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

+ 7 like - 0 dislike

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 (1,255 points) [ no revision ]
Most voted comments show all comments
Why remove mathematical physics from the charter?

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
@JoeFitzsimons Because I don't see why _mathematical_ should be more privileged more e.g. _numerical_. Furthermore, explicitly writing in the first line _mathematical_ _or_ _theoretical_ is likely (IMHO) to attract only one edge of theoretical physics (i.e. one who is very far from experiment / real data) and scare the rest.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
@MichaelKissner Everything above is up to wording. About popular science - I believe it cam be written more diplomatically. However, it is important to write it explicitly and give link to the right place (so not _Go out!_ but _There is a good place for such questions!_).

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
The popular science part is fine, actually i meant the very last part "(try physics.SE)". I just thought it sounded a bit degrading. But I can't think of anything better to write instead

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
@MichaelKissner: Edited post a bit to solve the issue.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
Most recent comments show all comments
@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)

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

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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