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Forum section for specific books

  1. Nov 24, 2014 #1

    Stephen Tashi

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    I think a website to discuss specific math and science books would eventually become popular if it was organized properly. (I'm talking about detailed discussions of a book's contents, not the general type of discussions in the forum section on Science and Math Textbooks.) Judging from forum posts, people often pick a particular book and work there way through it. Math and physics posts to Physicsforum often reference particular pages in a text. The convenient format would be to have the threads organized by book title, author, edition, chapter, and page number.

    Perhaps no forum software can currently implement this, so my suggestion is for "the world", not particularly for Physicsforums. If a forum merely offered a section to discuss specific books then a chaotic collection of threads would develop. One thread to discuss a single book would get too long. If it was left to the posters to title or tag their threads by title, author, edition,...etc. then variations in spelling and punctuation would cause disorder. Putting the burden of oganizing threads on staff might be too labor intensive.

    One idea is to only let staff create the section for a given book and, within the section, give "other interested parties" the (limited) ability to organized the threads within the section. Like on the "Wikipedia", there could be problems of defacement so old versions of the sections would have to be saved. The thought of having one wiki to discuss each book also comes to mind. The problem with that idea is that a convenient interface for posting messages is missing. One can post commnets in the "Discussion" page for a Wikipedia article, but the interface doesn't enforce much organization on those pages.
     
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  3. Nov 24, 2014 #2

    Fredrik

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    I think the problem with having a section for each book is that not enough people will open the section to check out the new posts. But apart from that issue, I like the idea. It would be especially great if the textbook author is willing to participate, or if people who are teaching courses based on the book would use it to answer questions from their students.
     
  4. Nov 24, 2014 #3

    Stephen Tashi

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    A section about a particular book probably wouldn't be an immediate hit on the web, but I think that traffic would build up gradually as the section showed up in links on Google and other search engines. I don't see any competition for this type of website, so the first one to do it well could become dominant.

    People working through a book or teaching from it would have as much interest in reading old posts as new ones. I agree that a general forum audience would neglect sections containing only old posts. So the "market" for such a website is mostly the population of people who have an interest in a particular book - those who are studying it, or teaching it, or who once studied it and are interested in commenting on it.
     
  5. Nov 24, 2014 #4
    You've noted the problem with using forum software, but still, our specific textbook threads are fairly inactive :(
     
  6. Nov 25, 2014 #5

    Stephen Tashi

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    I've never noticed there were such threads!
     
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