Schrodinger's Cat Strikes Back

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We need a new higher-level physics site !

The purpose of this blog is to support setting up  a new higher-level  physics Q&A site, to allow the international community of researchers, students, and people  interested in learning physics at an advanced level  to enjoy discussing and improving their knowledge about physics topics they are interested in  unhindered by any externally predefined obstructions or negative interference by people outside the community. The new site is roughly expected to be some kind of physics analog to what the mathematicians have with the high-level  MathOverflow in addition to Mathematics SE, where more basic questions are welcome too.A new higher-level physics site is urgently needed, as the formerly existing Theoretical Physics Stack Exchange site has unfortunately been closed since such small, highly specialized communities are not what the Stack Exchange network supports in the long run by definition. Just to be sure, the theoretical physics site has NOT failed, it supported a very nice research-level community and the high quality questions and answers that appeared there are very valuable . The only problem I observed from silently  lurking around (I even had a fanatic batch there!) is that they probably had set the bar to ask slightly too high, such that the site suffered from not enough new questions coming in.  So, even though this  project of setting up a new high-level physics site can be seen as some kind of an attempt to resuscitated the closed theoretical physics site, it is probably a good idea to broaden the scope and targeted audience a bit to include for example experimental and phenomenological physics questions at an appropriate level too.

The still existing Physics Stack Exchange site, even though it was initially targeted at active researchers, academics, and (university?) students of physics (and astronomy today),  has clearly failed to offer the larger part of the former theoretical physics community a good new home, even though the questions were migrated there. In particular since the last elections in December last year, accompanied by some really bad happenings, the site has become terribly overmoderated and dominated by people more interested in enforcing rules which are detrimental to an academic community,  the site is flooded by popular physics and very low-level  questions of people who have (almost) no physics knowledge of their own, some moderators enforce their personal opinion in a rather dictatorial manner, etc … such that the site has now lost its nice collegial atmosphere and is no longer an agreeable place for people seriously interested in learning and doing higher-level physics. This is enough (or already too much said) to explain why the current Physics SE site does appropriate to fill the gap left by closing the Theoretical Physics SE site, more can be read here, here, and in related discussions on Physics Meta  . At least to me know other higher-level physics Q@A site is known to exist, as for example Quora has its strengths rather in the popular sector and Physics Forum is as the name says a forum.

A still ongoing discussion about setting up a higher-level physics site has already been started on TRF (kindly allowed by Lumo). But as this thread is growing things are becoming a bit messy and it has become rather hard to navigate through the now nicely many comments. So the plan is to summarize and evaluate further if needed what has already been said on TRF concerning the many technical issues and questions about the desired scope and content of the future physics site in dedicated posts on this blog to (I hope so) better structure and organize the discussion.

As this is my first blog and you are reading my very first blog post ;-), I am still figuring out how the different possibilities to customize the site work, how the design can be improved, what features can be included, etc … So apart from being happy about anybody who joins the discussions about setting up the new physics site, I appreciate any advice of more experienced people about how to improve the look, structure, and other aspects of this blog.  Help to improve the language (I am not a native speaker)  or removing typos (they badly accumulate when I am upset …)  is highly welcome too. As I have noted by browsing some WordPress tutorials, the rights of different (logged in?) users to edit this blog could be customized, such that it in principle does not have to be exclusively be me who writes posts, leads discussions, edits stuff,  etc here, even though John McVirgo has kindly enthrusted the task of running this blog to me, LOL 😀 ! So if other people are very eager to write and edit things here too, have good ideas, important things to say, I guess the blog could be run in a more collaborative way too. And who knows, even though it is intended to be a temporary blog  just to support setting up a new physics site, maybe it  could be kept as a companion of the new site, we’ll see.

Now I wish us all good success in bringing up the new physics site online 🙂

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14 Comments

  1. One second, I’ll search the wayback machine to get the relevant links that there were on your Physics.SE profile…

    Wait, what? The wayback machine only captured your profile on 2 June and 6 June this year (you were suspended then too, so I can’t get the links from then)???

    Oh, no.

  2. Maybe you should change the default blackboardsj to this:

  3. By the way, you may want to post another blog post about the policyies.

    • Dilaton says:

      Yep, about policies and many other things … 🙂

      Concerning policies I am not sure how much sense it makes to discuss and settle down too many details (not every detail should be overmoderated anyway …!), before we actually have the nice community of contriuters we’d like to have …

      But some general considerations can be done of course.

  4. That is great. I hope this project succeeds!

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