I have been reading this question and answers and I have submitted the answer there which is really a question. I have added it there, because it come to my mind after reading the questions and answers. My answer was deleted, but since I found the "undelete" button I used it. I was adviced by someone to post my question as a question here. I am afraid to do it, because my question will be immediately closed, deleted or down-voted. I am not strong enough to stand such a pressure. One of the administrator has promised to support me here.

(2019-01-29 Today I added it as a question - let's see what will happen.)

Therefore I am thinking whether mathoverflow is good platform for maintaining interpersonal relationship. Here is definition of "interpersonal relationship" from wikipedia: "strong, deep, or close association or acquaintance between two or more people that may range in duration from brief to enduring". In current stage of my life I find maintaining relation between people more important than achieving scientific, technical or business goals.

Using down-voting is bad idea and it may hurt person who ask genuine question. In Polish language we have saying, that "there is no bad question, there are only bad answers".

I know that even this question - here on meta - will receive down-voting, so I am already preparing myself for such a pain. Man is social person and need acceptance from peers. Maybe it was wrong idea to join mathoverflow. I should better spend time talking to my wife or people around instead of spend time on Internet forum.



My requests are:

  1. Move questions to math.stackexchange instead of deleting them.

  2. Remove down-voting. Alternatively down-votes can be summarized in another dimension. Remember facebook originally had only "likes". Now you can also add negative emotions, but they are not summarized with positive ones ! I believe you can see who added "emoticon" to your post there. How many times you can see comment on MO like this: "who down-voted my question", "I have not down-voted your question" .

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    $\begingroup$ MathOverflow is a large social training exercise, where one of the prioritized outcomes is producing well written questions, and another is producing well written answers. This does not exclude banter or philosophizing or discussion, but right now the training protocol seems to discourage or minimize it. You can use MathOverflow to aid in starting relationships by email, but I would caution against depending on the forum for a large part of your social interaction. Gerhard "Not Much Dancing On MathOverflow" Paseman, 2019.01.28. $\endgroup$ – Gerhard Paseman Jan 28 '19 at 16:59
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    $\begingroup$ If you stop thinking about downvotes as "personal", it is better. Just like those universities who rejected my applications for a position are not saying that I am not good, just that they don't want me. Just like those journals who rejected my papers don't say that I am not good, just that the paper in its current form is unsuitable for publication. Downvoting is not about you, it's about the question. Also, and I cannot stress this enough, this is not Facebook. This is not a social network. MathOverflow is a Q&A website for mathematicians, on topics of research. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jan 29 '19 at 8:25
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Yes, you can emphasize that MO is not facebook and that it is not social network. Still it is a place for people. You cannot deny that mathematicians are people, right ? And people have feelings. Forgive me, I will refrain from writing the definition of feeling here. That's why I compare MO to facebook because both are portals for people who exchange something on the network. You cannot avoid such comparison however you will try. I know that facebook is tasteless and I do not use it. Unfortunately I was forced to use workplace in my work which is mirror of facebook. $\endgroup$ – user21230 Jan 29 '19 at 9:55
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    $\begingroup$ That's like talking about intelligent life, and then comparing humans to rocks because they are both made of protons and electrons (and neutrons). I can avoid the comparison of MO to Facebook, because Facebook is irrelevant to this site. And you're forcing the comparison where it doesn't fit by focusing on a single aspect of similarity. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jan 29 '19 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ I explained why I see similarities. The purpose of my comparison is to show that people have emotions. Down-voting has bad effect on human being and it should be removed in my humble opinion. I do not see purpose of further discussing. You can keep your opinion and I can keep mine. I wonder what others think ? $\endgroup$ – user21230 Jan 29 '19 at 10:12
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    $\begingroup$ "Move questions to math.stackexchange instead of deleting them." But you're the guy who refuses to post to math.stackexchange because hard questions don't get answered there! Anyway, I think downvoting is fine (when done appropriately), but I'll say no more about it, since you see no purpose in discussing it further. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Jan 29 '19 at 11:07
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    $\begingroup$ Marek, I didn't mean to suggest I would support anything you might write, and I wish I were not put in that spot. I meant to suggest that I think it would be fine to ask at meta if your question in that answer-post were suitable for MO (and I see it's been posted as a question and right now has a net score of 3, so we have a partial answer to that question, although I would have left off the paragraph with "Do you agree?"). I agree with others that it would be better not to regard MO as a platform for forming interpersonal relationships -- it's too limited for that. $\endgroup$ – Todd Trimble Jan 29 '19 at 13:01
  • $\begingroup$ @ToddTrimble I am terribly sorry, that I have "put you in that spot". Anyway everything said is available online so everybody can read and have own opinion. Even if you regret it now, you have encouraged me to ask question on meta and finally today I decided to post question on MO. I may regret it as well (regardless of the points) but it is too late now. Regards, Marek "No one understands me" Mitros $\endgroup$ – user21230 Jan 29 '19 at 13:20
  • $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson It is amazing that I am getting here several comments. None of them treat seriously two requests I have placed in my meta-question. $\endgroup$ – user21230 Jan 29 '19 at 13:50
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    $\begingroup$ Let me remark, as a moderator on math.SE, that MSE is not the dumping grounds of MO. The core principle of migrating questions is do not migrate crap. Maybe you're thinking about questions which are just not "as sophisticated", but the fact remains that a lot of the questions I personally vote to close/delete on this site are crap, in their current formulation, and treating MSE as a dumpster for "stuff which would otherwise get deleted" is simply not how the SE network is meant to work. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jan 29 '19 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ Well, then we can create new forum math.crap.stackexchange for low quality mathematical questions :) However I never experienced that someone deleted my question on math.stackexchange. I have asked 17 questions there. $\endgroup$ – user21230 Jan 29 '19 at 15:09
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    $\begingroup$ Regarding the requests, the removal of the downvoting utility is a non-starter -- I'm pretty sure that such a request would never be implemented unless StackExchange, Inc. were to change very radically. Your last comment made me laugh, but Asaf was making a valid point: that questions which fare badly at MO should not be automatically shunted off to MSE. But in case it needs saying, this doesn't have any bearing on your question (which I thought was okay). $\endgroup$ – Todd Trimble Jan 29 '19 at 15:23
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    $\begingroup$ On Meta Stack Exchange, there are some previous discussions suggesting to remove downvoting entirely. This seems relatively prominent: Would any other people want to remove downvoting. It has score $-54$ and is marked (status-declined). (Maybe also some of the questions linked there might be of interest.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Jan 31 '19 at 6:29
  • $\begingroup$ I've only posted on MathStackExchange, but the up/down votes concept is the same there. As for feeling slighted if you get a down vote, let's say you are talking with somebody & they disagree with you. Do you feel they're personally putting you down, rather than just simply have a different opinion? How about if they state a possible mistake in what you said? If you agree, I assume you're fine with it. However, if you don't, do you feel they're attacking you? My point is down votes are for what you wrote, not you. Nobody likes down votes, but you shouldn't take them personally. $\endgroup$ – John Omielan Feb 12 '19 at 23:42
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    $\begingroup$ I initially looked at & tried to get more up votes, & avoid down votes, but I realized later that it didn't really mean anything that important. To me, at least, the so-called "reputation", although there's definitely an important element of it, is more like popularity overall instead. I don't try to compete with anybody. I agree cooperation is what we want, but there should also be a way to signal both approval & disapproval, with there perhaps being a better way than down votes. As for other sites for mathematicians, I only know of several sites for mostly lower-level math discussions. $\endgroup$ – John Omielan Feb 13 '19 at 17:47

Since you asked for an explicit answer, rather than a series of comments, let me give it a try:

1) Why not "Move questions to math.stackexchange instead of deleting them."
Some questions are indeed transferred to MSE, but not all are suitable for transfer without further revision. Think of MO and MSE as two journals aimed at a different readership. No journal I know of would appreciate it if rejected manuscripts from a companion journal would be transferred and published indiscriminately. MSE has its own guidelines and policies, and in many occasions the best we can do is to advise that a question might be suitable for MSE, if it is reformulated, sharpened, typed in LaTeX, and so on.

2) Why not "Remove down-voting."
I think that would be a good idea, but at present the down-votes are also used to signal to the software that this question requires attention in some way. Closed questions with down-votes are deleted after some time, closed questions with up-votes are not. There may well be a different way to achieve the same effect. On the meta site down-votes and up-votes have an altogether different meaning, they are used to signal whether one approves or not with a suggested change. A down-vote then simply means "I am not in favour of this suggestion", while an up-vote says "Yes, do implement this change". And in community-wiki "big-list" questions up-votes and down-votes are used to rank answers, which is why these votes are not counted towards your reputation. So it helps to think about votes in a more abstract score-keeping way.

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    $\begingroup$ And again, one should stress, that the purpose of votes is not to "like" or "dislike" the person, but rather the content of the question or answer. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jan 29 '19 at 15:04
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for this answer. In second question I also suggested to count down-votes in separate counter. For example $4+2i$ would mean 4 up votes and 2 down votes. This would maybe be easier to handle. There might be better ideas as well. $\endgroup$ – user21230 Jan 29 '19 at 15:08
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    $\begingroup$ actually, once you earn more reputation you can see separately the number of upvotes and downvotes; no idea why this functionality has a reputation threshold (the value is 1000), but we have to take for granted many features of the Stack Exchange framework. $\endgroup$ – Carlo Beenakker Jan 29 '19 at 15:18
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    $\begingroup$ @CarloBeenakker we have to take for granted many features of the Stack Exchange framework No, we don't; we can request changes (or in some cases even impose them). I believe that personalizing reputation thresholds per-site is a feature that is supported; at least, per-site changes exist. $\endgroup$ – Federico Poloni Jan 29 '19 at 15:52
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    $\begingroup$ In fact, also a user with lower rep can find number of upvotes and downvotes - either by looking at the timeline of the post or using a userscript. (I will certainly admit that both solutions are a bit cumbersome - and the split of downvotes/upvotes is only tangential here.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Jan 29 '19 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ @CarloBeenakker My point is that up- votes and down-votes should NOT be summarized ! $\endgroup$ – user21230 Jan 30 '19 at 7:34
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    $\begingroup$ @MarekMitros If I understand your most recent comment correctly, it is similar to this feature request on Mathematics Meta: Feature request: always display upvotes and downvotes separately. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Jan 31 '19 at 4:14
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Yes, it is similar. However that person is very keen on down-voting while I rather propose to remove down-voting completely. If it must stay then yes, please show it separately. The explanation is that these are separate categories. If one person likes soup and second person do not like soup we cannot summarize it by saying "in average soup is neutral". The same here up-voting is different thing that down-voting. I stress here negative impact of down-voting on the person who asked. Even Asaf stress that it is about question and not about person, it is not possible to distinguish $\endgroup$ – user21230 Jan 31 '19 at 6:16
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    $\begingroup$ So, Marek, you reckon there would be less of a negative impact on a person from seeing up 10, down 8 than from just seeing +2? $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Jan 31 '19 at 11:53
  • $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson Yes, this is what I am saying. For example you cannot down-vote comments. In this moment your comment received 4 up-votes. This means that 4 users agree with what you are saying. My comment will receive 0 up-votes, this means no one agree with me :) Additionally I dared to compare MO to FB. This is embarassing to think that MO could be similar in any way to FB. Anyhow MO users have emotions as well, even if they deny. $\endgroup$ – user21230 Feb 1 '19 at 10:42

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