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38 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 ...
Emilio Pisanty's user avatar
28 votes
Accepted

Should questions with obvious answers on the web be closed?

Should questions with obvious answers on the web be closed ? No, not unless they are duplicates. We do not need yet another highly subjective reason to close questions. If you think the question has ...
gandalf61's user avatar
  • 55.8k
24 votes

Allowing mathematical and homework questions on this site

I'm sorry, but the idea that our site policies are "controlling the learning of other less knowledgeable students of the universe" is just plainly ridiculous. That people on the internet won'...
ACuriousMind's user avatar
  • 126k
23 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 ...
Emilio Pisanty's user avatar
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, ...
John Rennie's user avatar
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, ...
dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten's user avatar
21 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 ...
David Z's user avatar
  • 76.6k
21 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 ...
rob's user avatar
  • 91.1k
20 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 ...
ZeroTheHero's user avatar
  • 45.7k
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/...
gandalf61's user avatar
  • 55.8k
19 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 ...
David Z's user avatar
  • 76.6k
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 ...
Emilio Pisanty's user avatar
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 ...
John Rennie's user avatar
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 ...
Allure's user avatar
  • 21.3k
17 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 ...
David Z's user avatar
  • 76.6k
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 ...
rob's user avatar
  • 91.1k
17 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 ...
Emilio Pisanty's user avatar
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 ...
rob's user avatar
  • 91.1k
16 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 (...
rob's user avatar
  • 91.1k
15 votes

Allowing mathematical and homework questions on this site

Personally, I think it is fine for a site to decide what is on-topic and what is off-topic for the site. A different choice wouldn’t have been wrong, but having a specific policy (whatever it is) ...
Dale's user avatar
  • 102k
14 votes

Are partial answers to homework questions allowed?

This depends on the quality of the question, I should think. If it only consists of text that is obviously a dump from a homework assignment (or other similar set-piece, like a textbook exercise, say) ...
Emilio Pisanty's user avatar
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, ...
ACuriousMind's user avatar
  • 126k
14 votes

Allowing mathematical and homework questions on this site

What's wrong with a homework-like question? Homework questions are specially written to expand and question one's understanding - it's a totally valid way of learning. If you think someone's trying to ...
J. Murray's user avatar
  • 70k
13 votes

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

Extension in a vertically hanging rod This is a homework question, and the OP admits it's a homework question. However the OP isn't asking us to do the problem, they are asking about the physics ...
John Rennie's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

How to handle references to literature in predatory journals

I don't think we need any additional policies about referring to or questioning about papers published through predatory journals. Assuming the paper is mainstream... Well, we don't really need to do ...
Kyle Kanos's user avatar
  • 28.3k
13 votes

Is it valid to ask for a brief translation for a paper in a foreign language?

I really don't see asking for a translation of a paper to be in scope for Physics. First, it really isn't a question of physics, and second it likely has little value to anyone else. You might try ...
Jon Custer's user avatar
  • 7,456
13 votes
Accepted

Is a "how should these experimental results be interpreted?" question admissible?

I think the specific question you seem to have in mind here - "can the results of X be explained with theory Y?" - is perfectly on-topic, as long as X and Y are parts of mainstream physics. ...
ACuriousMind's user avatar
  • 126k
12 votes

Is Physics SE a good place to ask for textbook references?

Yes, this would be a very good fit for our resource-recommendations tag... if this question didn't already exist: What are good books for graduates/undergraduates in Astrophysics? That question is ...
David Z's user avatar
  • 76.6k
12 votes
Accepted

Can we reduce the scientific terms?

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 ...
Emilio Pisanty's user avatar
12 votes

Deleting answers due to the Homework policy is not beneficial

With due respect: we've already had this debate ad nauseum. Check this post from 2014 as a representative example, or more recent posts here , or here. PSE is NOT a homework site. Whether or not ...
ZeroTheHero's user avatar
  • 45.7k

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