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Do we really want a tag called "resource-recommentation" ?

+ 0 like - 1 dislike

Do we need a tag called "resource-recommendation", or is it better on PhysicsOverflow to tag questions of people explicitely looking for (comprehensive text) books simply with "books" and questions of people looking for references (things less heavy than a fat book such as papers, lecture notes, overview articles, etc ...) as "reference-requests" ?

This concerns in particular questions taken over from the Stack Exchange network, such as this for example.

In case we dont need this tag, it should be replaced by either "books" or "reference-requests".

asked Mar 6, 2014 in Discussion by Dilaton (4,245 points) [ revision history ]
retagged Mar 7, 2014 by dimension10

I disagree with this. "resource-recommendations" is more general than "books". I may just be looking for a set of lecture notes, a nice blog to read from, any electronic media, and so on.          

Hm, maybe it is just that I dont like the term "resource recommendation" because it sounds too political in my ears ... Maybe references could also include online references such a blog articles and video lectures for example? You could post how you see it as an answer too.

2 Answers

+ 0 like - 0 dislike

I disagree with this.  

"Resource Recommendations" is a generalisation of "Books". Many people, when wanting to learn a topic, wouldn't immediately fix it that they will only read a book, no research papers, no PhysicsOverflow answers, no blog posts, no lecture videos, nothing.    

I, for example, before learning Quantum Mechanics from a book, only watched the NPTEL lecture videos.  

Many cutting-edge topics, like Matrix String Theory, have few books about them, except for Becker, Becker, Schwarz, which was just published like 5 years ago. The best resources, as Lubos Motl has often said, are still the papers themselves (of course I like BBS too, but if someone were to not read the original papers, by Motl and Banks during Lubos's PhD, they would be missing something).         

How many books will you find about the amplituhedron, or the ER/EPR correspondence? Few...    

There are so many resources other than just "books", research papers, lecture videos, lecture notes, talks, conference proceedings, blogs, wikis, q&a sites, our own tag wikis that are to come soon, forums, our reviews which are to come soon, haven't you heard Ron talk about the importance of the internet, and so on ? 

Naming the tags "books" is like naming it "lecture videos" or "physics overflow tag wikis" or something. 

Of course, I do agree that "Resource Recommendations" sounds very political-ish, and it is a bit toooooooooooo formal; maybe "Resource Requests" or "Resources" would do.     

Yes, "Resources" sounds right. Even "Reference Requests" should just be "References".  The tag wiki can explain what is meant, and maybe even link to this very post.       

answered Mar 6, 2014 by dimension10 (1,950 points) [ no revision ]

Resources does not hurt in my ears ... ;-)

+ 0 like - 1 dislike

I think this is a good way to make use of the "refereeing/review" section, as also a place to exhaustively list all pedagogical resources on a topic, with votes on how useful they are.

Since I think the only proper tag system for this site should be heirarchical, with each node of the hierarchy associated with a specific question, with both "originality" and "content" reviews, then "originality" section a high level tag would then be the proper place for discussing previous work, and it can include a list of all the references on the subject. So the tag for "statistical physics" can include Landau/Lifschitz, the tag for "classical physics" can include Goldstein, and people can upvote these references according to their usefulness.

This way, you don't need to have any questions on "What is the best reference for cluster expansions", or anything like this, you can go to the tag "statistical physics", find the subtag "cluster expansion", go to the associated question, and find the references listed there in the "originality" vote question. If there are no references present, you can place a bounty, but I think it is easy to place books in the appropriate place. Anyone can put 20 books in the proper tag places in about an hour, so one can just add books over time with no difficulty.

I think allowing questions of this sort is a bad idea, as they are easy to write, trivial to answer (if you know a source) and are distracting from questions with real content. It ends up being a pat-the-famous-authors-on-the-back sort of thing, with famous texts getting upvotes.

answered Mar 7, 2014 by Ron Maimon (7,435 points) [ no revision ]

-1 I disagree with this, having books in questions and answers format allows people to discuss more about the qualities of the book, what exactly it discusses, basically a review of the book. Of course, we can discourage people from simply writing names of books, but not disallow it, disallowing is what SE does, and we should not copy that. 

I think you want to either disallow it, or make it "community wiki" (or whatever the Q2A analog is) because these questions have no physics content. They will dominate your site and skew your voting. They are off-topic, they are not about physics. They waste people's time. Google will provide you reference list for any topic.

The goal here should be original information, not a rehash of what is already provided elsewhere. Original material is what you want, and anything that gets in the way of this is a problem. "What is a good book for Conformal Field Theory?" is a problematic question, because the answer is easy to write, every book is an answer, and unless you are pointing out specific mistakes in certain books, something hardly anyone ever does, it's pointless, devoid of content, and gets you cheap upvotes.

Ron no, completely disallowing any study material / reference questions that are very useful for people who want to familiarize themself with a new topic for example, would be exactly the negative Stack Exchange attitude I disagreed so much with that it got me banned. Even on TP.SE and Mathowerflow they appreciate some such questions, if they are well defined enough. CW however might be a good idea, it could also be used as a zeroth order solution to nullify the meta rep, if it exists on Q2A.

Unfortunately, there exists no option for "community wiki" on Q2A (this was the only advantage that OSQA had over Q2A, but OSQA is worse in every other thing). I don't know how difficult it would be to develop a plugin for this.

If it is not possible, the only solution is to have some sort of a "community bot", who can claim all the "community wiki" posts.       

Providing "community wiki" should take about 10 seconds, it requires setting a multiplier for the rep gain to zero. We need that multiplier anyway for originality.

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