If your game crashes, or Windows keeps spitting out bizarre error messages, you google the problem. Chances are, you find someone on a help forum who had the same problem, and hopefully someone else posted the answer.
(If your preferred strategy is to ask a younger relative, then I’m sorry, but nine times out of ten they’re just doing that.)
What do scientists do, though? We’re at the cutting-edge of knowledge. When we have a problem, who do we turn to?
Typically, Stack Exchange.
The thing is, when we’re really confused about something, most of the time it’s not really a physics problem. We get mystified by the intricacies of Mathematica, or we need some quality trick from numerical methods. And while I haven’t done much with them yet, there are communities dedicated to answering actual physics questions, like Physics Overflow.
The idea I was working on last week? That came from a poster on the Mathematica Stack Exchange, who mentioned a handy little function called Association that I hadn’t heard of before. (It worked, by the way.)
Science is a collaborative process. Sometimes that means actual collaborators, but sometimes we need a little help from folks online, just like everyone else.