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The category structure of PhysicsOverflow

+ 2 like - 0 dislike

As already discussed in the blog a bit (see also the comments there linking to newer posts), Q2A offers not only tags as a means to characterize question, there is also built in the possibility to define and use broader categories (and subcategories) to organize questions. The category (and subcategory) can be choosen too, when asking a question.

For now, from the earlier discussions we came up with the following broad first level categories:

  • Q&A: intended to contain all general (graduate level upward) physics questions, some kind of a revival of TP.SE with a slightly broadened scope
  • Reviews: this is intended to review and discuss specific papers as suggested here
  • Open Problems: for questions that are still open to active research
  • Meta: for discussions about the site itself
  • Chat: for longer physics discussions and things of interest to the community, that do not exactly fit into the format of the Q&A or Reviews sections

These broad categories can be further subdivided into subcategories. For the Main category we have from the  blog discussions about what topics should be allowed on PhysicsOverflow

  • Theoretical Physics
  • Phenomenology
  • Experimental Physics
  • Astronomy
  • Mathematics
  • SE.Imported (imported questions from living SE sites, see also this community moderation question)
  • SE.TP (the questions imported from the closed Theoretical Physics SE site.

Meta is currently subdivided into the categories

  • Community Moderation
  • Discussion
  • Support
  • Bug
  • Feature Request
  • SE.Imported (not sure how important this is)
  • SE.TP.Meta (former TP.SE users in particular might like this)

If I understand the sophisticated refereeing suggestion right, the Reviews category might be subdivided into ArXiv categories, and concerning Vixra I dont know (how important will non-mainstream be here anyway?)


Take these discussions into account, I have removed the non-mainstream category for now


The for PhysicsOverflow relevant ArXiv categories are now mapped in a one-to-one correspondance to sub-categories of the Reviews section, such that we presently have

  • astro-ph
  • cond-mat
  • gr-qc
  • hep-ex
  • hep-lat
  • hep-ph
  • hep-th
  • math-ph
  • nlin
  • nucl-ex
  • nucl-th
  • physics
  • quant-ph
asked Feb 23, 2014 in Discussion by Dilaton (4,245 points) [ revision history ]
edited May 27, 2015 by Dilaton

As I understand the Refereeing idea, it nicely fits into this structure of categories. And in my personal opinion, refereeing should rather complement and extend the initial idea we had for PhysicsOverflow to be some kind of a revival of Theoretical Physics SE with a slightly lowered bar to ask (gratuate level upward) and extended scope, than replacing it. The current organization easily allows for (top) researchers doing cutting edge physics in the Refereeing categories and advanced students and people who posses the necessary knowledge about the topics of the site to do high-level "conventional" Q&A in the Main category. With this organizatio, researchers and top physicists who are annoyed or bored by graduate level questions, can easily exclusively focus on refereeing if needed.

I think "ViXrA" should be renamed. It doesn't make sense to copy the name of an existing site. 

Yes I agree, but I have no good idea for another name ...

Can't we just use "Non-mainstream Physics"? 
Or what about "Independent Researchers", ?     

I have now changed the name of the Vixra category to non-mainstream. What has to be considered concerning this category, that it may attract people like Robert L Oldershow, Zephir, Uncle Al, and other celebrities well known in the physics blogosphere ... This is in my opinion a bit dangerous as long as we are not able to decouple the reputation gained in different categories ...

In addition, to enhance the fact that the Refereeing category may work rather different from the category dedicated to ask and answer general graduate-level upward physics questions, I have renamed the Main category to Q&A. Both, the Refereeing section of PhysicsOverflow and the Q2A section I have made available from the top menu bar too for easier toggling between Refereeing, Q&A, and Meta.

I think it doesn't matter for the nm and rest of the rep to be coupled together. I'm sure that people like Zephir and Uncle Al (don't know who Robert Odershlow is, heard the name before, htough) will get downvoted to obscurity, anyway.    

What I am more concerned about is whether it is possible to completely turn off rep for the meta section only.              

I am still not convinced having a non-mainstream section is a good idea. Does somebody have an argument for it?

1 Answer

+ 0 like - 1 dislike

I'm not sure if it's that useful. You can add categorizing tags to existing ones anyway such as c1_theoretical physics where c means a categorising tag, the 1 refers to the level. Of course, this means only administrators are allowed to tag questions this way, otherwise the system will end up a mess.

answered Feb 23, 2014 by physicsnewbie (-20 points) [ no revision ]

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