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Status of the Technical Private Beta


I thought that we should inform users not involved in the technical private beta about the current status of the private beta. IIt is of course natural that we are in private beta much longer than a typical SE site, because we have to sort out a lot of technical issues, the actual site issues can be sorted out once we are public. First let me add a few screenshots.

This is how the site looks, to an anonymous user:

Physics Overflow to an anonymous user

Physics Overflow to an anonymous user.

This is how the site looks, to a super-administrator:

Physics Overflow to a Super-Administrator.

Physics Overflow to a Super-Administrator.

The logo idea is that of user10001 (dushya).

A few important things:

  • TP.SE questions have been imported, and high-level P.SE questions are being imported using polarkernel’s “Import SE question” plug-in. It appears to me that this is quite time-consuming to check if each question has been imported, and then import it one-by-one. I don’t know it is possible to have a plug-in to import questions in bulk, e.g. from search results, tags, users’ posts, etc.
  • Users may regain their SE account or merge their SE account into a new account, merge more than one of their SE accounts, etc. through PolarKernel’s “SE Regain Account” and “Merge Accounts” plug-in. In case that they have forgotten their TP.SE login details, they may reset their account, too.
  • Most of the necessary plug-ins, if not all so far, have been installed. We still haven’t had much discussion about chat rooms, but there seems that there is a plug-in for this.
  • In the review section, it is being planned as per Ron Maimon’s suggestions that we have a bot pull all physics papers from ArXiV and put them in the reviews section. Each question will have two voting criteria; “Originality” and “Accuracy”, which will result in some final score, too. physicsnewbie has pointed out a similar site to take some inspiration from; . This has not been done yet, however, polarkernel thinks that this can be done through the “OAI-PMH” of ArXiV, without violating any of ArXiV’s policies.

There are a few things remaining to be done, before we can actually go public:

  1. The reputation settings must be changed so that the rep gained/lost in meta is 0.
  2. Interesting SE questions need to be imported.
  3. The FAQ needs to be expanded.
  4. We need to simplify the editor.
  5. We need a second system developer.
  6. We need a tree-structured tag system (I’m not completely sure on this one.).
  7. When we go public, the home page should not contain meta questions.
  8. Just before we go online, all the relative links should be changed to absolute ones, but with “” as the root. Which means, href=”4912″, href=”?qa=4912″, href=”index.php?qa=4912″ should all be changed to href=”″, and then the URL structure should be changed to /123/why-do-birds-spit.
  9. [TOP SECRET] : – )

Other than these extremely necessary things, there are some design-related things, like:

  1. Having a better 404 page
  2. Having some nicer voting buttons
  3. Removing some shadow for the question, etc. pages

There is also a bug fix remaining, as the notification box seems to be broken.

An important issue is that the reviewing section would take a long time to take off, but the Q&A could go public sooner. So, the issue is if we should wait for the reviewing section to be complete, or whether we should take of the Q&A and secretly develop the Reviewing… I think we should take off soon, we have been waiting since a long time…



  1. Joe says:

    Any target date in mind?

    • I don’t think so, we still don’t know how many more bugs we will find, how many more feature requests will come in, design ideas, plugins to be installed, and so on. A lot of the minor things can be done after going online, too.

      Why, after this blog post was posted, 1 or 2 more bugs have been reported. As I am writing this comment, I remember one more plug-in we need to install.

      • Dilaton says:

        I like this report, just recently I thought that we should leave a sign that we are still alive and very busy too 😉

        Have to read up about some primordial gravitational waves now, on TRF and other friendly places, yeah :-D!


  2. […] I posted my last post, we were under the impression that when going online, we will bring both the Q&A category and […]

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