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Jun30-12, 06:32 AM
This thread contains tutorials and frequently asked questions about the Physics Forums website.
The following technical FAQs are available:
Jun30-12, 06:32 AM
How to make a post at physicsforums
The authors of this FAQ were
Jun30-12, 06:37 AM
How to type mathematical equations here?
A very short introduction to LaTeX
The previous section explains how to include LaTeX code in posts, but it doesn't explain LaTeX. So in this section, we will explain how to type common mathematical formulas in LaTeX.
If you wish to practice writing LaTeX or test some code, a sandbox is available here. Please do not create threads just to practice LaTeX.
If you have questions, you can ask them in the Math & Science Software subforum.
Simple non-LaTeX options
If you just want a subscript or a superscript, you can use vBulletin's sub and sup tags. For example, x[sub]1[/sub] yields x1, and x[sup]2[/sup] yields x2. If you don't want to type these tags, you can use the X2 and X2 buttons above the input field when you're in advanced edit mode.
We are indebted to member and former admin chroot, whose efforts brought LaTeX to Physics Forums in the first place, and forum admin and owner Greg Bernhardt for updating to the currently-used MathJax processor. Numerous other members have provided valuable feedback and helped with the debugging process.
Aug3-12, 11:12 PM
Physics Forums FAQ and HowTo
Why did nobody answer my post?
It happens quite a lot on this forum. Somebody posted a question and doesn't get answers. Or he does get answers but not the ones he anticipated. This is very unfortunate. This is why we have compiled a list of items to watch for improving your posts.
The authors of this FAQ were:
Aug24-12, 10:40 AM
Suggestions in Forum feedback
We of course welcome new suggestions to improve the quality of PF. But there are some suggestions that we truly get quite a lot. Please read the following points first before making a suggestion. If you still feel that your idea has merit, then you can post it.
Sep4-12, 07:30 PM
Known bugs and features
Apr30-13, 05:25 PM
How to Ask for Homework Help
When you open a new homework thread, you are asking volunteers to spend their time to help you, so spend a little of your time to make their job easier. Effective communication is the key, so keep these general considerations in mind when you make a new thread:
Feb18-14, 08:18 AM
About PF’s Policy on Speculative Discussions
Authors and contributors to this FAQ:
Jun23-14, 11:20 AM
Some information about physicsforums and its history
Owner Greg Bernhardt started Physics Forums as a high school extra credit project for a physics class in 2001.
Some number crunching
Owner: Greg Bernhardt
Greg's real job: Web Design/Development
PF DOB: 2001
Organization: Undefined, Bernhardt Media LLC.
Revenue: Adsense, Gold Memberships
PF Data Size: ~6gigs
Location: Datacenter in Dallas
Monthly Costs: high $XXX
PF average 100,000+ visitors, 100+ new members and 1000+ posts per day.
80% search engines, 10% referral sites, 10% direct traffic
80% of our visitors are from North America. 10% Europe, 5% asia and 5% other.
55% use Internet Explorer. 38% use FireFox. 5% Safari, 1% Opera
70% on high speed internet, 10% dialup
88% on Windows, 8% Mac, 3% Linux
History of the forums
It comes to many peoples surprise to find I am actually not very good at math and physics. PF started in spring of 2001. I was taking Physics II in high school my senior year. The semester was ending and I found myself getting a "D" in the class. I badly needed at least a "C" to minimize impact on my overall GPA.
Through the year I gained mass interest in the Internet, web designing and community building. My interest in physics was also sparked by popular physics books by Michio Kaku, Brian Greene, Stephen Hawking's and Paul Davies.
So I thought of proposing the idea of creating a useful physics community on the web as an extra credit project to my physics teacher. The teacher bought it and away I went. In the end it took me just a month to get enough done and promote it for the thing to look half way decent. I found a "C" on my report card end of semester :)
Early Years (2001-2003)
PF started out on the ASP driven software of Snitz. I believe we also started on the web host "DreamHost". Unfortunately two years later in 2003 we grew too big and too fast. We ended up having to ditch the software and the host. This resulted in starting completely from scratch. The database had about 200,000 posts in it. It still hurts to lose all that data to this day. But it has proven to be a turning point marker for PF's history. We moved to a dedicated server and professional software to last us for many years. During this time I also admit hiring some non qualified staff members. Once we got Integral, Tom Mattson and chroot, things started to change.
The Middle Ages (2003-2005)
Before the "beginning from scratch", PF was becoming quite popular, but our forum management and organization was severely lacking. Over the next couple of years PF would prove itself a giant in the science web community. Early 2004 we even hosted Michio Kaku's official forums.
In these years PF would:
1. Develop an organized forum structure
2. Start creating a strict but fair policy
3. Hire competent staff with similar visions
4. Start member award days
5. Install LaTeX for equations
6. Start the Homework Helper and Science Advisor programs
The "Golden" Years (2005-Present)
Physics Forums is now finally working like a well oiled high performance machine. The standard has been set. We're pretty much coasting now that we have a complete system in place that has proven to be successful. Crackpots and spam are almost non-existent. Along with what seemed like a new design a year, we found one that works and will stick with for a long time now.
A few highlights of these past couple years include:
1. Partnership with Scientific American
2. Partnership with PhD Comics
3. PF Library
Bigger and better things planned for the future!!
List of mentors
Let's use this section to list Mentors. Oldest to Newest. (Bold means they are still on staff)
1. Monique (Niqqie,theOwl)
11. Sting1983 (Sting)
15. Kerrie (skorpiano)
15. Tom Mattson (Tom)
18. damgo (alis)
22. Russ Watters
24. Another God
26. Ivan Seeking
28. Doc Al
41. Math is Hard
44. George Jones
49. D H
Jun23-14, 11:27 AM
Physicsforums medals and guru's
Physics Forums awards various types of medals to members for showing ability or dedication in a given area. These different awards are described below.
There are several different medals or rankings a member can achieve while being an active part of Physics Forums. Each medal has different requirements that must be fulfilled. The different medals/"rankings" a member can have on PF are:
Normal Member: This is not very hard to achieve. It involves signing up for free. Do it today!
PF Contributor Medal: These members are also known as "Gold Members" due to their names being displayed in Gold in the forums. In order to obtain this medal a member must contribute a donation that goes towards running the site. If you enjoy PF and wish to contribute, you may do so by clicking the "Upgrade" button on the top of the page. Other benefits these members get (along with the medal and gold name) include:
Set invisible ability
Ability to have a Signature
Ability to view who's online
Homework Helper Medal: This is the first of the PF merit-awarded medals discussed here. As such it entails responsibility beyond that of the average poster. In order to be recognized as a Homework Helper a member must:
1) Give correct and reliable help to students in the homework help forums of the site.
2) Help in the homework forums regularly whenever they are able.
3) Be a regular and "established" member of PF. (By this I mean they must show that their contributions will most likely continue in the future. i.e. They are members who are not as likely to disappear on a whim and never help again.)
Members are nominated by current homework helpers and mentors. The medals are then awarded by the administrator, Greg Bernhardt. Due to the amount of effort homework helpers devote to keeping the homework sections of PF running smoothly and efficiently, they are listed under the "Staff" link at the top of any PF page along with Science Advisors, Mentors, and Administrators. Homework helpers also from time to time participate in policy/structure discussions.
List of homework helpers can be found here.
Science Advisor Medal: The science advisor medal is a merit awarded medal as well. As such, it entails responsibility beyond that of the average poster. In order to be considered for a science advisor medal a member must:
1)Offer reliably correct explanations for scientific questions posed in the various forums of PF. Science Advisor medals are awarded to those members who have demonstrated an unmistakable expertise in a certain field of science discussed on PF.
2)Help other members understand their field of expertise a little better through their postings.
3) Be a regular and "established" member of PF. (Same meaning as above.)
Members are nominated by current science advisors and mentors. The medals are then awarded by the administrator, Greg Bernhardt. Due to the amount of effort science advisors devote to keeping high quality scientific discussions on PF, they are listed under the "Staff" link at the top of any PF page along with Homework Helpers, Mentors, and Administrators. Science Advisors also from time to time participate in policy/structure discussions.
List of science advisors can be found here.
Guru Plaque: Every year, around December, PF members (of any level) vote for members who have been nominated by mentors for excelling in different areas. The winner of the poll for each category receives the "Guru" plaque for that category. They will keep the plaque until next year when the voting begins again. Guru plaques are awarded every year in the following categories:
Mentor Rank: A PF mentor is a member who has been chosen by current mentors and administrators because of their demonstration of unparalleled commitment to PF, extensive scientific knowledge in a certain field, and perceived ability to be able to effectively moderate discussions on PF and run the day to day operations of the community. The mentors help maintain the high-quality scientific discussion that makes PF famous! Many of the mentors are professional scientists and graduate students. Mentors are distinguished by a green name in their posts on the forums and a "PF Mentor" label underneath their name. The Physics Forums mentors are listed under the "Staff" at the top of any PF page.
List of current mentors can be found here.
Retired Staff Medal
This medal simply denotes past service as a Mentor or Admin.
Administrator Rank: The administrators (Greg Bernhardt, Astronuc, and Borek) keep the site running by looking after the technical end of things. Greg also owns Physics Forums. Administrators are distinguished by a blue name in their posts on the forums and a "PF Admin" label underneath their name.
List of administrators can be found here.
Guru Roll of Honour
This list recognises those users who have previously been voted Gurus. We congratulate them on their achievement and thank them for their contributions to the community.
2007: George Jones
Astronomy & Cosmology
2004: Matt Grime
2005: Matt Grime
2007: Matt Grime
2012: jim hardy
2010: Andy Resnick
2011: Andy Resnick
2008: tiny-tim, Dick
2010: tiny-tim, Mark44
2011: I Like Serena, tiny-tim
2012: ehild, Dick
2013: Simon Bridge, haruspex
2005: Math is Hard
2010: Char. Limit
2011: A. Neumaier
2003: Mr. Robin Parsons
2006: Pengwuino & Cyrusabdollahi (Joint)
2004: Les Sleeth
2005: Les Sleeth
Crackpot of the Year5
Best Thread of the Year5
(1) From 2006 onwards, the Biology and Chemistry categories have been merged into a single category.
(2) After 2005 the Philosophy Guru was phased out.
(3) Formerly 'Biology & Chemistry'.
(4) Formerly 'Funniest Member'.
(5) Phased out after 2003.
(6) Merged with 'Other Sciences' in 2008
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