Quantum Interpretations and Foundations Guidelines

In summary, the guidelines for discussing Quantum Interpretations and Foundations on PhysicsForums are as follows:- All general PF guidelines apply, with the addition that questions may also cite unpublished textbooks or pre-publication papers as sources.- Responses should be based on valid published references.- Personal theories, speculations, and new research ideas must not be proposed.- "B" level threads are not allowed, and "I" level threads may be changed to "A" level for a more thorough discussion.- Responses must demonstrate appropriate background knowledge for the thread level.- Only previously published interpretations may be discussed.- When discussing a source, adopt the interpretation used by the authors, even if it differs from one's own preferred interpretation.- Op
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Cliff Notes Version

Quantum Interpretations and Foundations guidelines
  1. All PF guidelines applicable to any forum apply here, plus the following.
  2. Questions in initial posts of threads may cite unpublished textbooks or pre-publication papers such as ArXiv, subject as always to review of sources by the moderators for acceptability.
  3. Responses to thread questions should cite only valid published references per PF rules.
  4. This forum may not be used to propose personal theories or speculations, or new research ideas.
  5. No "B" level threads allowed. "I" level threads are allowed, but posters should expect either very brief answers or having the thread level changed to "A" to allow more complete answers.
  6. Responses that do not demonstrate appropriate background knowledge for the thread level will be moderated strictly.
  7. Only previously published interpretations may be discussed. No inventing new interpretations.
  8. When discussing a source, such as a description of an experiment in a published paper where the experiment is claimed to be relevant to an interpretation question, one should adopt the interpretation used by the authors of the published paper one is referencing, even if it is not one's own preferred interpretation.
  9. All posters must take particular care to clearly distinguish opinions from actual experimental facts and from the mathematical statements and predictions contained in QM. One's own opinions, however strongly one holds them, should not be stated as facts and should not be asserted as definitively settling a question under discussion.
  10. Claims about a particular interpretation being true/false, correct/incorrect, right/wrong, better/worse, like/don't like are not helpful to discussion and will be moderated strictly.

Expanded Version

In order to support discussion of QM foundations and interpretations while still maintaining the general standards and rules of PhysicsForums, the following guidelines will be used in this forum:

- It is recognized that the nature of the subject matter in this forum means that not all questions will be based on published textbooks or peer-reviewed papers from reputable journals, which is the usual rule of thumb for acceptable sources on PF. However, when *responding* to questions, professional scientific references should be given if at all possible. There is a large and growing literature on the topics of QM foundations and interpretations, as well as discussion of these topics in most QM textbooks, and discussions in this forum should in general be based on that literature rather than on bare individual opinions or speculations.

- Due to the nature of the subject matter in this forum, not-yet-published papers uploaded to databases like ArXiv or presented at reputable conferences are also acceptable for discussion as a general rule. However, the moderators always have the right to review particular references for acceptability.

- This forum may not be used to propose personal theories or speculations, or new research ideas that have not reached the point of publication or at least preprint status.

- Given the nature of the subject matter, it is expected that most valid topics of discussion in this forum will be "A" level. Posting of threads at the "I" level is not disallowed, but such posters should expect that most such threads will end up either having to be closed with a briefer answer than they might desire, or changed to "A" level in order to allow a full discussion of the topic, which might be above the poster's level of understanding but might be useful to others. Posting of threads at the "B" level is prohibited in this forum without first checking with a Mentor, and any such request will most likely receive the answer "no", since it is extremely difficult to conceive of a valid question that belongs in this forum and can be answered usefully, even if briefly, at the "B" level.

- Members should pay particular attention to the thread level in this forum when considering responding. Responses which do not demonstrate the requisite level of background knowledge for the thread level and the thread topic will be moderated strictly in order to ensure an acceptable signal to noise ratio for discussions in this forum.

- With regard to QM interpretations, while by its nature this forum allows discussion of multiple different interpretations of QM, any interpretation discussed must still be one that is published in the professional literature, and specific references explaining whatever interpretation is being used must be given if there is any chance at all of misunderstanding. One of the pitfalls of QM interpretation discussions is that the same term, such as "Copenhagen", may be used to refer to multiple interpretations which are different and often in some respects incompatible; thus, different participants in a discussion often end up talking past each other because they are using the same terms to mean different things.

- Since the subject matter discussed in this forum ultimately comes down to each person's opinion, it is expected that posts will contain expressions of such opinions. However, when discussing a particular reference, such as a description of an experiment in a published paper where the experiment is claimed to be relevant to an interpretation question, one should adopt the interpretation used by the authors of the published paper one is referencing, even if it is not one's own preferred interpretation. Claims about what an interpretation other than the one used by the authors says about such an experiment will most likely be treated as personal speculation and therefore off topic unless some other reference can be found to support them. More generally, claims about what any specific interpretation says about a particular topic of discussion should be backed up with references if they are at all contentious (and pretty much any claim in such a discussion is likely to be contentious).

- Since much of the discussion in this forum will consist of people stating their opinions, all posters must take particular care to clearly distinguish their own opinions from the actual experimental facts and from the mathematical statements and predictions contained in the minimal "shut up and calculate" interpretation which serves as the common ground for all further interpretations. One's own opinions, however strongly one holds them, should not be stated as facts and should not be asserted as definitively settling a question under discussion. Physics is an experimental science, and ultimately experiment is the only definitive way of settling a question; one of the main challenges of research in QM foundations and interpretations is figuring out how to set up experiments that might shed light on such questions, since on their face all QM interpretations make the same predictions for all experimental results. This is often a frustratingly slow process, but there are no shortcuts.

- Claims about a particular interpretation being "true" or "correct", or about one being "false" or "wrong", or better or worse than another interpretation, are not helpful to discussion and will be moderated strictly. Similar remarks apply to simple statements of preference, such as "I like interpretation X" or "I don't like interpretation Y".
 
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The point of this forum is to discuss different interpretations, not to argue about which one is "right" or "better".
 

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