I'm wondering if it would be appropriate to ask a soft question on MO regarding mathematical etiquette. In more detail, I'm writing a paper that cites a well-known paper in my field, but I've been informed that there are concerns regarding the validity of parts of that paper. I'm curious about how to tactfully handle referring to the results in that paper, so I would like to ask an MO question about it. Would such a question be appropriate?

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    $\begingroup$ Academia might be more suitable. $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 15:42
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    $\begingroup$ Probably you'd be better off discussing this in private, so that you can actually talk about the specific paper. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 17:30
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    $\begingroup$ I would like to read the answers to such a question. I don't think it matters that it is also on topic on Academia: as I understand it, it is part of the Stackexchange "model" that a question may be on topic on several sites. Moreover, I am mostly interested in opinions from mathematicians, not academics in other fields. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 18:13
  • $\begingroup$ @DanPetersen you know, you could read it on academia.SE, too ;-) And all the mathematicians that want to say something on it could answer it there, too. And to have some other opinions in addition, at least might not hurt. Actually, it could be interesting as in other fields I think it is more frequent one faces a situation where there is some disagreement regarding the validity of published things. Finally, it is well-known that at least some do not consider such questions as on-topic on MO. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 20:53
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    $\begingroup$ This is not answering your question at all. But, I think this rather successful question on MO is quite "relevant" to your case: mathoverflow.net/questions/31337/…. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 20:55
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    $\begingroup$ Ah - that question addresses my situation very well, thanks! The only difference is that I'm not the one who found (or completely understands) the error, but there's some good advice there for me to think about. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 22:16


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