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If you go to the bottom of any page in the SE network (e.g. this one!), you'll see a list of SE sites. In particular there's a link to MathOverflow, that is potentially seen by a large number of people (many of whom are outside of our target audience).

When you put your cursor over that link, there's a hover popup reading "mathematicians". If you try this with many of the other sites you'll find more a more detailed description.

We should improve this!

I'll provide a few samples as answers; please vote for the one you like, and we'll get it fixed.

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  • $\begingroup$ If I understand things correctly this is identical to (a certain part of) the description we dicussed on several occassions. At least it seems so in practise it is the same for all sites I checked. Is this necessarily so? $\endgroup$ – user9072 Jul 13 '13 at 23:05
  • $\begingroup$ @quid, which description is that? $\endgroup$ – Scott Morrison Jul 13 '13 at 23:07
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    $\begingroup$ The sentence that is in the banner one sees on the frontpage and every questions page when not logged in. The starting sentence in 'about'. The slightly different sentence in this list stackexchange.com/sites?view=list#traffic Currently it is 'MathOverflow is a question and answer site for mathematicians' and I think this is of the form: [Name of the site] is a question and answer site for [the target audience]. And, [the target audience] is what is the 'hoover text', at least this seems to be so for all sites I checked. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Jul 13 '13 at 23:18
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed, it looks like we'd be changing that sentence too. I think the proposals below all work grammatically. $\endgroup$ – Scott Morrison Jul 13 '13 at 23:21
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    $\begingroup$ "In the ivory tower" :-) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jul 13 '13 at 23:29
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    $\begingroup$ I've emailed SE asking to make the change to 'professional mathematicians'. $\endgroup$ – Scott Morrison Jul 16 '13 at 19:52
  • $\begingroup$ I think "Professional Mathematics" goes further to dissuade as well as offers less of a target than "Professional Mathematicians", and is less flip than "In the Ivory Tower". There will be no stopping the cranks, and the incognoscenti might worry that there will be an attached fee. Maybe add "PayPal accepted". $\endgroup$ – The Masked Avenger Jul 17 '13 at 0:21
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Professional mathematicians

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  • $\begingroup$ While in general I'd prefer 'research' given the context I prefer 'professional' among others as it is used by other sites to distinguish themselves from related ones for amateur or mixed audience. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Jul 13 '13 at 23:35
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    $\begingroup$ I like this one, though I think it would be better with a "For" in front of it, or else people might think this is a group of professional mathematicians that are willing to answer anything. $\endgroup$ – Jason Polak Jul 14 '13 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ @JasonPolak: As mentioned in my comemnt on OP, this text-snippet will be (at other places) included in a phrase where there is indeed a 'for' preceeding it. For the 'hover' this would apply to all other sites listed, too, and thus the 'for' will/should be implicitly understood when seeing it there. One might make a feature-request to change this in general. But as things are now, there cannot be a for here, since then it would read in about and the banner "MO is a q&a site for for professional mathematicians." $\endgroup$ – user9072 Jul 16 '13 at 10:04
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Research mathematics (at graduate level and above)

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Research mathematicians

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Professional Researchers in Mathematics

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  • $\begingroup$ Another alternative. I feel that being a mathematician is already a profession, so professional mathematicians sounds a bit odd to me. Same issue with research mathematicians. On the other hand, I don't think others outside the community understand what we mean by research mathematics or research-level mathematics, and even if they do they may not be able to decide the level of their question. It looks to me that they think if they are looking for an answer to a mathematical problem they are researching in mathematics. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Jul 14 '13 at 6:19
  • $\begingroup$ One could get all Saunders Mac Lane and say "people employed with jobs that say mathematician in the job title". $\endgroup$ – Ryan Budney Jul 14 '13 at 10:24
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    $\begingroup$ Kaveh, does amateur mathematician sound odd to you? $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Jul 14 '13 at 12:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Gerry, I don't think that would imply "professional mathematician" not sounding a bit odd. Maybe that is because I haven't heard someone being called a professional mathematician. I thought this might be a better alternative, but in any case, "professional mathematician" doesn't sound too odd. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Jul 14 '13 at 12:40

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