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69

I know the stated goal of the site is to provide a knowledge base, and I know that every time I rant on about the importance of teaching I get told that isn't the main purpose of the site. Nevertheless I think teaching is important, and doing worked examples is an important part of teaching. I'm not saying I want the site to fill up with posts asking how to ...


36

Summary History questions are welcome on this site whenever they have any bearing on our modern understanding of physics. However, if a question has only minimal or null bearing on our current understanding, or it specifically requires a historian's skills, toolset, and mindset to answer, then it should be migrated to the History of Science and Maths ...


29

Questions which ask us to perform calculations are off topic. This is too broad. I recognize that it's intended to head off boring copied-from-homework questions like "what's the optimal angle for a 45 mph banked turn if the coefficient of friction is μ = 0.233457821234 also are all those digits important kthxbye". However calculation questions like "...


25

What objectively separates engineering questions from experimental physics ones? Nothing. I will argue that trying to formulate such a distinction is not the correct way to attack the problem of deciding what questions should and shouldn't be considered on-topic for this site. A better approach is to ask whether or not physics or engineering flavor is more ...


24

Check my work question should always be off-topic. Those that can be rephrased should be rephrased. "Am I right?", "Is this correct?" or something else is always only of use to people who did the exact same derivation, and this is definitely too localized. To answer the bullet points in order: The level of the question should be utterly irrelevant. I have ...


24

I personally don't have that much patience for this sort of hullaballoo, which seems to come and go periodically. Nevertheless we do play a role in it, and I think it's important that we respond to these sorts of questions appropriately. The flow goes something like Scientist comes up with crazy idea, and (a bit surprisingly) actually comes up with some ...


22

Given that I'm probably the leading exponent of closing questions on the basis of insufficient prior research I'm relieved to see I'm not implicated in the examples Chris cites (I did VTC one of them, but because I thought it was unclear rather than lazy). I'm not sure what I can add here that isn't already covered by my previous statement on the subject. ...


22

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

My take on it: No, this question is nowhere near on-topic. It is simply not about physics. I agree it's a fun question, and that this can make it attractive to some people. But we don't set the site scope depending on whether questions are fun or not $-$ the site scope is physics, and questions are judged against that standard. And the fact of the matter is, ...


21

Suppose the question had asked “How do I find the approximate volume of an asteroid ?”. I doubt there would be any serious arguments for closing that question. If we are happy to accept a volume/asteroid question then why should we reject a surface area/chicken question ? Estimating volume is on-topic for PSE but estimating surface area isn’t ?? But that ...


20

Generally speaking: no. This site is very definitely not a replacement of traditional peer review. We simply do not have a community that is broad and varied enough to connect a given paper with an expert that is sufficiently qualified, interested enough, and with enough available time, to review it. This site is also not a very good venue for peer review, ...


20

Sound pitch of glass with water This is not a homework or homework-like question, it's not a calculation request, it's completely conceptual, but the question doesn't show any prior research, or any evidence that the poster has made an effort to figure out the answer themselves. You might think that's perfectly fine. On the other hand, if you believe the ...


20

Recently I've noticed a few people posting questions in rapid succession, each with a screenshot of a problem. If you look at the questions as a whole, it's obvious they've split their entire problem set or take-home exam into tiny pieces and asked us how to do the whole thing. This sort of behavior, which is undesirable but not necessarily obvious to ...


19

Questions devoid of any physics content (or reference to physics), which focus entirely on mathematical details should be migrated to the mathematics SE. If the question is regarding a mathematical method applied to a physics problem, then it is appropriate for the physics SE. Nevertheless, a question which focuses entirely on mathematical details, whilst ...


19

To discourage rapid postings of the type alluded to in the question, methinks screenshots of text should be outright banned. I can understand a screenshot of a figure, but if it can be easily done with LaTeX/MathJax, there’s no place for a screenshot. If anything, the time and effort going to typesetting makes it easier to justify that the OP has done some ...


19

and then it is hard to tell if the curve is starting to increase again or stabilizing around a constant value of 7%. I don't think this is hard. It's pretty obvious to me that the duplicate closure rate has saturated at a value of about 7%. This is vaguely high for SE standards but not something I'd be at all inclined to worry about. Here is a copy of the ...


18

Not all "Why X?" questions are created equal. The appearance of the word "why?" alone tells you nothing about a question. Let's go through your examples first to see explicitly what I mean: The question title Itô or Stratonovich calculus: which one is more relevant from the point of view of physics? is badly chosen. The actual question seems to be: "How do ...


18

Mutual $E$ force due to charged coaxial rings I think this is probably homework because it's really just asking how to solve a problem. However you could argue it's conceptual in the sense that it's asking about how to approach this sort of problem for arbitrary geometries. A belated footnote: the simplest approach I've seen to doing this requires the use ...


18

Three dimensional isotropic harmonic oscilator Hamiltonian This is an advanced question (on quantum mechanics) that shows detailed effort. It could be argued that it doesn't actually ask anything beyond "what am I doing wrong?", though. Vote up if you think this should be on topic under the new policy, or vote down if you think it should be off topic under ...


18

No, questions involving magical situations are not generally on topic here. Our help center lists "questions about fictional physics" as one of the off-topic categories. The reason is basically what Kyle Kanos said in a comment, ...Pretend the laws of physics are broken, what does physics say happens later? Those questions just don't work. That being ...


18

I agree and would vote to reopen if the closing vote weren't a mod. Reasons: One does not know before asking the question what the answer is going to look like. Once you've seen the answer then one could say it's a meteorological phenomenon and not a physics one, but a priori it could equally be an optics question. Meteorology is intimately related to ...


17

There’s absolutely a place for semiconductor physics questions here. I’m pretty sure I’ve asked some. Some questions on the topics you list are actually questions about electromagnetism and the movements of charges in materials, about the energies associated with those moving charges, and how those charges and fields are influenced by the various types of ...


17

[moderator hat off: personal opinion] We don’t close homework-like questions based on where they are from. We close homework-like questions when they are about doing some single-purpose computation (what is this coefficient of friction, where have I lost my minus sign) versus conceptual questions (why does energy work like this, why do approach A and and ...


16

For the same reason we weren't a homework help site before Physics Overflow was a thing: because we don't want to be that kind of site. The user base of this site have debated the places that introductory exercises have in this site repeatedly since anna v's question that you link and the current policy is the outcome of those debates. Some of the more ...


16

To address the question in the title: Is EM theory appropriate on a physics forum Yes, it is. The electromagnetism tag on this site has 12 thousand open questions. This is the second biggest tag on the site (with QM having 20k open questions). Any claims of "discrimination" or "bigotry" against electromagnetism are entirely divorced ...


15

As long as there are new inventions and new discoveries, there will be new questions. For the network as a whole: find your favorite programming language that is less than ten years old, and search for questions about it on Stack Overflow. Or on Area 51. For physics in particular: consider the timely questions about the OPERA superluminal neutrino non-...


14

It should simply be considered on topic. Notation questions are useful and occasionally interesting, and I see no tangible benefit in not having them on the site. (Unless of course they have other problems, such as being too broad, unclear etc.)


14

Introductory remarks First some remarks to address specific points or misconceptions in your post, then I'll try to pick apart this case. I don't think there is an agreed definition of "student". I take the word to mean any one who is seriously studying the subject. Being in secondary school certainly is no barrier to be a full participant on Physics SE. ...


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