Should questions consisting in barely asking for a copy or link to some given paper be community-wiki?

A recent example, among others, is and Reference of J.L. Waldspurger's paper on Shimura correspondence.

(I'm assuming the reference is to an explicit paper, so this concerns only a minority of questions. The appropriate tag is but often not used by default.)

I'm tempted each time to flag them to moderators to this effect, basically for the following reason: there's no reason to gratify asking or answering such questions. Should I?

Comments welcome (especially by mods); also below is a poll-style answer, to be upvoted or downvoted.

(A natural question is to which extent these questions should be welcome, but it's not my main point here.)

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    $\begingroup$ isn't it like this that CW questions on MO are questions for which there is not a single "correct" answer? typically opinion-based questions, or big-list questions. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 5, 2020 at 14:30
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    $\begingroup$ @CarloBeenakker OK right, it's not the same reason as for non-unique-answer questions. I have edited accordingly. $\endgroup$
    – YCor
    Commented Oct 5, 2020 at 14:34

2 Answers 2


At the request of Martin Sleziak I'm converting some comments into an answer.

I don't really understand why questions asking for a paper should be community wiki. And, although you say it's unrelated to your question, I think the "should they be welcome" aspect actually is related to what you're getting at: that these kind of questions are not a meaningful contribution to MO. In my opinion, whether they are a contribution depends on the specific question. If the question can be answered by a few seconds of googling, then it's not a good question. But if it's asking about an obscure old paper not easily available in most university settings, or something even less "published" like notes or correspondences, then I think it can be a very good and useful question (in particular, worthy of the points the upvotes it gets). For a recent example see: Deligne's letter to Bhargava from March 2004.

(Sometimes these questions are about getting around barriers in access to journals for people without adequate university associations- then I think they are also questionable, but on the other hand MO can provide an important resource. And there are also concerns about the legality of the "answers." So those questions are maybe in another category.)


Yes, they should be cw.

(Upvote/downvote if agree/disagree)


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