5:03 AM

6 hours later…
10:35 AM
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I wanted to include some links in one of my [answers]{http://physics.stackexchange.com/a/24629/2751} but the [keyword]{URL} format seems not to work properly at the moment. Can somebody tell me why this is?

8 hours later…
6:30 PM
As I mentioned in the meta question, I'm not going to be here for the first half hour of today's chat session. It would be great if someone else steps up to lead the discussion. (Worst case, if nobody does, at least please stick around until I get here.)

6:41 PM
1

Is it possible to publish/link to/include a guide or a reference to a preferred guide to writing LaTeX on the site so that (if possible) searching by formula would be easier? That's pretty much it...

0

Since this site -mostly- works in a wiki-fashion. I thought that having an index of quality, conceptual questions tagged by mod-exclusive tags. Perhaps an "Approved" tag or something similar. Furthermore, there can be a "Proposal" tag for users who think the question they're asking should be adde...

2 hours later…
8:59 PM
Lessee 'bout this chat event
So, that starts about now, neh?

Yeah. We've probably given enough time for late arrivals to show up.

So! The purpose of this chat event is to review the potentiality of merging Astronomy and Theoretical Physics' content into this site as they shut down.
There are two previous Meta discussions on the topic, for Theoretical Physics and for Astronomy, which I'll toss in here for simple review
Just running down the prescribed agenda... who all do we have here today?

9:14 PM
/raises hand

For those who don't know me, I'm Grace Note, I'm a Community Coordinator that works for Stack Exchange. I'll be overseeing this chat to see how it goes and by extension, what we need to do. As well as clarify any of the mechanical concerns.
An Astronomy mod is good to have, handy.

...I guess.

Well, having a representative from each of the merge-into sites, as well as the site it's all going to, is a good idea, no? ♪

Naturally, I think. I'll contribute what I can.

Anyone else around?

9:20 PM
I'm here.

Physics, Theoretical Physics, or Astronomy?

Mostly astronomy (user). I have a physics account but it's basically a placeholder at this time.

Gotcha
Anyone from the Physics, Theoretical or Otherwise, crowds?
Hey David

Hey Grace
Thanks for getting the chat started!
(and I apologize for our lackluster activity levels)
wow, everyone's getting here now... hey @Qmechanic, @leongz
Unless anyone had something else to say, one thing I would definitely like to bring up is the proposed merger of Astronomy, specifically with respect to the non-astrophysics questions
Basically the big decision we have to make is (1) whether we are going to take the observational questions from Astronomy, and (2) whether we are going to (or even if we can) change the site name to reflect this
@Dilaton, @Pygmalion I know you're here too ;-)

Has there been any information exposed re how the merge will be done?

9:28 PM
@MrDisappointment ah yes, I'm curious about that as well
@GraceNote can you say anything about that?

Pretty much like if there was a lot of migrations, except we wouldn't necessarily flood your homepage
So, y'know, associated accounts would retain ownership of their posts, upvotes will remain mostly untouched, things will be put at the timestamps of their original asking, etc.

Darn ... ;-) David. I dont like a site name change to much but at the same time I think the non astrophysics question would probably not do any harm here

@GraceNote cool, sounds good
Would accounts also be migrated over?

Not typically, no

Oh, OK, so then we should probably bug people to create accounts on Physics if they want to retain ownership of their questions
@Dilaton yeah, you're not the only one with that opinion of course... personally, I feel strongly that if we are going to take the observational questions (and continue to accept more), we should change the site name or logo (if it is technically possible). In other words (1) if and only if (2).

9:32 PM
I'd estimate that non-astrophysics questions on a.se only total ~50-100. Compared to the ~7500 total questions on p.se the total is small enough that a name change would be overkill if the questions are imported

Will the 'weeding of the bad' questions be done beforehand, so as not to flood Physics with them while being processed? That's to say, would it make the whole thing smoother if we mod-delete to have them omitted?

@DanNeely Hm, interesting point... I was thinking the name change would reflect the fact that we are willing to take on observational astronomy questions in the future

It would be easier to weed out the question selection before the merge, yes

(by the way, folks, please star the important messages as they come up)
aaahh chat is going crazy
Hi @Alenanno

Are there other similar technical questions concerning other experimental equipment the astrophysics on this site by now? Astrophysics is physics and the observational questions could be included with a similar status as other experimental questions ...

9:36 PM
I don't see observational astronomy as being much farther from the astro-physics core than several other existing tags on p.se are from general physics. ex education (100 questions); electric circuits (48 questions), or computational physics (41 questions).

@Dilaton That is a good point. We do have a few questions of an experimental nature.

Yea and I agree with Dan Neely

That does make sense.

All three of those examples are halfway to another (narrowly defined) discipline but apparently aren't considered a problem.
Accepting edge case questions from other related areas but not for observational astronomy strikes me as borderline treating astronomy as a 2nd class citizen here.

OK, how about this: forgetting about any possibility of a name change for the moment, does anyone have any objection to importing "non-astrophysics" questions from Astronomy?

9:38 PM
Nope :-)

Nope

or even any possible reason not to do it that you can think of, even if you don't agree with it?

this is difficult, if they are appropriately tagged people who dont like them can ignore them...

yeah, although it wouldn't keep people from complaining if they wanted to ;-)

I don't think it's infeasible to include a tag on all questions migrated in.

9:42 PM
@GraceNote that would be helpful. Or even if not a tag, a list of the questions being migrated from each site (or some way to obtain such a list, e.g. some search operator) would serve the same purpose.

For the TP.SE people this could at the same time be a tag for retrieving "their" questions.

(for the questions which already have 5 tags it may not be worth it to bump one to put a migration tag)

The only 'pre-weeding' that I think would be worth doing is sending the astro-phtography questions directly to photo.se. There's already a tag there for them (more active than the one on A.SE); so those questions are a much better fit there than they would be on physics.

Sure, sounds reasonable.
If necessary, a few of those can also be manually migrated after the fact.
@Dilaton yeah. That's another thing we need to discuss: will it be appropriate to use a tag like to identify questions which would appeal to the TP.SE crowd?
Something we could do is have a tag attached to all the migrated questions from TP and then merge that tag into later on if we want to. So we don't necessarily have to decide on the use of such a tag just yet.

Moving the AP questions later isn't a big problem. I was thinking in terms of limiting the merge noise; and that questions that have been bounced between multiple SEs tend to be seen as slightly suspect. If feasible; probably best to avoid stigmatizing them that way.

9:46 PM
Maybe some of them would like it to filter out the noise, Im not sure of course but it sounds reasonable (at least to me :-) ...)

@DanNeely That is true. It would definitely be better to have astrophotography questions sent to photo.SE prior to any mass migration. But if a few slip through the cracks, it's no big deal.
@MrDisappointment @DanNeely and any astro people: if you could start a push to identify all the astrophotography questions and migrate them to photo.SE this week, that would probably be a good idea.

Picking on a specific topic for a moment, will Physics be happy with telescope questions from building, buying, using, cleaning, and so on?

Well, that's basically what we were talking about with "observational astronomy." And if astronomy is to be part of our scope, they do fit with the idea that experimental technology questions should be welcome here.
I think: yes, we will be fine with that.

Maybe we need implements.stackexchange.com.

or doohickies.stackexchange.com :-P

9:50 PM
I would commit to both.

Is that just a case of clicking the flag link and adding text like "move to photo.se"? I've never used the feature before and don't want to create moderator noise figuring out how it works.

At one point there was an experimental physics proposal on Area 51 that would have taken these kinds of questions. It never gained traction though.
@DanNeely yep, that would be the way to do it (assuming your moderators work like our moderators, that is)

gotcha. Running down the list now.

Flag away.

Although looking at the questions by title I think a fair number probably would fit better on physics (if accepted); but with changed tags.

9:55 PM
-7

I heard that the Earth rotation is slowing down, but I also heard the Earth's length of day is increasing. Does the two theories go together or conflict with each other?

OK, so as I see it, so far we have more or less established (1) Physics will take everything from Astronomy except for astrophotography questions, which will be manually migrated before the merge (2) we should bug people on other sites to get accounts on Physics sooner rather than later if they want to continue participating (3) the actual merge will be handled at the SE level, basically similar to regular migrations
2
@MrDisappointment oy... well, I suppose it is a physics question
technically

Will the merging involve time consuming tasks that can not be automated for which help is needed?

That's our lowest voted. Expected. I can't grasp the intent, though.

@Dilaton I guess @Grace has to address that...

@Dilaton It might be possible to automate the migration through a number of sites, if based purely on tags.
Yeah, team member necessary.

10:00 PM
I looked at and flagged 10 of the first 25 astrophotograhy questions to migrate before running out of flags for the day. The other 15 are IMO physics/astrophysics questions not photopgrahy related.

OK, so it's currently the scheduled end time for the chat session; however, I'll stick around for a while longer and we can keep hashing things out as long as people want

I'll flag the last three tomorrow since all of them should be migrated.
Do we want to do anything special about the ones that should go to p.se but are at best marginally astrophotography related in advance; or just leave them for general cleanup at some point in the future?

We're going to do most of it mechanically
But if you need fine-sorting of stuff that doesn't belong, yes, we'll need help

@DanNeely I don't think anything special needs to be done, necessarily. The way things are going I don't think astrophotography questions would be actually off topic on Physics, so if they get sent to us, it's not a problem.
Hi @Moshe

I'll have all the ones with the astro-photgraphy tag that IMO should go to photo flagged as soon as my counter resets tomorrow (13/28). The other 15 are general astrophysics/observational astronomy questions and would be off topic on photo.se.

10:05 PM
@GraceNote As I understand it, the way I see this working is that questions which don't belong on Physics will get migrated in advance of the merge. Then you can mechanically transfer everything that is left.

Basically I just want to avoid moving everything with that tag to there since about half of them would be off topic on photo.se

Forgive me, but have we had any mod from photos.se around, just so they know?
I'm notoriously annoying as it is.

I just read through the discussion so far. I think the name of the site should not be changed. The current name is shorter and includes the fields to be added.

@MrDisappointment I don't know that any of them are here, but you could perhaps ping them in TL to ask about these migrations

Not sure. I don't think I saw anyone from there here. I can post something on their meta from home in a bit; but I want to wrap up here before the guards start roaming the halls to kick people out. Will check in here in ~30 minutes.

10:08 PM
@ArnoldNeumaier hm, yeah, it seems like several (most?) people are of that opinion. We will probably defer a final decision on any possible name change until after the actual merger.

@DavidZaslavsky Hello David!

Yep I agree with Arnold.

@Alenanno hey, you're back!

@DavidZaslavsky Yup!
Are you gathering the questions from the SEs that are being closed?

@Alenanno It appears so, except for a select few which are being transferred to other sites
well, at least the physics-related questions we are taking :-P

10:10 PM
Yes yes I meant those
Not everything ahah
I don't think you'd need the Literature ones.

@Alenanno we probably wouldn't know what to do with them anyway... physicists have weird ideas of what constitutes literature ;-)
Incidentally, this reminds me: there was some discussion about migrating the quantum computing-related tags from TP.SE to CS theory rather than here to Physics.
yesterday, by Artem Kaznatcheev
I think everybody at cstheory is excited about taking all the questions in the quantum-computing and quantum-information tags
This sounds like a fine idea to me, unless anyone has (or can think of) an argument against it?

Seems they would have a nice new home there ;-)

@DavidZaslavsky I'm against! But only because no-one else is. :D
So, yeah, don't consider my vote.

quantum computing is indeed often more CS than physics. On the other hand, maybe when selecting an interdisciplinary tag, people should perhaps be made aware that there may be another site where the question would fit, and an automatic migration possibility should perhaps be provided.

I guess every debate needs a loyal opposition
@ArnoldNeumaier Yes, and/or a mention in the FAQ.

10:14 PM
@DavidZaslavsky Pretty much

OK, cool
@Moshe are you (actively) around?
I believe the main two things we haven't really hashed out yet are (1) ways to make participation in this site more appealing for Theoretical Physics users, and (2) in particular, whether we should use a tag to identify research-level questions.

David knows what I say and no other answer (in particular from the TP.SE people) probably IS an answer ... :-P ?

I propose to complement the existing homework tag with two tags, one study-level and one research-level. Study-level would be questions that indicate that a technical answer is wanted but on a level understandable to a good undergraduate student, while research-level would be forquestions where it is nontrivial to find the information unless you are an expert.

@ArnoldNeumaier Interesting thought, but I don't agree with the presence of a "study-level" tag; the majority of our questions are supposed to be at this level and I don't think it's necessary to use a tag to identify them as such. "study-level" would be the default level assumption in the absence of a tag indicating otherwise.

One might even require that new questions always have a level tag (and old ones are with time upgraded with one); in this case, one would need a few more levels. E.g., some existing soft-question, reference-request, history, career, would then become level tags.

10:28 PM
Honestly, I'm not even convinced that the tag really helps our site, but it's too well-entrenched to do anything with it.
@ArnoldNeumaier some of those are really more topic tags than level tags. I do try to make sure every question has at least one topic tag.

Ive seen some questions asking for layman explanations, so maybe we could use a layman tag.

I feel like something like that is better stated in the question, though.

@DavidZaslavsky: If I look at the questions actually posed, i can't verify that study-level is indeed the default level. Thinking of what one can actually see, many would fall under the category layman-question or just-curious.

Yeah, you`re probably right, it was just an idea. Have to sleep now, by :-)

Bye @Dilaton, thanks for participating

10:32 PM
If something is specified only in the question rather than as a tag, it cannot be used to filter for them. The main goal of the tags must be to enable those navigating in the sea of available questions to reach thos that interest them with the least effort.

@ArnoldNeumaier ok, true... what we're aiming for is that most questions should be at this "study level." Or to put it another way, these are the questions we want to most actively encourage.
@ArnoldNeumaier that is true. But I don't think there is much value in letting people search for all study-level questions, or even for all homework questions (which leads to my previously stated objections to the homework tag).
Still, that is a good argument in favor of a research-level tag.

We can say in the FAQ that study questions are the preferred ones, but this would half exclude the theoretical physicist's interests that we are now more obliged to take into account. And having questions that are not study-questions tagged would also make it easier to weed them out if inappropriate.

Hm, I suppose I should actually say study-level and up is preferred. However there are relatively so few research-level questions that there's no way we can ever expect them to constitute a majority of the site. That's why I consider "study level" to be our main target range.

Nobody would want to search for all homework (or research level) questions, but it makes sense to use it as partial filter, together with ''most recent'' or ''unanswered'' or with another tag. This is already useful now in connection with a topic and ''history'', say. That's also why I'd classify history (or reference-request) as a level tag rather than as a topic tag.

SemiOT, but If any SE site could use a layman tag I think math.se would be it. I regularly see hot questions answerable at a highschool algebra level receive answers with heavier levels of formalism/jargon than I encountered in my college level calculus/differential equations classes.

10:40 PM
@DanNeely yeah... I dunno, my thought is that it really is supposed to be an "expert level" site, which means in part that you can't expect people to avoid a bit of jargon if they need it. But you do have a point.

I thought mathoverflow.net was for the expert level questions. Similar in intent to TP.SE except that they managed to get enough users to make it work.

@ArnoldNeumaier Ah, I see... I hadn't really thought of the tag as being intended for use with other tags. I suppose it makes sense. But still, "history" is not a level at which one can ask a question - that's my argument against it being a level tag, anyway. Of course it doesn't matter unless we are trying to do something like imposing a level tag on every question.

My advice would be to make the site as useful as possible to those that actually visit it, without chasing off those that already use the site regularly. Many people first asking highschool-level (perhaps better than layman-level) questions will turn in time into people asking study-level questions (or may do both, in different subareas of physics) and then into experts, first on a small field of expertise, later on a wider field.

Hm, well, I will keep that in mind. But of course it is also important to remember that we are trying to target a specific audience, which is not necessarily going to be just whoever visits the site.

To keep those that prefer to see only their level of interests represented one needs to make it easy for them to ''reduce'' the site with minimal effort to see only what they selected. (It would also be good to be able to customize one's view of the site such that when on the site one gets just the selected view, without each time having to redefine the selection. The customization could be defined in the profile and would be the default, unless manually altered.)

10:49 PM
@ArnoldNeumaier That could be done with something analogous to the Facebook view of Stack Overflow. It'll be something we can consider later.
(after we deal with the merge)
Anyway... I have to go.
@GraceNote thanks for managing the chat in the beginning

Well, I only make suggestions that i think would make the site more valuable (at least for people like me). The target audience should be the one that helps the site to flourish without alienating the established visitors and without making the democracy go arwy.
I must go to sleep now, too. Good bye.

Bye @Arnold and thanks for your input!
@Moshe perhaps you could spread the word to the other TP users/mods that questions which would be appropriate on CS theory should be migrated there before TP.SE closes - that would be mostly the quantum-information and quantum-computation tags IIRC

@DavidZaslavsky No problem

11:07 PM
@DavidZaslavsky I'm off as well. See you soon.