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What categories should we have?

For some reason, the editor is not letting me write in source mode, so sorry if I write some nonsenseically formatted text.

One of the best advantages of Q2A over, even Stack Exchange, is the ability to categorise things. On Q2A, we have the option to classify questions based on either:

  • – What’s Classification again?
  • – Only Tags
  • – Only Categories
  • – Tags and Categories

Sidenote: One of the issues with Q2A is that there is no in-built way to have tag wikis. There is a Tag Description plug – in, but the descriptions are really small (more like tag wiki excerpts), and don’t have a page of their own, and mess up the tags page, and also the MaThJaX and MarkDown plugins wouldn’t really work on these tag descriptions, obviously. The only solution I see for that would be to host all the tag wikis on The Mathematics and Physics Wikia. For this, I may need to request wikia for a custom namespace, but that has many technical risks regarding the existing data, I’ have heard, and there is only one custom namespace one may request per wiki, so that probably needs to be used wisely, since we can actually just use a “pseudo-namespace”, like some that I already have are “Organisation”, for example.

Categories are also important, and from this post, as well as from Pratyush’s various posts on the meta of Physics.SE, we know that it is importantk to organise and categorise different fields.

And besides, we are a higher-level site, and most journals (“categories”) require papers to have keywords (“tags”) anyway : )

Therefore, the second Option is also out. We are left with the 4th option, which tells us to use both tags and categories.

So, tags are more trivial things. Anyone should have the power to create them. Just as, in our (at least to me, funny) analogy, any paper author can create a keyword.

But what about categories? You can’t have categories popping out here and there! Just like a paper author doesn’t found one journal after another just to get his paper published : )

From here , we know that our scope is going to be graduate upward. From here , we know that Theoretical Physics, “Fundamental Physics”, Mathematical Physics / Mathematics, Phenomenology, Experimental Physics, and Astrophysics, are on-topic on the site.

We could also have a separate section where, in my opinion, people could discuss their (legitimate, not crackpot) research, and may be even post experimental results,. This is all just as Ron Maimon suggested in the comments here on TRF on an old post, during the time when he was suspended.

If you noticed, I put “Fundamental Physics” in quotes. This is because I don’t think that one should have a category for Fundamental Physics. It’s a bit too vague a word for a category, and a bit non-constructive, since such a category name would be unpopular among people who work in “not-so-fundamental” Physics (such as condensed matter and fluid dynamics) too, since their fields are also equally important, right ? .


We should probably have a categorisation like this (by the way, I finally managed to use the source editor, and I’m not sure if the below superposition of lists is going to work…) :

  • Main
    • Theoretical Physics
    • Physical Mathematics and Mathematical Physics
    • Phenomenological Physics
    • Experimental Physics
    • Astronomy and Astro Physics
  • Meta
    • Bug (to be probably forwarded to the Q2A meta)
    • Feature Request
    • Discussion
    • Support/Uncategorised

I had initially proposed a much more confusing and much more stupid categorisation, categorising specific fields like String Theory, Loop Quantum Gravity, Condensed Matter Physics, etc., into separate subcategories, but Dilaton kindly pointed out that that is just going to make the category drop – down long, confusing, and would discourage people from asking questions. So actually I have not come up with this categorisation, I have only removed “Fundemental Physics”.

Any objections to this? Any alternate solutions? Do we need the Fundamental Physics category? Should we use the more specific categorisation?
Edit: I think we should also have a subcategory two subcategories of main “Books and Reference Request” and “Software Recommendations”.



  1. Dilaton says:

    Hi Dimension10 😉

    The Main (sub)categories you propose are exactly the ones I use in the testsite on my laptop too, and I have just one Meta but your partition for this looks very reasonable at least to me.

    Yes, the editor to write posts in this free version of the blog is far from perfect …

    • Naah, the editor is ok. It’s just my computer, I think. I have noticed this not only on, but on other places too.

      As for the subcategories, I guessed that you used the same, but I think it’ is a good idea to officialise it and ask for feedback if any,.

      • Dilaton says:

        I agree that Fundamental Physics is not needed and too broad as a category.

        BTW thanks for writing this entry 😉

        I will probably be quite off-line this weekend …

        I am a but worried that they will forbid any technical posts about advanced topics, including the ones we list in the special chatroom (see the latest posts in meta) as they consider any technical question with LaTex about advanced topics to be homework ..

        Happily Polarkernel is optimistic that we will finally be able (with some handwork) to continuously restore questions from data dumps, even wtith the new site allready running online …

        But for the questions we are listing I fear the worst, it looks as they will simply kill everything that has the tag homework (even unjustifed) attached to it without making any difference :-/

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