I post a question here: https://mathoverflow.net/questions/159016/on-convexity-of-function-in-c10-infty (now deleted).

Obviously, those who closed it think it is too elementary. But how do they know if it is research level or not?

I mean, I'm working on a decay rate problem which needs an answer for that question.

Some questions are not easy just because they are simple.

And if people think it is elementary, I think the first who votes for closure should throw out an easy answer.

A group of narrow minds can well make mistakes. And one easy answer will get rid of that bad possibility. Isn't that reasonable?

I think this should be put into the regulations, and it is a reasonable request.


  • $\begingroup$ "Those people"? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 1:49
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    $\begingroup$ Since you appear to be very new to the site, let me point out that users typically do not throw out easy answers to questions they feel are not appropriate for MO. For example, throwing out easy answers to homework problems would be frowned on by the community (which is not to say that yours is a "homework problem"). The general trend is to encourage a certain level of question and to discourage others. Perhaps you can argue successfully here that your question is MO-worthy, but nothing compels people to throw out answers, and nothing is gained by trying to badger people into doing so. $\endgroup$
    – Todd Trimble Mod
    Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 3:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Todd Trimble: You have a point there and I totally understand. But on the other hand, there should be some things prevent arbitrary not-so-serious judgements from happening. I myself have the intention to look down to some simple-look questions. Of cos, it's your call. Finally let me explain what I did. $\endgroup$
    – user47622
    Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 3:15
  • $\begingroup$ ... disappointed...never mind, no time to spend on these stupid things. good luck everybody. $\endgroup$
    – user47622
    Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 3:25
  • $\begingroup$ btw: before I leave, I want to say to Andres Caicedo and some other people, 1. yes I'm not a native speaker. So if I said something funny, please laugh, for free. 2. if you tried to vote to close some topic, first please convince yourself that it is indeed an easy job. In my opinion, voting without serious thoughts are much ruder than dirty words-like bad deeds to words. 3. I'm still waiting. Anyone by any chance has an answer for my original question(although 'those people' made me delete it), please send a message, I will be really grateful. $\endgroup$
    – user47622
    Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 4:00
  • $\begingroup$ 4. Didn't intend to offend anyone who were serious about my question. I'm sorry, if I offended accidentally. 5. I was trying to delete this post as well, didn't succeed. If any powerful person think it is improper, please do it, no problem with me. $\endgroup$
    – user47622
    Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 4:04
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    $\begingroup$ I believe your "if you tried to vote to close some topic, first please convince yourself that it is indeed an easy job" has some merit. Indeed it sometimes happens that a user will vote to close based on a quick impression and not notice that a question is nontrivial. I haven't decided myself whether your question is an example of this (not my area of expertise), but I do acknowledge that the question has problems (tagging, for one). Quid has given some suggestions to consider. This may have "stone soup" potential: meta.mathoverflow.net/questions/1046/… $\endgroup$
    – Todd Trimble Mod
    Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 4:29
  • $\begingroup$ I'm doing research on PDE and my problem is directly related to the questions on how the energy functional decay rate relate to the damping kernel in a damping wave equation with memory. Now you guys said 'oh, you should put context into your question'. But other people might say 'just give us your damn question, i don't care the story'. You have to admit that possibility exists, don't you? I think sometimes it is good to extract a concrete question out of the boring context. $\endgroup$
    – user47622
    Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 4:39
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    $\begingroup$ I strongly disagree that anyone will say 'just give us your damn question, i don't care the story' - in particular, in the guidelines that quid link to in his answer below, you see that it is explicitly encouraged to give a healthy amount of background and motivation! $\endgroup$
    – j.c.
    Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 13:36

2 Answers 2


First, a problem with your question is that it does not provide any context; the question is even somehow presented like an excercise or homework assignment (please note, I said it is presented in this way not that it is one or is simple or anything, it is only about the presentation).

Second, you were asked in a commnet if this is a research question to which you could have replied, yes, it came up in [the context]. But your reply did not do this, reenforcing the idea that indeed there is no research context.

Third, while in view of what you wrote here the PDE tag you used might be correct for the context in which the question came up (not sure) it is not a good tag for the question as asked (without that context) since the question as asked is in no sense a PDE question but a classical real analysis question, so the question seemed to be mistagged.

I did not think about the question and have no opinion on the content, but it is lacking in form, and also good form is relevant. For some advice see How to write a good MathOverflow question?

To answer you question more directly: sometimes, perhaps in this case I do not know, question are also put on hold since the current presentation is lacking. And, there is nothing wrong with this. In fact a main idea behing putting a question on hold is to encourage the person asking it to improve it via an edit. So, instead of editing in complaints you should edit in the context you mention here, and perhaps also clarify what the in my opinion hard to parse (at least uniquely) formulation with the "or" means.


Your question is, "How do people determine if other people's questions are research level or not?" The answer is, by applying the years of experience they have in doing mathematical research themselves. That doesn't mean they always get it right, but, fortunately, there is redress in case they get it wrong. In fact, there is a whole thread on this site devoted to requests to reopen questions, and there are many questions that have been reopened after having been closed. Anyone wishing to see a question reopened is strongly advised to take into consideration any comments that have been made on the question, and to revise the question (if necessary) in accord with those comments, and to make a convincing case for the reopening.

The phrases "narrow minds", "arbitrary not-so-serious judgements", "no time to spend on these stupid things", "random overlooking", and "piece of shit" will probably not be found convincing.

  • $\begingroup$ Well, Putting my post in closure is based on your judgement; stating 'narrow minds' is based on my judgement. How do you know which one is convincing? Working out an easy answer will support your judgement! Paying more attention to my wording other than my question does not make you convincing either. $\endgroup$
    – user47622
    Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 5:18
  • 16
    $\begingroup$ Fortunately, I don't have to be convincing --- I'm not the one trying to get an answer to a question. I'm trying to help you get where you want to go. If you reject my considered advice as to how to get there, which one of us loses? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 5:21
  • $\begingroup$ Sure, you are in charge! :-) $\endgroup$
    – user47622
    Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 5:21
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    $\begingroup$ Oh, and this "easy answer" business you keep raising --- it's a red herring. Putnam competition problems, for example, often don't have easy answers, but they are (mostly) off-topic on MO. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 5:22
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    $\begingroup$ I don't know how you manage to type, with a chip that size on your shoulder. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 5:23
  • $\begingroup$ I saw too much such ugly faces on so-called 'people in charge', this does not surprise me at all. btw:congratulations! $\endgroup$
    – user47622
    Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 5:23
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ I'm not in charge of anything. I'm just trying to help you get where you want to go. But I'm getting convinced that where you want to go is into a brick wall, at full speed. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 5:26
  • $\begingroup$ Ha, thanks for your help without which I will die. $\endgroup$
    – user47622
    Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 5:27
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    $\begingroup$ @user47622, you've now started insulting people who were trying to help you. This is not acceptable behaviour here, so I've suspended your account. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 1, 2014 at 6:01

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