Personal Theories: Forum Policy & Discussion | Physics Forums

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In summary, the forum policy on Physics Forums is to not allow discussion of personal theories as it has been found to attract more noise than signal and become labor intensive for moderators. While there are websites that publish such theories, they are generally not considered credible. It is also not encouraged to disguise personal theories as science fiction premises to obtain feedback. Instead, it is recommended to ask questions and break down ideas into smaller steps to analyze them. However, repeatedly defending an idea that is still just an idea and not a theory can be disruptive and is not allowed on the forum.
  • #1
James William Hall
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Summary:: Forum Policy

The following was posted on this forum: "Discussion of personal theories is off topic for Physics Forums. Thread closed." I understand and support this policy on PhysicsForums as it is presently constructed. However, I find 'Personal Theories' interesting and thought provoking or at least entertaining. May I ask, if it is permitted, for opinions as to web sites where 'Personal Theories' by seeming knowledgeable authors, who otherwise may be afraid of appearing stupid to real physicists, may be found that provide for graphics and mathematical/physics symbols and equations? If none are posted here in answer to my request, is it possible to add to "The Lounge" a "Personal Theories" topic which I think may be of equal merit to "Science Fiction & Fantasy"?
 
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  • #2
James William Hall said:
Summary:: Forum Policy

May I ask, if it is permitted, for opinions as to web sites where 'Personal Theories' by seeming knowledgeable authors, who otherwise may be afraid of appearing stupid to real physicists, may be found that provide for graphics and mathematical/physics symbols and equations?
It's usually the converse: people with personal theories generally think real physicists are the stupid ones. There are many "predatory" journals that will publish almost anything. They shouldn't be hard to find.
 
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  • #3
We have an Insights article that touches on the utility of a "Personal Theories" sub-forum:

https://www.physicsforums.com/insights/wont-look-new-theory/

My understanding is that various sub-forums of this type had existed in the past. Experience showed that such attempts attracted far more noise than signal and became quite labor intensive for the moderators. Usenet (aka Google groups) is a worked example of what happens when you do not moderate. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.
 
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  • #4
jbriggs444 said:
You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.
These are not the forums you are looking for.
 
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  • #5
jbriggs444 said:
more wretched hive of scum and villainy.
..., even in "Star Wars."
 
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  • #6
James William Hall said:
'Personal Theories' by seeming knowledgeable authors
Personal theories by actually knowledgeable authors are published in serious peer-reviewed journals.
Personal theories by others are not worth spending time on.
 
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  • #7
I suppose one could disguise a personal theory as a Sci-Fi premise to obtain good humored feedback from some of the very talented members in this forum.
 
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James William Hall said:
I suppose one could disguise a personal theory as a Sci-Fi premise to obtain good humored feedback from some of the very talented members in this forum.
That's relatively common, so we watch for that. Don't go there please...
 
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  • #9
Its better to ask questions, like
"why would this not work?" or
"does this apply here?".
This is an invocation of advise without appearing arrogant about how you know special stuff that those in the field have missed.

Get a feeling for the quality of your main idea in small steps.
If its good, its probably already done, and if not people would know what its problems are.
If it looks good, go to grad school and work further on it would be the normal approach. Being older would be an impedance to this.

In biology, there is a long history of the development of various ideas.
Being aware of the history of a field shows how problems were increasingly broken down and answered.
Advances are often incremental.
Chunk your ideas into smaller steps. Analyze the steps.
 
  • #10
The problem with 'personal theories' is that it's often mistaken with 'lazy/pet ideas' (about topics the author usually don't even know how deep and serious is).

To turn an idea to theory takes lot of detailed work (usually math, but sometimes just data mining/source gathering). Thus, the idea usually remains an idea and won't make it to be a theory, yet these kind of pets often gets heated defense not matching their status once criticized.

I would say that discussing theories - when it's theory already! - would not make too much a fuss in itself.

But repeatedly explaining why something is still just an idea and not a theory to the enthusiastic creators would totally wreck the fun.
 
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  • #11
While I do admire those that think outside the box and dare to present their ideas, I accept all that has been said here regarding posting pet or personal theories anywhere on this forum--I understand why that is necessary especially for respecting moderators whose time is valuable. I certainly have no such theories of my own. No, the homework assignments, cosmology, and lounge keep me happy and challenged. Again, thank you all for your patience and advice, 'nuff said.
 
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  • #12
James William Hall said:
While I do admire those that think outside the box and dare to present their ideas, I accept all that has been said here regarding posting pet or personal theories anywhere on this forum--I understand why that is necessary especially for respecting moderators whose time is valuable. I certainly have no such theories of my own. No, the homework assignments, cosmology, and lounge keep me happy and challenged. Again, thank you all for your patience and advice, 'nuff said.
How about this. https://science.howstuffworks.com/10-crackpot-theories-space.htm
 
  • #13
James William Hall said:
While I do admire those that think outside the box and dare to present their ideas
I don't. As has been pointed out, this is futile. Thinking outside the box is great but 99.99% of the people who do what you are suggesting do not know what is IN the box, so their ideas are a waste of time.

As I have put it before:

When you come up with an idea that seems to completely be against established science, it is not a good idea to start off reaching different conclusions and stating them as correct but rather to start off with the assumption that you have made a mistake somewhere and try to find out where it is. If you have NOT made a mistake you will find the flaw in the established science, but that is extraordinarily unlikely to happen. If you start off thinking that you have overturned established science you are likely to just end up embarrassed.
 
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  • #14
I do network troubleshooting for a living. The activity has a good deal in common with the scientific method.

Sometimes when I have an esoteric diagnosis in hand and have spent a good deal of effort to polish it and marvel at how well it fits a behavior that needs to be explained I will realize that there is a simple test to determine whether the theory is complete hogwash.

One difference between a crackpot and a scientist is the will power to run that test.
 
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To think outside of the box you first need to know where the box is.
 
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  • #16
Borek said:
To think outside of the box you first need to know where the box is.
1632247545618.png

https://media.istockphoto.com/photos/pointing-at-box-picture-id543074220
 
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  • #19
jbriggs444 said:
One difference between a crackpot and a scientist is the will power to run that test.
I like to think that the difference between a scientist and a conspiracy theorist is that the conspiracy theorist spends a lot of time trying to debunk other people’s ideas whereas a scientist spends a lot of time trying to debunk their own ideas. Doing science—good science—requires more bravery than is generally acknowledged.
 
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  • #20
never_outside.JPG
 
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Related to Personal Theories: Forum Policy & Discussion | Physics Forums

What is the purpose of the "Personal Theories" forum on Physics Forums?

The "Personal Theories" forum on Physics Forums is a place for members to discuss and share their own personal theories and ideas related to physics and science. It is not a place for formal scientific research or peer-reviewed publications, but rather a space for open and respectful discussion among members.

Are there any guidelines or policies for posting in the "Personal Theories" forum?

Yes, there are specific guidelines and policies for posting in the "Personal Theories" forum. These include keeping discussions respectful and avoiding personal attacks, providing evidence or reasoning to support your theories, and being open to constructive criticism and feedback from other members.

Can I post my own original research or scientific discoveries in the "Personal Theories" forum?

No, the "Personal Theories" forum is not a platform for sharing original research or scientific discoveries. It is meant for discussing personal theories and ideas, not for presenting new scientific findings. If you have new research or discoveries, it is recommended to submit them to peer-reviewed journals or conferences.

How can I ensure that my personal theories are scientifically accurate?

It is important to remember that the "Personal Theories" forum is not a place for formal scientific research. However, you can ensure that your theories are scientifically accurate by doing thorough research, providing evidence and reasoning to support your ideas, and being open to feedback and criticism from other members. It is also recommended to consult with experts in the field to validate your theories.

Can I use the "Personal Theories" forum to promote my own personal beliefs or ideologies?

No, the "Personal Theories" forum is not a place for promoting personal beliefs or ideologies. It is meant for discussing scientific theories and ideas, and discussions should be based on evidence and reasoning rather than personal beliefs. Any posts that are deemed to be promoting personal beliefs or ideologies may be removed by forum moderators.

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