I'm sure that this is somewhere on MMO, but my searching hasn't turned it up.

When I flag a question as off-topic, two of the options that I am given are "This question does not appear to be about research level mathematics within the scope defined in the help center." and "MathOverflow is for mathematicians to ask each other questions about their research. See Math.StackExchange to ask general questions in mathematics.". These seem so similar that I cannot figure out when one might apply but not the other, so I always pick the first. (How) should I distinguish between when to use one and when to use the other?

  • My personal feeling is that since math.se is basically focused on helping students cheat on their homework, we should never send people there. So I always check the first box. But I recognize that this is a minority opinion. – Andy Putman Jun 13 at 0:56
  • Maybe you could look at the post in which the close reason was introduced: Revamping the closure reasons. And possibly some other older posts about this topic. Of those linked questions only this one currently has answer (posted by quid, while he was still MO user): Custom closing link looks too much like it should be a migrate to MSE link. – Martin Sleziak Jun 13 at 3:42
  • This question also mentions these two close reasons, but the main topic there is migration: Migrating to Math.SE: too many close reasons. – Martin Sleziak Jun 13 at 4:01
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    BTW I have edited your post to include the link into the close reason (so that the post more faithfully represents what they look like). And also I have added some tags - the tag (close-reasons) is definitely relevant for this question, I was less sure about the choice of the tags. – Martin Sleziak Jun 13 at 4:27
  • @MartinSleziak, I'm not sure about vote-to-close, but otherwise the tags look good to me. Thanks for the suggestions! – LSpice Jun 13 at 8:54
  • @AndyPutman, I think that it is probably well to distinguish between "MSE is often used by students to cheat on their homework, and the community explicitly does not try to present this" (which seems true) and "MSE is focussed on helping students cheat" (which I hope is not). – LSpice Jun 13 at 8:56
  • @LSpice It seems that we are veering of from the original question (so maybe the discussion about this could be taken elsewhere?) but did you meant to say present or prevent in your last comment? (I have quite hard time understanding your comment.) More to the point of this post: The reason I have added (vote-to-close) is that this is one of the choices presented to users who have privilege to cast close votes. Users with lower reputation see the same dialog if they flag for "should be closed". – Martin Sleziak Jun 13 at 9:29
  • @MartinSleziak, agreed. I will just respond in order hopefully to prevent (ha!) others' confusion by agreeing that I meant 'prevent', not 'present', in my previous comment. – LSpice Jun 14 at 6:47
  • I have copied the comments touching Mathematics Stack Exchange in the MathOverflow chatroom, so if somebody is interested in the discussion about this, it can continue there. – Martin Sleziak Jun 14 at 6:50
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    I think the choice between the close reasons only matters when you vote to close -- when you flag for closure, then in both cases the question enters the close votes review queue, and in both cases it merely reads there "This question has been flagged as: off-topic" -- regardless of which off-topic reason has been chosen by the flagger. – Stefan Kohl Jun 14 at 9:10
  • @StefanKohl I am not sure this is true. In the close-votes review queue there is a small clickable thingy with the caption "(more)". After you click on it, you see the chosen subreason. I am not sure whether this happens only for votes to close and not for flags. I have asked in a comment under this answer: Show sub reasons in close review queue. – Martin Sleziak Jun 14 at 15:33

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