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So is PF just simply not for laypeople?

  1. Feb 1, 2012 #1
    I am not an expert. Not even close. Just a hobbyist for now. I dont go into topics or discussions were professionals are having heated debates in a context I cant understand and start getting in the middle. I just ask alot of questions. Im young, new, and curious.

    Now I have gotten warnings for more than 50% of my posts. Even when I go out of the way to try and not get my topic closed, it still gets closed. Granted these are all yours rules, so I stopped creating topics, and the questions I had, I just searched around and could usually find answers too. But when I was searching a lot I noticed some Funny inconsistencies in the topics that were closed. Some on the same subject had sources, a long, complete OP, other features that make it a very well rounded topic. But it would be closed. On the same subject a thread with 2 sentences for the OP, no sources would still be open.

    But now I am getting warned for posts in other topics. All I want is to learn. Im not spamming, asking about pseudoscience crap. Im asking legitimate questions.

    Now granted this might seem like a post from some low level moron who doesn't deserve to breath your air, but how is it hurting anything. If no one wants to help my understanding of the topic, then they wont answer. But atleast give someone a chance. Im not spamming, or asking the same things over and over. IM ASKING QUESTIONS. I didn't even make a new thread to ask it, I asked it in a topic about "neutrinos traveling faster than light". It got me a warn. For over speculative posts. I said in a nutshell that if it ends up not being some kind of loophole and the neutrino actually did travel faster than light what would the implications be for relativity theory?

    So if I got this all wrong, and I should find another physics forum to ask LEGITIMATE, NON-PSEUDOSCIENCE questions then just tell me and Ill go away. I don't want to step on anyone's feet. But if there is something Im doing wrong with the format of my posts or something that I can change and still be able to ask questions without being warned and my posts deleted, please HELP ME.)
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2012 #2


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    I don't know the context here, so maybe there was something else wrong that had nothing to do with the question asked. I see nothing wrong with the questions you asked in the quoted section, and many people had those same questions as those news reports came out, but maybe it was context. Lay people have always been welcomed here and I hope that continues.

    On the long vs short post issue, size doesn't matter at PF. People can be very verbose and cite a lot of crank sources and have their threads locked, while others can be succinct ith no problems. Though, if a thread is locked, it often means the first post was okay, but something went astray with the following discussion. If a new topic is bad, it usually gets deleted instead of locked.
  4. Feb 1, 2012 #3


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    I have plenty of evidence that we cater quite well to laypeople:


    etc... etc.

    So there is plenty of evidence that we welcome and entertain questions from laymen that the assertion in the topic is clearly false. So now the OP will have to consider why he ran afoul of our rules.

  5. Feb 2, 2012 #4
    So thats the problem? That I ran afoul with rules?
    Please explain?

    Also if you read my post, I asked for what I could do so as not to get all my posts, and threads deleted/locked. Why don't you start with telling me what was wrong with my post in the faster than light neutrino thread, please.

    Edit: I tried asking 2 moderators that deleted topics or posts of mine, and got no reply from either. So this was my last resort.
  6. Feb 2, 2012 #5


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    PF is a great place for laypeople to come and learn, people do it every day. As per the PF rules:
    Who did you contact? Regardless PM an appropriate mentor and it will be looked at.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2012
  7. Feb 2, 2012 #6
    I appreciate you taking the time to try and clarify things for me.

    I don't want to call out any of the Mods who warned me, when I was in the army we always followed the chain of command. If I had a big problem with a specific person and what they warned me for then I would take it up with them(if they replied lol) The purpose of this thread wasn't to complain about staff, it was to get insight on how to be more successful on PF.

    I remember one warning I got was for talking about conspiracies, when all I did was ask if any of the major governments would try to cover up a major scientific breakthrough. For example, if parallel universes were discovered? I explained to the MOD that all governments at some time or another has kept scientific secrets, and that I wasn't trying to argue any past specific scenarios, just wanted to know about future breakthroughs, and how long the government would try to keep it a secret, if they would at all. I begged the Mod to allow the topic, or to let me at least reword my post to follow the guidelines, and I got no response. I know you guys want to avoid dumb conspiracy topics about stupid stuff, but I thought that was a legitimate question.(btw, im still really curious so if anyone has some input :))

    You still didn't reply again so I want to clarify. The topic title was not an assertion. It was a question. Hence the "?". I see that in a lot of scenarios laypeople are welcome. I think I have explained well enough why I didn't feel very welcome as a layperson with questions, so now Im asking how I can fix it. Im not even asking for the staff to stop warning me, im asking what I can do to still ask what I need to without getting into trouble.

    And I still haven't got an answer btw. I noticed some mods are picky about what sources you can use. Sometimes I posted things and used previous knowledge in the post, but to avoid being called "over speculative" I googled the topic and found pages to back up what I was saying so as to not get deleted for being over speculative. The sources were not were I got the info, just proving I didn't just pull it out of my butt. So if I do something like this, what are some good sites to use? What are the requirements to a source that cannot be called over speculative?
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2012
  8. Feb 2, 2012 #7


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    A discussion on how governments in the past have classified things is fine but inviting speculation on the future is a mine field of a topic because all you will bring is over speculation. This being a science forum the main purpose is to teach and discuss real science.

    I'm sorry you didn't get a reply, normally this is not the case. I understand you wishing not to name mentors and I don't invite you to but also this isn't the military :tongue2: you are well within you rights as a member to PM that mentor regarding it (if you specifically ask for the problem to be reviewed it will be brought forward to other mentors). Alternatively if you are uncomfortable with PM'ing that mentor it is perfectly acceptable to PM another, if you use the Staff button at the top of the page you will find a list of us (we're the ones with green names). Most of us are assigned a specific field as a speciality and you can choose from that if you wish or if it is practical.

    Regarding trusted sources generally any scientific, peer-reviewed journal listed at Thompson Reuters is acceptable. Alternatively if you want to say "I've heard this" and provide a link it is generally OK so long as it is a credible institution e.g. a news agency, university, government department etc. Random websites are a bit of a risk so be wary, as long as you phrase your question so that it is clear you are asking for information rather than asserting what is being said then it should be fine. This last point is key, the internet (and the world in general) is full to the brim of pseudo-scientific rubbish. It's very easy to find sources that assert any position on any topic, if it looks obviously crazy or fringe then it's best not to link to it (you can perhaps do a bit of reading on something like wikipedia around the topic to get a feel of whether or not the source is in line with current science). As long as you ask questions and don't appear to be taking a crazy stand it is OK. Often it is very hard for mentors to tell the difference between a genuinely interested person and a potential crackpot if the manner of the post is such that the user hasn't made it clear that they are not asserting this.

    For example: "A lot of science fiction uses 'hyperspace' but is there any science behind this?" is a lot better than "when will science give us the technology to go to hyperspace, if ever?"

    I hope this makes it easier and more effective for you to use the forum and you find it a useful tool.
  9. Feb 2, 2012 #8


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    Or you can hit the "Report" button on a suitable post (in this case the post you [fellupahill] just made would be a good choice), and write your "appeal" there. All mentors can see these reports and discuss them, and you don't have to wait for one mentor to check his/her PM box (some of us are more diligent than others).
  10. Feb 2, 2012 #9
    Im probably reading into it wrong, but are you implying that my last post was for some reason reportable(broke the rules)? Or are you saying that it would be a good example of a post for me to report to get the situation to the attention of the staff?
  11. Feb 2, 2012 #10


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    The latter, he isn't saying your post here broke the rules. If you are warned/infracted for a post then you could report the post and explain your appeal in the report window (this will only work if the post/thread hasn't been deleted of course).
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