# Why is there a reputation system?

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I agree to an extent. There are some members who blatantly abuse the system by creating sock puppet accounts to bias the rep points of another member or of themselves. Take this thread for example:

http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/65663-bulla-the-rainbow-man/

You won't be able to see it, but pretty much every post by bulla in that thread has multiple + rep points from a member and their sock puppet.

This is another example:

http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/60031-tough-time-brominating-quite-a-basic-ketone/

That OP (from before I was a mod) in a single night created over a dozen sock puppets using proxy IP and repped a bunch of posts by fireoncells and another one of his sock puppets that was used to reopen the thread. Poor Cap'n spent the day (and even a few days after) banning and rebanning sock puppets.

Those we try to counteract, but we do not punish people for it. As a member I, as with others here, will also counteract the rep on posts if I don't agree with it. As staff, we may suspend a member for using a sock puppet or for some other reason, but to my knowledge there has been no one suspended or banned for misuse of the rep system.

Other than obvious cases such as in the above, it's entirely too difficult to determine if someone is not using it correctly simply by combing through posts, which in itself is a pain and hard to do and keep track of. So we don't do it unless we have to, which isn't often.

Artificially influencing rep by the use of sockpuppet accounts or other 'illegal' method should be combed for if suspected...my point was really just towards people who use the system normally but whose pattern of choices one may not agree with...let 'em get on with it.

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Artificially influencing rep by the use of sockpuppet accounts or other 'illegal' method should be combed for if suspected...my point was really just towards people who use the system normally but whose pattern of choices one may not agree with...let 'em get on with it.

Here's how I used to use it.

Reasons for a + rep

(1) Funny post

(2) Good physics

(3) Beautiful way of saying something

(4) When someone refrains from lashing out

(5) Positive emotions

Reason for a - rep

(1) When someone intults someone else

(2) A veiled attempt at insulting someone

(3) Negative emotions

(4) When someone lashes out

(6) Arrogance

(7) Saying things which goes against textbook physics

If nobody has a problem with that then I'd feel comfortable using it again. Anybody?

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Here's how I used to use it.

Reasons for a + rep

(1) Funny post

(2) Good physics

(3) Beautiful way of saying something

(4) When someone refrains from lashing out

(5) Positive emotions

Reason for a - rep

(1) When someone intults someone else

(2) A veiled attempt at insulting someone

(3) Negative emotions

(4) When someone lashes out

(6) Arrogance

(7) Saying things which goes against textbook physics

If nobody has a problem with that then I'd feel comfortable using it again. Anybody?

Sounds like a good plan. I say go for it.

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Sounds like a good plan. I say go for it.

Thank you kind sir!

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Here's how I used to use it.

<snip>

If nobody has a problem with that then I'd feel comfortable using it again. Anybody?

Looks ok to me...point no.7 on your minus list would depend on how and with what they were pursing their point. If they are presenting a novel speculation and throw everything they've got, logically and amiably, in support of it then it doesn't deserve neg repping imo but I would expect them to concede when they hit an insurmountable counter-argument eventually.

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Thank you kind sir!

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Looks ok to me...point no.7 on your minus list would depend on how and with what they were pursing their point. If they are presenting a novel speculation and throw everything they've got, logically and amiably, in support of it then it doesn't deserve neg repping imo but I would expect them to concede when they hit an insurmountable counter-argument eventually.

Example: Almost every QM text that I have explains the wave-particle duality and what it means. This is a well-defined and unbiversally accepted phenomena with endles reams of data to sup[port it. Yet there are places where people claim that there is no such thing as a wave-particle duality. When I see people say that I neg-rep them. Then there's relativistic mass. People claim that nobody uses it and yet the majority of current relavity textbooks uses the concept. So when I see people claim that nobody uses it I neg-rep them. Its always something which I have a lot of evidence which demonstrates that they're wrong. There was a time that someone was trying to convince me that a photon had a 4-velocity, which it doesn't. I would have neg repper them if there was a system in place to do that. But its all objective things that I'm referring to. Not mere disagreement over something.

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Example: Almost every QM text that I have explains the wave-particle duality and what it means. This is a well-defined and unbiversally accepted phenomena with endles reams of data to sup[port it. Yet there are places where people claim that there is no such thing as a wave-particle duality. When I see people say that I neg-rep them. Then there's relativistic mass. People claim that nobody uses it and yet the majority of current relavity textbooks uses the concept. So when I see people claim that nobody uses it I neg-rep them. Its always something which I have a lot of evidence which demonstrates that they're wrong. There was a time that someone was trying to convince me that a photon had a 4-velocity, which it doesn't. I would have neg repper them if there was a system in place to do that. But its all objective things that I'm referring to. Not mere disagreement over something.

If you believe someone is doggedly responding with an answer contrary to the convention then they deserve to be neg repped...it is important in the science part of these forums for the benefit of layman like myself. I confess to being somewhat confused now to the true status of W/P Duality in the physics community today.

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If you believe someone is doggedly responding with an answer contrary to the convention then they deserve to be neg repped...it is important in the science part of these forums for the benefit of layman like myself. I confess to being somewhat confused now to the true status of W/P Duality in the physics community today.

Not necessarily. If they're responding contrary to the mainstream of physics, I expect the bar on their evidence to be that much higher, but I don't automatically dismiss their claims unless, as pmb said, they are simply blatantly wrong, or putting forth arguments that have been repeatedly addressed and found lacking.

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If you believe someone is doggedly responding with an answer contrary to the convention then they deserve to be neg repped...it is important in the science part of these forums for the benefit of layman like myself. I confess to being somewhat confused now to the true status of W/P Duality in the physics community today.

Check your PM. I sent you a treatment of the Wave-Particle Duality. You should find it very helpful.

Not necessarily. If they're responding contrary to the mainstream of physics, I expect the bar on their evidence to be that much higher, but I don't automatically dismiss their claims unless, as pmb said, they are simply blatantly wrong, or putting forth arguments that have been repeatedly addressed and found lacking.

Those kinds of thing belong in the forum where people post speculations, not in the physics forums.

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Those kinds of thing belong in the forum where people post speculations, not in the physics forums.

Agreed.

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Agreed.

Yeah, but how can it be enforced? Its nice in theort but impossible in practice. For example: the wave-partiucled duality is the main staple in quantum mechanics as I'm sure that we all know. Yet it only takes one poster to disturb the discussion with a non-truth, i.e. in this case trying to convince people that its a all just a myth. It's next to impossible to find a QM text which doesn't explain it and its relationship and importance to QM. That really cofuses people as StringJunky told us. Yet the moderators leave it alone.

Edited by pmb
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The wave-partiucle duality is the main staple in quantum mechanics as I'm sure that we all know.

I didn't know that; considered it as more of a historical terminology, in fact (-> "photoelectric effect").

It's next to impossible to find a QM text which doesn't explain it and its relationship and importance to QM.

Judging from the index (looking for "wave-particle duality" and "duality, wave-particle") I could offer

• Merzbacher: Quantum Mechanic
• Schwabl: Quantum Mechanics
• Bjoerken, Drell: Relativistic Quantum Mechanics
• Bjoerken, Drell: Relativistic Quantum Field Theory
• Weinberg: The Quantum Theory of Fields

which happens to be all of the book I have at hand at the moment. That's admittedly only from looking into the index, not from reading through all of the books just to disprove your point (one may think that a central concept is listed in the index, though). I actually do have a chemistry book (Atkins: Physical Chemistry) that lists "wave-particle duality" in its index, though. Incidently, it happens to be from an author who was recently mentioned on sfn for making strange claims about physics.

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Yeah, but how can it be enforced? Its nice in theort but impossible in practice. For example: the wave-partiucled duality is the main staple in quantum mechanics as I'm sure that we all know. Yet it only takes one poster to disturb the discussion with a non-truth, i.e. in this case trying to convince people that its a all just a myth. It's next to impossible to find a QM text which doesn't explain it and its relationship and importance to QM. That really cofuses people as StringJunky told us. Yet the moderators leave it alone.

That's a good point.

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I didn't know that; considered it as more of a historical terminology, in fact (-> "photoelectric effect").

Yes. I have seven quantum mechanics/modern physics texts. Most, but certaintly not all, of them has a section on the wave-particle duality but all of then employ the wave-particle duality equation which is de Broglies equation

$\lambda = \frac{h}{p}$

which connects the wave aspect of a particle to its particle properties. I.e. every particle with momentum p has a wavelength $\lambda$.

The wave-particle duality concept isn't always defined explicitly. Sometimes its just buried in there. But whenever you have a particle with an associated wave equiation tied to it then, in essense anyway, you have the wave-partuicle duality. If you looked up where it defines the de Broglie expression connecting the wave and particle aspects of a particle then you'll see the wave-particle duality being touched on.

This relationship is embedded in all aspects of quantum mechanics. Its used to define the wave function of the particle snd is used to write Forier Integrals and transforms.

...which happens to be all of the book I have at hand at the moment. That's admittedly only from looking into the index, not from reading through all of the books just to disprove your point...

My point is that every QM text uses the wave-particle duality properties of matter through the De Broglie equation. It's true that many texts have a section on the wave-particle duality but not all of them I tried to be very careful so that I didb't claim that they all had a section on that. I appologize if I wasn't clear on that point.

Let me give you an example: I have the text Modern Quantum Mechanics by J.J. Sakurai in front of me. The index does't mention "wave-particle duality" at all but its wrong to assume it doesn't engulf the concept in it. On page 47 the author writes

de Broglie's relation, written in 1924,

$\frac{2\pi}{\lambda} = \frac{p}{\hbar}$

where $\lambda$ is the wavelength of a "particle wave"

That is the wave-particle duality in its essense. The graduate QM text I was going to use a few years ago at UMass Lowell is Principles of Quantum Mechanics - 3nd Ed. by R. Shankar. On page 113 the autor writes

We found that entites such as the electron are particles in the classical sense in that seem to carry all their energy, momentum and charge, etc. inn localized form; and at the same time they are not particle like in that assuming they move along definite trajectories leads to conflict with experiment. It appers that each particle has associated with it a wave function $\Psi(x)$, such that $|\Psi(x)|^2$ gives the probability of finding it at a point x at timne t. This is called wave-particle duality.

The list goes on and on. But I'm certain that no matter what QM text that you'd pick up it would talk about or use de Broglies equation and employ the concept of the wave-particle duality whereby a particle has an associated wave and has a wave-function which describes it. All these things are the heart of quantum mechanics, can be found in all QM texts and has at their root the wave-particle duality as Shankar's text defines the concept.

Again, I appologize for writing something which you found misleading. My bad.

Did you read the Wikipedia article on this topic? It's at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave%E2%80%93particle_duality

Wave–particle duality postulates that all particles exhibit both wave and particle properties. A central concept of quantum mechanics, this duality addresses the inability of classical concepts like "particle" and "wave" to fully describe the behavior of quantum-scale objects.

I underlined the statement of the wave-particle duality. Do you see where the author says that its a central concept of qauntum mechanics? I agree with the author on that point.

Edited by pmb

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Okey dokey. It so east to get side tracked, isn't it?

Actually that's another good reason to neg rep them. Not a strong one though so its not one that I'd use.

Edited by pmb
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Yeah, but how can it be enforced? Its nice in theort but impossible in practice. For example: the wave-partiucled duality is the main staple in quantum mechanics as I'm sure that we all know. Yet it only takes one poster to disturb the discussion with a non-truth, i.e. in this case trying to convince people that its a all just a myth. It's next to impossible to find a QM text which doesn't explain it and its relationship and importance to QM. That really cofuses people as StringJunky told us. Yet the moderators leave it alone.

Moderators enforce the rules. Being wrong isn't, in and of itself, against the rules. A reminder to stay on-topic would be an example of said enforcement.

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Moderators enforce the rules. Being wrong isn't, in and of itself, against the rules. A reminder to stay on-topic would be an example of said enforcement.

I've said this before but I really like the way moderators are prepared to discuss procedure at SF.

That said the current exchange raises an interesting issue.

What is the position of the website vis a vis incorrect posts? A natural supposition of persons joining here or new to forums in general would be to expect the moderators to be experts to be looked up to and followed in technical matters. I certainly did when I first became involved in internet forums. Indeed the Architekt has just posted words to that effect in another thread.

However a little thought reveals that this is an unrealistic expectation, especially considering the calibre of some (sometimes anonymous persons) posting.

Moderators cannot be expert at everything.

Can they be arbitrators in scientific squabbles?

Perhaps those that are expert on the particular topic the view could indicate a post that is wrong ( or they think is wrong) or contrary to scientific concensus, but do it without 'enforcement'.

Perhaps we should have a new thread to discuss this issue?

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Perhaps those that are expert on the particular topic the view could indicate a post that is wrong ( or they think is wrong) or contrary to scientific concensus, but do it without 'enforcement'.

Perhaps we should have a new thread to discuss this issue?

That's a good idea studiot. swansont said that they enforce the rules. Let's take a look at the rules. From http://www.scienceforums.net/index.php?app=forums&module=extras&section=boardrules

4.The use of logical fallacies to prove a point is prohibited. The use of fallacies undermines an argument, and the constant use of them is simply irritating.

...

10.Keep alternative science and your own personal conjecture to the appropriate forum (Speculations). Threads in the ordinary science forums should be answered with ordinary science, not your own personal hypothesis. Posting pet "theories" in mainstream science forums is considered thread hijacking.

I found this very interesting. It's nice to know that using logical fallacies is mpt allowed. And that's what's being used. In this case its a straw arguement that we've been concerned about, i.e. an

Straw argument: Attacking a straw argument occurs when a weakened imitation of an opponents argument is attacked intsead of the opponents original argument because the imitation is easier to refute. The weakened imitation is know as the straw argument.

I'm sure we have all recognize examples of this kind of thing in the past. Well now you know how to report it and since its a logical fallacy it can't be used. And when someone presents an argument which contradicts stanard textbook physics that's an example of personal conjecture and should be moved to the appropriate forum as stated in the rules.

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Please note that when something is against our rules, that does not immediately mean that the mods will (1) always enforce or (2) spot it themselves. It's like driving through a red light. It's against the law, but there is a fair chance you get away with it. The mods cannot see everything, and will not enforce everything.

Also, even if we do notice something, we might decide that intervention is needed (or not!). Sometimes intervention will only disrupt a thread further, and then it's better not to enforce.

What is the position of the website vis a vis incorrect posts?

There are many shades of grey. But let me explain the black and white first.

The good: being wrong, but taking in advice/information from experts and learn from that.

The bad: being wrong, and being on this forum only to spread the gospel of your new theory about life, the universe and everything, ignoring all other information and reality itself.

Somewhere in between you go from being OK to breaking the rules. Where exactly this happens is for the mods to decide, and might depend on how much coffee we've had. We're dealing with words, which can often be interpreted in multiple ways. Moderating is not an exact science. Actually, this is one of the most difficult things for a moderator.

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Please note that when something is against our rules, that does not immediately mean that the mods will (1) always enforce or (2) spot it themselves. It's like driving through a red light. It's against the law, but there is a fair chance you get away with it. The mods cannot see everything, and will not enforce everything.

There's also the issue of punishment. Not all infractions garner the same response, even if they are spotted. And much like the regular police, you tend to prioritize and spend most of your time dealing with the most serious infractions. If someone is persistently using logical fallacies to make their points it will eventually get a moderator response, but it's possible our attention is going to be focused on someone who is being more disruptive.

A logical fallacy is also a flaw in an argument, and pointing out flaws in arguments is part of the normal discussion process. Peer-response*, a category to which reputation belongs, tends to reduce the use of logical fallacies.

*edit: such as pointing out that such a device is invalid. Pointing out that it's a against the rules is frowned upon.

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A logical fallacy is also a flaw in an argument, and pointing out flaws in arguments is part of the normal discussion process. Peer-response*, a category to which reputation belongs, tends to reduce the use of logical fallacies.

*edit: such as pointing out that such a device is invalid. Pointing out that it's a against the rules is frowned upon.

I don't understand. Are you trying to say that it we report someone whom we believe is breaking the rules that its frowned upon?

I've gotten feeback from people who have said that they were not happy about being mislead in certain cases/topics. That happens when I send then a part of a text that explains the relevant details. We need to take that kind of thing seriously. And I'm not saying that they need to be silenced. I'm saying that their argument should be moved to the speculation forum where people can read about it when they care to and not being confused about it in a normal discussion of bread and butter physics.

I find it incredibly irritating when someone uses the logical fallacy of the straw argument and the moderators do nothing about it when they are informed of it. Also when the opponent refuses to acknowledge and respond to your counter arguments its also very irritating. That happens quote a lot. Isn't there a rule against that?

Edited by pmb
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I don't understand. Are you trying to say that it we report someone whom we believe is breaking the rules that its frowned upon?

We prefer that you first point out that someone used a fallacy (you can add that this is against the rules if you like - there's no need for that though).

There is a fair chance that your discussion partner used a fallacy by accident, and will improve the post, or explain why he disagrees this is a fallacy.

If someone deliberately uses a fallacy, and refuses to improve after being requested by you, then you can report. But please try to solve your differences yourself before requesting mod assistance.

Immediately reporting everything means that the mods get far too much involved in every discussion. We are here to keep the peace, not to win your discussions for you.

Isn't there a rule against that?

Please find our rules here. Also, by scrolling to the top of every page, you will find a link to the rules, called "ScienceForums.Net Forum Rules".

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I start from the premise that well intentioned posters want to see a correct post by themselves or anyone else - I certainly do.

So sometimes I have been known to use the pm system

If Jack then reworks his arithmetic (it's often a simple slip I like make all the time) no one else is any the wiser. I don't want the kudos of having publically pointed it out .

So the first post (Jack's) ends up corrrect and there is no second post saying "Jack you are wrong and inviting argument."

Fo me this is a win- win-win situations all round.

Edited by studiot
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