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Poll: Geology/Geochemistry forum [POLL]
Do not create the Geology/Geochemistry forum. --- 9 (16.07%)
Create the Geology/Geochemistry forum. --- 32 (57.14%)
Neutral or unsure. --- 15 (26.79%)

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Author: Subject: Geology/Geochemistry forum [POLL]
Eddygp
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[*] posted on 1-9-2013 at 10:57


Well, geology and especially geochemistry and mineralogy are very closely related to chemistry ass a whole. Therefore they would fit in the same category as the "Biochemistry" forum. Another option would be to modify the latter to include geochemistry or geology too, for example: "Biology and Geology" or "Biochemistry and Geochemistry" or something like that. There's no need to make it more popular than "Chemistry in General", but it really needs somewhere to stay.



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[*] posted on 1-9-2013 at 11:11


I would argue that structural geology and seismology—two topics that I'd like to post on—have little to do with chemistry, and wouldn't fit well into what you suggest.



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[*] posted on 1-9-2013 at 13:24


Quote: Originally posted by bfesser  
Isn't mathematics sort of something outside of Science—like logic—something that all sciences rely upon?


Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777–1855) referred to mathematics as "the Queen of the Sciences". (Wiki)

I've always liked this saying. There's also a corallary that I think is equally good: "... and geometry is King of the Sciences."




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[*] posted on 1-9-2013 at 20:50


The OED has:
Quote:
Mathematics; noun [usually treated as singular] : the abstract science of number, quantity, and space. Mathematics may be studied in its own right ( pure mathematics), or as it is applied to other disciplines such as physics and engineering ( applied mathematics).

There is no real place for physics and mathematics, the basis of all hard science, in this forum except possibly in Miscellaneous. Did not P. Dirac famously say that Quantum Mechanics explained all of chemistry and most of physics?

Although the forum is called Science Madness, it is predominately about descriptive chemistry especially amateur experimental chemistry. Expanding the list of sub-forums to include minor interests such as geology, mineralogy and a thousand other –ologies seems rather pointless and a dilution of the forum’s obvious main aim. These –ologies are miscellaneous.

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[*] posted on 2-9-2013 at 00:37


Quote: Originally posted by DerAlte  
Did not P. Dirac famously say that Quantum Mechanics explained all of chemistry and most of physics?
People will say anything so long as people will believe anything!
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[*] posted on 2-9-2013 at 00:52


I don't recall ever having seen a thread on geochemistry, so I doubt whether a dedicated subforum is really needed. Threads on extraction of compounds from various minerals occur regularly, but they fit well in the existing subfora. I don't think anyone would mind if geochemistry threads were posted in misc.

A subforum for personal fights would be nice though, so all the annoying distractive fights can be redirected there. "Let's take it outside"

[Edited on 2-9-2013 by phlogiston]




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[*] posted on 2-9-2013 at 01:01


Quote: Originally posted by phlogiston  

A subforum for personal fights would be nice though, so all the annoying distractive fights can be redirected there.

It's called detritus. :D




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[*] posted on 2-9-2013 at 01:10


Quote: Originally posted by phlogiston  
I don't recall ever having seen a thread on geochemistry, so I doubt whether a dedicated subforum is really needed.

Truly. There is hardly an abundance of geochemical discussion to warrant creating a forum to accomodate it. A better case could be made for an analytical chemistry forum(!)
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[*] posted on 2-9-2013 at 06:29


I really don't see what all this fuss about subfora is about anyway. Disciplining new people because they posted in the wrong subforum, etc. The only subforum I ever select is prepublication, anyway. If I'm going to search for something I might as well search the whole forum. It's just as easy.



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[*] posted on 2-9-2013 at 08:43


<strong>phlogiston</strong>, I don't see the point in a "Geochemistry", but a "Geology" forum, absolutely.
Quote: Originally posted by DerAlte  
Although the forum is called Science Madness, it is predominately about descriptive chemistry especially amateur experimental chemistry. Expanding the list of sub-forums to include minor interests such as geology, mineralogy and a thousand other –ologies seems rather pointless and a dilution of the forum’s obvious main aim. These –ologies are miscellaneous.
I believe you're missing the point here entirely, <strong>DerAlte</strong>. We're not calling for a new sub-forum for each discipline, only between one and three, which would cover many eventualities. It seems that most of you have a singular obsession with chemistry, and don't care much for the other sciences; but does that mean that discussion of other sciences should be stifled or pigeonholed into Miscellaneous with many of the garbage threads that aren't quite bad enough to be sent to Detritus? If the forum's "obvious main aim" is chemistry and chemistry only, then I suggest that it be renamed ChemistryMadness.org.

Finally, it seems to me that some of you are replying negatively without even reading the entire topic. Please don't do this, it's counterproductive and downright annoying. I'm also a little dismayed at how closed-minded many of you are&mdash;this is not a good quality for any scientist. You may have not personal interest in potential new fora, but others do! Don't be so dismissive.

As for those of you who are always satisfied with the <em>status quo</em>, why do you even bother to contribute? A community like this should always look for ways to improve and adapt. If it doesn't, it will eventually die off as interest wanes and people move on to newer things. Perhaps you were happy with the state of things before the development of Polio vaccinations? Perhaps you'd like to go back to paper newsletters and mailing lists...

tl;dr: "Too Long; Didn't Read" would be better as "Too Long; Didn't Reply." <em>If you can't be bothered to read an entire topic, don't reply to it!</em>

&lt;/frustrated rant&gt;




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[*] posted on 2-9-2013 at 09:27


I am definitely for Geology/Mineralogy subforum.

Consider simple fact - this is amateur science forum, mostly chemistry. Geo/mineralogy would cover all amateur aspects from understanding which part of the world would "yield" specific rocks and soils, recognizing different materials by exchange of data among users, chemical analysis of collected materials, preserving, keeping and displaying of representative samples (just like elements), and lastly harvesting elements and compounds form collected materials, their processing and purification, and all that in home/garage/shed/basement/attic conditions! And most of it would not fit in any of the existing subforums (analysis and maybe reagents collecting).

Make it, try it, evaluate it, and in some time if it really doesn't serve its purpose - split and close.




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Eddygp
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[*] posted on 2-9-2013 at 12:35


Quote: Originally posted by bfesser  
[...] but does that mean that discussion of other sciences should be stifled or pigeonholed into Miscellaneous with many of the garbage threads that aren't quite bad enough to be sent to Detritus? If the forum's "obvious main aim" is chemistry and chemistry only, then I suggest that it be renamed ChemistryMadness.org.
[...]


Exactly, that is the main issue: in Miscellaneous there are really whimsical or even chemistry topics of doubtful importance and/or credibility and/of interest. For example, a UFO sighting topic was started there. In between this topic sludge, someone might sight some "Bad Days with Glassware" thread, but it really puts off to have to start a geology thread in the middle of that content.




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[*] posted on 2-9-2013 at 13:27


Hmmm. It looks like you're between a rock and a hard place. ;)

[Edited on 2-9-2013 by sonogashira]
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[*] posted on 2-9-2013 at 14:04


Quote: Originally posted by bfesser  

We're not calling for a new sub-forum for each discipline, only between one and three, which would cover many eventualities. It seems that most of you have a singular obsession with chemistry, and don't care much for the other sciences; but does that mean that discussion of other


I strongly suspect that most of us have a wide variety of science-related interests, and <b>DerAlte</b> has a valid point. We could argue to start subfora for physics, electronics, astronomy, to name just a random subset of my own personal interests, and you will surely find a few proponents for each.

The question is: is there enough interest to warrant a subforum?

If a recategorisation is necessary at all (ie. if the current structure does not meet our collective needs):

A good way (IMHO), and in line with your reasoning to open subfora 'which would cover many eventualities' is to look at the current posts (forum-wide) and see if the volume of any of them warrants a subforum.

In that fashion you might, for instance, consider subfora for
'pretty pictures'
or 'analytical chemistry'
or 'building/maintaining a lab' (washing/cleaning/storage etc)
or 'glassware' (identifying, proper usage, repairing, etc)

[Edited on 2-9-2013 by phlogiston]




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[*] posted on 2-9-2013 at 14:33


Quote: Originally posted by phlogiston  
We could argue to start subfora for physics, electronics, astronomy, to name just a random subset of my own personal interests, and you will surely find a few proponents for each.
Yes, you could argue that, but you're moving toward a slippery slope argument, which is an informal fallacy. Also, astronomy and electronics both fit comfortably under Physics, especially if you provide an adequate description for each forum.
Quote:
The question is: is there enough interest to warrant a subforum?
YES! There is. How many bloody times do I need to provide evidence for this? Read what I've posted above, and in the other topics. If you want me to dig up every last post that would be better categorized in a Geology forum, you're out of your minds.

You're still entirely missing the point; we already have more than enough fora for the chemistry sub-fields, while all other areas of science are poorly represented, if at all. I've skimmed or read a majority of the topics on this website (exception: EM), as I've been crawling through all the really old stuff lately&mdash;and there is a surprising amount of garbage. <em>However, there have been a lot of good posts on these subjects, and I think there has been sufficient traffic to justify the creation of the three fora I propose.</em>

Also, how many times do I need to point out that the current posting rate on any given subject doesn't necessarily correlate with the actual interest or potential traffic in a forum for that subject? You're forming your judgments on unproven assumptions. Wouldn't it be better to give it a go and remove them if they go inactive than to do nothing?

&lt;/flustered&gt;
I hope what I just wrote makes sense...




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[*] posted on 2-9-2013 at 15:19


Alright, as an insightful and wise member has pointed out to me in an U2U, this discussion seems to be going in circles now, and further debate will likely lead to a place where we don't want to be. I won't lock the topic, of course, but I think it would be best if we put the discussion on hold until Polverone (or woelen?) step in with a decision on the matter.



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[*] posted on 2-9-2013 at 16:23


While I agree to it to some extent, your argument that "the current posting rate on any given subject doesn't necessarily correlate with the actual interest or potential traffic in a forum for that subject" can only be resolved (as far as I can see) by creating a great variety of subfora to evaluate 'dark interest' and then, after some time, deleting those that are not used very much.

It thus itself leads to a slippery slope.

Perhaps, a thread 'suggestions for subfora' would also provide a means for gauging the interest of forum members without actually creating a plethora of subfora.

But, indeed, perhaps we have debated enough.

PS. I go rock-hunting every possible opportunity, taught my kids how to use a geology hammer this summer and have a few shelves of minerals and fossils in the living room.

[Edited on 3-9-2013 by phlogiston]




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[*] posted on 2-9-2013 at 16:36


@bfesser

Essentially, my post above was just a 'no' vote for the reasons stated. I agree with phlogiston.

No need to get all uptight about it. But I agree, enough discussion.

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[*] posted on 3-9-2013 at 00:47


Quote: Originally posted by bfesser  
If you want me to dig up every last post that would be better categorized in a Geology forum
Why not? If there were a geology-forum they would have to be moved anyway, and having them collected together informally would make a better case for collecting them together formally, perhaps?

If people discuss geology anywhere on the existing-forum, keeping an updated index of links to these geology-threads would serve as a "virtual-forum" of sorts anyway, and may meet the same purpose as an 'official' geology-forum? An 'underground' geology forum! :D

[Edited on 3-9-2013 by sonogashira]
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[*] posted on 3-9-2013 at 01:48


Look, most of you who disagree with the idea of creating the geology forum are using arguments relative to including this forum in the "Fundamentals" category. It wouldn't be like that. It would probably stay in "Special Topics" or even merged with Biochemistry. This way it would NOT deviate the original aim of ScienceMadness, as some of you pickily pointed out, but instead improve the current scope of chemistry-related fields in the forum. ScienceMadness is able to keep a really good and collaborative community, something really difficult to do in most forums (which disappear in about one year), and therefore, it has the potential to add new possibilities for its members without causing a decline in the activity of the "main" forums, like "Whimsy", "Computational Models and Techniques" and for some of you, "Chemistry in General".



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[*] posted on 3-9-2013 at 03:55


Quote: Originally posted by bfesser  
Finally, it seems to me that some of you are replying negatively without even reading the entire topic. Please don't do this, it's counterproductive and downright annoying. I'm also a little dismayed at how closed-minded many of you are&mdash;this is not a good quality for any scientist. You may have not personal interest in potential new fora, but others do! Don't be so dismissive.
Dismissive? You're the one being dismissive here, making a blanket claim that people that disagree with you are doing so because they are too lazy to read and therefore uninformed, because evidently you believe that if they had read everything they would perforce agree with you. That's just plain egotistical, and, to go back to a word I didn't think I'd have occasion to use again, narcissistic. Furthermore, it's insulting. Understand that people are perfectly capable of have opinions that are thoughtful that are in conflict with yours.

And closed-minded? Please. That's just another insult. If there's one thing that characterizes science, it's willingness to engage in debate, and yet you would suppress some people's opinions because you don't care for them.

Does anybody care that you're annoyed? (Except the trolls, who would be delighted.) Since you are so fond of pointing out the fallacies of others, why is it that you feel free to think that your emotions have any logical force whatsoever?
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[*] posted on 3-9-2013 at 04:16


Quote: Originally posted by DerAlte  
There is no real place for physics and mathematics, the basis of all hard science, in this forum except possibly in Miscellaneous. [...]

Although the forum is called Science Madness, it is predominately about descriptive chemistry especially amateur experimental chemistry.
I agree with the opinion about belonging in Miscellaneous, but perhaps for a different reason.

If there's a primary focus here, it's on amateur science and its experimental practice. Though this board was started over chemistry, the particular focus on chemistry persists because it's easily one of the most accessible of amateur science. Population dynamics favors fields with the lowest costs of entry. With chemistry, jointed glassware is a key technology that allows construction of many experiments without dedicated fabrication, which makes it cheaper to enter.

On the other hand, with physics experiments you pretty much always have to make something new to perform a new experiment. That's not only more expensive in direct costs, it's also more expensive in terms of prior time spent developing fabrication skills, electronics and machining the most obvious. IrC is about the only active member I see here who actually does physics experiments, and there aren't many more who even talk about it much.

As for mathematics, it has a very recent subfield, only about two decades old, of experimental mathematics. These are computational experiments, that are used to gather data to inform difficult problems. On one hand, they're used to look for falsifying examples and, on the other, to gather data that might illuminate patterns that aren't obvious on the surface. This activity is certainly accessible to amateurs, as it's mostly a matter of software (and no longer as much a matter of computational speed), but the limiting factor here is knowing enough mathematics to mount an interesting experiment. Having said all this, proof is still the central content of mathematics, but the experimentation feeds this by looking for proof or disproof.

If there's a single problem with geology as another forum, it's the lack of experimentation. Finding geology-specific experiments that amateurs can perform is just that easy. Analyzing and assaying of mineral samples fits quite well under "Chemistry in General". If there were a lot of that, I'd expect to see the word "cupellation" used far more often. (Fleaker has used it as I recall.) Building a hydrothermal synthesis cell would definitely fit into experimental geology, but I don't know of any amateur who has attempted it.
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[*] posted on 3-9-2013 at 05:31


Geochemistry is to specific, but why here is no physical and analitycal chemistry subforums?
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[*] posted on 3-9-2013 at 07:11


Quote: Originally posted by sonogashira  
If people discuss geology anywhere on the existing-forum, keeping an updated index of links to these geology-threads would serve as a "virtual-forum" of sorts anyway, and may meet the same purpose as an 'official' geology-forum? An 'underground' geology forum! :D
<strong><a href="viewthread.php?tid=25000#geology">Topical Compendium #geology</a></strong>
Quote: Originally posted by watson.fawkes  
Dismissive? You're the one being dismissive here, making a blanket claim that people that disagree with you are doing so because they are too lazy to read and therefore uninformed, because evidently you believe that if they had read everything they would perforce agree with you.
. . .
Does anybody care that you're annoyed? (Except the trolls, who would be delighted.) Since you are so fond of pointing out the fallacies of others, why is it that you feel free to think that your emotions have any logical force whatsoever?
<strong>watson.fawkes</strong>, I am <em>not</em> operating under the assumption that my view is correct and that anyone who has read the topic should agree. I simply observed that some suggestions and observations have been made repeatedly, seemingly in a 'tl;dr' fashion. Also, I don't expect anyone to care, it was just an admittedly poor excuse for not maintaining my own personal standards of spelling and grammar.

Finally, stop with the personal attacks and insults. I'm personally sick of it, and have been getting plenty of U2Us and seeing plenty of public requests for this to stop. Polverone has implemented a new rule; <strong>"moderators may argue in a thread or moderate it, but not both."</strong> I will, however, report your posts. <!-- If it's allowed to continue through oversight or apathy, I will knowingly violate the rule by removing offending posts and deal with the consequences of my actions. --><a href="viewthread.php?tid=19143">
Quote:
Avoid emotional responses: Even if you are immature enough to actually believe that it is reasonable to take offense if some anonymous virtual person posts what you perceive as aggressive and offensive replies to your own anonymous virtual incarnation, take a day to calm down and reply correspondingly to the virtual reality, rather than overreact with some pathetic response. However, if someone uses ad hominen attacks or insults instead of scientific arguments (e.g., by calling you a wacko), then report to a moderator rather than escalating it further.
</a>



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[*] posted on 3-9-2013 at 11:27


When I started Computational Models and Techniques there was a flurry of topical posts that made it seem like there might be sufficient interest to warrant a subforum. This proved to be wishful thinking on my part. I'm going to try to avoid creating other ghost town subforums. I would want to see a sustained and substantial trend of geology-posting before adding a subforum for geology. One busy week is not a sustained trend.

Also, please refrain from expanding the arguments in this thread beyond the merits of the proposed subforum.




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