A long time ago, the question

What are some examples of colorful language in serious mathematics papers?

was closed because someone posted a copy of Spencer Bloch's review of Milne's Étale Cohomology. It was unfair at the time to have closed the entire question, and as time has gone by, I've begun to feel more strongly about this. I intermittently go back to that page, and there could be so many more fun answers if it had been open all this time.

So, dear MathOverflow readers, can we reopen the late great colorful language question?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Perhaps a post at Requests for reopen and undelete votes for on-hold, closed, and deleted questions would be helpful? $\endgroup$
    – jeq
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 19:43
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Certainly it should not be deleted. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 21:15
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    $\begingroup$ While I do not have a strong opinion on that question in this or that way, an "off-topic" closure after 113 answers looks weird. $\endgroup$
    – Stefan Kohl Mod
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 21:56
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ I don't recall how I felt at the time about closing the question. (I certainly wasn't a fan of the Bloch example, not so much because I felt it was a mortal sin but because it had the potential to offend and so why post it?) However, I do now feel that these kinds of "shooting the breeze" questions belong to a bygone age of MO, which was a different creature or environment 7 years ago than it is now. So I do not think it is worthwhile to re-open it $\endgroup$
    – Yemon Choi
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 22:36
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @StefanKohl Didn't we use to have an option of "no longer relevant"? $\endgroup$
    – Yemon Choi
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 22:36
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ I think moderators can lock questions as being of "historical significance" for the site. That option seems appropriate here. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 22:49
  • $\begingroup$ @AndrésE.Caicedo That would even further restrict this question and its answers by preventing edits of any kind. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 2:52
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    $\begingroup$ @François Yes, but if the alternative is to delete it, it seems to be a reasonable compromise. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 4:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @YemonChoi For what it's worth, it has been an invaluable source for material when I give a talk. Funny mathematical quotes distract from my terrible handwriting and boardside manner >< $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 8:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @YemonChoi: Yes, as far as I recall, before the move to SE 2.0, there was. -- And that close reason would appear more natural to me -- ideally accompanied with a notice that similar questions would nowadays likely not be welcomed in that way any more. $\endgroup$
    – Stefan Kohl Mod
    Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 9:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Since it was mentioned in several comments, I will add link to discussion about this specific close reason: Why isn't “no longer relevant” an option for closing? (It is missing (close-reasons) so that would be a reasonable way to bring this discussion to the front page again. But my guess that this is going to be changed.) $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 10:06
  • $\begingroup$ The edit history now shows Post Reopened by Harry Gindi, [...] -- occurred 5 hours ago $\endgroup$
    – jeq
    Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 15:34
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @jeq My effort seems to have been successful. We'll see how long it sticks. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 15:46
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for your effort @HarryGindi! $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 9, 2018 at 15:58
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Meh, that thread was fun for a while but eventually degenerated into a fancier version of abelian grape jokes. $\endgroup$
    – none
    Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 7:30


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