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Can I ask a Question relating to a Concept in the Hope of Understanding Better?

2 votes

For example,   How to go about to think over a particular concept in an intuitive way?
         or                  The Reason Why certain things are defined in some specific way?

asked Mar 21, 2017 in Meta by DoubtExpert (340 points)

1 Answer

5 votes

Purely conceptual questions are not suitable for this site, which was set up to deal exclusively with problem-solving questions. Such questions ask you to apply your understanding of relevant concepts to a specific hypothetical situation. The difficulty is usually
(i) identifying what concepts are relevant, or
(ii) identifying how these concepts can be applied to solve the problem, or
(iii) a misunderstanding about how the concept applies.
Except for misunderstandings, we expect that we should not need to explain the concepts to you.

If you have a question about some concept in physics, we recommend that you consider posting it on Physics Stack Exchange, after checking in the Help Centre that it is appropriate and doing a search of the Physcis SE site to see if a similar question has been asked before.

An example of a conceptual question which is off topic for this site is Which physical quantities depend upon frame of reference - which is also off topic because of lack of effort.

Einstein points out in a comment that being "conceptual" is not a valid close reason. The question must be "too conceptual and one that is not about solving a specific problem." Had this question provided some options (ie multiple choice format), and shown some effort, I think it would have been acceptable.

Both of your examples are purely conceptual and devoid of any specific context, so they would not be appropriate for this site. In fact I think they are so broad, and answers would be mostly a matter of opinion, that both would be rejected even on Physics Stack Exchange. Such questions are better suited to discussion sites. If you have access to the ChatRoom at Physics Stack Exchange, you might get answers that way.

My personal opinion is that a purely conceptual question could be appropriate on this site as a follow-up question to a problem-solving question, provided that it can be answered briefly, as a comment. You could do this by posting a comment to an answer to your problem-solving question. But it would not be appropriate to post it as a separate question.

answered Mar 21, 2017 by sammy gerbil (28,876 points)
edited May 13, 2017 by sammy gerbil