If I post a question that I invented myself on Mathematics SE, I receive comments like "did you do homework?" and, eventually, "why do you ask if you know?". Fair enough. It seems Mathematics SE is about asking questions one does not know answer for.

On Puzzling SE, it is almost the other way around: one is supposed to know the answer and one can challenge others to find answers.

What is MathOverflow's policy? Can I ask questions I invented myself on MathOverflow, perhaps to challenge others, but, also to learn that what I invented is known and not new or original?

Thanks for letting me know. I have a few questions I think are original and I would be interested to learn from experts if these are.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You can state it and explicitly ask if it is known. If you ask pretending you don't know the answer, people might feel a little tetchy if they invest time writing an answer then you say "I knew that, but is this known already?" Answers on MO are not infrequently invented on the fly, even when using existing facts. So someone might answer with a "known" fact, but with a novel explanation or viewpoint they themselves hold. That's somewhat different, perhaps, to what you described for the other SE sites. tl;dr Best to ask what you actually need, rather than spring it on people afterwards. $\endgroup$
    – David Roberts Mod
    Apr 24, 2023 at 22:37
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ On math.stackexchange one can ask questions to which one knows the answer, there's even a way to tell the software that you are going to answer your own question. The intention there is that your question and answer get posted simultaneously. What's considered unacceptable there is posting a question without letting on that you know the answer. $\endgroup$ Apr 25, 2023 at 1:33
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It is not exactly the same question (and it is rather old - people might have changed their views since then), but this question seems a bit related: "Answer your own question – share your knowledge, Q&A-style": is there consensus among MO moderators? $\endgroup$ Apr 25, 2023 at 3:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ thanks all for helpful information! $\endgroup$ Apr 25, 2023 at 10:19
  • $\begingroup$ For the possibility of "puzzle questions" in math.se, see math.meta.stackexchange.com/a/4233/442 In particular, state in the question that you know the answer. $\endgroup$ Apr 26, 2023 at 8:41
  • $\begingroup$ I am rather new to SEs and for sure made etiquette mistakes, for which I apologize, So now if I came up with a (perhaps easy) question and if I do know the (perhaps not best) answer, for sure I should mention both facts, thanks for letting me know, but, on MO SE versus M SE, should I add my answer? It seems to me this takes away innocence of those who (no doubt) would provide better answer or simply reveal my question is a known one. $\endgroup$ Apr 27, 2023 at 0:48


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .