Should metaMO allow actual requests for mathematical consulting services to be remunerated either by honoraria or by "usual and customary" fees?

If so, should MO receive reasonable "broker" fees for facilitating such arrangements?

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    $\begingroup$ A good question. Should such requests be posted currently? no. Is it desirable to add such a feature in the future? That is the interesting question. But likely it would not be in meta.mo, but in a new sub-part of mo. See the corresponding "jobs" listings in Stack Overflow to see how it would work ... stackoverflow.com/jobs $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 10:38
  • $\begingroup$ @GeraldEdgar - thanks very much for taking the time to respond, and for providing a possible implementation template. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 10:41
  • $\begingroup$ @GeraldEdgar - as you may have already guessed, I am presently ready, willing, and eager to take a new MO "consultancy board" on its maiden voyage. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 11:02
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    $\begingroup$ I'm very glad to see that at least one mathematician out there (the downvoter) is financially comfortable enough to be able to express disdain for side-work. I wish there were more mathematicians in his or her position !!! LOL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 14:25
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    $\begingroup$ This reminds me of: Is this question acceptable?: 100€ bounty: Do invariant measures maximize the integral?. (Somewhat related meta.SE discussion: Offering actual money as a bounty?) Of course, this is different from what you are suggesting. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak - I think the key differentiator is scope of the "RFS". IF MO implements this idea, it might be wise to impose a minimum expectation, to discourage those willing to pay minor amounts for help with term papers, etc. I have never contracted with a mathematician for less than 2000 US, sometimes as much as 5000-10000 $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 16:38
  • $\begingroup$ It seems that what you suggest is a bit similar to Stack Overflow Jobs. (I have to admit I had only a cursory look at this service.) $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 23:45
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak - yes - that's also exactly what Gerald Edgar said in his very first response (see above.) $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 0:05

2 Answers 2


This is certainly no ad board or any other service connecting the potential employers to potential consultants, it has never been intended to be one, and (I hope) it will never become one.

However, if you posed your problem on MO, somebody replied, and you found the response interesting enough to connect to that person directly and, possibly, to employ him as a consultant, I see nothing that prevents you from mentioning it once in the comment to his answer (after all, we are all getting the requests for communicating our names for "getting proper credit", "possible further collaboration on the problem" and whatnot all the time and I do not see why this particular proposal would fall out of the line) with the understanding that how the author of the answer responds to that request (and whether he responds at all) is entirely up to him.

  • $\begingroup$ thanks for taking the time respond. I didn't realize it was allowed to suggest any future contractual consulting arrangments within the context of responses to comments on or answers to questions. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 2:43

I believe this would run contrary to the notion of MathOverflow LLC as being a non profit corporation. Even if it doesn't, the additional burden of formalization may be more than the directors are willing to take on at this time.

Of course, if the client receives good service from finding a consultant on MathOverflow, there should be nothing stopping the client from making a donation to the organization and mentioning the connection.

Gerhard "Amateur Status Comes With Cost" Paseman, 2017.12.15.

  • $\begingroup$ I hope you're saying that: i) you're not fundamentally opposed to the idea of a "consultancy board" as well as a "jobs board"; ii) any benefit to MO from this board would have to result from voluntary donations to MO from those who have used the board. In any event. thanks as always for taking the time to respond. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 18:27
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not opposed to the idea. Indeed, I am quite willing to consult. However, Stackexchange has formalized a similar notion AND had their lawyers check it. I am opposed to formalization without appropriate care taken. Gerhard "That's An Advantage Of Informalization" Paseman, 2017.12.15. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 19:09
  • $\begingroup$ the MSE formalization is actually operative at present? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 19:14

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