On the new Astronomy SE site, I have seen a blog post promoted that gives some advice about what important meta questions have to be considered by an upraising new site. My plan for this post is to steal and adapt these ideas for our purpose and to evaluate what has already been clarified, and start some new discussions as needed. It is clear that there are things that can only be done as soon as we actually have a site up and running … 😉
So here we go!
1. What should be on or off topic ?
Some polling about what topics will be welcome has already been done here. Up to now it seems, that all of the suggested broad fields
- Theoretical Physics
- Fundamental Physics
- Experimental Physics
- Mathematics / Mathematical Physics
are almost equally welcome (the votes currently vary between 8 and 10). Concerning the off topics
- Non Mainstream Physics
- Applied Physics
it looks like the first two will rather be off topic indeed, whereas concerning Applied Physics, which has presently only 3 votes to be off topic things are slightly less clear.
An aside: These two and all of the other polls in this blog are still ongoing …. if I have done it right 😉
2. Do we need an FAQ and what should it say?
As I read it from the SE blog post, this is mostly used to define the scope of the site, what kind of questions are welcome and what questions are no good. In addition, it would maybe be an idea to shortly outline there the purpose and targeted audience, goal of the site, what will be allowed and what not, etc (?) …
We already have started to gather example questions.
3. What kind of tags should we have?
Just recently it was said in some comments to this blog, that it could be an idea to subdivide our site a bit into categories, such as for example into the broad on topics theoretical physics, experimental physics etc… If this should be done, right from the start or only later when the site has become large enough needs to be discussed. Maybe it is enough to keep this written here and in mind for now.
Concerning the subfield tags, I often enough complained about the (increasing in number and application) terrible and blatantly dilettante / unprofessional looking ones (such as food, aircraft, and other everyday life and man-made things) on Physics SE… As I understand it, meaningful physics or mathematics tags should either denote subfields or other keywords, useful to and applied by physicists.
Another, for a professional site rather appropriate suggestion from a comment would be to apply Arxiv nomenclature.
4. Who should the moderators be?
We obviously only need moderators as soon as we have the site up and running. Are moderators even needed, or could good community moderation be enough too ?
In my opinion moderators should be the most knowledgeable and trusted by the community users, who are willing to do the job. The SE point of view that anybody can moderate a site even if he is lacking the appropriate knowledge about the topic of the site, is in my personal opinion just nonsense …
5. A slogan or motto (on SE called “elevator pitch”)
As I understand it this should be a short slogan characterizing the site, which can the be artistically and graphically visualized on the site. I am not sure, if this is really needed ?
However, if somebody can come up with something that is cool and contains a nice portion of physics humor, it could be fun … 😀
The domain name or name of the site could be used as some kind of slogan / motto too, and from the discussions on TRF the name of the new site seems to equilibrate to PhysicsOverflow. This I would like because of the nice analogy to MathOverflow, which is a nice research-level math site …
To be sure and just for the fun, it maybe does not hurt to do another short poll for the name (and domain name) of the site here:
The first three names have already been mentioned on TRF. I added “The Hidden Sector”, because I always like to think about the new physics site as a refuge or hiding place, where all mainstream physics topics can be discussed seriously and reasonably, without having to deal with uninformed trolling about certain topics, as it is observed too often in most other online physics discussions (including Physics SE unfortunately) …
6. What should our site design (including a logo) look like?
This will strongly depend on the corresponding degrees of freedom the Q&A software we use (probably Q2A) has I guess. Maybe some screenshots can be posted on this blog while testing the software on a laptop …
7. How to promote the site?
This will be most important once the site is up and running, but it probably does not hurt to already note some people, that something is seriously going on concerning a new physics site to have good discussions here.
For this, the direct feed of posts from here into a Physics SE chat room (which will probably also prevent it from getting frozen for inactivity) is rather fun, thanks to Dimension10 … 😀
Now I have talked or written enough for the moment, somebody on Physics Meta once even said that I write a lot of text faster than he can read … 😀