I would be interested in asking a question which asks mathematicians who visit the site the following question:

1) What research topic are you actively working on right now?

2) Why are you researching that topic? What do you think the future holds in this area? Put on your "math-fi" cap, if you really must (math-fi <-> sci-fi).

3) Finally, in your opinion, what are promising mathematical "emerging technologies"? I linked to the wiki article in order to provide a flavour for the word, but I do mean to use the phrase in the mathematics setting, rather than only a science/engineering setting.

4) Is the research topic you are working on related to one of the promising "emerging technologies" you've listed?

5) If your answer to 4) is no, why is your research topic still valuable enough to you for you to spend time on?

This is obviously a soft question, but is it a soft question that would be interesting to the community?

  • 11
    $\begingroup$ Thank-you for asking this question here before asking that question on the main site. $\endgroup$
    – user642796
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 8:33

1 Answer 1


For one thing, if you ask all those questions in the same question, it is too broad and good answers would be very long. I think it would work much better to ask only one of them.

For another thing, I don't think the questions are good for MO. Questions 2–5 are quite opinion based and you can find the answer to question 1 by looking at researchers' homepages or arXiv or something like that. The questions are somewhat personal and the answers become eventually obsolete, which does not fit well with my idea of the scope of this site.

Although I don't think your question would be a good one, it might be possible to ask something similar in a good way. Then it should feel that the question comes from within the mathematical community and not from outside. Otherwise it won't be interesting to the mathematicians themselves and they might see no reason to answer. I will not try to describe how exactly to make such questions work, mainly because I don't know the answer.

Anyway, my recommendation is simple: Do not ask that question.

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ +1. MO is a question-answer forum. It is not a discussion forum. It is not an opinion forum. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 11:57

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