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Science level

  1. Aug 27, 2009 #1
    Hello administrators,

    I've been for 10 days contributing in the answers for this forum, but I'm facing a very big difficulty as a person who has been studying physics for 6 years, and trying to answer anyone asking! the problem is that I don't know "who" I'm talking to. For example, someone comes and asks about the expansion of the universe. For sure my answer would be very different to someone who's studied special relativity (at least) to someone who knows nothing about physics! and someone else asks about Gibbs paradox, I won't be able to give him the answer unless I know how far he's gone in statistical mechanics and thermodynamics!

    I think it'll be a good idea to add beside every name in the post the level of knowledge in mathematics and physics, in terms of university branch and the year someone is in, and a link to the profile that contains some kind of a table with check boxes, these check boxes contain the most general topics in physics and mathematics and self-appraisal upon them. Well, not necessarily so, but you think it out! ;)

    Thank you
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 27, 2009 #2

    tiny-tim

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    Hello TheDestroyer! :smile:

    Just make a guess :wink: … that's half the fun! :biggrin:

    They can always reply "sorry, I'm only in year-11, so that's a little above me!" etc.

    And if they reply "D'uh … I know that!", you can just think "D'uh … then why didn't you say so? :rolleyes:", and let someone else have a go!
     
  4. Aug 27, 2009 #3
    LoL, this is funny :P

    But don't you think it's a waste of time somehow?

    Anyway it's a suggestion, I propose you discuss it with the group out there, and find out if it's a good one ;)

    I just want the best for this forum :)
     
  5. Aug 27, 2009 #4
    I imagine people would take credit for a higher level than they actually know. They might think this gives them "credentials"
     
  6. Aug 27, 2009 #5

    Danger

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    I usually base my responses upon the way that the question is posted. That can lead to embarrassing misconceptions, since this is an international site. Someone with a high university education sometimes comes across as being a 10-year-old due to not having fluency in English. Conversely, one of our more intelligent and articulate members admitted to being 13 years old. I could have sworn that he was a university student by the brilliance of his posts. When in doubt, I simply ask the poster what his/her level of education is. Most times, they turn out to be far more advanced than I am (I never graduated high-school).
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2009
  7. Aug 27, 2009 #6

    FredGarvin

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    A thread will eventually find it's own level. There is no need to waste time and space listing people's (you know will be) false credentials. Like Danger mentioned, you can tell by the way a question has been asked or how a answer is given as to the "educationality" of the poster.
     
  8. Aug 27, 2009 #7

    Integral

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    We have fought with this problem since the earliest days of the board. Our effort to solve it is the advisor ribbons. Nominally anyone with an advisor ribbon has a higher level of knowledge. Just what their field of expertise is where a problem lies. Someone with advisor level knowledge in physics may be a total idiot in Biology. For that reason we also have a requirement that they show knowledge of and the ability/desire to stay within those limits.

    Unfortunately on the web there is simply no way to maintain privacy and post reliable credentials.
     
  9. Aug 27, 2009 #8

    Moonbear

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    I agree that you can usually determine the educational level of a person in a particular subject by the way they ask their question. Someone with a good deal of background in the area is likely to ask a much more specific question, and elaborate on the background information and why it has confused them. On the other hand, someone with very little background may be more likely to ask a very general question, or a very simple question, because they don't have the information to expand on it any further.

    I think listing someone's level of education by their posts would be useless. I have a Ph.D. but not in physics or math. If I ask a physics or math question, I DO need a very simple, back to the basics type answer. I'd be very annoyed if every time I asked a question, someone made it a very complicated answer because something in my post kept telling them I'm a Ph.D.

    But, if you're not sure, and you could answer a question more than one way depending on someone's background, this is a DISCUSSION forum...you can just ask them what their background is, such as, "Do you have any background in special relativity? I don't want to insult you by making this too simple, but if you don't yet have the background, I don't want to go entirely over your head either."
     
  10. Aug 27, 2009 #9

    Pengwuino

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    I second this, usually the post itself is an indication of how educated someone is in the field they're talking about
     
  11. Aug 28, 2009 #10

    Danger

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    This might sound prejudicial, so I want to assure everyone in advance that it's not meant that way.
    The posts that really confuse the hell out of me are when someone babbles like a 5-year-old about something, then includes a formula that Einstein himself would have to check twice and asks if his conclusion is correct. I can never tell whether it's a brilliant person with very limited knowledge of English, or an idiot who copied the math out of a book and has no clue as to what it means. (I readily admit that I have no clue as to what it means, so I always bypass those kinds of posts, or welcome him/her and suggest that they wait for someone else to answer.) It's frustrating to not know, though.
     
  12. Aug 28, 2009 #11

    jtbell

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    When I'm unsure about the appropriate level for an answer, I often look at some of the questioner's other posts, using the dropdown menu that you get when you click on his usename. This can give some useful clues.

    It would be nice if everyone added a short description to their profile, something like "freshman physics major at a U.S. university" or "trained as a mechanical engineer but self-studying physics at an intermediate undergraduate level", but this is of course a pipe dream.
     
  13. Aug 28, 2009 #12

    Moonbear

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    Oh yeah, there's that option too. :redface:
     
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