My question comes from a general an recurrent observation on MO (and more generally in the real academic life):
- doing research (in mathematics) is a whole ecosystem, full of different tasks and periods
- interest to personal development and time management is growing everywhere
and, in the academic world or on MO... no one seems to talk about it! When I browse through MathOverflow, I sometimes found (few) questions about relations between mathematics and society or methods of writing, yet most of the time they are closed and not so well received.
This is the reason why I am posting on metaMO: is there any taboo or undesirability of talking about what research is and flows, how we deal with it and how we can improve our research? For neither one really believe we are pure spirits spontaneously organized and efficient; nor conceive research as a straightforward routine where we would "learn, prove and write", that's it.
Some easy questions come to my mind as immediate daily concerns, which seems to me worth of discussing:
- how do I chose the articles I read?
- could we really handle multitasking or would we rather focus?
- how do I organize my articles and drafts?
- what tools for managing research and schedules?
- attend (to a conference) or not attend?
- how to continue learning?
- why going to seminars where you do not understand anything?
- could we really handle both research and teaching well?
- how to work with other people?
Those problems may sound familiar, you may think about lots of others instances of this kind of discussions, and others will follow during the day. So: those questions are integrating part of our work, for they need answers and imply decisions impacting our whole research
So at last, here is my point: are those questions allowed and welcome to MO or metaMO? (and if they are, which one is most suited to them?) If MO is a purely abstract community of minds sharing ideas, where one cannot speak about real concerns about research, it seems not to be suited to those questions. If metaMO is intended, as the "meta" suggests, to deal with technical, organizational and political issues relative to MO, it also seems unfit to them.
I believe those questions are of real interest and importance, but for now I wrote this post to gather some comments, ideas and impressions.