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82 votes

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

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. ...
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36 votes
Accepted

Should history of physics questions be on topic?

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 ...
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29 votes
Accepted

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

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 ...
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  • 108k
29 votes
Accepted

Generalizing the homework policy

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 ...
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  • 74.1k
27 votes
Accepted

Experimental Physics & Engineering

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 ...
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24 votes
Accepted

Is this question about a recent paper on topic?

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 ...
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22 votes

What does everyone mean by "insufficient research effort"?

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, ...
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22 votes
Accepted

What are the goals of this site?

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, ...
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22 votes

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

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 ...
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20 votes
Accepted

Is Physics SE an appropriate location for peer review?

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 ...
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20 votes

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

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 ...
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  • 74k
20 votes
Accepted

Users that post every question in their homework/exams

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 ...
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  • 74.1k
20 votes

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

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/...
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  • 35.5k
19 votes

Users that post every question in their homework/exams

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 ...
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  • 39.5k
19 votes
Accepted

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

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 ...
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18 votes

Poor reception of 'why' questions

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 ...
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  • 108k
18 votes

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

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 ...
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18 votes

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

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 ...
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  • 74k
18 votes
Accepted

Are the implications of magic on-topic?

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 ...
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  • 74k
18 votes

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

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 ...
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  • 16.9k
17 votes

Does 'Semiconductor Physics' have a home in Physics SE?

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 ...
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  • 74.1k
17 votes

Bounty on "entrance exam" question

[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 (...
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  • 74.1k
16 votes

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

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 ...
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16 votes

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

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 ...
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  • 74.1k
16 votes

Is EM theory appropriate on Physics.SE?

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 ...
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14 votes
Accepted

What does this community mean by students?

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 ...
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14 votes

Generalizing the homework policy

In my opinion, in this discussion there is too much focus on the "question" and not enough on the "value of the question plus the answer". If the goal of the site is to be a "resource" to all serious ...
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  • 117k
14 votes

Why is everyone so keen to answer physics questions by writing down tons of equations?

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, ...
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  • 108k
13 votes

Homework questions, on hold

In general, homework help is the gold mine of such sites, There is a pretty good argument that homework help drives out the real experts and prevents the site from hosting large numbers of really ...
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