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Threads I post on keeping on getting closed

  1. Jan 31, 2016 #1
    EDIT: There's no question/complaint icon. I wasn't sure what to pick, so I just left it blank. Please amend accordingly if need be.

    Perhaps there's a look-elsewhere bias, but this is becoming intolerably frustrating. While I respect that you want to keep physics forums clean of crackpots and bad discussions, for the second time today in the "High Energy, Nuclear, and Particle Physics" subforum (1 and 2, bare in mind I've been posting again on here for about two days), a thread was closed while I was composing a response. No one was flaming or promoting open pseudoscience on either of these threads. Thus, this is frustrating for a host of reasons, but here's the two most important that come to mind:

    1.) I respect that people have stupid questions; I could tell the people were asking stupid questions basically by the thread title they chose. However, in physics, you often start out having stupid/bad/misinformed questions until you know enough to see why those questions are stupid. It's a vital part of every nascent physicist's education. Why, then, is there such hostility (particularly on one of them by moderators) on these threads? Is it seriously necessary to be rude with people and then to close these threads, simply because people are confused over things (in both cases) that I've seen people with BSc's in physics get confused over? Bare in mind, by the forum's own rules, one isn't even allowed to ask home-worky questions, so I myself am perplexed about what is actually expected to transpire in these specialized subforums, if not these types of questions. (Not to mention that, from outside perspective, it appears to be a wildly inconsistent application of the rules, because the most recent threads (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) all overtly violate the no-homeworky-threads policy on the HEP subforum, but apparently it's completely fine and none of them are closed or moved. I'm new to this forum and it's ways so you'll have to forgive me, but this makes no sense to me.)

    2.) My time is valuable, and I just lost about two hours today crafting two very long posts that will never be seen by anyone (including myself, since they got eaten). Just to be clear, I tend to respond to people's "stupid questions" because I find it interesting to see where people's conceptual errors are occurring and to try to nudge them in the right direction. If there is a forum-wide rule that I can expect these threads to be closed on a whim (I checked the forum rules, there doesn't seem to be one --please correct me if I'm wrong), then please let me know now so I can stop spending time constructing posts that cannot be posted because these threads are breaking unwritten rules of Physics Forums.

    I welcome any insight into this from the Mentor Team. Thank you for your time!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 31, 2016 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Thread closed for Moderation...

    EDIT -- We will get you answers to your questions here in this thread, and it should be re-opened in a bit.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
  4. Jan 31, 2016 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    I am sorry to hear that your responses got "eaten". Closing threads is the primary moderation action available to the mentors. Often it is done to allow the mentors time to discuss and come to an internal agreement about how best to apply the rules in each instance.

    Unfortunately, we cannot know who is actively preparing a response. So sometimes what you described does happen. I have used three approaches to reduce that.

    First, I try to write brief posts. That minimizes the risk of it happening and reduces how much is lost when it does.

    Second, when I write a long post I copy it before hitting the post button. Sometimes I just keep it for myself. Sometimes I post it later when the thread reopens or even asked the mentors to post it.

    Third, I try to limit the effort I put into topics that are likely to be locked. This may be difficult if you haven't spent much time here. But if in doubt it is better to report a post than to waste a lot of time.

    I hope this advice helps. Often when you see threads that are locked for no apparent reason it is because the really bad posts were deleted.
  5. Jan 31, 2016 #4


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    Dale has addressed the issue of responding to a thread which is closed in the meantime. Let me add some of my thoughts:

    In many situations it is clear that the original poster does not have the prerequisites necessary for understanding the answer or keeps hanging on to fundamental misunderstandings which needs to be addressed before the original issue can be solved. Many times, there will also be users which are known to us for starting threads on false assumptions and refusing to let go of them. This results in quite ugly and argumentative threads and is so common that it takes a lot of focus away from threads with higher quality content if left unchecked. Often you will not see this as a regular user because those posts have already been deleted by mentors. It is of course fine to have misunderstandings, as long as one is willing to accept that it may be the case and that one's question may not make as much sense as one thought.

    Regarding the homework policies: None of these threads violate the homework rules in my opinion. They are all questions which lean more to the theory side than to the homework side. Also, the level of this type of threads in the HEP forum is generally of sufficiently high level that they would be allowed there anyway. As stated in the guidelines, the homework forums are mainly for high-school and undergraduate coursework-type questions and graduate level questions are explicitly exempted from this rule.

    That being said, I am sorry your efforts were lost. I hope this helps you understand our moderating policies better (we usually have good reasons for them) and that you will continue to use Physics Forums in the future.
  6. Feb 1, 2016 #5


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    Technical hint: The trouble with postings going lost is browser dependent. If I use firefox (under linux) to post, what's written in the composite field gets lost when I hit the post button, if I use chromium, I can go back, and the entry in the composite field is still there. So I can copy it and save it for later use/posting to the forum or just to keep an idea on my hard disk.
  7. Feb 1, 2016 #6
    Thanks, everyone, for the timely response.

    Okay. For clarification, what has to transpire for a thread to be fully closed down? If the OP crafter is acting poorly? Or if people generally in the thread are acting up?

    I respect that, but my preference is to writer longer, more substantial posts.

    Yeah, I'm going to have to make an effort to do this.

    Well, in both cases on that thread, I get instant emails of what people post when they post it. I don't see any posts that were deleted or, by my judgment, anything that was so objectionable it obviously merited closing the thread. It's a bit difficult for me to follow this advice then, as I seem to have different judgment calls than the moderators on this forum, and there's also the issue that I don't know the history of these posters.

    I respect that. I once spent a year engaging with a very persistent, very incorrigible, very intransigent Lorentzian aether theorist. I wouldn't say it was a total waste of time, but I respect having a low tolerance for BS. Even so, I suppose I have a higher tolerance for stupidity.

    Ah, thanks. I was unaware of the graduate level homework rules. That makes much more sense.

    That's good to know, although I tend not to use Chrome for browsing (I keep it open for my work email) because Chrome on my home PC has very bizarre problems. It's super slow, it runs a lot of websites very badly, and I never got used to how to install my various apps/plugins on Chrome.

    Anyways, thanks all for the responses!
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