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I was just thinking about my earlier post, and I realised we haven’t yet discussed an important thing.

As discussed in the comments here, it may be a pretty important thing to have a section for things like requesting experimental data, proposing new ideas in Physics, discussing Cold Fusion and other non-mainstream Physics, etc.

So, maybe we should have categories for these, too?

So, here’s another poll.

Hm… how do you embed the poll here? The only option now is to click on the above link.

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”.

Example questions

As this projects tries to some kind of restart theย  (generalized) theoretical physics proposal outside the Stack Exchange network, conversely to Astronomy which has just made it to private beta again (congratulations!), we have no well-defined place to ask example questions.

May idea of a work around is to do it here in the comments below this short post. When asking one example question per comment, they can be voted on (up and down), and as comments to comments are possible, each question can be discussed a bit too if needed.

So let’s go ๐Ÿ˜‰ !

What should be the level of the new physic site?

From sifting again through the comment thread in the TRF discussion about the new site, the question of the physics level the future site should have seems not yet completely clarified apart from the consensus that popular science questions and high-school questions are not appropriate. So let’s do another poll:

Another point worth discussing could be if the site should be exclusively for students and researchers with some kind of academic (physics) affiliation, or if serious and knowledgeable enough physics enthusiasts will be welcome too? For example Mitchell Porter claims to read string theory papers just for fun, and I don’t know anything about his educational background. But he writes extremely nice and often very high level answers, and his questions are very interesting too, so I think such people should be highly welcome on the new physics site anyway.ย  I personally think everybody who is seriously interested in the topics of the site and able to contribute at an appropriate level should be fine on the new site, independent from his proven background concerning education, etc … But this may be just me, so lets discuss this and other things related to the level of the site here.

What topics should be welcome on the new physics site?

There has already been a fair amount of discussion on TRF about what topics should be allowed and welcome on the future physics site, so the purpose of this post is to streamline what has already been said and ensure, that we are all on the same frequency. I got the impression that even though we will use the Theoretical Physics SE questions (and maybe some good ones from Physics SE) as a basis of questions to start with, allowing exclusively research-level theoretical Physics questions could be a bit too narrow, even though outside the SE network we will not have to fulfill any stringent activity / traffic / etc criteria …

Many people said that it would be nice to allow for experimental physics, phenomenology, condensed matter for example belongs to theoretical physics anyway, too at an appropriate level. The level of the site will be discussed on another related post shortly. So to be sure that we agree what we want (and to test if I am able to embed a poll in a post ๐Ÿ˜› …), here is another poll about the ON TOPICS of the future physics site:

On Physics SE I noted, that people seriously interested in learning physics at a technical level liked to ask some rather mathematical questions they needed answers for too, so I added mathematics to the list too. As I know that the relationship between very advanced theoretical physics and mathematics is very close anyway, I am not against having some mathematical questions too.

In the course of the TRF discussion it had also been said, that the new physics site should not be about engineering, applied physics, and I guess everybody agrees that we don’t want to invite crackpots who try to sell us their personal non-mainstream theories. So here is another poll to assess what we think should be OFF TOPIC on the future site:

An aside concerning “off topics” for people who know Physics SEย  … ;-): I hope and assume (?) we do not want to declare reasonable (as defined by the majority of the community) study material / reference request questions (called recommendations on Physics SE), or questions that rightly so can have multiple good and interesting answers (termed list questions on Physics SE) as off topic …

When voting, you can choose multiple answers to the polls at the same time, if I have done it right … ๐Ÿ˜‰