Is there a connection between Mathematics and MathOverflow sites? Obviously topics are similar, but I mean something like: do questions posted on one site, perhaps with certain tags, automatically end up on the other one? I have seen in the past same questions posted on both sites at the same time and I was wondering if users did it manually or not.

Also, how do I decide what topics are for overflow and what are for regular site? I know that calculating a basic limit should be on the regular site, but there are some questions that I'm not sure about. Should I post those on both sites?

I hope I'm posting this at the right place 😁 Thanks in advance


There is no formal connection. You may often see the same question on both sites because a lot of people cross-post (manually), a practice which is generally frowned upon, especially when the same question appears at both sites almost simultaneously and the poster doesn't mention anything about cross-posting or doesn't link to the question at the other site. So no, please don't post on both sites at the same time -- at least give one site a reasonable opportunity to answer your question first.

Unless you feel your question is the type of question that a mathematics PhD student or mathematician might plausibly ask, you are generally better off asking at Mathematics. One trouble though is the sheer volume of questions there. Without having done a careful study, my impression is that the easy calculus-type questions or other low-hanging fruit get readily answered, but harder questions can get buried under the accumulating pile, which can be frustrating. Often I'll see an MO post that starts off "I tried asking at Mathematics but got no response, so I'm asking here instead." People here are often understanding of that situation.

It's generally fine to ask here at meta whether a specific question is suitable for MO.

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ I'll just add that the reason not to post on both sites is that it can create a situation where people here (or there) are devoting effort to answering your question without realizing that it's already been answered there (or here). $\endgroup$ – Steven Landsburg Sep 21 at 12:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If you repost a question on another site under any circumstances, always include in both questions cross-links to each other. $\endgroup$ – Emil Jeřábek supports Monica Sep 24 at 8:07

My idea is that a generic new contributor (you can think in yourself person, or other with distinct background, motivation, circumstance, perspective, experience, need,...) should to think what is his/her motivation to ask in this site. If this new contributor is, say us, a PhD student or a professional mathematician it is a proper context, the scenario is clear in this case. For the other cases there is generosity and flexibility, limited (for example if a contributor got many downvotes, if I am right, can be banned temporarily to ask more questions until this new contributor earn more upvotes than downvotes).

What am I saying? I'm going to expand my introduction, but I think that it is clear, at least for me: I know my motivation to ask in this site, and I know how much activity, or reults can I expect from my interaction with the site.

First that it is public the information from the encyclopedia Wikipedia about an overview of this site from the article MathOverflow. I'm sorry if I am rude or toxic in your question, that I am saying is that I think that the questions of the site Mathematics Stack Exchange typically are from students, and this site MathOverflow has a different scope. As aside remark in this paragraph is that thus is better don't cross-post questions in both sites to avoid misunderstandings.

Secondly that I think that it is a problem concerning to each new contributor: that the new contributor need to take resolution of him/her situation to face the career as a mathematician. Again the case of the professional mathematician or the PhD student is clear and I and stop here for discussion of such scenario. The other case, in general, is about a person that, being alone and without an advisor or perspective to do a professional caree as mathematician in the next future, wants to ask in this site. For example I am not a professor and not a young student, other examples of this case can be amateur or mathematical enthusiasts that after a different professional activity (imagine for example a programmer, a mathematician teacher of high school, or a mathematician working in the industry...) want to research in mathematics and or contribute in this site MathOverflow (the last case is of the young students that is my third paragraph).

The last thing is that I think that the situation of students who have not finished their studies is improper. With the word improper I am saying that the situation of the young students of a degree in mathematics is, of course, honest but isn't the more suitable (I try that next paragraphs will emphasize each other this my opinion):

  • Mathematics or physics studies are very difficult, these studies qualify special professionals, who are useful and cotized in the industry, but the personal price to pay is to stop thinking about mathematics. And being a student it is hard to think that one will stop thinking, in the near future, as a mathematician, that one will never have a future in which can discover mathematics.

  • They, the young students, are immersed in their education as mathematicians, but the most of them will never be mathematical researchers: a great percentage of these students will be working in next years in the industry and they never research in mathematics, with the exception that some research work is required to close his/her degree/curriculum in mathematics. It is plausible to think that after a few decades of years (10-15 years) they will have forgotten part of their knowledges.

  • As conclusion, when I was a student I did not find/met my classmates trying to send proposals or answers to problems published in mathematical journals, or small remarks or articles in mathematics. And I'm not saying it in a sarcastic way. Because I think it is a legitimate and necessary thing for students before ending their studies in mathematics, even if they fail in a humble attempt. The research proficiency or ability, at any level, is obtained by being a researcher. It’s a sad road, a paved road with sacrifice.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ This seems to address something other than question asked. More importantly (in my view) this answer misses the point of the two forums. They are both for specific and directed questions which are capable of being answered in the format of the StackExchange system. Both can be tools to support research, but neither is meant to handle general types of research questions, especially those questions that need clarification or further discussion. Gerhard "It's Not About The Degree" Paseman, 2019.09.21. $\endgroup$ – Gerhard Paseman Sep 22 at 1:47
  • $\begingroup$ In this Meta MathOverflow I accept that if my answer receives many downvotes, or more opinions (especially from new contributors and young students) as yours I should delete this. But I think that my answer fits very well all scenarios in this site MathOverflow (and these websites Stack Exchange aren't forums, are much more), my answer was very clear about an issue which concern to both sites Mathematics Stack Exchange and MathOverflow: the seed of this issue is in the universities, there is no guilt against these sites. "Many thanks" @GerhardPaseman "my answer is just my opinion and analysis" $\endgroup$ – user142929 Sep 22 at 7:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .