Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Forum idea

chromium - 30-11-2005 at 05:01

I though that there should be one more forum in Sciencemadness board. This would be something like "Succesfull synths" or "Successfull experiments" or something like. There users can post exact descriptions of experiments they have just finished with good results. No questions of any kind just something to share. No matter organic or anorganic and i think even this is not the problem if particular synth is described in many places already. Peoples experiences are always valuable. In fact there is lot of such descriptions in sciencemadness forums but these are rather hard to find between ideas, speculations, questions and theories. What do you think of this?

woelen - 30-11-2005 at 06:14

That would be a great idea, but in addition it would be nice if the person, who submits the description can classify a synth as easy, moderate or difficult. Also a classification on the apparatus needed like simple, moderate, advanced would be nice.

So, what I'm proposing is kind of standard form for submissions, such that people can easily browse through them and easily search them. Having such a resource at hand would be really great to my opinion and would add a lot to the value of sciencemadness.

Darkblade48 - 30-11-2005 at 08:41

Agreed, this would be a very good addition to the forums. It surely beats looking through pages of discussion to find different methodologies for a synthesis of something. It definitely helps to see how other people did an experiment if a synthesis you carried out failed and you want to know why, etc.

Magpie - 30-11-2005 at 08:56

I agree that this would be very useful. When I decided to prepare nitric acid I searched this forum and Google but could not find a procedure. Also, none of my chemistry books, old or new, had anything. Just a lot of comments, discussion, and incomplete anecdotal experience. Fortunately, when I asked you came through with good answers.

Possible downsides:
1) Will this make us like rogue.sci, totse, etc, where we become a recipe archive, bringing in kewls and druggies like a plague? Perhaps this would be a good thing, i.e., teach them a better way to do their chemistry, waste management, safety, etc.

2) Sounds a bit like work and school, although I do believe in a disciplined approach. I realize, that unlike work and school, posting is always optional. ;)

Darkblade48 - 30-11-2005 at 11:25

Originally posted by Magpie
Possible downsides:
1) Will this make us like rogue.sci, totse, etc, where we become a recipe archive, bringing in kewls and druggies like a plague? Perhaps this would be a good thing, i.e., teach them a better way to do their chemistry, waste management, safety, etc.

This is a good point that you make, kewls will tend to be attracted to simple to acquire "recipes". However, I tend to point out that their main focus would be of the energetic materials nature, whereas the experiments archive would be more of a general chemistry (organic, inorganic, etc) nature. Definitely not a recipe book for things such as drug syntheses.

Originally posted by Magpie
2) Sounds a bit like work and school, although I do believe in a disciplined approach. I realize, that unlike work and school, posting is always optional. ;)

Yes, if you happened to have an experiment that you felt like sharing, it would be nice if you shared it with all of us, though of course, it is totally optional. Nobody is forcing you to post the results of your experiments ;)

garage chemist - 30-11-2005 at 11:47

I also think that such a synthesis forum would be a great idea, but it should be limited to syntheses that one has actually done, to share experiences.
I wouldn't like syntheses just copied or retold out of a book, without practical advice.
Maybe some kind of proof that one has actually done the experiment, like a pic of the apparatus, should be required in order for a synthesis to be allowed to stay in this section.

[Edited on 30-11-2005 by garage chemist]

chemoleo - 30-11-2005 at 13:12

I too like the idea.
I wouldn't worry too much about the energetic materials, after all there are many more experiments/syntheses with non-energetic content.
I agree with garage chemist that pictures and such would be good, to add validity.

I suppose such a forum could be either heavily moderated, or only editable by select established members, or only editable by moderators (who'd receive a synthesis from members via u2u/mail, and, after review, would post it, duly crediting the source), or simply open to everyone.

I don't really mind which option is chosen in the end, but I like the overall idea.
It'd be sort of the important excerpt from countless threads.
Hydrazine springs to mind. About 4 or 5 members reported success using different methods, these could be combined in a single thread and compiled nicely, rather than going through many many posts/threads to find the important bits.

Marvin - 30-11-2005 at 13:12

I'd say the exact oppasite. A searchable database of synthesis from reliable sources would be useful. Very few people here have the facilities to test the purity or determine the structure of a product so the more such sources are adapted the less reliable the result. A database of own designed synthesis with no following discussion would be as reliable as the first post of Odin's 'aldehyde' thread, where a destription of the experiment followed by the discussion is what the rest of the forum is for anyway.

chemoleo - 30-11-2005 at 13:17

- in response to Marvin- I think the idea is that discussion would FIRST take place in normal ordinary threads, by default. No change.
Only when the method, yield etc is established, only then, if the initial person succeeding in it was willing to make the effort, would the synthesis be put up, in a condensed and neater form.
Any later results contradicting former findings conclusively would then lead to the removal of the incorrect information.
Sort of like peer review, as done in science - you can publish all sorts of things (as in normal threads), but only the independently verified things, which are well established, end up in books.

chromium - 30-11-2005 at 13:49

To Marvin: I have quite a lot of relialble books and it is not hard to find various synths from there. I even made my own computer searchable index for this. Its relatively easy to search online journals, patent databases or references from Kirk-Othmer and other industry books. Problem is that most of synths from these good sources can not be directly done at home. You have to make some changes. Its very good if you can look to experiences of others when trying this. Another problem is that some experiments, even in good books seem not very well tested. Copy-paste from some earlier book and in some cases even with errors.

I think most valuable are peoples own experiences. If someone writes complete bs then surely we can understand this and it could be commented as such or removed. If it is not complete bs then it can be usuefull to someone. In real world i often browse SM pages to see if anyone has done certain synths at home lab and how he has overcome certain problems. I can understand quite well relaying on my own experience if particular text is reliable or not. Problem is that there is no database of such work.

About the purity of products... Yes this can not be tested at home labs well enough. Yet this does not mean that such experiments can not be usefull. Reader can be aware of such uncertainities. To know that some reaction gives white powder is not as usefull as to know exact formula and yield, yet sometimes its still much better than to know nothing. Nintenth century chemists too did not have proper ways for testing substances, yet their work is sometimes still very usefull. In some cases product can be tested very directly without chemical means. If one wants to make transparent polymer or ph indicator or blue flame composition then especial equipment is not needed to test quality of the product.

[Edited on 30-11-2005 by chromium]

[Edited on 30-11-2005 by chromium]

BromicAcid - 30-11-2005 at 13:58

I have mentioned this concept in a few threads. Idealy I think it should be separate from sciencemadness though. Because as I see it we would have many many reactions posted and these could compltely clog the forum beyond belief, expecially since it would be the equivilent of opening multiple new threads on the same subject all the time.

So, if this were in a separate area from the forum and people could submit their own reactions that they have done. If there was an intial section of fill in spaces before the writeup where there were numerous areas to fill in, reactants, expected product, probable product, sucess of reaction, etc the reactions could be searched with these parameters, so a person could go there and search under reactants "NaOH" and "Chloroform" and they would pull up reactions for the synthesis of chlorobutanol.

Also not just reactions that work but also reactions that do not work (along with reasoning why they might not have worked) would be great additions, helping others in their future efforts to get the reaction to work if they are following in the footsteps. Finally there would have to be a rating system, within a reaction description itself where one reading the reaction could rate it from say 1 -5 and that would influence its ranking on a search result.

I think this would be a lot of work but definately worth while, and it may seem like I am going a little overboard with all this 'extra' stuff but for it to truely work and be utilitarian and easy to use and very comprehensive I think these options should be used and more, and like I said initally, I think this should not be in the forum although references within threads could be made to the specific reactions posted on this 'other' area in order to keep things from getting too cluttered around here.

solo - 30-11-2005 at 14:03

Rhodium had the right idea .....with his archives, hence something similar can be stuctured here with subcategories......of course all the entries will be locked so no comments or praise could be logged.

Sciencemadness Synthesis

Inorganic Chemistry-

Organic Chemistry-

......and other types of subtopics

neutrino - 30-11-2005 at 14:18

If we really don’t want this to become a recipe bank, we can just bury the thing under a few layers of protection. Add a robots.txt file to prevent Google searching, for starters. We could only place a link to the forum somewhere not immediately obvious to a casual visitor but easily found with a search. [We all know that kewls never search when they want information.] We could also go with a password system like we have in the whimsy section.

What would the format of this forum be? It shouldn’t be one post per synthesis. There are always questions that must be asked to clarify things (things like what is the color supposed to be halfway through); otherwise we have a reference book that could contain annoying ambiguities. I propose that each synthesis by each person should have its own thread immediately following the synthesis. People can ask about details of the synthesis, but discussion not immediately relating to the synthesis should be done in an ordinary thread.

The author should also be able to modify the original post. That way, trials repeated after the initial synthesis can be easily located without the problem of having to search.

Maybe the author should have the option to answer questions that arise in later posts by addressing them in his first post and then deleting the question to reduce clutter?

Those are just some of my ideas.

Wow, two posts while I was typing this up.

Blind Angel - 30-11-2005 at 15:21

Good idea, I love it. Maybe we should link each recipe with is own separate thread (sorry if it's already been suggested) and I conccur with the idea of only selected members or established member could post, this will save us from the bullshit synthesis (the one on rhodium about making Amph. from PseudoE, Li-Batterie and commercial NH3 in a 2 liter coke bottle pop in my mind)

I also like the picture idea, a lot of us are visual. But i don't think we should completely separate it from the forum, a subsection is good, allow us to use the search engine and it will be easier to post.

The_Davster - 30-11-2005 at 18:03

I like it, I have a few origional interesting preparations/ extractions I would share. I like the idea of keeping it hidden from new members and the general public. Some sort of poll could exist by each one to tell who has had success with the procedures, and who had not. For now a simple subforum such as "proven member synthesis" could be in the Fundamentals section. Password protected of course. And then expanded at a later date once we have compiled a lot of our own synthesises. However seeing as we cannot just have everyone posting whatever prep they want would require mods to look at them before they are made into a thread (as someone above said). I think it should still directly be a part of sciencemadness though, not separate.

ordenblitz - 30-11-2005 at 19:34

I think that there already is a great wealth of synthesis here, buried in existing threads. And that is a good thing. The whole idea of this place is to be a crucible where the truth of the matter is distilled off by the combined experience of the members. Sure it takes some time to glean the wheat from the chaff. However after reading through all the comments and dissention, one gets a sense of whether one should proceed with recreating the experiment. You learn who to pay attention to and who to take with a grain of salt when wading through the swamp of verbiage that is a thread.

If you make a new separate area where people can post synths and the others can comment on it... aren't you just recreating what we already have? If you limit the amount of comment and possibly who can do it, aren't we losing some potential good input from those who may not have access or privilege?

Personally I would like to see the best of the existing threads condensed down to the most useful and reliable information contained in each, about each individual synthesis. But who would do this work?

Maybe everyone should be assigned some homework. :)

chemoleo - 30-11-2005 at 19:57

That's why, I suppose, the idea of a moderated or restricted-access-to-edit but not-to-view forum arose.

It wouldn't/shouldn't be a forum where a discussion takes place, *that* is already catered for in all the other forums. Hence BlindAngels suggestion (which I agree with) to place the originator links i.e. to the bottom of a given synthesis - so if questions turn up, then the link is given to discuss the questions at hand.
Essentially it wouldn't be a discussion forum, just a synthesis list - similar to what Mephisto did on his site.

It simply should be a
of reliable and trustworthy syntheses, which are absolute and verified.

Those syntheses would essentially combine the information the original authors in the respective posts and threads already posted.

I don't think it necessarily requires a huge amount of work by a particular person.

For instance, take Mephisto's Parared synthesis. This would fit perfectly into such a subforum. Or, BromicAcid's development of the 'loop technique' to obtain sodium from a NaOH electrolysis. Or, the making of sodium azide, whose preparation was described by garage chemist. There are hundreds of examples like this.
It'd only be a question of whether those members were willing to condense their experiments into a single comprehensive post.

I do think most who actually succeeded at something would be glad to.

It might be a majour enrichment to the forum if the effort is made.

BromicAcid - 30-11-2005 at 20:06

Actually I wasn't the one that pioneered the 'loop technique', patu was actually the first one to post on it, and there is also a web page that describes the use of this method to produce NaOH, my contribution was the resistance heating of the NaOH using a pile of damp NaOH and a battery charger.

Anyway, my previous post in this thread was calling for something above and beyond what was suggested here, something that I think would be useful but not really what was suggested here.

Magpie - 30-11-2005 at 20:13

A few more thoughts:

1. I wouldn't want to create a lot of work or responsibility for anyone, especially not a moderator. They have enough work already.

2. If you make an "official" recipe does the author become liable for injuries to the user of the recipe? I would sure hope not, but it is something to consider.

I agree with ordenblitz that active discussion before and after labwork is done is very important. I wouldn't want to stifle that in any way. It is vital peer review and comment. After all, who else can we discuss our hobby with - certainly not the neighbors.

Didn't we use to have a short section in the library that had 3 or 4 member procedures? I can't find it anymore. Why was it removed?

BromicAcid - 30-11-2005 at 20:34

The procedures are still up, the link to them is in the preamble to the books section, at one time there was a thread where Cyrus mentioned that maybe people should start summarizing the longer subjects and submitting them to the library and Polverone stated that if someone wrote something up providing it read nicely and such that it would be put there. I guess no one just ever took advantage of it, I was tempeted to a few times, and for example in the DPPP thread there was talk of writing a summary of it, but I guess no one really did anything.

froot - 30-11-2005 at 23:19

*the layman steps in*
It seems like a nice snazzy idea on the one hand but riddled with technicalities on the other.
My overrated opinion, sorry if I repeat here;
It must compliment SMDB. The 'list' must only contain synths new and unique to the board's members, not regurgitated stuff found all over the net, unless one of the board's members improves an existing synth/procedure. It must have been tried and proven. This would mean, most of the time, it has been discussed in forum here already so as proposed, all discussion happens there. We don't want to overlap discussion with reference.

The format of the 'list' needs to be consistant. Each synth is it's own locked thread. I propose the format as follows:

Thread name: (product), (method), (name of originator) (Date originated)

Appauratus: (this, that and the other)

Chemicals: (this, that and the other)

Procedure: Step 1 (pics would be nice)
Step 2
Step .....

Product test: Step 1
Step ....

Footnotes: 1. (this is what happened when I did this so check this, that and watch out for that!)

(Link to discussion)

That is how I would imagine such a thing working properly.

Polverone - 1-12-2005 at 00:21

It sounds like a good idea and there certainly does seem to be a lot of enthusiasm, but I agree that members (not moderators) will have to do most of the compilation work if this is to go anywhere. I don't want to make formatting guidelines too rigid as that may discourage participation. I imagine setting up a "prepare for publication" forum, perhaps lightly protected like Whimsy, where members can gather information from threads into bite-size nuggets. Ideally, the original authors would also supply the condensed versions, but this isn't strictly necessary.

I don't think it needs to contain just syntheses; topical encapsulations of any form would be fine, like discussion of titanium and its colorful dissolution in hydrofluoric acid, or a discussion of the varying composition of denatured alcohol in different parts of the world.

Once the material is set apart in its own thread, I can put the text and illustrations together in a PDF and add it to a new section of the web site. I'll handle that part myself because I want at least some stylistic consistency.

I will open the new forum tonight, just so the enthusiasm can be unleashed while it's still fresh.

chromium - 1-12-2005 at 01:58

Some more thoughts about new forum.
I suppose there should be two types of threads. Ones that are extracts of existing threads and others that are short articles writen by members. Articles can be detalied descriptions of successfull experiment so that others too can conduct it. No matter long or short just all relevant information must be there.
Articles can also be anything other that could be part of usefull and interesting book. For example if someone works hard to find good way to synthesise DMF at home he may want to write survey about what methods he encountered and what seem better suited for small lab. If someone has put lot effort onto making sodium electrolyticalli from nonaqueous solvent and still has not got results he may want to make survey of methods he used so far and why these did not work.

In my opinion "intended to become independent booklets." is a bit frightening. Something milder would be better like "intended to became articles in book" or "might be used as articles in book"

In may opinion this new forum could became collection of articles that are more concentrated and complete than discussions. Something that can be put into booklet with minimal editing. Let composing of those booklets be work of admins or anyone who whants to be editor but common user just will write article about what he wants and is able to write. After some time if there is lot of such articles we can see if there is enough for some booklet. I also think that we should be rather tolerant about what are regarded as suitable articles. Otherwise there will be very few posts. In my opinion most important is that there is no false data in text. It also has to be selfexplaining so reader can understand what was done, how and why and what results were achieved. It should be such that can put into booklet with minimal editing.

Other users comments should be just calls for more exact descriptions if there are some amiguities left and author should make changes to her initial post so all the important information in thread is placed into the first post. These first posts can be collected afterwards and put into booklet with almost no editing.

BromicAcid - 5-12-2005 at 19:40

Perhaps there should be a sticky thread in the section for "Prepublication" where we can call dibs on a thread that we want to do a synapses of. I was considering doing a overview of the phosphorus thread, however I don't want to spend a week working over one, making it look nice, digging up pictures, putting in references, just to have someone submit one a few days before I finish, because then both of us feel cheated.

chromium - 5-12-2005 at 23:28

I think there should be such sticky thread. Bromic, you mentioned just one problem, another is that someone may want to ask if there is enough interest on certain problem or synth before he starts to write.

[Edited on 6-12-2005 by chromium]

Mechanic manipulations

chloric1 - 6-12-2005 at 20:07

I agree with the idea of having some seperate website with all the synths in a searchable database. Have it password protected.

Aside from synthesis, some of the different mechanical and physical concepts of home chemistry should also be collected as well. Like decolorizing liquids with activated charcoal, using diatomaceous earth to assist filtration, vacuums, handiling gases etc etc. Maybe some thoughts on improvised heating methods as well. We as members can gather experiences and refine our results and efficiency or help someone using certain equipment th.e first time Failure can be expensive.:mad::(

[Edited on 12/7/2005 by chloric1]

darkflame89 - 12-12-2005 at 05:11

For ideas for the prepublication site, the synth for the copper powder with copper(II) sulphate and Vit. C can be put well as the easy manufacture for small quantities of metal nitrates via ammonium nitrate and metal carbonates.

I am a fish - 12-12-2005 at 13:23

A sticky thread for annoucing articles has been created.