I followed with much interest the recent discussions on Meta about the community being perceived as unwelcoming to outsiders and the importance of looking for solutions (if any).
In order to do this, in my opinion we should first ask ourselves what is our idea of the scope and mission that MO should accomplish. I see (at least) three answers, that are not mutually exclusive:
- MO should be a help-desk for "professional mathematicians" (in a broad sense) regarding their study and research activity.
- MO should be a wikipedia-like repository of good mathematical questions and good mathematical answers, at a "research level" (in a broad sense).
- MO should be considered as an entertaining game, where mathematical knowledge is used to engage in some kind of stimulating intellectual competition (in a healthy sense), and reputation has the role played by the score in a chess tournament.
It seems to me that the corrective actions to implement in order to solve the "perception problem" depend in a non-trivial way on the importance that we give to $(1)$, $(2)$, $(3)$, and possibly to some other scope that at the moment I do not see.
So let me ask this (very) opinion-based, foundational question:
Question. What should be, in 2021, the primary scope and mission of MO?