# “Questions” of the type “I have written something, please give me feedback”

I have now today seen several questions (this and this) which asks for feedback on research articles, rather than stating explictit questions.

There is of course a gray zone, but I wonder a bit what the policy is on this type of posts, as some of these might be a type of self-promoting hidden as a question.

In a private discussion, a point was made that for amateur/young mathematicians that do not yet have a large network of colleauges to send (stuff down their throat) preprints to, this type of posts could actually be helpful (the only way?) to get some hints on rough drafts. Perhaps some new tags, self-promotion and feedback-request would be in order, if such questions are not discouraged.

This website is perhaps the most friendly (and only) way for non-professional mathematicans to interact with a large group of mathematicians.

• Just to address one of your points: I do not think MO is the right place for young mathematicians to solicit feedback on their preprints. While I appreciate it can be difficult for those not plugged into a supportive network of more senior mathematicians, it is surely better for these people to seek to get their work recognized in meetings specializing in their area. – Yemon Choi Aug 5 '14 at 16:16
• Also, on a different point, I am very sceptical that MO is really a representative group of the mathematical community, whether or not it is a "large group". This is admittedly based on my anecdotal observations from talking to people at conferences. – Yemon Choi Aug 5 '14 at 16:17
• @YemonChoi: I agree that MO neither is nor should be a common place to ask for feedback on preprints -- but I would not be dogmatic here. Rather I suggest to make further actions (closing/removing the post or responding, etc.) depend on the quality of the material in question. – Stefan Kohl Aug 5 '14 at 16:55
• Possible meta duplicate: meta.mathoverflow.net/questions/927/… – The Masked Avenger Aug 5 '14 at 16:59
• @StefanKohl I agree that sensible judgment on individual cases is needed. – Yemon Choi Aug 5 '14 at 17:01
• While 927 is relevant, it concerns a different situation. It is one thing to post critique of a preprint where the author themselves explicitly asked for it, and another thing for a preprint by a third party that isn’t even aware of it. – Emil Jeřábek Aug 5 '14 at 17:16
• @StefanKohl what do you mean by "the material in question"? It sounds as if you want to take as criterion the quality of the preprint. Could you please clarify your intent. – user9072 Aug 5 '14 at 17:44
• On the specific proposal of creating tags: this would be meta tags and these are better avoided. Besides tags like this would then (presumably) have a negative touch (at least with some), which is further reason not to create them. – user9072 Aug 5 '14 at 17:59
• I am also in the situation of being an amateur mathematician for whom the research community is a big black box and do not know, what to do with findings, that could be of interest to that community. I learned that MO isn't the right place to do that and I do not know of an alternative way to do it. A concrete example of such a finding is the role of Moebius Ladder graphs in the Hamilton Cycle Problem. – Manfred Weis Aug 16 '14 at 10:11
• @ManfredWeis: Get in contact with mathematicians in the same field. Type down your findings in LaTeX. A lot of amateur mathematicians seem to spend much time on their own research, but not enough time to learn how to present it, or if it is of actual interest and/or already known. – Per Alexandersson Aug 16 '14 at 11:37
• @PerAlexandersson finding someone in the same field is one of the difficulties; the point with the lack of presentation skills is also true in my case, whereas checking for already known results is nowadays a lot easier. I usually do a lot google searching and I "review" my findings over some time before being confident that there may be something to it. But I really appreciate your advice. – Manfred Weis Aug 16 '14 at 11:54
• @Manfred: As a delayed ray of light, let me offer the (for me uplifting) story: while helping run an Internet access company in the 90's, I took my ICM slide presentation on Hadamard matrices and the determinant spectrum problem and put it on the web on a company server. A few years later some other researchers found it and used and extended some of the results. This without being affiliated with any research institution. Do good work, and present it well, and the researchers will find it. Gerhard "Choose Your Search Keywords Well" Paseman, 2017.12.13. – Gerhard Paseman Dec 13 '17 at 18:36
• @GerhardPaseman: some coincidences are really amazing; yesterday I finally found a simple TSP heuristic that produces very good tours in $O(n^3)$ and after your ray of light hit me, I am confident, that it will be appreciated by one or the other researcher. – Manfred Weis Dec 14 '17 at 5:37