From time to time questions get asked on math.SE which may be quite suitable for MO. Given the current climate of math.SE, such questions may not receive the attention they are due: e.g., they disappear from the front-page before someone with the requisite knowledge to answer them even sees them. Currently, it seems that the best way to get answers to these lost questions is to migrate them to MO (or simply cross-post them). But I can think of at least two arguments against the migration practice:

  1. the general SE guidelines for migration are that questions which are on-topic on the original site should not be migrated away; and
  2. removing more advanced, and IMHO generally more interesting and better composed, questions further decreases the overall quality of math.SE, and, if continued, may result in a situation where such questions are simply no longer asked there, effectively turning math.SE into undergrad-math-homework.SE (if it isn't already).

As an end-run around these two issues, I am wondering if it might be possible/acceptable to create an "interesting (and unanswered) questions on math.SE" thread here on meta.MO. The intent would be to advertise (unanswered) math.SE questions which may be of interest to members of the MO community, and ideally to have these questions answered on math.SE.

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    $\begingroup$ It's like a Bat signal. For math. puts a bunch of gravel in his mouth, and dons a cape "BECAUSE I'M MATHMAN!" $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Oct 27 '14 at 13:38
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    $\begingroup$ My opinion is that it is better just to migrate such questions to MO. It is a pity that math.SE is not more amenable to this obvious solution. Treating such a very small fragment of the math.SE questions differently will have essentially no affect on the quality of questions there, especially since these particular questions in question are ignored there or at least not answered as well as they might be anyway. $\endgroup$ – Joel David Hamkins Oct 29 '14 at 3:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Joel: Unfortunately, that option was met with fierce opposition when it was raised all that time ago. (And both arguments had some good points, I might add.) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Oct 29 '14 at 7:40
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    $\begingroup$ @JoelDavidHamkins what do you mean exactly by "to just migrate"? The point I want to get at is that with the proposed set up it should be a non-issue for say me pointing out a question of somebody on math.SE that is unanswered and seems interesting. However, me flagging or voting for migration without OP's consent seems quite a strange thing to do. Would you (consider it appropriate to) do this? Furthermore, there are also question that might profit from the exposure here while in fact not being suitable for MO. In brief, the proposal offers some flexibility that "just migrate" does not. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Oct 29 '14 at 13:46
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    $\begingroup$ @Joel, I guess for me the main thing is "Who decides?" either way. Having, mostly, descended into the depths myself, I don't want a lot of the idiots on MSE pushing their questions to MO. Matt Emerton and Pete Clark have given up on both sites, if one of them said "this is a good MO question" it would be fine; David Speyer still does MSE, same comment, but i don't see him putting in much time deciding migration. There are some strong people on MSE, at least I think so, but it is hard to tell when people are anonymous. $\endgroup$ – Will Jagy Oct 29 '14 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Will: I am pretty sure that Pete's profile says he was on MSE in the last hour, and the activity shows he posts answers. He was on MO within the last week as well. Not sure that's "giving up". $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Oct 30 '14 at 3:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Asaf, I guess I mixed Pete and Matt together too much. Also, I have a cold. $\endgroup$ – Will Jagy Oct 30 '14 at 4:01
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    $\begingroup$ @JoelDavidHamkins Yes I understood that. But this is not what I asked about. Obviously questions can be migrated. But for this they normally must be off-topic where they are (see 1. in OP). But the questions we are talking about here are ontopic on math.SE. What should be the criteria to decide which on-topic question from math.SE are migrated to MO? In my mind it can't be simply somebody thinks they'd like it better if it were on MO. If OP asks it might be already, but my question: is it really justified I flag a question on math.SE for migration because I think it would be better on MO? $\endgroup$ – user9072 Oct 30 '14 at 11:56
  • $\begingroup$ This is completely different to the other direction. The decision process MO -> math.SE is: offtopic yes/no if yes ontopic on math.SE yes/no if yes vtc + migrate if no only vtc. This does not work at all in the other direction, except if the math.SE ontopic would be changed to excluded higher-level questions. One might entertain that idea, and I would not have a particular issue with it. But I can see why it would be an issue for some, and find it quite reasonable it is one for them. Even SE might mind. MO is sort of separate. Why'd they let it soack up the good content from their mathsite. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Oct 30 '14 at 12:02
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    $\begingroup$ My opinion is that it would be a better system for the mathematics community generally if advanced math questions were typically to be found on MO, rather than lost on MSE, and it is a pity there isn't more support on MSE for a policy of migrating such questions from MSE to MO, where they would find a welcome home. In particular, it is part of my opinion that such questions are not really on-topic on MSE, and I discourage people from asking advanced questions on MSE in place of MO. $\endgroup$ – Joel David Hamkins Nov 4 '14 at 1:05
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    $\begingroup$ I think that if someone had something to say about that, nearly two weeks is enough. Support seems almost unanimous. When is the thread going live? $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Nov 7 '14 at 18:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Asaf I just came here to say the same. The only thing that is sort of missing is an MO moderator saying something. Maybe we should "flag one down"? $\endgroup$ – user9072 Nov 8 '14 at 20:55
  • $\begingroup$ @quid: I'm sure the moderators have seen that; but feel free to flag for their attention. It seems reasonable to wait for an OK from middle management before moving in with developing a new piece of software (that might bring the end of the Earth). $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Nov 8 '14 at 20:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Asaf: 'Tis live. The middle management could make it disappear pretty quickly if they so desired. $\endgroup$ – user642796 Nov 8 '14 at 21:13
  • $\begingroup$ @quid: See above. Additionally, I have requested that it be protected. I think that was a good idea you had. $\endgroup$ – user642796 Nov 8 '14 at 21:14

To have one meta.MO thread where pointers to such questions can be added seems like a good idea to me.

It is not infrequent that individual meta questions are posted with a similar intent (typically asking "is a repost alright").

Having a default place has several advantages, including that voting on the answers can be used efficiently as additional indicator on the advertised question's quality.

Originally, I was slightly worried such a post would attract too many not so good contributions but then, first, I should be a bit more optimistic, and second, if it happens we can deal with it later (by shutting it down or less drastically protecting it).

In brief, I think we should give this a try, and see how things develop.

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    $\begingroup$ I think protecting the thread would be a good idea, even right after creation. It would require people have some (albeit pretty minimal) experience with MO before posting an answer. $\endgroup$ – user642796 Oct 29 '14 at 10:08
  • $\begingroup$ I would like to see a single post with a growing list of links to the interesting math.SE questions straight on OM (not meta). It'd be a thread which would have exactly one post, there would be no answers on MO. A special editorial board (4-5 people) would be in charge of the list. Anybody could propose a math.SE q. to the board by email. The option of writing to the board would be adequately advertised. $\endgroup$ – Włodzimierz Holsztyński Dec 14 '14 at 5:54

Figured out about the "item" numbers. I did something like this years ago for a single question, http://mathoverflow.tqft.net/discussion/1348/1/if-we-were-more-responsible/#Item_23 and it worked out well. Note that Yemon got completely disgusted with MSE after a fairly short time and deleted his account there, so the question has a blank as the person asking.

To expand, I like the idea of questions not moving to MO, and it being a choice for MO people to view a question if they are in the mood. Plenty of people on MSE believe their question is research level, plenty believe that a complete lack of response to a question on MSE, their own question or someone else's, means it is somehow a good question but too hard and belongs on MO. Something less intrusive involving MO meta seems a workable middle ground.

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    $\begingroup$ Even better (in my mind): a one-time MO.meta pointer to an MSE maintained list on MSE.meta. (See related comment on my answer.) $\endgroup$ – The Masked Avenger Oct 28 '14 at 19:21

A tactic to consider is to tag such questions with "overflow", or some other recognizable name, and then publish a procedure here on meta.mathoverflow on how to access and process such tagged questions. You could even update the procedure monthly with a link to "the latest question of interest".

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    $\begingroup$ This would be misuse of tags that should be avoided. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Oct 27 '14 at 16:08
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    $\begingroup$ @quid Interesting. Is it a misuse because of the suggested tag name? Or is it a misuse to classify things by level of difficulty? $\endgroup$ – The Masked Avenger Oct 27 '14 at 16:24
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    $\begingroup$ This would be a meta-tag (it doesn't give any information about the subject of the question), the use of which is quite discouraged across the SE network. $\endgroup$ – user642796 Oct 27 '14 at 17:16
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    $\begingroup$ The later, as Arthur Fischer explains. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Oct 27 '14 at 17:40
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    $\begingroup$ Discouraged they may be, but meta-tags are alive and well, on MO and on m.se, and (in moderation, and not to the exclusion of subject tags) quite useful. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Oct 28 '14 at 1:32
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    $\begingroup$ @Gerry: Perhaps tag your last comment with [soft-comment]? :-) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Oct 28 '14 at 5:46
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    $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson there may be still some meta tags around, but on the one hand there is some effort to get rid of them, and on the other hand the proposed one is really on the bad end as it is supposed to indicate level/difficulty/interest This is completely against the intent of the tags, much more so than say reference-request to name a prominent meta tag. If one wants such an indicator one could ask for it a separate feature. Indeed I think this was done, likely more than once, and declined. In fact I have a vague recollection there even was the specific idea tossed around on MSE (then MSO) $\endgroup$ – user9072 Oct 28 '14 at 7:20
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    $\begingroup$ to have some feature for extending a question to other sites which would be exactly what is the intent here. Anyway, if one wants features for indicating level and/or suitability for another site one should ask for them. To use tags for this would be a terrible hack and create all kinds of odd side-effects. To name just one example: what to do with things tagged impropertly (in the general opinion) with this tag? Untag or leave it? Who decides? How? There is no structure in place and each change bumps. Let the edit wars begin... :-) @GerryMyerson $\endgroup$ – user9072 Oct 28 '14 at 7:21
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    $\begingroup$ My (likely faulty) impression is that there are tags only moderators or trusted users can apply, and everyone else can only request. The overflow tag (you can change the name later) would be used as a moderator tool to improve the MSE site. If you don't want MSE moderators mucking about on MO meta, have them post a list and update it on MSE meta and announce its existence on MO.meta. $\endgroup$ – The Masked Avenger Oct 28 '14 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ There are mod only tags (only) on meta (the red ones, like status-[something] and featured). I mm afraid I do not really understand the second part of your comment. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Oct 28 '14 at 22:08
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    $\begingroup$ I suggest a moderator-inserted meta-tag, Herculean, to indicate that a smart/tough solution is needed. This meta-tag would be available on MO and math.SE for anyone to select just as she would select her favorites. Perhaps, a script similar to interesting could become available to allow book-marking these searches. $\endgroup$ – Fred Kline Nov 3 '14 at 10:29

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