I Created Some Quora Spaces

19 May, 2024
I created some Quora spaces to support discovery and discussion of my scientific theories about music.
Also this article discusses general issues about how best to present and/or publish "original" scientific theories on the internet, including on social media.

Social Media and "Original" Theories

What is the best place to share original ideas and theories about anything?

The basic problem with trying to share original ideas and theories is that people are interested in new ideas, but, they mostly want to pay attention to ideas that are somehow proven, or officially validated, or promoted by some person who is already famous, or where the idea is consistent with some belief system that they already have.

"Amateur" vs "Professional"

In this context, "original" is really a euphemism for "amateur".

If you're a "professional", then the way to publish theories about things is to publish in academic journals.

One can argue that this is what "amateurs" should also do.

Academic Journals Set the Bar Too High

It is of course possible for an amateur to submit a paper to an academic journal.

But, in practice, submitting a paper that is good enough for academic publication sets a requirement to jump through an enormous number of hoops.

The underlying assumption of academic publication is that the publication of a paper is the definitive best possible presentation of the results of your research, whether it be the result of observation or experimentation, or a novel hypothesis, or perhaps some new form of analysis of existing data.

One basic requirement is that a new paper presenting a new theory must fully acknowledge all prior published work that might be at all relevant to the subject of your paper, including:

For all of these requirements, you need to give full references to the prior work in your paper.

This means that you need to have full access to the content of all and any prior work that might be relevant to the theory that you are presenting.

Most of that content will be contained in paywalled copyrighted journals. (Some of it might be published as open-access papers, but much of it won't be.)

If you are an academic working for a university or some professional research institution, and your job requires you to Publish (with a capital "P"), then you will most likely be given some kind of access to relevant published journal papers, without having to pay US$60 every time you want to look at the content of some paper that may or may not turn out to be relevant to the content of a paper that you are writing.

But if you are not a full-time fully-paid qualified academic working in an academic or research institution, then you won't have that kind of access.

Before vs After the Fact

All the items in the list above are relevant to the presentation of a new theory.

That is:

But, and this is the most important "but", in the amateur case, it should not be necessary to perfectly satisfy all these requirements up-front.

It should be possible to "publish" (without a capital "P") a new theory by some means that allows for the fulfilment of these requirements after-the-fact, and not before.

In the professional world, this would be called "pre-publication". There are even pre-publication "preprint" sites, such as arxiv.org.

However, for the most part, papers submitted to Arxiv are "almost-ready-for-publication", and the site is still oriented towards professionals, and not so much towards over-enthusiastic amateurs who want to submit "nowhere-near-ready-for-publication" papers.

Websites and Social Media

In the modern world there are two different ways that anyone can cheaply and easily post new content where, in principle, anyone can read it, which are:

  1. Your own website, preferentially on a domain name that you own.
  2. Someone else's website, including major "social media" websites.

Either of these options solves the publication problem.

But publication, by itself, is only the first part of the solution.


Publishing something that no one else ever reads is almost indistinguishable from not publishing at all.

Publishing something that is only ever read by a small number of disinterested readers is also very close to not publishing at all.

It is not enough for your new theory to be published, it also has to be discovered.

In practice, discovery needs to be accompanied by discussion.

That is, it is not enough to know that people have read your new theory that you published. You need to know what they are saying about it. You need to know what they are thinking about it.

And what you really need is for your new theory to be read and discussed by people who are suitably qualified to evaluate it. (Those people may or may not be formally qualified, but hopefully you will be able to tell when you read discussion of your newly published theory as to whether the person discussing it actually understands what you were trying to say.)

How do the two types of publication support discovery?

In the case of publishing to your own website, discovery depends on something else linking to your website, and in particular linking to the page where you have published your new theory.

That something else can be:

By itself, having a personal website on a domain you own does not guarantee any discovery at all.

However there is one important benefit of putting content on your own website which is that you have full control.

The only way that content can be deleted on a website where you own the domain is if the domain registrar refuses to provide the domain name to you, or if actual countries decide your website needs to be censored.

Most of the time that is not an issue if you are publishing some kind of original scientific theory. If your content is so obnoxious or controversial that it gets censored by the DNS providers, then you have a different kind of problem which is beyond the scope of what I am discussing here.

So, you need to have your own website on your own domain, and Google might be enough to get discovered. But probably you will also need to promote your newly published theory on social media, if you want to be both discovered and discussed.

(Extra note: you can add commenting features to a personal website, but in practice, unless you are already "well-known", these don't help much with discovery. Also they add risk and maintenance overhead, and my general recommendation is to let the discussion happen somewhere else.)

Social Media

There are a few major social media sites that exist in the world.

None of them are truly optimised for the presentation, discovery and discussion of new scientific theories, but it is worth considering the extent to which they might or might not help.

Topic-based Social Media

The most important feature of a social media site for someone wanting to present original theories is the extent to which the site supports topic-based posting of content.

Most social media sites have some kind of support for topic identification, and this falls into two major categories:

  1. Tagging, AKA "hash tagging", where words or short phrases are used to apply some searchable very short description of the topic of any content
  2. Sub-sites, where the site allows the creation of sub-sites within the main site. Such a sub-site will usually have a title, and a description of intent, and almost always there will be some defined group of admins and/or moderators who control what can or cannot be posted to the sub-site.

Free Views

Another important aspect of social media sites is the extent to which they give free views for new content.

This is important if you are bootstrapping from scratch.

I cannot give a full accounting of the extent to which all major social media sites do or don't give free views, but I do know the following:

Specific Social Media Sub-Sites

Social media sites vary in how easily they allow the creation of sub-sites.

Also they vary in the extent to which a new sub-site may attract an audience of the kind that you want to attract.

Even if you can create a sub-site that directly supports the discovery and discussion of a theory that you have published, you still have the problem of whether or not the sub-site will be discovered, and whether it will be discovered by the type of audience that you are looking for.

Your chances are probably best on a social media site that is explicity topic-oriented, as opposed to a social media site that adds topic-oriented features on the side.

My Quora Sub-Spaces

Right now I am in process of testing out Quora spaces as a way to present my original ideas about various things – mostly about music, but also other ideas about other scientific subjects and unsolved mysteries.

So far I have created:

The first relates to the overall topic of this whole website.

The second relates to the topic of this article you are reading right now.

The third doesn't have anything specifically to do with music, but I made it so I've included it in the list.