I propose some new forums/sub forums

  • Thread starter Stephenk53
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I think we should add the following forums/ sub forums

Psychology
DIY (engineering or similar STEM pursuits)
Safety

I had a few other forum ideas but I can't remember them so I will have to get back to you on them
 

Answers and Replies

  • #3
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The problem with adding forums and subdividing forums into finer structure is that seldom will anyone post there. We have to walk a fine line between too many and too few. Our setup is not optimal but works well for now.

I do like the DIY or MakerSpace forum as I think that is a big trend and folks may even post there. I know I would.

The Safety forum, while useful in itself usually is dispersed among our other forums as it comes up so seldom. In general, we moderate posts that may be dangerous and either warn or delete the post if the activity could cause serious harm. One such example that we've seen are some high voltage experiments where tweens are showing off Jacob's ladder constructs where either you could get zapped with a charge of electricity or irradiated with X-Ray emission from the apparatus.

I'm not sure about a Psychology forum as that seldom comes up or it comes up tending toward philosophy which we don't discuss here.

Our primary mission is to help students of STEM subjects learn their topics better.

Perhaps @Greg Bernhardt could chime in here and explain the PF mission better.
 
  • #4
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DIY (engineering or similar STEM pursuits)
This is something I've long considered. I think it's worth discussing. I would use it, at least in terms of DIY around the house :smile:

The other two I think would not be used enough.

Thanks for the suggestions!
 
  • #5
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This issue has been frequently discussed before and the arguments remain basically the same. A subforum only makes sense, if there is a demand for it. A post now and then wouldn't make sense. Another difficulty is, where to stop to partition the forums? Science as a whole is so broad, that it is practically impossible to cover all aspects and realms. Even in the existing categories physics and mathematics there could be easily added a couple of more. Which brings me to the my main argument: psychology isn't really part of our competence. It would open up the door for a lot of nonsense and non scientific personal stories. We already had to ban politics and philosophy, because of that. Contributions there had nothing, I mean absolutely nothing to do with political science and real philosophy. Everybody felt to be invited to publish their own personal opinion as the most valuable contribution to the fields. Those discussions will inevitable end up in arguments, personal attacks and endless themselves repeating statements, usually without the least chance to find a peer reviewed paper supporting them.

As to a DIY forum, the safety aspect - your third point - is actually the reason why it's not there. You won't imagine what people are trying to experiment with. From acids of all kind, over poisonous chemicals, high voltages and currents to unstable building constructions. This would lead to law cases in which someone might be urged to say "But an engineer (chemist, doctor) on PF has said ..." which nobody wants to risk. It would be irresponsible to support such undertakings, because what actually will happen in real life is far above our influence. The only safe safety post would be to warn before those experiments, which we frequently do on a case to case basis. Beside the legal aspect, it is also ethically irresponsible. A go-ahead-but-watch-out is easily typed far away from all consequences, especially those which might cause irreversible injuries. The only valid DIY advice is: CALL A LOCAL EXPERT!
 
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  • #7
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As to a DIY forum, the safety aspect - your third point - is actually the reason why it's not there.
Yes. I've often considered at least starting a "sticky" thread on DIY projects in the engineering forums, but this is what has stopped me. An awfully high percentage of DIY engineering projects are dangerous or illegal. The rules would need to be very restrictive and even then I'm not sure we could make them adequate.

A simple category/example is any line voltage electrical work. It's legal to do your own, but you have to comply with code and in practice that is difficult for a non professional to do. I recently started a thread on a GFCI plug fault in my pressure washer. I re-wired it with, then without a GFCI plug (but on a GFCI curcuit). Then I disassembled the washer looking for the fault, then I gave up and threw it away. I think that because my credentials/level of responsibility is known here my asking was ok(barely) but as a general practice/rule it would not be since other people who are less knowledgeable/responsible could read the thread and think it is ok for them too.
 
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  • #8
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Alright thanks for the replies. I guess that makes sense. If I can remember the other ideas I'll let you know.
 
  • #9
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Alright thanks for the replies. I guess that makes sense. If I can remember the other ideas I'll let you know.
btw, many safe DIY projects can be posted in our engineering forums etc as is.
 
  • #10
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Another remark on psychology.

I remember a couple posts in which kids (from my point of view, not from theirs) had serious problems and sought for help. Those threads had quickly to be closed along with the advice to see a doctor. Fortunately nobody answered, who wasn't aware of his responsibility in such cases. But this was just luck. It is a public forum and you cannot rule out that questionable recommendations or accusations appear nor that they will be discovered in time. With such a topic you get quickly into situations, which eventually might be life threatening. A general rule only to discuss science won't be read by desperate people.
 
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  • #11
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btw, many safe DIY projects can be posted in our engineering forums etc as is.
Yeah, I have actually done that before, although some of my ideas weren't safe and were luckily struck down because of that

Another remark on psychology.

I remember a couple posts in which kids (from my point of view, not from theirs) had serious problems and sought for help. Those threads had quickly to be closed along with the advice to see a doctor. Fortunately nobody answered, who wasn't aware of his responsibility in such cases. But this was just luck. It is a public forum and you cannot rule out that questionable recommendations or accusations appear nor that they will be discovered in time. With such a topic you get quickly into situations, which eventually might be life threatening. A general rule only to discuss science won't be read by desperate people.
I didn't think of that, that makes sense
 

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