Welcome to Physics Problems Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers from other members of the community.

Scope & Guidelines

5 votes

Since this is a very new site, we are still figuring out what types of questions we will allow on this site. Here are some ground rules; let me know if you agree or what you think the rules should be in the answers.

  • We allow physics based problems/exercises here, but that's it.
  • We need you to show your efforts while asking a question otherwise it will be closed until you edit it to fit the rules.
  • This is a site specifically aimed for physics problems/exercises. If you have a conceptual question, please ask it on Physics Stack Exchange (as we aim to work in collaboration with Stack Exchange members).

Defining "efforts" is most certainly not easy and merits some thought. An idea is that we ask that you try to show two main things:

  1. Your train of thought, or why you were thinking what you were thinking. So don't just put the math, necessarily, put why you thought that math was appropriate for the situation. Then, the answerer can clarify whether or not that approach was appropriate, and why.
  2. What you were thinking. This goes more along the lines of your actual attempt, i.e., the math you used to solve the problem. Sometimes this is not applicable like in situations where you have absolutely no idea what to do. In that case we'd ask that you include #1 and why you are having trouble including #2. However, I would always include your math if you have it, even down to the more basic steps.

Again, thoughts and comments on this would be appreciated.

asked Nov 2, 2016 in Meta by heather (412 points)
edited Nov 2, 2016 by xxxx
Maybe the site could also be a bit more tolerant and lenient than Physics SE towards mathematical questions that occur in a physics context and/or ask for how physicists deal with things rather than pure mathematicians?

BTW best wishes to the new site !
Dilaton, we hope to be significantly more tolerant compared to Physics SE. The only requirement is that we want users to show their efforts while asking a question so that we can be sure that they are not simply using us as a homework service. And thank you for your wishes :)
I think you need to be more specific about what "efforts" exactly are.
@Sanya, I updated the question; let me know what you think.
@heather I like the description - sorry for the late reply, I need to get used to not being notified ...
I probably think that we should allow most questions....except for the one which show no effort at all.....ie...just the question statement being posted and no further insight being provided on what one thinks can be the possible methods or ways of solving the problem. And most importantly, since the above case is common with new users.....they should be immediately notified about this.....as well as their question should not be closed.....rather they should be urged to edit the question to show more effort. In a nutshell, closing down questions should be done only rarely....as it would discourage new users.
Yes. That's exactly what is being done. But we cannot allow off-topic questions.
SirJMP, I definitely agree and I think closing should be a last resort only for very poorly formulated questions.  I think this site should be very welcoming to new users.
xxxx : I think we should avoid the homework debate altogether. Otherwise we'll get into the mess Physics SE is in. What motives users have for asking, and what they do with the answers they get, is their own business. If one user wants to do the homework of another user, that is no concern of mine. Of course we should encourage effort, but we should not make "insufficient effort" a reason for closing a question. If we think the user is not making sufficient effort, that is our personal judgment, which we should not impose on other users.

1 Answer

4 votes
Best answer

The guidelines below will help you avoid some common obstacles to getting help.

Executive Summary :
1. Use MathJax for writing equations.
2. Reproduce the problem statement accurately
3. Show us that you've thought about the problem
4. Do not simply post images of the problem statement or your work
5. Format your post to make it easy to read and follow
6. Use proper English
7. Proofread
8. Helpers: don't give the entire solution unless the OP shows sufficient effort. However, by the same token, don't just give a hint as an answer.
9.Use appropriate tags.

MathJax Tutorial Page

Some users have identified that the usual syntax for displaying limits of integration isn't properly rendering.

The syntax below should be used to incorporating limits in an integration:

\int\limits_{a}^{b} x^2 dx, which when surrounded by $ signs gives displays as:

$\int\limits_{a}^{b} x^2 dx$

What kind of behavior is expected of users?

We’re excited to have you here, but we do ask that you follow a few guidelines when participating on our site.

Be honest.

Above all, be honest. If you see misinformation, vote it down. Add comments indicating what, specifically, is wrong. Provide better answers of your own.

Be nice.

Whether you've come to ask questions, or to generously share what you know, remember that we’re all here to learn, together. Be welcoming and patient, especially with those who may not know everything you do. Oh, and bring your sense of humor. Just in case. ;-)

Avoid overt self-promotion.

The community tends to vote down overt self-promotion and flag it as spam. Post good, relevant answers, and if some (but not all) happen to be about your product or website, that’s okay. However, you must disclose your affiliation in your answers.

Last but not the least, use flags whenever you find any question/answer/comment which violates the above rules. We need your help to build a high quality site!

This post may be updated in future.

answered Nov 2, 2016 by xxxx (160 points)
edited Nov 9, 2016 by Einstein
I don't have a problem with users posting images of the problem or even their own attempt to solve it (#4). If it saves time and it is clear, why should anyone object to it?

Neat, hand-written or hand-drawn solutions are just as good at communicating the essential information, and save time for those who are not familiar with MathJax or Paint or GeoGebra or similar software. And I would prefer to see the original wording of the question, rather than the user's interpretation of it (#2).  

Regarding #8, my opinion is that users who are thinking of posting an answer should decide for themselves what amount of effort is acceptable, and what kind of answer to provide - whether that be a hint or a full solution. Self-regulation (with moderator intervention only in extreme cases) avoids the difficulties which have arisen on Physics Stack Exchange regarding what questions should be closed.