I often see questions like this: co.combinatorics - Given index $i$, what element is at position $i$ in sorted subsets that are obviously better suited for the Math.SE site.

This particular question was deleted, while others are closed. And that is what should have happened.

But no comment or anything else in the item indicates that the OP was informed why it was unsuitable or that Math.SE was suggested. At best I suspect an ambiguous "off-topic" message was sent.

Are the OPs in fact given useful information, are they dismissed as rudely as it appears?

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    $\begingroup$ Of course, the OP is shown this in the banner at the top of the question: "This question does not appear to be about research level mathematics within the scope defined in the help center." (It also explicitly says under this text: "Viewable by the post author and users with the close/reopen votes privilege".) If the OP follows the link, he will find the information in the help center, which includes a link to a list of alternative sites. $\endgroup$ Oct 20, 2020 at 2:33
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    $\begingroup$ The fact that the banner with the close reason is displayed differently to various users is perhaps a bit unfortunate. I am not really sure when this was changed, but this difference existed in April - it is mentioned in this post on Mathematics Meta: New changes to close reasons. $\endgroup$ Oct 20, 2020 at 2:41
  • $\begingroup$ These previews discussions are - to some extent - related: Should we exercise a bit more tolerance towards newcomers? and “Stack Overflow Isn’t Very Welcoming.” — are we? $\endgroup$ Oct 20, 2020 at 4:27
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak, it's good that the OP is actually given that information. But there's still the problem that other readers, especially new ones, will see the posting and not see that explanation. Instead they'll see what looks to them like a reasonable question and that it's been closed for being "off-topic" without any further explanation. That is their learning moment, and SE hides it from them, and that's bad. $\endgroup$ Oct 20, 2020 at 13:34
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    $\begingroup$ Well, the other users still see a banner with two links to the help center - although they are given less information. Still, this is not specific to MathOverflow, it works this way on all Stack Exchange sites. So if this should be changed, the issue probably should be raised on Meta Stack Exchange. (And it seems to me that some of the answers in this thread discuss something similar: New Post Notices rollout on Stack Overflow.) $\endgroup$ Oct 20, 2020 at 14:06
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    $\begingroup$ "This particular question was deleted, while others are closed. And that is what should have happened." Actually closed questions are likely to be deleted (by vote by privilege users, rather than moderator action). If score balance is $\le -3$, once the question is closed (5 votes), it can be deleted by 3 votes. If $\ge -2$, it can still be deleted by 3 votes, but such votes are possible only a few days after closure. $\endgroup$
    – YCor
    Oct 21, 2020 at 18:05

1 Answer 1


Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

In this particular case, I had deleted the question by mistake. Someone had flagged this question/answer as suspicious, and I came to it right after working on some flags about actual sockpuppets and trolls.

I have reversed the deletion.


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