Should Hard maths on viXra? be reopened?

Is it appropriate for the site?

Why or why not?

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ The question is off-topic, or at best borderline on-topic and likely to gather problematic contributions. Actually it already did and OP grossly misbehaved. Clear close. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Feb 4, 2016 at 9:15
  • $\begingroup$ @quid Actually, the question has gathered a few comments about its very closure, some of them can be possibly regarded as problematic. The only answer to the post is a reference to an article by viXra's founder that can hardly be referred to as problematic. $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2016 at 10:05
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I would have posted my comment as an answer, namely that Simon Plouffe posts papers there, even more than on the arXiv, but it was already closed. This is not to say I could claim to know what the benefit of the question was anyway. Sure, it might be interesting to know, if one is in a relaxed and charitable frame of mind, but here on MO? Not so sure... $\endgroup$
    – David Roberts Mod
    Feb 4, 2016 at 10:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer, @DavidRoberts $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2016 at 10:26
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @DelioMugnolo First, I wrote "contributions" not "answers." More to the point, the subject of viXra is inherently problematic and likely to attract controversy and problematic content. I am pretty sure this post will become a crank-magnet. This is not the fault of the post itself, but the post also does not live in a vacuum and this expectations is additional reason not to want this question. Your argumentative attitude does not help either. This post does not add much light, but a lot of heat or at least potential for it. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Feb 4, 2016 at 11:50

2 Answers 2


The most substantial comment on why the post should be closed was quid's last, so we may as well record it here: the question has the potential to become a crank magnet. (Other than that, the comment thread at MO has gotten heated without much accompanying light, although I don't think the question in its current form is at fault. Added later: katz added a comment mirroring quid's, that just as we delete what people call 'spam', so questions about what are effectively spam depositories should probably not be allowed to appear at the main site.)

I would like to hear arguments giving good reasons for reopening.

Meanwhile, there is at least some good content from Darij Grinberg, Tony Huynh, and David Roberts which do answer the question about presence of hard math at viXra, so in the event of permanent closure I hope Delio finds those replies helpful.

  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I do find those answers helpful and have upvoted them. But let me add that I've been on MO for some years now and I haven't seen so many cranks around that preemptive strikes are justified. Sometimes I feel that a bit more open discussions wouldn't harm that much. I understand MO is a site about math research, but sometimes I'd like it could also be a site for math researchers as well. $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2016 at 14:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @DelioMugnolo I know you've been here a long time and have made valuable contributions to MO, and I'm listening to what you are saying here (I'm also trying to be neutral for the moment). In any event, it's quite clear your original post was asked in good faith, and some of the rebukes strike me as unnecessarily harsh towards someone who has made quality contributions in the past, as you have. $\endgroup$
    – Todd Trimble Mod
    Feb 4, 2016 at 14:46
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @DelioMugnolo "and I haven't seen so many cranks around that preemptive strikes are justified" Did it ever occur to you that it could be you do not see them because some other users and moderators limit and remove this type of content efficiently. The time since sign-up, and even the points, are not a good indication how much somebody knows about these aspects of the site. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Feb 4, 2016 at 14:59
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ The OP essentially asks whether vixra is of any use for a serious mathematician. I find that a perfectly reasonable question and it should have a place on MO. @DelioMugnolo: I am not aware of any useful maths on vixra. $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2016 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ @quid Well, what I do know is that oftentimes I've opened my rss reader and followed links just to find that some (IMHO completely reasonable and mostly unbiased) soft questions had been closed down within minutes. I am not at all against moderation, but I have observed over and over again that some moderators seem to have very strict policies and also to be very conscious of their role. $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2016 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ @UweStroinski Thanks for your contribution. As I wrote, yes, this is also my opinion so far. $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2016 at 17:52
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @DelioMugnolo your comment is very general and I do not think this is the place to rehash the practices of this site in general terms. Your comment might cause confusion. The term moderator as commonly used on this site refers to those and only those users listed under the moderators tab. Somehow I doubt you mean them specifically. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Feb 4, 2016 at 18:40

I can't give a good argument for reopening: that would require convincing the community that the first votes were not justified and were a mistake for the community. I can however give an argument for the type of question, and suggest that a modification of the present question is good for MathOverflow.

MathOverflow has become a repository for some specific and some general issues of mathematics. It was deemed early on that including a (controlled and not too large a) mix of big-list and soft questions kept the site varied enough to attract and keep interest of and by the community. In particular, if one could come to MathOverflow first about any subject mathematical, and get a pointer to where to find out information about that subject (especially if web searches did not make such references clear), then that was a good thing.

While I think there are better resources to learn about vixra, there aren't better resources than MathOverflow to learn about a community's perception of vixra. If a newcomer to the site is interested in vixra and how it is perceived, some factual information such as pros and cons of the site can be presented, along with links to more detailed information.

Thus, if the question were asked "How is vixra perceived by the MathOverflow community?" were put, that would not be a good MathOverflow question. If, however, the question were put as " I am thinking of publishing some math, and am considering several nontraditional alternatives. How is archiving with vixra viewed by the MathOverflow community (and perhaps the mathematical community in general)?", that would be a reasonable question, and if the answers paid due respect to vixra and its origins (while noting a lot of papers not meeting academic standards appear there), that would make it a useful question as well.

Gerhard "Motivate Both Answers And Questions" Paseman, 2016.02.04.

  • $\begingroup$ @Nate sorry for this notice out of left field, but I don't have current access to academia.stackexchange. Perhaps you could add a comment to the CS contractor whose customer might plagiarize the project for an honors thesis: Have the contract turn into a tutoring contract where the customer learns from the contractor enough to do the thesis. If done right, it should be a win-win. Gerhard "Hoping Left Field Solutions Work" Paseman, 2016.03.22 $\endgroup$ Mar 23, 2016 at 5:57

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