I edit this old feature request of mine, in the hope that mentality have evolved and some consensus can be reached and some action be taken:

After each question on MO (with no answers yet), we can read: "Know someone who can answer? Share a link to this question via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook." I find this very problematic. Why should we encourage people to use one or several of those three platforms?

---- edit of August 8, 2018.

Since and while this message is still here, I stop every participation to MO (asking or answering questions), and I call everyone to do the same.

  • $\begingroup$ Feature request or discussion? $\endgroup$
    – Stefan Kohl Mod
    Jan 8, 2017 at 23:27
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I think it's just meant so as to reach experts who happen not to tune in to MO but tune into other networks. Not to encourage people to use them per se. (Sheesh, I'd be the last to encourage people to use Twitter.) $\endgroup$
    – Todd Trimble Mod
    Jan 8, 2017 at 23:50
  • $\begingroup$ @stefan Both, I have added the other tag. $\endgroup$
    – Joël
    Jan 9, 2017 at 0:28
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This answer suggests using social media to promote good contents. This discussion is also marginally related: Does Mathoverflow really want the 'Publicist' badge? $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2017 at 4:46
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Perhaps it is worth pointing out that several regular MO users quite often post links to MO posts on twitter. For example, Andrés E. Caicedo or Joel David Hamkins. $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2017 at 4:50
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ In case some other users checked the main site and they are wondering why they do not see the message you described, this only appears on open questions with no answers: Under what conditions is a user invited to “share a link to this question”? $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2017 at 4:58
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Maybe some 25k+ user who has access to site analytics could have a look how much traffic is actually generated from reddit, facebook, twitter, google+ and similar sources. (I suppose in the context of this question it might be interesting to know these data.) $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2017 at 11:00
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ A more experienced user told me in chat about this post: What is this “Can you help?” message above the answer box? It seems that a new version of the message you mention is being tested and it has the form: "Can you help? MathOveflow depends on everyone sharing their knowledge. If you're able to answer this question, please do!" So if mentioning twitter is for some reason considered problematic, this change would more-or-less resolve it. Interestingly, I now see the new version on MO (except for my own questions, as explained in the link). $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2017 at 15:14
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ @Martin. Interesting. I think the change is a clear progress. I have nothing against Facebook or Twitter (though "where is my flying car?") personally, but if they get a quasi-monopole on the diffusion of news and even of interpersonal communications on the internet (replacing ordinary email), this gives a few people an extraordinary power of censorship. $\endgroup$
    – Joël
    Jan 10, 2017 at 1:52
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I see the new version on Firefox and the old one on Chrome. Someone is A/B testing on us, I guess. $\endgroup$ Jan 10, 2017 at 17:59
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I removed some comments that touched upon the US presidential election, which is off-topic. $\endgroup$
    – Todd Trimble Mod
    Jan 22, 2017 at 21:55
  • $\begingroup$ Probably it might be useful to say what exactly is the suggested feature request. (Simply removing the text? Replacing it by some other formulation?) And, more importantly, whether it is change proposed specifically for MathOverflow or for the whole Stack Exchange Network. (If it is intended for the whole network, then after collecting some feedback here it would be reasonable to ask this on the network-wide meta.) $\endgroup$ Apr 15, 2018 at 8:45
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Removing the text, specifically on MathOverflow. $\endgroup$
    – Joël
    May 12, 2018 at 3:14
  • $\begingroup$ I have asked whether it is possible to change the text per site or only network-wide, but so far no answer: What happened to “depends on everyone sharing their knowledge” message? Can this be changed on per-site basis? $\endgroup$ Sep 8, 2018 at 4:56

1 Answer 1


OK. Everyone, let's follow Joël and stop participating in MathOverflow. That should do it.

Wait a moment

Don't we want more people to participate? Not fewer? I think being able to share information is good, especially if people come and see the results of community moderation. Discouraging sharing might be a bad idea. Yes, we don't want everything coming our way, but neither do we want to stop growing the community either. I think this link can aid with that.

Gerhard "Hopes Joël Does Read This" Paseman, 2018.08.08.

  • 8
    $\begingroup$ I would guess that Joël is more interested in high quality participation rather than just "more people". Like him, I am unconvinced that Facebook and Twitter are the places to go to for this. $\endgroup$
    – Lucia
    Aug 8, 2018 at 22:07
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    $\begingroup$ I am at Rio promoting MathOverflow, looking for more quality questions and the people to ask them. I am of the belief that we need more in this community. I think having the link does not invite all of the Facebook, Twitter, and other communities to join this forum. I think it is a tool to allow community members to do selective promotion. If Joel does not want to use it, that is his choice. But why take this tool away from me? Gerhard "No, We Don't Have Enough" Paseman, 2018.08.08. $\endgroup$ Aug 9, 2018 at 0:43

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