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I'm interested in Earth science but I am far from an expert. I'm have many questions in my mind about the Earth that I think are interesting, and I have asked some questions such as "Why is the Earth so hot in the core compared to the surface" and "how does geothermal heating work" etc, however to an expert these questions would be very basic.

As a beginner in the Earth sciences, should I refrain from asking more questions on this site while in private beta mode, to ensure that only more complicated questions that are challenging to experts are asked?

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I took the liberty of going through your questions. Many of them appear to be thoughtful and well supported by references even if not expert. Many of them were highly upvoted, and drew highly upvoted answers. That's positive feedback that you're basically on the right track.

It's only fair to warn you that there was one question that was put on hold, and one or two more that received several "close" votes. They happened to be a "one liners" that weren't up to your usual standard.

There was a "volcano" question that was a take-off on my "earthquake" question. In my earthquake question, I linked to a wiki source, asked about the "storage and release of energy" and how it came about. A similar link to the volcano wiki would have indicated that it had to do with the "convergence and divergence of tectonic plates." That is a reasonable "start line" from which to ask your question.

Most of your questions are fine. Just do your best to bring a handful of your weakest ones up to your usual standard.

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Absolutely not. While I think it's preferable to avoid questions for which there is a clear answer on the most obvious wikipedia pages, or other such easy to find resources, in general, basic questions should be welcome. For example, while both the inner core or outer core pages on wikipedia mention that the core is hot, neither of them mention why it is hot. Then again, a google search turns this article up first, and it does explain the processes involved very clearly and succinctly.

A reading of that kind of explanation often leads to more questions (in the kids' infinite-string-of-questions style), some of which often aren't answered near by, or in an easy to find place. Those kinds of questions are excellent.

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    $\begingroup$ Its generally not a good long term policy to encourage questions that literally are answered in the topic's Wikipedia page. SE communities are built around a core of experts and experts won't stay for long on a site where the tone is amateurish, irrespective of however helpful they may be. $\endgroup$ – asheeshr Apr 17 '14 at 16:41
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Yes. You've asked several questions that are going to deter any experts who pass by - they'll think this is a site for beginners and newbies, not experts. And that's very detrimental if we're serious about this being an expert site. The level of questions asked during private beta are absolutely crucial..

Now, weak beginners' questions can be salvaged if someone writes a technically strong answer. But that's not what's been happening.

And Mew: this isn't personal. I'm writing this post to give something for people to vote on. By voting, people will help determine the direction of this site.

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    $\begingroup$ As I've said previously, I think it is immoral to advertise a site on area51 for "those interested in geoscience etc." when in fact the site is for experts. I and many others wouldn't have signed up on area51 if it stated it was for experts only from the start and I definitely wouldn't have committed to this proposal. $\endgroup$ – Kenshin Apr 17 '14 at 7:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Mew "immoral" is a bit strong (and honestly none of the questions proposed during the definition stage of the proposal was trivial). @EnergyNumbers Although i tend to agree with you, there must be a middle ground where non-expert could ask naive questions but get proper, clean and documented answers by experts (you say that weak beginners' questions can be salvaged if someone writes a technically strong answer. But that's not what's been happening. but the site is online since only yesterday! Leave people some time to come up with good answers.) $\endgroup$ – plannapus Apr 17 '14 at 7:51
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    $\begingroup$ @plannapus from my experience of a handful of beta sites: you don't start with low quality and lift it later. You can start with experts and broaden to hobbyist fluff later, or you can start with experts and stay with experts.it, but you can't start with junk and then elevate to experts, because they'll be driven away by the sort of fluff we've seen so far - e.g. Mew's animated cartoon gif. The first few days are absolutely crucial. $\endgroup$ – EnergyNumbers Apr 17 '14 at 7:55
  • $\begingroup$ fair enough. Although I don't necessarily agree with the fact that ALL of the questions that have been asked so far are trivial and of low quality, a few people have indeed been asking a lot of trivial questions that were on top of that poorly phrased, undocumented (all the other sites on the network require a minimum of effort from the asker), and overall just "spammy". I do think however, contrarily to what you seem to think, that there is already a fair amount of experts around (I for one am a professional geoscientist and expert in at least my field of work). $\endgroup$ – plannapus Apr 17 '14 at 8:22
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    $\begingroup$ @plannapus I absolutely agree with you that we already have some experts and some good content. I just want those to completely dominate the fluff. $\endgroup$ – EnergyNumbers Apr 17 '14 at 8:45
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    $\begingroup$ A little update: i just asked my first question and saw an explanatory text How to ask in Private Beta that users have to acknowledge before asking a question. That text states clearly (it is even highlighted) that questions at this stage should be high quality expert level questions. $\endgroup$ – plannapus Apr 17 '14 at 9:06
  • $\begingroup$ @EnergyNumbers Have the quality dominate — that's what voting is for. $\endgroup$ – gerrit Apr 17 '14 at 14:28
  • $\begingroup$ Agreed, with the caveat that I think that questions of the type that Mew has been asking - which are mostly well-thought-through lay questions - would be welcome after launch, or late in public beta; Just not now. When the public beta starts, and we make a push to publicise the site to experts (beyond those already present), if professional scientists arrive and find a site with popular science questions they are not going to stick around. See my answer to meta.earthscience.stackexchange.com/questions/34/… $\endgroup$ – Semidiurnal Simon Apr 19 '14 at 7:46
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There are a bunch of your questions that I found the answer to with a quick google, less than 5 minutes of research. I'm not saying don't ask them; I am just saying that it's very clear from many (not all) your questions that you haven't put forth the effort to understand them on your own, which is ideally what anyone would do.

That being said, those questions may provide an archive to which we can link to when they are eventually asked and asked again if/when the site gains steam.

So to answer your question, I don't know.

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  • $\begingroup$ my dream is that in the future people will come to stack exchange to get their information as a primary resource just like people go to wikipedia now. If this dream is to come true, then stack exchange will need to house the answers to these basic questions and people will no longer go to wikipedia first but they will go to see the answers on stackexchange first. $\endgroup$ – Kenshin Apr 19 '14 at 5:58

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