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The conception of the founding members is expressed in the tour: Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics and astronomy. Now, "students" are explicitly included among the audience envisioned for the site, but the members have been very negative on the idea of becoming a resource to ...


21

While I'm no professional or expert, I think what's working against Physics SE is, ironically, what makes it so effective. People are being spoonfed all the time here. Like Google, Q&A websites have become magical 'wishing fountains' to millions of people. Stupid questions about Newton's Laws and classical mechanics are being asked by people all the ...


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As long as users reward simple questions, simple questions will continue to be asked. It's as simple as that. Right now the user base is rewarding physics 101 questions and ill-informed speculations from a pop-sci foundation. Give me a consensus that those question don't belong and I'd be happy to close many of them.1 Personally I am bored to tears by ...


20

I think the OP has a point. Many of the questions we get here about advanced topics (say, late undergrad and higher) are pretty low quality. Some of the could be answered by a simple google search, some of them ask the reader to fill in elementary steps in research papers, some of them are so full of muddled thinking that one wonders if the person asking ...


17

Subjectively, I'm finding that I've been spending my time on the site in unenjoyable activities like arguing with angry and belligerent beginners about friction and Newton's third law. I've decided to become inactive on the site. With all due respect, and you've earned a lot of it here, I don't see that your decision logically follows. Given the ...


15

Nobody has mentioned yet the core reason for the sad loss of quality of this site. You can do whatever statistical analysis you want to do, based on the number of new users, fraction of homework question, analogies with Uranium... Face it. Don't avoid mentioning it. Please, let's honestly face the truth. It is written with "R" like "Ron" and "M" like "...


14

I am repeating Eduardo's last paragraph here because it is an insightful observation, separable from suspensions. In a research institution, people are free to communicate with each other in the way they desire to, because they are mature adults. Only if things become really really bad in a discussion, would a third person try to calm them down. In ...


14

There is more than one kind of physics question, and more than one kind of physics answer. Some questions ask for getting an "idea" or "intuition" of how something works, understanding the physical principles at work more than the underlying equations. Some questions ask about specific parts of a derivation, or a rigorous argument for a ...


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Interesting thread. I read all the answers and comments and want to formulate something which is maybe implied by other comments but which I haven't seen put like that: I'd say the amount of low level questions just directly correlates with the fact that the SE portal is more known now. I hang around in a hackerspace sometimes, which is filled with ...


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As mentioned in the welcome message, this site is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. This means that the bulk of the discussion on this site will require scientific terminology to occur; we're not going to "reduce the scientific terms" we use on this site because there might be someone out there that ...


10

Seems to me this `site' is one of those entities that exists in the perpetual state of an identity crisis. When I read: "Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics and astronomy," I cannot help being somewhat amused. The reality from what I see is quite different. Although I've been a ...


9

Good points, and I agree that these questions need some particular handling. My general rule for linked resources is this: judge the question as if the links weren't there, at least for purposes of deciding whether to downvote or vote to close it. Specifically, don't click on the link to the video and see whether the question still makes sense. In some cases ...


9

Like the others I am very saddened to hear that you will scale back you activity. Permit me to hope that this is a hiatus rather than an end. I can sympathize with your complaint about belligerent beginners, as I also feel we've had more of them of late; as well as another uptick in the number of people who want to ask high level questions from a ...


9

Honestly, I don't think we ever had a critical mass of professional physicists. I do seem to have noticed that several of the well-qualified people who used to post regularly don't do so any more, but that's natural over time. Some of them will come back, and we'll also get new well-qualified posters over time. Of course we can always do more with actively ...


8

Like many others I am saddened to see Ben leave, and I hope it is a temporary hiatus, but I certainly understand his decision. I haven't been very active either lately, and there are several reasons for this: The lack of high-quality questions. I don't know why this is happening, but for some reason we're seeing an increase in low-level questions. Perhaps ...


8

I'm really sorry to hear your decision; I've enjoyed reading many of your answers here and would have loved to read new ones as they come along. I hope you reconsider your decision. You may wish to avoid beginners by ignoring the tags they tend to post in; or just stepping out when a novice gets argumentative. I've done that more than once myself. ...


8

I feel like this question is at least partially based on some bias in what answers you notice... What makes you think everyone is keen to answer questions based on equations instead of explanations? One obvious example that comes to my mind is Marco Ocram, who gained over 5k reputation in less than 8 months, and specifically states in his profile "My ...


7

Premise: two posts asking the same question are not, by default, duplicates if they are both explicit about the desired level of sophistication, and they are significantly different levels. Let us be more precise about what we mean by the italicised words: Explicit: the level of the question must be clear in the question itself, not by adding a "I know ...


7

Here is my 2 cents, as a low-rep user of this site. First of all many of the sites on this network appear to be dysfunctional (with the exception of the super dorky ones, because dorks are typically decent people who get along well with each other) and generate frustration for both novice and experienced users. Stack Overflow is very similar in its high ...


7

It seems to me this site can fulfil two roles. Firstly it can encourage collaboration between active researchers (postgrads, postdocs and academic staff) and secondly it can educate we lowly ones (undergrads, interested amateurs and the general public). I think both roles are laudable, but the first role on its own is not going to sustain the site, as the ...


5

below a list of (more or less motivated) possible improvements. As a starting tautology, if you want more research-inspired question, attract more researchers ! When I read some of you claiming they want pure theoretical discussion, I'm horrified. Physics is a science, and science means models AND experiments. Could be really fine to discuss more about ...


4

Besides the points made in the answers by David Z & Emilio Pisanty, make sure to mention in the question lecturer, title, etc, of video, so the link can be recreated in case of link rot. minute in video, so the reader doesn't have to watch the entire video.


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As I have expressed mainly by my edits on such posts, video-based questions can indeed be rescued to give, I think, fairly high-quality content. This is definitely time-consuming and should only be done if you think the end product will be worth it, but I think the end results can be quite good, such as these two, in their before-and-after shots: Rotor ...


4

If you are a user who just want to read good posts without having to sift through poor posts, read on. With the current traffic (November 2017), it only takes in average 5 hours for a post to disappear from the front page. Hence it is easy to miss the quality posts. However, if you e.g. instead use the search feature closed:no score:1 with the options '...


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No, these questions are not duplicates. Why? The answers are vastly different. An answer about a quantum mechanics question to a grad student will probably be (to generalize) math heavy, highly complex, and over my head. An answer about a quantum mechanics question to a highschooler might be one whose answer I'd be able to write. They're so different that ...


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I am an A level physics student, and whilst I see people using this as a homework site, there are students like me who use this site to expand knowledge through asking questions and viewing others' questions. Therefore, I think the goal of this site is to teach through community knowledge, to grow the site that more may hear about it and contribute where ...


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Tags of this sort are known in SE parlance as "meta tags", i.e., tags which don't actually describe what the question is about, and instead describe some other ("meta") aspect of the question. As a general rule, since over a decade ago, meta tags are strongly frowned upon; see the original blog post for much of the reasoning for this. In ...


2

So, I took the tour through my old answers and assigned qualities to every one of them as Chris suggested. Since I couldn't bring myself to assign a 5 to any of my answers, my scale is effectively one point shorter than his original scale, and I also deleted all of the answers I assigned 0 to except for those I couldn't because they were accepted answers, ...


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