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I am slightly unhappy with the direction of drift to answers to this question. On my reading, the OP mentioned a phenomenon and asked how editors should react to it. This seems to have been taken by many as an invitation to mention their favourite examples of that phenomenon, without really addressing what I thought was the actual question being asked.

My question to the community is: are people OK with this? Do we want to have any policy, soft or hard, on how many "favourite examples of various people" we want posted, in the vein of other big-list questions that lack any natural filter?

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    $\begingroup$ To avoid such drift in this case, change the title to mention the main point of the question. As it is now, those "drift" answers are merely about the title. $\endgroup$ Jun 9 at 13:18
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    $\begingroup$ If the actual question does not quite make sense, people tend to answer the question that (in their opinion) should have been asked. In the example you mention, a competent editor ought to already know to do, or at least whom to ask for advice when in doubt (e.g., a more senior editor). Seeking advice online is not appropriate. I think, a better question is what a person who wants to submit a "classic" paper should be doing. $\endgroup$ Jun 12 at 13:13
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    $\begingroup$ @IgorBelegradek I understand that, but I think your first sentence tends to apply even without the conditional clause - in other words, people tend not read the damn question. FWIW I don't think it is a particularly great question for MO, although I have not voted to close; one reason I posted on meta is to try and get people to notice what the question is asking, and hence to stop posting their own favourite examples in the vein of "here's a Radiohead B-side I like and you probably haven't heard of" $\endgroup$
    – Yemon Choi
    Jun 12 at 17:52
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    $\begingroup$ I am fine with it, I think we do not need yet more policies. Big-list questions are rare these days, and I've found some fascinating details from the answers in this case. $\endgroup$ Jun 14 at 1:01
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    $\begingroup$ I regard the question as (more or less) an example of stone soup. The question as literally asked is too opinion-based and should probably be closed. But amassing facts about how editors have reacted can inform opinions about how they should react, and that is what people have been doing. Even case studies in which no editor was involved (because the paper was apparently never submitted) can indirectly indicate how people think editors would have reacted. As far as stone soup is concerned, I see this question as a success and not a failure. $\endgroup$ Jun 18 at 13:18
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    $\begingroup$ In my own answer, I said that I thought the community ought to be doing more to encourage publication of such unpublished classics. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that this is the "right" answer and that (for example) the AMS decides that they are going to look into the question and perhaps try to change community standards. The first thing to do, before trying to fix something, is to assess if it's broken. Collecting data about past examples is, I would argue, at least as relevant and productive as conducting a pure opinion poll. $\endgroup$ Jun 18 at 13:27

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