Can I ask 'ignorant' questions on this forum?

  • Thread starter Nadeen
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In summary, "pardon the ignorance" is a phrase used to apologize for a lack of knowledge or understanding on a topic. It is not considered rude and can be used in both casual and professional settings. Other phrases, such as "forgive me if I am mistaken," can also be used to convey a similar meaning.
  • #1
Nadeen
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Hello

As this post suggests, I’m new here. I have no science background but often find myself browsing scientific forums and blogs which compound my sense of inadequacy and ignorance. I yearn to understand things, to be able to filter through faux erudition and general nonsense. A lot of the time it’s pretty straightforward – I just google the subject and read up on it in my own time. However, when it comes to more esoteric topics, like special relativity etc., I hit a wall, big time.

I appreciate this site is catered more toward an academic spectrum of things but I was wondering if it would be at all permissible for someone like me to pose (and I can only apologise for this) really ignorant/stupid questions? (For example, at the moment I have a burning question about spacetime.) And if so, is there some sort of etiquette, or perhaps a particular place where I can do this without too much distraction to the rest of this Forum’s community?

I thought I’d ask and do please tell me if this is not an option. I wouldn’t mind at all and will look for a more appropriate forum.

Many thanks

Nadeen
 
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  • #2
:welcome:

Simply go to the Relativity forum and post your question. That is what the forum is here for.
 
  • #3
Welcome to PF Nadeen. Answering questions is the purpose of PF. We take questions from beginners as well as experts, so don't be afraid that your question is stupid.

Choose an appropriate forum. For beginners questions on spacetime, General Physics might be the best place.

The etiquette is to state your question as clearly as possible, but make it a question, not a statement of what you believe or what you think the answer is.

It may help if you read a few threads first. There is a search function where you can look for previous threads on spacetime.

A few topics are not allowed on PF. Please read our guidelines. https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/physics-forums-global-guidelines.414380/#post-66018
 
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  • #4
Thank you both. Much appreciated. I'll try to word my question as best as I can and post it sometime today. Again, thank you!
 
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  • #5
We welcome questions at every level in this forum. That is the whole reason for the existence of this forum.

However, this is where paying attention to what is allowed within our Rules is important.

This is perfectly OK:

Hi. I don't have a background in physics and have high-school level math. I've read a little bit about spacetime (cite exact legitimate source here so we can check), but I don't quite understand what it is, how it came about, or how gravity can affect it. I know this came out of Relativity, but how is the speed of light connected to spacetime?

This is NOT OK:

Hi. I don't have a background in physics.(no clear level of knowledge being given) I heard that (no exact or legitimate sources given) spacetime can be warped and stuff. How about if we can punch a hole in spacetime, and somehow use it to do time travel to another universe? Maybe this is a way to travel back in time. Maybe entangled particles travel this way.

The first one is a perfectly legitimate way of asking. You described your background, you gave proper sources that we can check and verify, and you asked basic questions that can act as starting foundation to build upon.

The latter, on the other hand, tells very little about what you know, did not give us any sources for what you "heard", and then went off on a wild goose chase. Before you even establish that what you've read, heard, and understood is even valid or correct, you've gone off on speculating on what can be done. In other words, before establishing that you had a solid foundation, you've already tried building something on top of it.

So yes, we do entertain questions at all level. How you ask it, however, is what you should be aware of.

Zz.
 
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  • #6
ZapperZ said:
[...] So yes, we do entertain questions at all level. How you ask it, however, is what you should be aware of.

Zz.

Thank you, Zz. This is very helpful indeed.
 
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Related to Can I ask 'ignorant' questions on this forum?

What does "pardon the ignorance" mean?

"Pardon the ignorance" is a phrase that is commonly used to apologize for a lack of knowledge or understanding on a certain topic. It is often used when someone is asking a question or making a statement that may seem uninformed or naive.

Is "pardon the ignorance" considered a rude phrase?

No, "pardon the ignorance" is not considered a rude phrase. It is simply a way to acknowledge that one may not have all the information or knowledge on a particular subject.

How should one respond to someone who says "pardon the ignorance"?

It is generally polite to respond with understanding and patience. You can offer to provide more information or clarify any misunderstanding in a respectful manner.

Can "pardon the ignorance" be used in a professional setting?

Yes, "pardon the ignorance" can be used in a professional setting. It is a polite way to acknowledge that one may not have all the information or expertise on a certain topic.

Is there a better phrase to use instead of "pardon the ignorance"?

There are other phrases that can be used to convey a similar meaning, such as "forgive me if I am mistaken" or "please correct me if I am wrong." However, "pardon the ignorance" is a commonly accepted phrase and is not considered impolite.

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