Approximately one month ago, I asked whether pronunciation questions should be allowed. The responses I received seemed to suggest that they should, albeit possibly in the form of a handful of community wiki "big list" questions. Does that mean that this is now the site policy? If not, who makes that decision?

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    $\begingroup$ Personally, I prefer the word consensus over policy. While it is true that the Q&A model has it's limitations and there are some network-wide rules, the sites are to some extent autonomous. (MO probably a bit more than other sites.) So questions like this example ("Are questions about this on-topic on this site?") depend more on what local users want and thus on (at least partial) consensus among the community members. (The words policy - at least to me - seems to carry more weight. Of course, it is a fuzzy line - if there's a line at all.) $\endgroup$ Commented May 7, 2018 at 5:43

1 Answer 1


I will speak from the perspective of observer and community member. I am not and have never been part of the moderation or management team, either for MathOverflow or for any other forum on or off Stackexchange. Even so, you may find the following helpful.

There are basic policies set out by Stackexchange for forum behaviour on all fora, and there are standards specified in written form by each community as to what behaviour works for the forum. An example is that certain behaviours like saying "Thank You" are considered disadvantageous for some fora (who prefer maximum rate of information transfer per character) and permissible for others (those who want to encourage a certain tone or atmosphere of acceptance and acknowledgement). If you participate in several fora, it is a good idea to check what color mud to rub in ones navel when participating. (Check the local standards.). There are also other rules that are unwritten, but asking first on meta is a good way to find out about potential clashes with these unwritten standards.

I think you should ask your question on pronunciation . Usually any policy change develops after the fact, and often the only way to find out if a question type is a bad (or good) idea is to try it. I think (assuming good and transparent intentions) the worst that could happen is that the disadvantage of the question will appear slowly, and then the question will be closed and some policy will develop. You should not and likely will not be penalized as a community member for a good faith (and reasonably researched and prepared) attempt at improving the forum.

To answer the question asked, no it is not site policy. Unless something spectacular happens, I doubt any policy will develop around your asking the question. Since you got feedback on meta already, I recommend going ahead.

Gerhard "Ready To Pronounce It Good" Paseman, 2018.05.06.


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