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Suggestion A crackpot section

  1. Mar 13, 2009 #1
    I came across something odd on the world wide tubes today: an "observation" that measurements of the speed of light have shown an increasing speed over the years during which it has been measured (presumably before time measurement was linked to this speed), suggesting that the value of c may be slowly changing in the long term. Note that I am not a physicist but I occasionally read the odd paper. This one seemed long so I googled for confirmation of its validity before choosing to read it or not. I didn't see anything but I assumed someone at PF might have heard of it. My search of the site failed to locate anything so I asked the question in the relativity section and was served a warning for posting about overly speculative theories. The thread was then deleted.

    I later thought of something that could save time and frustration. When this happens, lock the thread and move it to a crackpot section instead of deleting it. This way the next misguided soul who searches PF for the same information will find it in there and will know that it isn't worth pursuing. Moderators will be spared some exasperation and wasted time. Misguided souls will be saved as well. o:)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 13, 2009 #2

    cristo

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    I fear that if we have a crackpot section, containing locked threads or not, this will just encourage more crackpots to come to PF: something we all want to avoid!
     
  4. Mar 13, 2009 #3

    berkeman

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    I agree. We don't want Google hits for crackpot concepts giving links to the PF.
     
  5. Mar 13, 2009 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    I agree as well. In fact we have spent years running off crackpots from the early days when PF was much looser. We don't want to invite them back. Also, we don't have the resources to debunk every crackpot theory on the web.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2009
  6. Mar 13, 2009 #5
    Yes, good point about avoidance. But a robot.txt file can inform Google and the other main engines not to index the section in question so that only a search from within PF would locate these. Greg may know other tricks.

    If attracting crackpots wasn't a problem, would this have any merit at all or cause different problems?
     
  7. Mar 13, 2009 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    We already have a tool for sorting between crackpot and legitimate papers - the journals. There is no reason to duplicate the effort here. And again, we don't have the resources.

    If a paper isn't published in an appropriate, mainstream, peer-reviewed science journal, then forget about it. If there is any credibility to the proposal, it will eventually get published. Readers can use this approach to judge for themselves without ever making a post.

    By "appropriate", I mean "applicable". We have seen some examples of crackpot science [not engineering] getting published in obscure engineering journals. Likewise, a "Theory of Everything" published in a social sciences journal would be a flag as well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2009
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