Posting in the correct forum

  • #1
Hi,
as it is being discussed today, I would like to ask about how to post correctly on physicsforums.com. I re-read the (updated?) agreement today, and I found this rule about where to post questions. I am still an undergraduate (I think, the levels seem to be different in different countries; I'm in the 4th year of engineering physics), so naturally I now and then come up with questions on the course material. Sometimes I post them after thinking for a while, allways asked in a way looking for an understanding of the subject, not just the "correct" answer. According to the rules, such questions should be posted in the homework section. But if you look in the homework/advanced university section, the questions seem to be of the not-so-advanced kind. And the same goes for the "general" forum; the questions arent exactly allways on the graduate level.
Now I think there seems to be a big difference between rules and practice here, or have I read the rules too serious? And what should my personal policy be? Should I take "graduate" just as serious as when I see it printed on a book used in many 3rd-year courses?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Moonbear
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Here's a good rule of thumb for deciding whether to post in the Science Education Zone or the main forums: if you are seeking help in obtaining an answer to a fairly "quick" question, such as understanding the solution to a sample problem in a textbook chapter you are reviewing, that would be the sort of non-homework question that still belongs in the Homework Help Forums.

If you thought of something interesting while you were studying/reading a textbook/sitting in lecture, etc., and you want to learn more in-depth information about a topic you find interesting, that discussion should still go in the main forums.

As for the questions in Advanced Physics not being very advanced, that will change. One of the reasons for the forum change was to keep more advanced questions from getting buried amidst the introductory subject questions. You can now post your questions about 3rd year physics without them getting lost so quickly off the front page.

Graduate level means graduate school; someone working toward a Master's or Ph.D.

Does that answer your question?
 
  • #3
arildno
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Besides, just because a post might have been more appropriate in another forum, doesn't necessarily mean that it is wholly inappropriate in the forum it originally appeared in.

I would think that the mentors pursue a policy of reducing "inappropriateness", rather than optimizing appropriateness..
 
  • #4
Gokul43201
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jonas, I would say that most of your recent questions could belong either in the Adv Physics HW section or in the relevant Physics section (QM/AMO/etc).

The density operator query could belong in either the HW section or in QM, while the discussion on the effect of high fields on spin-orbit coupling should probably stay in AMO-Cond Mat. Either way, it's a close call, so just make your best pick.
 
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  • #5
Tom Mattson
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jonas,

Here's the idea: We reserve a section for homework help, because homework problems tend to make for boring discussions.

If you're seeking help to get through an exercise or problem (whether or not it was assigned) at the undergraduate level or below, then it should go into the Science Education Zone (choose the appropriate Forum there).

But if you want to start a discussion on a topic for the purpose of engaging the membership here, then by all means use the main section of PF, even if you are a student. Keep in mind that discussions by definition are G&T (Give and Take), not just Q&A (Questions and Answers), so brain-picking sessions should go to the Sci Ed Zone.

But I think that it would be a good exercise for you to try to turn your homework question into a more general discussion topic, and then try to work out your specific problem based on what you learned from the discussion.
 
  • #6
Moonbear
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Tom Mattson said:
But I think that it would be a good exercise for you to try to turn your homework question into a more general discussion topic, and then try to work out your specific problem based on what you learned from the discussion.
That's an excellent suggestion! Other advanced students should take this advice as well. It would make for more interesting discussions in the forums AND the students are likely to learn far more than if they just asked for help on their homework problems.

I'm just thrilled to know people really did take the time to read the guidelines. :approve:
 
  • #7
Moonbear said:
That's an excellent suggestion! Other advanced students should take this advice as well. It would make for more interesting discussions in the forums AND the students are likely to learn far more than if they just asked for help on their homework problems.
I think so too, and I think I usually do so (in forums and in real life). In case one doesn't I think the whole point of learning is kind of forgotten.

I'm just thrilled to know people really did take the time to read the guidelines. :approve:
I take that as a compliment =) And I think your intentions are wise, for my part I will do my best to follow them.

Thanks for the feedback, and thanks for a nice site all of you!
 

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