6:03 AM
@ChrisWhite we can, but it's reserved for extreme circumstances. That goes for both mod messaging and "superpinging".
For something like this, where a relatively new user is doing something that's not quite within the norms of the site, we'll just leave a comment - so it doesn't have to be a moderator who does it. Anyone who is familiar with how the site works can do so.
@Kyle cc (see above)

7 hours later…
1:04 PM
It's been a while...
To my luck, we have a chat session today... :)
Back to the good old days, I guess

2 hours later…
3:33 PM
And we actually have something to discuss today

Sadly most likely need to run before the scheduled chat, but hopefully it's productive. I think the results (so far) from meta.physics.stackexchange.com/questions/5958/… are interesting... definitely seem to be some cases where the community is unanimous and others where it is... not.

Hello friends.

@Kyle ah, thanks for finding that link. For some reason I didn't see it in the Android app.
17

Well, meta posts about "homework" keep on coming, but we still don't seem to have a solution that sticks, so I'll give it another shot. For what it's worth I think the current system isn't so bad that we need to go back to the drawing board, but that there's also room for improvement. My suggest...

(for easy reference)

@DavidZ That pinged me....

yeah, sorry, I can't reply to specific messages from the mobile chat site

3:45 PM
O I C.
So if it's the Reply option it pings Kyle, but the generic @name goes to whoever fits it. Weird

yeah, because the reply is tied to a specific message so the system knows which user is intended
Anyway, I was going to say: we may or may not decide on a specific course of action today but I hope there will be some useful discussion

It's really the middle and lower voted answers on Kyle's post that need really clarifying.

@Kyle and this question on homework will be an important part of revamping the HW policy, which is happening... it's just a long process.
(I'll see how the standard chat interface works on my tablet)
@KyleKanos yep. I hope we get good feedback in the chat session about those.

@KyleKanos actually I'm pretty sure it pinged both of us simultaneously...

@Kyle Probably. SE reply thing seems screwed up.

3:55 PM
I think I was most surprised by the response to "please check my work" being on/off topic, that one came out very controversial.
3

Yeah, that's the one I'm most interested to discuss. I think it may need to be broken down further, or qualified in some way.

@DavidZ there is an attempt to break it down further, which came out more or less equally controversial meta.physics.stackexchange.com/a/5961/11053

A thought that just occurred to me is that perhaps questions which ask for checking work should give some indication of why the asker thinks they have made a mistake.
I think it's an issue of finding the right way to break it down, one that encapsulates what people think should be on topic
OK, so time to officially start the chat session

...although it doesn't look like anyone new is showing up right at the start time
@ManishEarth ah, I was wondering if you'd be around :-)
@Waffle'sCrazyPeanut you here?

4:02 PM
@Kyle It's always been that controversial, the original policy said that HW+check-work is fine but people don't like it

anyone else? (other than the Kyles)

Waffles seems to have gotten Internet back
@DavidZ hah, yeah. Sem started, and I made myself busy again. Trying to get back into SE :)
Got a Servo meeting (videoconf) after this.

@DavidZ Now I am (forgot to see the tab, it's getting flooded - silly me...)

OK, so I guess the main topic of discussion is the bite-size homework policy answers, and specifically what kinds of check-my-work questions we want to allow

I should be out-of-sync now... What did I miss all these days (at least, now?)
ah...

4:04 PM
@Waffle'sCrazyPeanut mostly business as usual, other than this homework thing. If you haven't seen it, the link has been posted a few times in the last half hour or so

@ManishEarth I'm one of those that think check my work is a bad idea. It is my opinion that it is not at all different from "do my homework for me"

@DavidZ /seeing now...

@DavidZ /me no like check-my-work
But "Am I looking at this correctly" is okay for interpretation-related problems

I just ignore/closevote questions asking to find "why I got 2.54 instead of 3.28", but there are some more edge cases I guess

In many cases I agree with you @KyleKanos, but I can also see the value in allowing people to ask higher-level check-my-work questions. Like, there are many times in my research where I do some derivation and get it wrong, and it would be useful to have someone else review it and find my mistake

4:07 PM
Higher level, yes

and in a telecon, bye :/

One sec, I have an example

@DavidZ isn't that what co-workers are for?

@ManishEarth even with those ones I don't like the questions where the answer is just "yes" - that is, there should actually be a problem

Which I asked. Feel free to close it and yell at me
+1

4:07 PM
@DavidZ But the HW policy says that checking work should be done by friends, classmates, or teachers....

@Jim yeah, I suppose o

http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/67889/tension-in-a-massless-string-a‌​round-a-pulley/67894#67894
@Kyle Thoughts on that one?

There are cases where nobody I know can figure it out

whoops
1

So, I was solving this problem1 and I realized that the system given seems to be non-deterministic when analysed with classical laws. The situation is thus: A rope is wrapped for an angle of $\theta_0$ (symmetrically) around a fixed pole (the circle in the diagram). One end is fixed to a wall,...

@DavidZ: Wait... Maybe I'm missing something here. We haven't (ever) encouraged "do my homework for me" nor the "check my work" questions... We always look out for the conceptual-ness, don't we?

4:09 PM
Thoughts on this one?

@Waffle'sCrazyPeanut it's been that way for a long time but we're kind of reconsidering the HW policy from the ground up, and this particular point of check-my-work questions seems to be controversial

@DavidZ I definitely agree with the value of being able ask a question here to see where a mistake is if your co-workers can't help. But in the event that co-workers can't help, I would wager that the question is probably far too specific to be useful to anyone else. And, thus, would probably still be off topic

@DavidZ for the millionth time :P

@ManishEarth I don't think that the linked question is a "check my work" it seems to be more along the lines of "I was doing X and didn't understand why Y"

^^^ agreed

4:12 PM
me too
@Jim I see your point, but I think we should be careful with that specificity criterion. Physics research by its nature is very specific, so I'm personally in favor of being more lenient when it comes to research-level questions being overly specific.

@DavidZ Ok, but there is a difference between research-level concept questions and research-level "check my work" questions

Yeah, that is true, although there are some cases where they kind of blend into one another

@KyleKanos I know, but it comes close to an HW problem

True. I think, though, in general they should be discouraged. However, we should approach them on a case-by-case basis

Like, for example, one might be getting the wrong answer in a mathematical derivation because one is applying a concept the wrong way

4:16 PM
But yeah, that bite sized policy bit fits perfectly

@ManishEarth why isn't that a homework? (I mean, the tag)

shrug

@Jim sure, that makes sense. But I think it would be useful to have some guidance enshrined in the policy on how we evaluate individual cases - or at least to craft a HW policy that doesn't also restrict the kinds of research-level questions we want.

@ManishEarth I don't think it's that close. The issue with (X->Y) is trying to see what concept you are missing, not "How do I do this"

@ManishEarth that question of yours is a pretty clear example of a conceptual homework question IMO

4:18 PM
@DavidZ as for the example, that is just as true for high school-level questions as it is for research-level. The difference is I would expect the research-level asker to be able to recognize that this is the case and tailor a question to better fit our homework policy

@KyleKanos Maybe he starts from "I did this, this, bing, bing, etc." and arrives at a conceptual confusion (why isn't that homework anyway?)

@Waffle'sCrazyPeanut Perks of being a mod, nobody slaps HW on your question. Feel free to add it if it applies. I stopped caring about the meaning of the tag quite a while ago, as long as people apply it consistently. So I've sort of forgotten the current meaning of the tag.
@DavidZ Yeah, I was proposing it as one litmus test for the bite sized policies. It's still HW, even if not off topic.

@ManishEarth Hah... I understand :)

@Jim right; we will, however, need the policy to be clear enough that research-level askers can see how to modify their questions to fit it.

@Waffle'sCrazyPeanut The HW tag-wiki says A "homework question" is any question whose value lies in helping you understand the method by which the question can be solved Asking why Y when expecting X is not understanding the method but the underlying physics

4:21 PM
Sounds like the tag should be updated

We can in general be lax towards research level qs IMO, usually while the question might not be easily searchable, good answers contain enough keywords so that the conceptual explanation reaches you.
Not "prove this for me" though

@ManishEarth: On the sidenote, (when I meant that my internet is "fixed", I meant "it's better than what it had been in the past) - For example, I can't edit posts, I can't view Q&A whenever I want! (I need to wait for a while) - SE CSS takes lots of time... I don't have that much patience often, so I see "naked" SE...
@KyleKanos The tag has always been a "paradox" for me... >_<

kill it!

@KyleKanos oh, I think I see a confusion here: the intent of that quote was that it applies to the problem being asked about, not to the question posted on the site. So in the case of Manishearth's question, he was doing that problem in order to learn about classical mechanics, not because he literally had a cylinder on a string and needed to figure out whether the string would hold. That makes it a homework problem.

/hurray

4:24 PM
@Waffle'sCrazyPeanut [tag:problem-solving-but-also-conceptual-dont-use-this-for-homework-or-we-will-f‌​ind-you-and-demonstrate-the-ledenfrost-effect-with-your-appendages]
welp, that didn't work

the tag wiki might be better phrased if we change "homework question" to "homework problem"

@ManishEarth Damn... It would've been nice, if it displayed right...

Jim is now out to lunch and unable to reply to any messages. All those wishing to get in contact with Jim now are SOL. -Sent from my mobile device

Anyway, lots of discussion so far but I'm not sure what to make of it all. Where are we coming down on check-my-work questions, and in particular a good way to distinguish which ones should be on or off topic?
Could that be material for another meta question?

@DavidZ Yes

4:28 PM
AH!!! Homeworks are boring! The more & more we talk about it, the more frustrating they are! KILL THEM!!! :P

If only it were that easy :-P

Is this actual policy?

@KyleKanos I don't think so. We have a meta question on what counts as sufficient research effort, but it doesn't say that questions can be off topic for that reason

That's what I've thought, but it seems we have a few people VTC questions based on that...

@KyleKanos Insufficient research effort is more of a global policy, or reason to downvote -- it means "google before you ask"
In the case of Phys.SE, it can be easily misinterpreted

4:36 PM
It might be worth editing the meta question to say that it's not a reason for closure
Though, should it be a reason for closure? Right now it's not, but if people think it should be, we should have that discussion

@DavidZ Another Meta Q to ask...

always more questions...

:D

ah good, I made it back just as discussion is wrapping up
is anyone planning on writing the (two?) proposed followup meta questions?

I was thinking of writing one about VTC w/ respect to insufficient effort

4:46 PM
@KyleKanos nod

I could write the other one about check-my-work questions, if nobody else wants to do it

@DavidZ I'd offer, but it's unlikely I'll get to it in a timely fashion

well, you're not alone in that ;-)
Anyway, that's the scheduled end of our chat session, so let's get those meta questions up and come back to this issue later

5:02 PM
I'm currently writing the one

-1

Your reputation mark is not the criteria for defining who is better at physics and who is not.. Even people with less reputation than 20 can have much interest in Physics and may have questions that might interest you. So, kindly change the rules regarding who might or might not be able to post i...

Sometimes, I really am in need of a client for SE chat rooms...

5:22 PM
0

Some time ago, John Rennie asked, ...in many cases it looks as if the OP simply can't be bothered to put any effort in. Do we have a policy for closing (or not closing) such questions? The Meta question has received not a downvote (12/0 at time of writing). The answer by Ben Crowell says (e...

1 hour later…
6:46 PM
259

The voting answers will be locked soon after 00:00UTC on Wednesday, 30 July 2014.1 1 Approximately 00:00GMT, that's 19:00 on Tuesday in Bagota, 20:00 on Tuesday in New York City, 01:00 on Wednesday in London, 02:00 on Wednesday in Johannesburg, 05:45 on Wednesday in Kathmandu, 08...

Looks like Mathematics is on the verge of blacklisting the homework tag

Seems they're one step ahead of us

-17

Even if the OP does not use "homework" tag, the users ("community police") can still attach this if they're reasonably sure that this is homework. On one recent post, though, the OP specifically said "this is not homework" because most questions are! So, maybe we should have a "not a homework" ta...

7:07 PM
Regarding that homework tag post, we really should get rid of the tag. The policy is great but the tag adds nothing.

Math.SE has not been able to curb the flood of homework-like questions. Now that their homework tag is gone, the battle seems lost forever. Interestingly, Math.SE has roughly twice the number of visits per day, four times the number of users, and 7 times the number of questions per day, as compared to Phys.SE.

@Qmechanic what do you mean "lost forever" how has the lack of their homework tag made their users unable to identify and VTC homework questions?
or has there been an increase in number of homework questions asked since it was removed?

well the tag isn't gone yet
but I think what Qmechanic might be saying is that the support for abandoning the homework tag could be interpreted as a sign that the community there no longer cares about discouraging homework questions

@Jim : In practice, the homework tag is instrumental in identifying homework-like questions. See also my answer here to a meta post.

7:25 PM
well either way, I might be for removing the tag. But I'm not for it strongly enough to argue with anyone about it
@Qmechanic ah, I see what your saying. Let me be clear, I'm not for removal of the tag because I think it will somehow stem the tide of HWL questions. I'm for it's removal because I think it's ugly, meta, and just one more mostly useless tag that's cluttering our already over-bloated list of tags. Plus it would keep people from using it as the only tag.

7:56 PM
Yeah, Math.SE wants to get rid of the homework tag because they welcome homework, and don't want it stigmatized. They already have policies where any question is fair game, you straight up give anyone the answers to their problem sets, and the community is forbidden from tagging a question as homework unless the OP requests it.

8:40 PM
@KyleKanos this is getting out of hand - new user today: physics.stackexchange.com/users/56310/kyle

@Kyle We're being overrun!

@dmckee the first thing that popped into my head (because to me that's a Star Wars reference) is the character Kyle Katarn from the old Jedi Knight video games :/
come to think of it I'm pretty sure the quote I'm thinking of is from one of those games... anyway

@Kyle Never played those games, so I was just ad libbing.
Any way, I have a question for the hoard (such as it is).
Does anyone know of a more recent video similar to the old "Powers of Ten" video (youtube.com/watch?v=0fKBhvDjuy0).
I'm teaching a physical sciences for poets type class this fall and am looking for a multimedia "get them fired up" type thing.
I like "Powers of Ten", but it is a bit outdated and has a slower, pre-internet era pacing that some of my students are likely to dislike.

"Powers of Ten" outdated? I feel old...

@dmckee ooh I know one, it's not a video but...
actually 2, the recent cosmos reboot has a decent sequence