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Theoretical Physics is closing

+ 3 like - 0 dislike
237 views

Note: This is a post from the Meta of TP.SE. Nothing has happened to PhysicsOverflow. 

As mentioned in the recent blog post, I must reluctantly announce that we'll be shutting this site down on Friday, May 4th, 2012. While a fine topic, progress here has been slow for some time now, and it simply does not appear that theoretical physics has a strong enough following on our network to support the site long-term:

But when a site struggles to maintain any semblance of steady progress — when it's struggling to garner an audience, a healthy core of experts, and a steady stream of questions — it becomes increasingly unlikely that the site will find a core audience to sustain it.

So rather than stringing you along with hope of eventual graduation, I'd like to thank you all for the time and effort you've put in here, and encourage you to continue pursuing your interest in the subject - either elsewhere on Stack Exchange, or elsewhere on The Internet.

I hasten to add, this is not the end of theoretical physics as a topic of interest on Stack Exchange: if you see a question here that would make a good addition to the Physics site, please flag it for moderator attention in the next few days and suggest that it be migrated.

After Friday, the questions and answers posted here will be made available for download and re-use by anyone who wants them.


Just a few hours left... I'd like to thank you all again for your efforts in the migrations and final cleanup. The current plan is to mass-migrate all open questions to Physics, so if you know of posts that would be better off somewhere else (or simply closed), then flag those now. A full list of migrated questions will be posted on Physics later today.


This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)

asked Apr 25, 2012 in SE.TP.closing by Shog9 (0 points) [ revision history ]
recategorized Jun 5, 2014 by dimension10
Most voted comments show all comments
@Shog9, we have started the process of moving on and seeking alternatives, see http://meta.theoreticalphysics.stackexchange.com/questions/252/where-do-we-go-from-here#question. Keeping the site open for a few extra days might make a big difference for such plans.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
@Kaveh, Shog9, thanks. Sad, but I appreciate that the world is more complex than just the good points. Might I suggest an idea: Some of the thought leaders of the current TP.SE could exchange emails and form a closed, low-overhead, invitation-only group dedicated to continuing the tradition of very open exchange of oddball leading-edge physics questions. Add folks by referral and voting, to help keep cohesion and lower costs. There aren't enough forums for asking such questions, and a well-formed leading-edge question can engage, inspire, and link thoughts in ways that publishing only cannot.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
@Artem: actually, you pretty much nailed it there - as I understand it, TP was created as sort of a way to split off a part of Physics to allow for a more focused site without all the noise and quackery. Which is great, if you can capture that without losing your audience. One of our goals for the re-designed site creation process is to give ideas like that a chance to test the waters without the same pressures and overhead.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
It was mentioned in [an answer](http://meta.stackoverflow.com/a/130377) to @PiotrMigdal's question that part of the reason for closing was because of topic similarity between physics.SE and TP. What is the similarity? TP is for research-level questions, and from browsing the [highest voted questions on physics.SE](http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions?sort=votes) it seems that the site is for popular-physics. I had the impression that the whole reason TP was formed was to give researchers in physics a site with a better signal-to-noise ratio?

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
Dear Shog9, this theoretical physics site has had a lower traffic because it was meant to be more specialized, more expert-oriented cousin of Physics SE. So when it comes to the quality and relevance of pretty much everything here is enough for Physics SE. Whose confirmation do you want to hear to believe me that the full migration would be welcome on SE?

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
Most recent comments show all comments
@Shog9, as someone who by choice tries to limit my answers to questions asked by people who are interested and willing to learn, but not deeply familiar with physics or mathematics, I am tremendously saddened by the closure of your Theoretical Physics site. I have already quoted TP.SE as an example of how the social media can impact even the ways in which top physicists interact. I think the _who_ of your site is far more important that the automated plus-up stats. I would even go so far as to ask you to please reconsider your decision and continue with this unique gem.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
I don't have an MSO account, but someone commented for me, it seems. I will restate here, TP.SE seems to have very similar age and stats to [ling.SE](http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/6673/linguistics). The only difference I see, is that the stats suggest TP.SE has harder questions (which is to be expected since the site is about __research__ level questions) and a slightly smaller community (which is to expected since there are fewer _research level theoretical physicists_ in the world than people interested in linguistics).

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)

3 Answers

+ 9 like - 0 dislike

I have only just noticed the deletion announcement at TP.SE, and want to say that this is definitely a loss. There were quite a few world-class researchers contributing to TP.SE, and they will clearly not hang around on a site like Physics.SE.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
answered Apr 29, 2012 by Mitchell Porter (720 points) [ no revision ]
Moshe suggests in another thread the possibility of essentially migrating to a different platform to remove the dependence on SE or other private enterprises. I'd be willing to pay for hosting etc. if people would be interested in this, and put in some time to develop the site. But it only makes sense to do this if there is community interest.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
+ 3 like - 0 dislike

There will be a chat session in the Physics room to discuss merging of the sites tomorrow at 9 PM UTC, and it would be great to have people representing the Theoretical Physics SE community there if anyone can make it!

One of the things we will be discussing is whether there is anything that can/should be done to make Physics SE more attractive to researchers.

(Maybe I should have posted this as a comment, or a separate question... someone let me know if that's the case)

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
answered Apr 29, 2012 by David Zaslavsky (0 points) [ no revision ]
I can't make it for that time I'm afraid, but I think a big part of the issue is "noise". Imagine your white board time with colleagues getting mixed up with office hours and a problem class. I know that it's is possible to use tags to filter, but it can still be off-putting. Also, the atmosphere there can be less... genial.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
@Mark: Thanks, too bad you can't make it... we'll keep that in mind. Feel free to offer comments in our chat or on a relevant meta post at any time.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
+ 2 like - 0 dislike

(It is not an actual answer, just aggregation of links directly related to dealing with the demise.)

The questions on meta.SO (containing further links, so I am not repeating them):

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
answered Apr 26, 2012 by Piotr Migdal (1,250 points) [ no revision ]

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