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Scope and FAQ - for researchers in theoretical physics and related fields

+ 7 like - 0 dislike
56 views

Maybe it is the time to think about FAQ and About pages - the clearer they are, the newcomers will be less confused.

Currently, in FAQ TP.SE is presented as follows:

Theoretical Physics - Stack Exchange is for research level questions in any area of mathematical or theoretical physics.

I suggest (according to discussions during the definition phase), to write the following:

Theoretical Physics - Stack Exchange is for research level questions in any area of theoretical physics.

Mathematical, numerical and experimental questions are welcome as long are related to theoretical physics (either explicitly or in used tools).

This is a site for researchers - popular science, homework and standard course questions are not welcome. The same for strictly experimental, intrinsically numerical or purely mathematical questions.

If your question does not fit in the profile of TP.SE, maybe there is another good place for it, e.g.:

  • physics.SE - questions in physics of all levels
  • math.SE - questions in mathematics of all levels
  • MathOverflow - research level questions in mathematics

The general idea is to not to scare researchers working in fields close to theoretical physics (e.g. experimentalist asking theoretical questions, people from complex systems using ideas or methodology directly from theoretical physics, ...).

Along, we should add (perhaps edited) questions which are on/off-topic.

Do you agree with my point of view?

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
asked Sep 18, 2011 in SE.TP.discussion by Piotr Migdal (1,250 points) [ no revision ]
Most voted comments show all comments
@JoeFitzsimons Surely mathematical!=numerical. I know that mathematical physics is not always considered as a subset of TP (actually, most of mathematical physicists I know do pure mathematics, but in fields traditionally associated with physics). My point is to have approach of this site _theoretical physics and related stuff_ (inlc. mathematical physics, theoretical issues in experimental physics, interdisciplinary topics using tools from TP, etc) not _theoretical and mathematical physics_ 'only'. In short, questions in math phys should on equal basis as theoretical in the experiment.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
@Piotr: I took your question to be about the FAQ as a whole.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
@JoeFitzsimons: This question was about a particular modification of FAQ. (Just writing "We should change FAQ in some way" without providing a concrete proposition seems to me not that productive.) Of course, I am very open to suggestions and comments (it's a soft matter, and also my opinion there is soft in some sense).

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
@Piotr: I'm not quite sure how you get mathematical=numerical. The point is that mathematical physics is not always considered a subset of theoretical physics, but rather they have a large overlap.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
@Piotr: Ah I see. In that case I don't have much of a problem, but I think that sort of change is something that needs its own thread on meta.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
Most recent comments show all comments
Why remove mathematical physics from the charter?

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
A very nice solution!

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)

1 Answer

+ 5 like - 0 dislike

What you wrote is definitely an improvement from what is there now :-)

On physics.SE, we have our FAQ formatted as bulleted lists. I'm not really sure whether the list formatting is any better than paragraphs, but it's worth thinking about. I think especially for the list of allowed topics it would help to add more detail and really focus on its organization, as the scope of the site becomes clearer. It could look kind of like this:

Theoretical Physics - Stack Exchange is for research level questions in any area of theoretical physics. This includes:

  • Mathematical physics
    Example
  • Numerical calculations and data analysis
    Example
  • Relating experiments to theoretical physics
    Example
  • Tools used for theoretical physics
    Example

One other thing to think about: on Physics we have this item

However, we do not allow certain kinds of questions:

  • Pitches for your own personal theories or work
    We deal with mainstream physics here. Anything that couldn't be published in a reputable journal is probably not appropriate at this site.

The point is to have something in the FAQ which we can point to as a reason for closing crackpot-ish and overly speculative questions. Obviously that doesn't exactly carry over here, since personal work is the focus of the site, but it might be worth including something that basically says you need to know what you're talking about in order to post here.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
answered Sep 20, 2011 by David Zaslavsky (0 points) [ no revision ]
The physics.SE FAQ is a good one (the think I like in it the most is the start with concrete examples, a newcomer do not need to scroll). When it comes to crackpotism - I guess in research-level site it won't be an issue.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)

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