Why is RL re-explained in so many papers?

Many papers I encounter spend the whole beginning of the second chapter re-explaining the basics of RL (state/action-value function, bellman equation, q-learning) as if it were some recent discovery that no one had heard of, while going into so much detail that if you weren’t familiar with the concepts you’d be better off learning it anywhere else.

Other fields don’t do this, you don’t see every physics paper reexplaining how general relativity works.

Is there a reason for this in RL? The only thing I can think of is if everyone had a slightly different understanding of RL, they’d want the reader on the same page, but it’s always pretty much the same every time.

submitted by /u/giorgiocav123
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