As suggested in another post, sooner or later we will form a strong raw database of open problems with their approaches and updates. Then the OpenGarden and OpenProblems projects will serve as a formal presentation of open problems.This is in the spirit of Polymath.

Because this question is recurring, here are some reasons on why the SE format will assist:

  1. There are already many questions of this form in MO eg. "ABC conjectures updates?". In these questions there is no "one right answer" but many of them. It will be the SE version of OpenGarden, where we clarify research problems and propose approaches. However, to allow for feasibility, we must encourage that the problem is a subpart of a larger problem. Of course, it would be interesting if we can create a tree structure for such posts in how they are linked (eg. having users link the parent posts), but that might be outside the capabilities of MO at the moment.
  2. It follows the spirit of Polymath where we debate various approaches to a particular research problem. Each answer will be devoted to some suggested approach.
  3. The post itself will be wiki-edited to include the most recent updates on that problem.

The proposal was closed in Area51 because it was seen as too close to MO and mathSE. Here are some ideas in incorporating that as part of MO:


Creating a separate tag that will be monitored for following some simple rules:

  • Each post will contain only one research problem.
  • The post will contain some bibliography contextualizing the problem
  • Some recent updates on the problem

To avoid crowding the answerable MO posts, maybe we can prevent such posts from appearing at the front page.

The answerable MO posts under the tag "open problems" will distract from the database questions. For example, there will be no questions of the form "open problems in random graphs" or "dissertations that solved an open problem". I think each post should be devoted to one open problem only.


At the left-hand side of the front page of MO there are the tabs "Home,Questions, Tags, Users, Unaswered". So the idea is to create a tab for "Open problems database" that will contain all such posts (eg. the ones with the above tag).

This will also help bring attention to this database and spur its growth.

Any comments or feedback will be appreciated.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I will just mention that there exists a tag called (open-problems) - although the intended usage of the tag is a bit unclear, see also a related discussion in chat. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak May 21 at 13:07
  • $\begingroup$ The tag "open problems" is good for questions of the form "what are the open problems in area X". The above tag will be monitored to follow "the one research problem per post" rule. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Kojar May 21 at 14:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In fact, if you look at the linked conversation in chat, (more specifically this message), a moderator from MO suggests that the tag I've mentioned is more suitable for collections of problems rather than for posts about single problem. (However, this was not clarified in the tag-info.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak May 21 at 15:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Why the downvotes? I will try to improve the answer. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Kojar May 21 at 20:35
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @ThomasKojar Downvotes on a proposal / feature request in meta typically mean "I am against this proposal" (and this meaning is by design). It's not that the question is badly formulated, it's that we don't want to do what you suggest. :) $\endgroup$ – Federico Poloni May 30 at 7:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Poloni Well at the very least they can give us some of the reasons so that we can discuss. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Kojar May 31 at 4:15
  • $\begingroup$ @ThomasKojar I have noticed that you are using comment replies in the way that will not notify the other user. You can find link to some information about them in the corresponding tag-info. However, here is a simple example - using @Sleziak will not notify me. Using @MartinSleziak will notify me. (It is probably safest to use the version offered by autocomplete - which is this one.) Using @Martin would notify me too - so far there wasn't a comment by another user with the same prefix in the username. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Jun 2 at 6:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .