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Comment on new guidelines

  1. Sep 27, 2004 #1
    i would just like to post somthing on the new gidelines being set up for tis site, i have a fealing this thread is going to be closed so reply soon lol. my first question is Why are we closing threads? what harm is it doing to leave threads open? if they are not popular, they usually get rid of themslves, and to be honest, most of the topics discussed are never really closed for discussion, i may post up something in 2003 and maybe not get a reply untuil 2004, it doesnt make much sence to me, f my post ( https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=23088 ) had been closed befor this went into effect, i would never have gotten vilal information that i needed for this experiment, it probably would have been shut down very early and i would not have had a sucsessfull discussion. The fact is that while closing posts and or threads ma make the dministrator's job easyer, it really infringes the purpose of the site; to engage discussion on physics issues. I have seen people in these fourums discuss amazing things and those discussions may not have hapened if those discussions had been closed.

    Adam

    P.S. i also dont understand why posting in theory development is no longer allowed but i assume that if a thread attains to that section is made, it will be moved there
     
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  3. Sep 28, 2004 #2

    Phobos

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    Hi Arsonade
    We want to build forums with quality discussions on scientific topics. The Theory Development forum is typically left for personal theories that often contradict mainstream science. You are right that, usually, there is no harm in letting topics take their own course. And our TD forum was left open for a long time. However, the amount of traffic we were getting in the TD forum lately was taking us in a direction that we did not want to go. So, as a general policy, we are allowing fewer TD topics. Some people are upset by this action and some applaud it. But, in the end, it came down to what kind of forums we wanted to host.
     
  4. Sep 28, 2004 #3

    chroot

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    This is probably the most common argument I've heard against our new policy. It is not valid, however. If speculative theories were unpopular and simply fell off the bottom of the page, we would have had no problem with them.

    On the contrary, speculative theories are extremely popular. The proponents of personal theories are usually extremely vociferous, and many scientists are incensed by attacks on science that they feel are ill-founded. As a result, threads about speculative theories usually either quickly deteriorate into personal attacks, or go on and on for dozens of pages of circular arguments without resolution. Threads of this variety are not very useful to anyone, despite their popularity, and are an inordinate drain on our limited staff resources. We have therefore chosen to no longer host them.
    This statement contains a hidden, leading assertion. Our purpose is certainly to entertain discussion of physics; however, by definition, personal and speculative theories are not physics! They are metaphysics, or perhaps philosophy. The only material that can rightfully be called "physics" is that which can be found in a physics textbook or a physics journal or a physics classroom. Personal and speculative theories are no more welcome in those places than they are here.

    - Warren
     
  5. Sep 28, 2004 #4

    plover

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    While I have no complaints about the guidelines, have no problem with what seems to be the intention behind the previous post, and most likely fully agree with the PF poobahs on what constitutes crackpottery, I would like to say that the above, as worded, strikes me as a terrible definition of "physics" as it actually does preclude genuine new theories. I suppose it's ok as an operational definition for the site given the rarity of new theories of real merit (and the overall likelihood that someone would post one here :wink: ), but I doubt that in a global sense the definition constructs even a sufficient, let alone a necessary condition. I just the think the distinction between the local and global definitions is worth making.

    (Sure I'm pedantic, but am I pedantic enough? :tongue: )

    I also vote that Greg and chroot change the badges by their names to read "PF Poobah". :biggrin:
     
  6. Sep 28, 2004 #5

    Integral

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    The point is this is not the appropriate place to present new theories. Anyone with the knowledge and skills to formulate a meaningful theory will present it in the appropriate journal, with the appropriate experimental evidence. What we get here are people with little or nor formal education in Physics sitting around dreaming up misconceived notions of how they think it should be.

    It takes a lot of time and effort on the part of someone with the knowledge to refute these notions. To make matters worse the proponents of these misconceptions are generally not interested in learning how accepted physics deals with their ideas. They are only interested in pushing their personal theory.

    The staff is in general agreement that they would rather spend their time helping those who WANT to learn or discussing meaningful science with other knowledgeable individuals. Thus we are restricting and even eliminating discussions of personal theories because it takes to much time to police them. We do not want this site to become the soapbox for every crackpot on the web. There are plenty of forums out there that will welcome these discussions. We do not.
     
  7. Sep 28, 2004 #6
    but isnt the point that personal theorys should be proved wrong? isnt that how progress is made? i would never have gotten to the conclusions i came to if the tpic was not argumented over, argument provokes thought, by arguing we all pull eachother up on the same level in doing that, act much better than a textbook ever could, but the fact is, passages in a physic's textbook will not close on you, and it seems that the pages of this website are begining to do that, It also doesnt seem to be that hard of a programing aspect to have posts that have not been replied to in a certain amount of time actually fall off the bottom of the page, possibly into a closed file system, possibly into records, possibly be deleted, this leaves say 20 posts up and running, the ones being discussed; right out in front, the ones ignored, slowly fall out of the system as they are no longer necacery, while i personally feel that the posts should be archived, i think that deletion or anythin of the sort would be beter than closing.

    Adam
     
  8. Sep 28, 2004 #7

    enigma

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    Find a dozen old threads in TD where the OP was critiqued and the poster agreed that he was mistaken.

    I doubt you'll find a half dozen.
     
  9. Sep 28, 2004 #8

    chroot

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    Did you even read my last post? You seem to have missed the entire point.

    - Warren
     
  10. Sep 29, 2004 #9

    Tom Mattson

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    The point is that people should get an education before coming up with their own theories. And if you look at those threads that were locked, you will find that those theories have been proven wrong. If a thread is locked without comment, it is because the post is so overspeculative, and so without experimental basis, that the poster should have known better than to post it.

    The whole problem with these people is that they are putting the cart before the horse. They believe they can come up with something substantial by merely being creative, without going through the exertion of the years of training it takes to get to the point at which one can theorize well. It's no different than if a couch potato were to try out for the Olympics.

    That's why everything they come up with is nonsense.
     
  11. Sep 29, 2004 #10

    ZapperZ

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    You are assuming that the people who are posting these personal theories have the ability to comprehend the replies they are getting. More often than not, when you try to reply and tell them what's wrong with their idea, you have to DOUBLE BACK and explain your own reply, because they either could not understand certain phrases and terminology, or simply bastardize various physics concepts that you are trying to convey. It becomes a vicious and time-wasting exercise because you have to keep on taking many steps back. Someone who is trying to prove that the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle is wrong should not need to be told what a "hermitian operator" and "commutative relations" are. So no, I have NEVER recall of making any "progress" when dealing with things like this. Never underestimate the power of delusion when one is willing to spew one's idea based on ignorance.

    My point in all of this has always been the question: is there a shortage of places on the Internet in which these people are able to post their garbage? If anything, there is a serious misproportion of discussion sites that simply want to deal with legitimate physics. So these people certainly can pick from countless places to air their laundry. So the whinning about "censorship" and the restriction placed on personal theories are rather lame and hilarious.

    Zz.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2004
  12. Sep 29, 2004 #11
    i think that you are right in the fact that most posters do not accept if they are proved wrong or not, most of them are stuburn, i dont think i feel strong enough on this issue to keep arguing, there should at least be a place for personal theorys that would then be transferd to theory development, and i dont mean just posting under general physics, mayby somthing like theory preliminary discussion or somthing, you would wind up with the same as theory development but the actual theorys would be transfered, people would know where to look to find a good and senciable disgussion, and i would still like to emphasise the topics being droped automatically, eventually all topics are discussed and there is nothing left ot agrue, putting these kind of posts in a place like the theory preliminary discussion would tell the people arguing that the chances are this topic is wrong and a waste of time, if people would like to waste tht time explaining, it is their choice, personally, i think that agruing over these things does good to everone involved, but thats just my oppinion. as i said i dont think this topic is really worth arguing over but i think i will accept "defeat" in some areas of my first argument, but either way, with people not being able to publish in theory development, you are going to wind up with a lot of those crazies (sorry if i ofended anybody there) all over the rest of the site.

    Adam

    P.S. a final thought, if you close the thread, it only helps the people looking at the area of the site, the person with the bad idea is going to stick with that bad idea and they wont have that group of people to tell them they are wrong, they wont even have the reason available to call it stoubournness. just a thought
     
  13. Sep 29, 2004 #12

    chroot

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    Not a chance.
    The problem is that very, very few personal theory threads result in good, sensible discussion. You're obviously new to internet science discussions! The empirical fact is that 99% of personal theory threads never result in any good, sensible discussion. We left the TD forum open to discussion exactly as you suggest for years, and we know quite well how things actually worked there under that policy. You seem to have a very utopian ideal of the way people discuss personal theories.
    This already happens! For the last time, old posts are already pushed off the front page to later pages.
    There are two kinds of personal theory discussions. The first kind begins something like this:

    This kind of personal theory discussion is actually generally welcomed here. The poster has done some critical thinking, which is always positive, and wants some feedback about the plausibility of his/her idea. If this person listens to the counterarguments and gracefully accepts that the theory is untenable, and learns something in the process, that's excellent. I don't think I or any of our other mentors would object.

    My point: this is a scientific discussion. The poster presented a rational, scientifically meaningful hypothesis, and accepts when evidence disproves that hypothesis. This is how science works. We would approve of this whole-heartedly.

    The second kind of discussion begins something like this:

    This post would not be welcome here. The poster is presenting something resembling a hypothesis, but it is so poorly described that no one can actually follow it. No one knows what a time vortex is, and this poster has not taken the time to explain them to us. In virtually all such cases, these people are unable to adequately and rigorously explain their hypothesis even when pressed. Futhermore, this poster makes some outlandish claims about time dilation not happening, despite its observation in thousands of experiments. He also makes some disparaging remarks about physicists being closed-minded. This post will almost certainly not generate any discussion worth reading. It would be closed or deleted under our new policy.
    And we will be quite happy to ban them from the forum.
    We are not in the business of trying to force sense into delusional peoples' heads. It's a thankless and often pointless endeavor. We are in the business of educating people who have an honest and well-intended interest in science.

    - Warren
     
  14. Sep 29, 2004 #13
    first of all, what i meant by posts being droped in not moving them to another page, but deleteing them, getting rid of, ect. the site does not do that.

    as for your two types of threads, i agree that the second will not be convinced of his being wrong, its just not going to happen, this is why all of these theorys should be put into a kind of preliminary theory development page, sonce only mentors are allowed to bring the threads to theory development, if they take a look at the post and see that it is like the second example, they simply do not bring it up, and the even smarter thing to do would be for the mentors/contributors to ignore the post, other users may debate if they would like but it simply wont get into theory development, since the thread in the preliminary theory development page, anyone going to that page already knows that the threads here are probably not all signifigant arguments or discussions and if they want to find such signifigant discussions, go to theory development instead.

    The buisinus of forceing sence to onto people is, as you said not what this site is about, i think that i am simply sugesting that there be a different place for those who will accept sence and those who will not, either way you are going to get noncence posts, but with a seperate place for them, they dont corroupt any other pages

    Adam

    P.S. i did tell myself i wasnt going to argue on this anymore didnt i, o well
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2004
  15. Sep 29, 2004 #14

    chroot

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    The people who will accept sense belong anywhere on the site they choose to post. The people who do not accept sense do not belong anywhere on the site at all.

    What you are proposing is to subdivide TD into two subforums, one for the hopeless and one for the remediable.

    This is just not necessary.

    - Warren
     
  16. Sep 29, 2004 #15
    what i mean is a specific place for both noncence and sence specific to theory development to use this, both start out there if they want to post for Theory development, but only one will wind up in Theory development, it is necacery because otherwise the hopeless and the redeemable will continue to stay together, the way i am proposing is a way that keeps the integrity and the oppinion of the site as a great way to put theorys up for discussion intact and still keeps the site from being overcrowded by nonesence threads where they are not welcome. its a win win situation where the closing of threads is not necacary.

    Adam
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2004
  17. Sep 29, 2004 #16

    enigma

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    The problem you're overlooking Arsonade, is that someone has to moderate all of the forums, whether you look there or not.

    Flame wars, insults, threats, inappropriate links, etc. all slip into the forums each and every week. You don't see them usually because the mentors and administration are quick-like-a-bunny to delete them. We've got almost a hundred reported posts from the last month in our 'reported posts' forum, and that doesn't include anything one of us simply deleted without bothering to store a record of (like much spam).

    I don't want to sift though mountains and mountains of pseudo-science to make sure everyone's behaving. I think I can speak for the rest of the mentors that none of us want to.

    For several years, we had the TD forum like you're recommending, and it seriously tired and frustrated the physics mentors who the task of wading fell to. So, we changed the guidelines for everyone's benefit.

    There are plenty of forums and places on the internet where people with personal hypotheses can rant on to their hearts' content. This just isn't one of them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2004
  18. Sep 29, 2004 #17

    chroot

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    I will repeat:

    Sensical posts, including those which involve personal theories developed according to the scientific method, are welcome anywhere on the site.

    Nonsensical posts are not welcome anywhere on the site.

    I see no reason to have separate sensical and nonsensical theory development forums. We don't wish to host anything nonsensical, and I suspect the sensical theory development forum would have essentially zero traffic.

    - Warren
     
  19. Sep 29, 2004 #18

    Moonbear

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    Why would we want to encourage nonsense threads by giving them a home? Besides, someone posting such a nonsense thread isn't likely to have the sense to put it in the right place anyway. You don't just crack open your Physics 101 textbook and have enough knowledge to develop a sound theory.

    People who are in the process of developing sound theories aren't likely to post them here, they will publish them in a peer-reviewed journal, and prior to publication will seek comment from their colleagues by presenting preliminary findings at scientific conferences, where they are more likely to get solid critiques than at a web forum.

    If you would like to learn more physics, the way to do so is to ask questions and heed the answers, not try to create theories. There are plenty of ways to open a discussion and expand your knowledge without confusing people by making up new "theories" that aren't even hypotheses. Even an hypothesis must have grounding in direct experimental observation and be consistent with ALL previous experimental findings. A good way to open a new discussion is to explore someone else's published works and discuss what it does or does not mean, what questions have been answered, are there any inconsistencies it didn't explain, what questions remain unanswered by the work, what solid conclusions can be drawn, etc. If you're going to say the conclusions of a published work are wrong, you better be prepared to back that up with the contradictory studies, either published or your own experimental data and not random mental meanderings.
     
  20. Sep 29, 2004 #19
    didnt you say yourself that a certain type of theory would be accepted, such as your first example in one of your previos posts? my point is that i know that sencical posts are welcome anywhere but unless you just made up the page for theory development as code for "post anyting here" then thats not what i meant, i am talking about a system for only theory development, posts that pertain to theory development are posted in said preliminary page and then upgraded to theory development if they are relevent enough, im talking about people that want to post senciable posts on Theory development, im not talking about the rest of the site, i know that senciable posts are welcome everywhere, but they appear to come up majorly short in TD so while senciable posts are accepted everywhere i am talking about accepted TD associated posts. Of coarse you dont want to host nonsence posts but rather than having to go and delete them, why not just sepperate the good from the bad and focus on that? you have already shown me that a post can be determined as usefull or not usefull from the first post, if you are so boged down with work, focus on that. As for enigma, you're right, i dont know how the system works on this site, i thought that one mentor controlled one specific page, apparently im wrong, why not, instead of giving morework to mentors, just get more mentors, are you payed? the fact is that people are going to rant wheather you like it or not and if i know anything its that they will probably do whatever is needed to keep their post going, wheather you close it or not. so instead of going through all the closings, why not just have a place to let the arguments boil away from everything elce, if people understand that this section has been made to be seperate or even that complaints on this section are not valid, a kind of read at your own risk kind of thing. but if the fourum has worked and failed like this in the past then it is likely that this way is better.

    Adam
     
  21. Sep 29, 2004 #20
    the problem is that many people developing sound theorys may ver well not have the reosorses needed to do somthing of the sort, and also, i am not encouraging creating a place for noncence theorys, imply a place where both noncence and sence wind up before making it into TD, how do they get into TD? by way of the mentor's or admin's decision. it is not a place for noncence theorys, it is a way to seperate the noncence from the sence without having to close threads.

    Adam
     
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