This post will raise several questions/issues on which I want community feedback.

Background: Inspired by Tim Post's offer Mugs, Stickers And Shirts - Now With 100% More MathOverflow! , I++ decided to ask for swag to distribute at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Seoul this month. The swag has been printed and will be shipped to South Korea soon. In addition to giving out goodies, I intend to do some promotion of MathOverflow at ICM to get some more people who are interested in mathematics interested in our community.

Main Question: Do we want more people, and what kind? I suspect most attendees will be professional mathematicians, but there will also be a substantial fraction (more than 1%) who will be Korean high school students. I want to make the same pitch to everyone at ICM, but if there are marketing experts here who can guide me on selective promotion, I am willing to try it. If there are reasons to downplay or mute promotional efforts, I would like to hear them.

Intellectual Goodies: I want to crowdsource a list of questions (preferably unanswered) which are of high quality, based on the 19 areas of mathematics http://www.icm2014.org/en/program/scientific/topics represented at the Congress, plus whatever else you feel is not properly represented. (Francois Dorais has already started a related post MO-Hard Questions : that will be useful, but I also want questions that are good and possibly answerable and may miss the final cut of Best of MO.) Please suggest a good question and associated area number, or more than one. I will then make that list available as a selling point. (I am willing to take new questions, but they need to be posted by Day 0 of the congress.) If there is a way to use answered questions (MathOverflow Success Stories?) as a selling point, I would appreciate knowing details about that. Here are some that might do, corrections on subject area are welcome:

Selling Points: I see the forum as a place to get questions answered, references resolved, collaborations started. I will emphasize that MathOverflow is not Wikipedia or a tutorial or general help center. I could use more characterizations (brief if less accurate) of what the forum is so that I can explain it well to people who consider joining. Can you help me with the most important Do's and Don'ts to give to a potential new member?

Social Gathering: If you are attending the Congress, I+++ invite you to look me up, especially at the Welcome Reception and Conference Dinners. I am setting aside some mugs and t-shirts for Plenary and Invited Speakers, and I hope to have some left over for those giving Short Communications or being active MathOverflow participants. If you don't mind me knowing your email, you can contact me directly using the gmail account listed below++++. You can also send such detail through the moderators AT mathoverflow.net if you prefer that. I may be able to set aside something for you, but only if I know who you are.

Promotional Help: For those who believe in the cause, there are ways to help this effort even if you aren't attending (statistics gathering, welcoming new accounts, offering quick guidance/minimal rep). I can't offer swag for barter or efforts, but I know a guy who has swag... .
Contact me at the gmail account below if you wish to help.

Timeline: The Congress Day 0 is Aug. 12 (UTC+9), when registration, welcome reception, and the first major promotional efforts will occur. If you want to jump on board, act now!

(Spoiler: signature fans will be disappointed.)

Gerhard Paseman, 2014.08.06

++ yes, I know this outs a pseudonym.

+++ a mailing from the moderators to MO members/ICM speakers is planned for later today. If you get missed in that mailing, it's probably my fault. Sorry! Contact me or the moderators if you have a swag desire while in Seoul.

++++ droidgerhard


2 Answers 2


Do we want more people? Yes, MO could certainly use many more people.

Of what kind? Exactly of the kind that come to the ICM: professional mathematicians of all ages, countries, and level, and motivated amateurs.

More people of that kind will mean more questions, more answers, more comments, more votes, brief more activity. So what you do is a really great service to MO. Good luck!

Edit: concerning the selling points, I think that the most important for professional mathematicians is "MO is a place where you can ask questions". Emphasis on: what MO can do for you, not what you can do to MO. That will come later: if a mathematician comes, asks a question, gets an useful answer, he/she will likely begin to participate, answers questions, etc. Moreover, good serious questions are the oxygen of MO, what makes it alive...

Joël "ask me about marketing strategies"


Possibly a good question for number theory (3), also one of the most up voted questions on Overflow:

Polynomial Bijection from $\mathbb{Q}\times \mathbb{Q}\rightarrow{}\mathbb{Q}$


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .