I am currently in dispute with the Physicists. I am interested how force vectors act on single points of a rotating rigid body. Unfortunately, the community PhysicsStacExchange doesn't tolerate my questions and closes them permanently. Since I have a problem with the Physicists site, I decided to ask the same questions on the Mathematicians site and the reaction is quite different I have a lot negative score with Physicists and almost exclusively positive feedback from mathematicians.

So I asked Physics why the same questions are so negatively evaluated on their site, when mathematicians see nothing wrong with these questions? https://physics.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/13278/why-are-the-same-questions-on-mathematics-positively-scored-and-negatively-sco

I've received the answer:

"Mathematics is a homework site (even if that is not official) where roughly anything goes (hardly ever any question is closed), so that may explain a lot of things."

"... we are not required to lower (or raise) our standards to that of any other site in the network... "

Is it true mathematicians get points for free anyone who asks any question?

is it true MathematicsStackExchange is a homework site?

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    $\begingroup$ Probably you are looking for this $\endgroup$ Dec 15, 2020 at 12:53
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    $\begingroup$ MSE is not a homework site, though it does feature many homework questions and lower level math questions. PSE is more advanced in nature, but there also is (effectively) no MathOverflow equivalent for PSE, so that seems inevitable. Squabbling about the differences between two SEs is silly, especially for someone with so little experience in either. $\endgroup$ Dec 15, 2020 at 15:11
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinR As you suggested, I changed the question in the title $\endgroup$ Dec 15, 2020 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ @AnindyaPrithvi Thank you for the link, it's very interesting but it doesn't answer my question: is the math site for amateurs and the physical site for professionals? I would also like to point out that my questions are not homework and they concern issues that physicists cannot answer. $\endgroup$ Dec 15, 2020 at 16:07
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    $\begingroup$ "hardly ever any question is closed" Boy, not from what I hear. $\endgroup$
    – rschwieb
    Dec 15, 2020 at 20:16
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    $\begingroup$ Anybody been collecting stats on how many questions are closed/deleted? I guess some of it is not generally available in SEDE so I can't tell.. $\endgroup$
    – rschwieb
    Dec 15, 2020 at 20:49
  • $\begingroup$ @rschwieb See chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/56440588#56440588, and the subsequent feedback from Martin Sleziak. I asked him the very information you're wondering about. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Dec 15, 2020 at 23:15

1 Answer 1


What you are noting is that there is a very large cultural gulf between Math SE and Physics SE.

In the early days of the site, the Physics SE community decided that they would not answer homework (or homework-style) questions, and adopted a hard line policy against such questions. As such, homework questions on Physics SE are typically closed quickly.

By contrast, the community at Math SE did not implement any such policy, and perhaps tacitly encouraged the asking of homework questions (there used to be homework tag, even). It was only later (maybe four or five years ago—not long before I established an account here, so my history is second-hand) that the community here noticed that this policy caused problems (e.g. large numbers of low-quality questions, a reputation in the wider world as a homework mill, etc). However, by the time the problem was observed, the culture here was fairly well set, and there are vocal groups which support homework-style questions, as well as vocal groups in opposition.

The current policy is that questions asked on Math SE must provide context. This represents a compromise position between the two camps hinted at above. However, the Math SE is made up of a diverse bunch of folk, and not everyone who participates is (1) aware of the policy, or (2) in agreement with the policy. Moreover, hundreds of questions are asked every day and there are only a relatively small number of users who are willing to take the time to work on quality control. As such, a lot of low-quality homework-style questions end up getting asked (and rewarded) here.

To answer the lede question: no, Math SE is not meant to be a homework site, but the culture here is more permissive towards homework questions (often to the detriment of site quality).

A concluding thought: I think that you are over-generalizing when you say

Since I have a problem with the Physicists site, I decided to ask the same questions on the Mathematicians site and the reaction is quite different I have a lot negative score with Physicists and almost exclusively positive feedback from mathematicians.

You are getting negative feedback on Physics SE, and positive feedback on Math SE. This does not mean that you are getting negative feedback from physicists, or positive feedback from mathematicians. It only means that you are getting feedback from the members of these communities who vote, most of whom are likely neither physicists nor mathematicians.

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you for explaining many things I didn't know. I would like to point out that my question is not homework because schools do not teach about it and this applies to issues that are not in the books. I understand the arguments for raising the level, but it must not be abused to remove questions that currently Physicists cannot answer. $\endgroup$ Dec 15, 2020 at 17:04
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    $\begingroup$ @SylwesterL you also need to understand that it is only on topic to ask a physics questions on this site when the question concerns seeks only help with the mathematics involved in the question. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Dec 15, 2020 at 23:12

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