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Was: How big is a photon

  1. Jan 11, 2007 #1
    I ran across this thread during a Google search, and was rather put off by the mentors. This really could have been an interesting thread without the experts. It's a speculative thread without a doubt. Something that is entirely lacking at this site. Why there isn't a section for speculative banter is beyond me. I give kudos to Ben Wiens for openly pursuing the unknown, and a huge thumbs down to the mentors for their inquisition of the inquisitive. This thread was turned into a waste of bandwidth.

    Thanks mentors for the shame of it all.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 11, 2007 #2

    ZapperZ

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    You're very welcome.

    If you like that sort of thing, may I recommend crackpot sites and places like crank dot net. You can find them very easily and they litter the internet. So it really make zero sense for you to pick one of the very few that actually require some sort of knowledge about physics to be able to actually make statements. You know what you were getting into when you signed up per our guidelines. And yet you still complain?

    I would say that, for people who want to actually discuss physics, what you said is a compliment towards PF. In fact, I've talked to many physicists who have nothing but respect for PF for being one of the VERY FEW forums that is trying to have a high signal-to-noise ratio. For a physics forum, getting compliments from the professionals in the field that know the material is the ultimate compliment.

    So you can keep your speculative forum.

    Zz.
     
  4. Jan 11, 2007 #3

    CarlB

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    I have to second ZapperZ on this.

    The basic problem is that as a person's understanding of physics gets smaller, the number of places that are willing to allow them to publish (internet or otherwise) their theories also gets smaller. If you know enough, you can publish in the journals. If you know nothing at all, then the places where you can publish are very restricted.

    The result of all this sociology is that if someone knows absolutely nothing about physics, the number of places they can tell people their opinions on the subject is quite limited. As soon as such a person locates one of these rare places, they tend to post a LOT of stuff. As a consequence, if you have a medium which puts absolutely no policing on what it publishes, as Zz says, it (very quickly) gets filled with garbage.

    What I'm saying here is that policing of these threads is necessary to preserve their character. The only question one can ask is whether or not the policing is too restrictive or too lenient. I do not envy the people who take it upon themselves to police these thread. Every 6 or 12 months they piss me off by stopping a conversation I'm interested in, but at about the same rate they allow discussion that I think is quite unnecessary. What I'm saying here is that overall, I'm satisfied with it.

    Monitor: You might consider taking these last couple of off topic posts and sending them off to a more appropriate forum. (Uh, I would.)
     
  5. Jan 11, 2007 #4
    Well you got that right. My point was that there is no place to go where reasonably intelligent people can speculate about physics. The topic was never really discussed in any way. This site is full of members with little to learn, because they have etched into their brains the panoply of most all known discoveries. Hence they have reached the point where speculation is the only alternative. So where is that room with these discussions? I'd much rather read a group of mentors taking intelligent stabs at the unknown, than reading about what they learned from those that actually did take a step to the precipice. Surely we all must have something to offer beyond the scope of the collective, and it most certainly can't be reached in a proverbial neutral. This site is teaming with great minds sitting at base, with a mountain waiting to be climbed. I'm just suggesting you and others gather up your gear and start climbing with an audience of onlookers.

    Ben Wiens is setting an example to you and others IMO. He's saying that if you don't wish to climb the mountain ...... I will ........ regardless of my experience, and he is more than happy to share his view to the extent by which he can climb.

    This is the best place on the planet for you and others to share your ideas, and we read not a peep out of you.

    I repeat the shame of it all for having so much to offer, and so little to give.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2007
  6. Jan 11, 2007 #5

    ZapperZ

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    And you're forgetting that as a physicist, I speculate all the time! I just do not think that (i) an open forum is the BEST place to do it because I'd rather be talking to people in my field and who know what has already been known. For that, one HAS to have mastered that field of study; (ii) that MOST people who come here are NOT physicists, and do NOT have a solid foundation in physics. It is ILLOGICAL, in my book, to speculate about physics without FIRST understanding what is known. I don't know how you draw up your conclusion, but imagination without knowledge is ignorance waiting to happen.

    This is not politics, or economics, or even social science. Just because you have an opinion about something doesn't mean that it is equally valid. And in fact, PF HAS tried to have that before and it didn't work! Please read the Feedback forum on all the explanation on a failed experiment to allow such a thing.

    And you also forgot one thing. Maybe the reason that we have that many "intelligent people" IS due to our policy in the first place. I don't doubt one bit that if we were to become just like other forums that allow crackpottery, we WILL lose these people. I know *I* would not stay, because then PF is no different than any other hundreds of forums on the 'net. The fact that we do keep a higher signal-to-noise ratio is the main attraction to this forum. By doing what you want, we will take away the whole reason why a lot of these people are here in the first place. How "smart" is that?

    I still don't know why you would not just go to these other forums that obviously suits more of what you admire.

    Zz.
     
  7. Jan 11, 2007 #6

    DaveC426913

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    As a member who is neither a scientist nor a mentor, I find this site valuable because I can trust it.

    When I want to speculate, I go to fora where speculation is condoned. Here are a couple:
    http://www.bautforum.com
    http://www.scienceforums.net


    You can't possibly be serious. You are claiming on behalf of PF's members, that XtheyX we know all there is to know, and have nothing left to learn.

    Though flattered we may be, you are both way wrong and out-of-line.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2007
  8. Jan 11, 2007 #7
    I do go to other forums wherein the imagination is discussed by amateurs. I fail to see you or any of your fellow compatriots discussing anything to evoke admiration. Consider the topic of this thread. Did you offer up any speculation, or did you skirt the issue? Quite frankly an image came to mind of you in a kilt.

    I don't come here often and post less. I just wanted to make a statement that the mentors ruined a thread that could have been very informative, and could have been a great! read if you and others joined in and hashed it out. We essentaily all lose out if you have nothing to offer other than what can be found in a book.

    At any rate ..... Have fun being a cop, as oppose to a physicist with something to say.
    I think I'm done here.

    CYA
     
  9. Jan 11, 2007 #8

    russ_watters

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    Just to make sure you got ZZ's most important point (you didn't comment on it), speculation based on nothing but ignorance is counterproductive to learning. There is much in physics that is known, so to speculate about it rather than just learn it is to spin your wheels in place. How can a thread where people speculate randomly about things that are already known be "informative"? Isn't the correct word for that disinformative?
     
  10. Jan 12, 2007 #9

    DaveC426913

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    I don't understand your logic. If you went to politicsforum.com and posted about physics, would you be surprised if they shut down your thread? Would you be offended if they suggested that you go find a forum where physics discussion is supported?

    Would you accuse them of shutting down a perfectly good thread and unfairly policing their board? Would you feel entitled to demand that the politicsforum members give you their opinions about physics, even if they aren't interested in physics?

    Or would you think that, if anyone on the politics board were interested in the discussion about physics, they would join you on a physics board where it's appropriate, and that those who weren't interested in physics wouldn't join you?
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2007
  11. Jan 12, 2007 #10
    Which thread is that, so we can see what the mentors wrote?
     
  12. Jan 23, 2007 #11

    jtbell

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    And there are the unmoderated sci.physics.* Usenet groups, which can be accessed for example via Google Groups. Here are the two biggest ones:

    http://groups.google.com/group/sci.physics/topics
    http://groups.google.com/group/sci.physics.relativity/topics

    These are completely unmoderated, and are good examples of what can happen under such circumstances! :yuck:

    [added] After writing the above, I spent a little time browsing sci.physics and found on the very first page a thread titled "what is the width of a single photon?" :rofl:

    http://groups.google.com/group/sci.physics/browse_thread/thread/0dd0da9c374db6a4

    It's actually gotten some good answers along the lines of the answers that have been posted on PF on the same topic, including this gem:

    It also has some responses that illustrate why many people prefer a moderated forum.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2007
  13. Jan 23, 2007 #12

    ZapperZ

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    .. and I swear, jtbell, that *I* wasn't the one who wrote that! :)

    Zz.
     
  14. Jan 27, 2007 #13

    Chronos

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    I sometimes enjoy "Romper Room" discussions of science. But, the temple priests there can't resist the urge to snipe at people engaged in more rigorous discussions on other fora. It dilutes the quality of discussion in those threads.
     
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