I just posted this question a few hours ago, and it's already had two votes to close for being off-topic (i.e., not of "research-level mathematics"). Considering it's ultimately a question about elliptic curves, it has been unanswered in an MSE thread for almost a year, and I'm working on this to include in a paper for submission to number theory journals, I'm a little confused as to how it's not "research-level".

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    $\begingroup$ I think the reason for the close votes is likely rather the formulation of the question than the question as such. -- In particular, I think it is not good style to ask people to fill in the gaps in a draft of a proof, or to let people find errors in one's argumentation. I would just pose this as a terse 2-line question, followed by a few lines of explanation particularly mentioning the (11364,46061) example. $\endgroup$
    – Stefan Kohl Mod
    Commented Aug 23, 2014 at 21:06
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    $\begingroup$ You might explain how it's ultimately a question about elliptic curves or at any rate explain why it's deeper than elementary number theory. There are so many questions that get posted inappropriately at MO that it's easy to understand why a problem which looks at first glance to be elementary but is deep in disguise may be closed on the basis of quick impressions. $\endgroup$
    – Todd Trimble Mod
    Commented Aug 23, 2014 at 21:15
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    $\begingroup$ @StefanKohl: Interesting. Thanks for that. I was under the impression that not showing that I've done work on the problem would put me in worse stead. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 23, 2014 at 23:35
  • $\begingroup$ @ToddTrimble: Thanks. Should I remove all of the existing explanation (as suggested by Stefan Kohl), or add this new information? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 24, 2014 at 0:13
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure how to pose the question in any way that satisfies the implied requirements. In particular, to Stefan Kohl's point, what would a "terse 2-line question" look like in this case? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 24, 2014 at 0:50
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    $\begingroup$ I'm guessing the "terse 2-line question" could just be the bit before you embark on the partial proof. (I see Stefan's point: the proposed line of attack might after all be a dead end, and trying to follow the close reasoning might be distracting to some readers. It might work better as an addendum, headed by a "FWIW".) OTOH: the question also looks somewhat unmotivated. If you have an interesting number-theoretic context that you could explain (possibly involving integral points on elliptic curves or something else that is relevant), that might help garner interest in your question. $\endgroup$
    – Todd Trimble Mod
    Commented Aug 24, 2014 at 1:58
  • $\begingroup$ I've done my best to incorporate your suggestions. Thank you. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 24, 2014 at 2:18
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    $\begingroup$ @ToddTrimble: Thanks for the help. And I don't at all mind your edit on my original post! That being said… It would seem to me that a question like “Is this conjecture correct?” [potentially with much less work shown] is less 'research-level' than what I originally had. Am I wrong? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 24, 2014 at 14:01
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    $\begingroup$ Potentially, maybe, but I think in the present case it's offset by the work you've evidently put into this. I wouldn't have performed the edit but for the fact that MO can be a little peculiar; an imperative verb like "Consider..." without an accompanying question has been known to rub people the wrong way, which I wanted to avoid. In any case, it looks as though this question will now stay open. :-) $\endgroup$
    – Todd Trimble Mod
    Commented Aug 24, 2014 at 15:07
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    $\begingroup$ There was no reason to close the question to begin with, but now, in view of the answers, it is clear that closing it would have been a big loss for MO. $\endgroup$
    – Joël
    Commented Aug 25, 2014 at 21:39
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    $\begingroup$ I continue to believe that if this page of excellent advice meta.mathoverflow.net/questions/882/… were made more accessible on the main site, such situations would be less likely to occur. $\endgroup$
    – j.c.
    Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 4:09


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