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Physics Forums Crackpot Index

  1. Sep 8, 2013 #1
    This is primarily for fun, but given our experiences here at PF, it could be an excellent crackpot detector tool! Next time you read a post that sounds a bit off, refer to this index. It was compiled by PF staff and science advisors. The higher the point value, the greater the chance it's crackpot!

    http://blog.ceesquare.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/pot.png [Broken]

    Style and Formatting
    5 points: Obvious copy and paste
    5 points: Wall of Text
    5 points: Over the top special formatting
    20 points: No math shown
    20 points: Excessive math without consistency or explanations

    Telling quotes
    5 points: "you don't allow open-minded people to post about the subject"
    5 points: "I am thinking out of the box"
    5 points: "Science is all about asking questions"
    5 points: "you are censoring discussion"
    10 points: "Einstein was just a clerk"
    10 points: "Einstein was bad at math"
    15 points: "I've been working on this for 20 years"
    15 points: "people didn't believe Galileo initially"
    20 points: "Units here ≠ units here"
    20 points: "Scientists/others try to ban/suppress my theory"
    30 points: "Because I haven't had formal training I can see things others might have missed"
    30 points: "I'm not a physicist, but..."
    30 points: "I don't know the math"
    50 points: "I just discovered the laws of physics are wrong"

    Refuting the establishment
    20 points: Skeptical of the standard model
    25 points: Claiming Einstein was a radical in his day
    25 points: Claiming that Relativity is only accepted due to Einstein's reputation
    25 points: Claiming that Einstein plagiarized his work
    30 points: Claiming Einstein is wrong
    30 points: Claiming Newton is wrong

    Desperate measures
    5 points: Putting mentors / science advisors on ignore.
    5 points: Post offers a complicated analogy rather than a descriptive model
    10 points: Ignoring critiques.
    10 points: Profane, insulting, threatening PMs to complain about their Notice/Infraction...
    50 points: Creating a sockpuppet to agree with you.

    Questionable references
    5 points: Uses http://vixra.org or similar reference
    10 points: Posting under the pretense of asking a question
    10 points: References to simplified models designed for TV shows etc
    15 points: Digging up 100-year-old papers looking for a secret
    20 points: Links to paper published on personal website
    20 points: Personal blog link
    30 points: Citing or quoting sources in support of their position which in reality refute their position

    Day dreamers
    15 points: Using words without a proper definition
    40 points: Mentions science fiction, UFOs or pseudoscience
    40 points: Includes the words like "truths", "God", "secret", "breakthrough", "revolutionary", "mystery"
    50 points: Includes topics from our banned list https://www.physicsforums.com/showpos...07&postcount=2 [Broken]

    For more fun, try Micromass's Crackpot Bingo!

    Here is the original 1998 crackpot index from John Baez
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 8, 2013 #2


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    I just got 50 points in my kitchen this morning. But then again, it might be my FBD.

    ps. Can you give that new kid, Emigman, half an infraction point for me. My kitchen is a mess! :grumpy:

  4. Sep 8, 2013 #3
    I've read a lot about those so called "crackpots". However, I never found one here. I know there used to be a "Own research" or whatever it was called forum here, on PF, and that it was a festival for the "quacks" (?). Is there, perhaps, some lost topic, so I can read it? Link me!
  5. Sep 8, 2013 #4


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    You generally need to be lucky to catch one before it gets deleted. Personally I've found hours around 8AM-1PM GMT the most abundant, as it would appear the mentors and admins are in their temporary unconsciousness/regeneration phase of life cycle around that time.

    It would be fun to be able to access the deleted topics, if only to amuse yourself by playing micromass' bingo.
  6. Sep 8, 2013 #5
    True, we have an expert team of crackpot hunters. They generally look like this

  7. Sep 8, 2013 #6
    In which sub-forums does one catch that? General Discussion?
  8. Sep 8, 2013 #7
    Usually the "Physics" or "Astro/Cosmo" forums
  9. Sep 8, 2013 #8


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    That's true for some of them but for the rest of us those times are closer to our mornings at work :wink: in other words there is a time when the west-Atlanticans are asleep and the east-Atlanticans are at work so mentoring gets a bit patchy.
  10. Sep 8, 2013 #9


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    Is that like an auto-eject button on a James Bond car?
  11. Sep 8, 2013 #10


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    I think claiming Newton was wrong should be 100 pts at the least xP
  12. Sep 8, 2013 #11
    I think it would be funny if you locked their account into a specific sub-forum (so that they can use PF, but only on that sub-forum).. A locked sub-forum, only those who get "labeled" as crackpots by mentors are allowed to post there. However, everyone else is allowed to read!

    It would be amazing seeing them argument with one another, haha.
  13. Sep 8, 2013 #12
    Then Einstein would get 100 crackpot points instead of 30.
  14. Sep 8, 2013 #13


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    They sometimes seem to come in bunches, right around the time of the full moon. For some reason, this weekend has produced at lot of zombies posting, but I guess the moon must be full somewhere.
  15. Sep 8, 2013 #14


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    Gee. I wonder if someone could use the whole list in a post. The ultimate crackpot.
  16. Sep 8, 2013 #15


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    This looks like a fine sticky topic in the psychology sub-forum.
  17. Sep 8, 2013 #16


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    yeah. It would be worthwhile to investigate whether the person suffering from crackpotitis is displaying symptoms of the acute or chronic progression of the disease. Is it of a hereditary nature. Or even contagious in which case how does one go about protecting oneself from becoming contaminated with the pathogen. Is there an incubation periiod during which time an individaul can become a carrier, to the time to a full blown progression. Is there a cure in sight. IMHO there is little understanding of its nature as there are a good many questions with very few answers.
    At the very least we have a list of the symptoms to look for when suspecting someone is a sufferer.

    When in doubt, though it would be best to contact your friendly neigborhood physicist for a proper and qualified diagnosis, and recommended treatment.
  18. Sep 8, 2013 #17


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    "I need some help to express this in maths."

    "Maths isn't the right tool for thinking about this."

    I have seen an example of the latter where he preferred a system of drawing arrows and adding them together. Apparently the arrows were completely unlike vectors (notably, they lacked an underlying system of rigorous thought - or indeed any thought at all).
  19. Sep 8, 2013 #18
    So 35 points for the OP so far.. ^^
  20. Sep 8, 2013 #19
    haha yes, 35 points is not too bad though :D
  21. Sep 8, 2013 #20


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    Can we have a Crackpot Award to go with awards like Community Spirit and Most Humorous?
  22. Sep 8, 2013 #21
    First few years we did have one, but since they don't stick around long, it doesn't make sense. :D
  23. Sep 8, 2013 #22


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    2017 Award

    Man, that's sure a sad and desperate measure. But it's an entertaining thought. Sadly I know such things can happen. I've tried using sock puppets elsewhere, but they never agreed with me :confused:.
  24. Sep 8, 2013 #23


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    sock puppets aren't very convincing without googly eyes; but then you just ruin a good pair of socks.
  25. Sep 8, 2013 #24


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    2017 Award

    Couldn't help laughing when I read this, Bandersnatch. This sounded like something from David Attenborough's documentaries.
  26. Sep 8, 2013 #25
    Who's that? :biggrin:
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013
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