725 views

What does everyone mean by "insufficient research effort"?

Lately I've noticed a lot of close votes, down votes, and comments to the effect of "this question is too low level" or "the answer is on the internet if you search for it" or "you should already know ...
user avatar
25 votes
3 answers
855 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 ...
knzhou's user avatar
  • 103k
25 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. ...
Gonstasp's user avatar
  • 1,307
23 votes
6 answers
1k views

What are the goals of this site?

This discussion question is inspired by this post on the current homework policy question. The main question is What are the goals of this site? Some things to think about when answering: What is ...
auden's user avatar
  • 7,057
23 votes
6 answers
2k views

Good list, bad list

The Stack Exchange model does not work well for "big list" questions, and these are banned network-wide for good reason. However, many of the other Stack Exchange sites allow or even ...
N. Virgo's user avatar
  • 34.3k
22 votes
5 answers
5k views

Are engineering questions appropriate for this site?

Often we get questions of the form "How do I build this particular device?" or "Why was this design implemented in such-and-such product?" Are these questions appropriate for the Physics Stack ...
22 votes
4 answers
760 views

Are history of physics questions allowed?

I've been meaning to ask about the timeline of discovery of a certain physical phenomenon on the main site, but I thought I should probably ask a more general question here on meta to clear the air: ...
user avatar
22 votes
6 answers
847 views

Level of questions: what do we do now ?

There has been a lot of discussions about the level of the questions and the quality of the questions. It seems to me that we have a core group of users, that are following Physics SE from a long ...
Cedric H.'s user avatar
  • 4,818
21 votes
10 answers
1k views

Where should research-level questions go? Theoretical Physics SE or Physics Research SE?

Among users of Physics SE there is a group of people who wants to have their 'Physicsoverflow', that is, a group oriented for research-level questions. It is almost impossible to turn this SE into ...
Piotr Migdal's user avatar
  • 6,480
21 votes
5 answers
392 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 ...
Yly's user avatar
  • 3,693
21 votes
3 answers
804 views

Graduate and above level questions aren't homework

I know, I know, it's yet another Meta post about our homework policy. Feel free to downvote and write abusive comments if you're heartily sick of posts about the homework policy. If you're still with ...
John Rennie's user avatar
20 votes
4 answers
733 views

Should we leave technical astronomy questions to Astronomy SE?

In 2012, when the first incarnation of Astronomy SE closed, the community at Physics SE felt compelled to give a home to astronomy questions and overwhelmingly voted to expand the scope of the site. ...
stafusa's user avatar
  • 12.5k
19 votes
8 answers
1k views

What can be done to improve Physics.SE as an active forum for physics researchers and student's?

As noted elsewhere, I have personally discontinued use of Physics.SE, since it seems to me that it no longer acts as a forum for research based physics Q&A. Over the past 12 months there has in my ...
Halfdan Faber's user avatar
19 votes
23 answers
1k views

Replacing the homework policy 1: what existing questions should be on/off topic?

TL;DR: post examples of current questions which are edge cases for the new policy, look through the list, and vote answers UP if you think they should be ON TOPIC vote answers DOWN if you think they ...
David Z's user avatar
  • 76.7k
18 votes
4 answers
730 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 ...
Michael Seifert's user avatar
18 votes
5 answers
566 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 ...
DannyVanpoucke's user avatar
17 votes
8 answers
2k views

Should pure math questions be on topic?

We've previously had some discussion about the suitability of pure math questions for this site. Currently, pure math questions - by which I mean those that have no physics content, even if they arise ...
David Z's user avatar
  • 76.7k
17 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 ...
user avatar
17 votes
2 answers
461 views

Should "Biophysics" fork?

I see that in Area51 a proposal exists to create an independent Biophysics SE site. I have mixed feelings, but I support the initiative (so far its popularity is low). In any case, I think that in ...
scrx2's user avatar
  • 1,428
16 votes
7 answers
2k views

Generalizing the homework policy

In our last chat session two weeks ago (sorry for the delay), we had a discussion about updating the homework policy and homework close reason. I'm making this post to summarize that discussion and ...
David Z's user avatar
  • 76.7k
15 votes
8 answers
820 views

Why is this question not considered an off-topic homework problem?

This question currently has a bounty on it and is receiving a lot of attention. But to me it looks like a question that is normally closed for being off-topic. The question reads like a homework ...
BioPhysicist's user avatar
  • 57.2k
15 votes
6 answers
811 views

Replacing the homework policy 1b: what is our scope anyway?

Abstract: Analyzing the data from the last replace-the-homework-policy question was inconclusive. So back to the drawing board, or really back to our starting point: what kinds of questions do we ...
David Z's user avatar
  • 76.7k
15 votes
1 answer
393 views

Is the question 'explaining gravity to a six-year-old' off-topic?

I recently asked this question about explaining gravity to a 6 year old and it made it into the "Hot Network Questions" list. It generated a lot of discussion and has some very good answers. ...
Amal Murali's user avatar
  • 1,531
15 votes
1 answer
404 views

Suggestions for the design of a font for physics

Edit: The project website, GitHub repository, and Discord server for Darwin are now up! Recently I've resumed work on a font I'm currently developing, meant to be released as a completely free, open-...
Emily's user avatar
  • 101
15 votes
0 answers
199 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 ...
GiorgioP-DoomsdayClockIsAt-90's user avatar
14 votes
5 answers
528 views

How should we handle how-to-find-a-specific-reference requests?

We occasionally get "find me a PDF" requests, where a user knows exactly the paper she needs and (presumably because of a paywall) asks how to obtain an electronic copy of it. This has typically been ...
Emilio Pisanty's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
2k views

Do we need/want an overarching books question?

The current tag wiki for the books - now resource-recommendation - tag includes, in its final paragraph, the request that If you question is about resource-recommendations, please add your question ...
Emilio Pisanty's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is Physics SE an appropriate location for peer review?

What peer review style questions are acceptable to ask on Physics SE and what actions, if any, should be taken against unacceptable questions? When I originally encountered this question and its ...
GPhys's user avatar
  • 274
13 votes
4 answers
1k views

Why is it not allowed to ask about the mathematical prerequisites to understand string theory?

Many people have tried in one way or another to ask about the mathematical prerequisites to study or understand string theory, but all their (up voted!) question have been and are being closed before ...
Dilaton's user avatar
  • 9,581
13 votes
3 answers
354 views

Some doubts about the coherence between rules and practice

Observing the behavior of many community members about closing votes, I feel more and more doubtful about the coherence between the rules written in the help center and the practice. The last example ...
GiorgioP-DoomsdayClockIsAt-90's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
324 views

Where to ask questions about teaching physics?

There is https://matheducators.stackexchange.com/, https://cseducators.stackexchange.com, and https://chemistry.stackexchange.com which is geared towards teachers. Physics teachers seem to lack such ...
Jasper's user avatar
  • 1,778
13 votes
4 answers
351 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 ...
knzhou's user avatar
  • 103k
13 votes
2 answers
289 views

What are the boundaries of "biophysics" on Physics SE?

The question Presumably, biophysics questions run a wide range from those that are primarily biology questions with a little physics input to those that are primarily physics questions applied to a ...
dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
519 views

Asking math questions

I understand that asking pure math questions on the physics site is discouraged and I've seen many questions moved over to math. However, often times such questions are more suited for physicists to ...
JeffDror's user avatar
  • 8,995
12 votes
3 answers
557 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 ...
MASL's user avatar
  • 240
11 votes
8 answers
1k views

What should be the status of cold fusion on this site?

There have been a few questions asked about cold fusion on this site, especially in recent days. Invariably they lead to extended arguments, which is not healthy for the site - the whole Stack ...
David Z's user avatar
  • 76.7k
11 votes
7 answers
949 views

Once and for all, what is up with the metaphysics questions?

I don't mean to pollute the site with more discussion of metaphysics questions, but I'm genuinely confused by the community's response to this and I want to figure out what is going on. There were a ...
David Z's user avatar
  • 76.7k
11 votes
5 answers
5k views

Should we repeat common questions?

This recent question on an infinite resistor grid is certainly interesting, but why should we include such questions on the site? The question has already been asked and answered many times on the ...
Mark Eichenlaub's user avatar
11 votes
4 answers
563 views

What does this community mean by students?

So the title says all. What is the meaning of a student of Physics as per this community? I ask this because there are students at many levels: 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th graders, undergraduates, ...
Swapnil Rustagi's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
280 views

Is this question about a recent paper on topic?

Is this question on topic? Or should it be? How come some people are claiming that the Big Bang never happened? I actually had the same question (namely how valid is the conclusion) but felt it ...
tpg2114's user avatar
  • 16.6k

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