Proposal: Theoretical Physics (but not restricted to it)

Remember, if you want support a proposal during commitment phase, aside from advertising it to gain more followers, you can also help increasing the progress of commitment phase by actively participating on other SE sites (and thus gaining reputation).

Especially for Theoretical Physics I recommend asking questions on physics.SE - there is no upper limit how challenging1 your question can be there so feel free to ask research questions. Should the both sites make it out of beta, your question can still be migrated.

1 I mean in the scientific meaning

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    Why can't this be a part of Physics.SE? – Ivo Flipse Jan 28 '11 at 15:20

In my view the level of Physics.SE is very very low, and the site is currently suffering from an issue where some correct answers are being downvoted in favour of plausible-sounding but incorrect answers. By no stretch of the imagination is the current site suitable for general research level questions (though a few can get answered because there are a few real physicists on there, and if it happens to fall into one of their areas of expertise and they happen to see it, you might get a good answer). The point of this proposal is to create a site that operates at a level similar to MathOverflow.

As you may have noticed over the last week or so, I gave Physics.SE another try. However I have largely found the experience very negative, and think it is extremely unlikely that I will be back. Please don't get me wrong, there are a few competent physicists on there giving excellent answers, but they are in the extreme minority.

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    So, you are saying that Physics.SE turned on a Yahoo! Answers? I can't say anything besides that we don't need a site working like Y!A. Otherwise if these problems it's just exceptions, probably a merge would work. – Maniero Jan 29 '11 at 16:05
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    There are a few good people on there, but for the most part it's just interested amateurs peddling inaccurate answers. I honestly think a merge would be a bad idea. Look at the people currently committed here, for the most part they are professional theoretical physicists. These are simply two different communities, so I think a merge would be a very bad idea. – Joe Fitzsimons Jan 29 '11 at 18:57
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    I think we should to start a discussion about close the Physics as low quality site. – Maniero Jan 30 '11 at 0:33
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    @bigown: you seem to be confusing low quality with "not the level I expected". according to the stat-o-meter the "quality" of the site seems fine - there is a growing community supporting the site, it may just not be the community everyone feels part of. Now that's news... Maybe we really need a separate site when tags don't suffice – Tobias Kienzler Jan 31 '11 at 8:04
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    I agree that some problems exist, but none of them can be fixed by making a new site on which most questions/user will be closed/kicked as non-research-level leaving a discussion forum with minor traffic. – mbq Feb 1 '11 at 12:53
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    @mbq: I have no intention of trying to fix the problems in the physics site. I have no interest in further participation in it. The point of this proposal is to create an expert community along the lines of MathOverflow and CSTheory, both of which have strict policies on the level of questions, and both of which are active communities and extremely useful resources. – Joe Fitzsimons Feb 1 '11 at 15:19
  • @Joe Compare the traffic on SO, Math.SE and on Physics.SE. – mbq Feb 1 '11 at 16:19
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    @mbq: I don't see how that is in any way relevant. I didn't even mention Math SE or SO, and I don't know what I am supposed to get from those stats. Physics has less hits? Sure, but it's rubbish. Lubos, Chad and Peter Shor are currently carrying the whole site. CSTheory has the same traffic as Physics SE and the TCS community is much smaller than the TP community, so if your argument is that the physics community isn't big enough, I'll stop you right there. I think the bigger issue is that Physics SE has done nothing to distinguish itself from countless VBulletin forums. MO and CSTheory have. – Joe Fitzsimons Feb 1 '11 at 18:23
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    @mbq: Lastly, I think you and Tobias are perhaps seeing this as a split from Physics SE, rather than a distinct proposal. You only have to look at the commitment stats, however, to see that these are distinct communities. As I mentioned before, only 18% of current committers to this proposal have participated in Physics SE. – Joe Fitzsimons Feb 1 '11 at 18:28
  • @Joe Well Lubos and Chad are good examples of pretty problematic users... About participation, potential pool of users have nothing to do with site size, regardless of its quality. Finally long stay on Area makes that small amount of the committed users are active on the final size, not to mention that the rest is a minor part in the final audience (if the site is successful). – mbq Feb 1 '11 at 19:07
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    @mbq: I'm sorry, I promise I am not being deliberately obtuse, but I still don't see what point you were trying to get across. Are you complaining that this proposal is competing for users with Physics SE? I really don't think it is. Or are you saying that you think restricting to research level is a bad thing? In that case, I'm not sure there is much to say, as there are several very successful research level only sites, and whether you like the idea or not is simply a matter of personal preferences. – Joe Fitzsimons Feb 1 '11 at 19:32

True, although it seems that Physics level is constantly rising, so I still hope that TP will not be needed.

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    I agree. But maybe the others are right and we need a splitting as MO / math.SE. Let's see... – Tobias Kienzler Jan 29 '11 at 9:15

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