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Questions tagged [etiquette]

This tag is aimed for discussions about etiquette: how to behave on the site and the chat.

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49 votes
3 answers
1k views

Appropriate or not: "To what extent are the results in Paper X correct?"

I have found a counterexample to the main theorem of a 20-year-old paper. The paper does not seem to be well known but it was written by reputable mathematicians and published in a highly regarded ...
Frank Thorne's user avatar
  • 7,071
28 votes
2 answers
747 views

Reference to Mathoverflow

I feel a bit awkward, but my question is this: Someone asked questions on Mathoverflow and I gave answers. The whole thing was not very deep and I could provide rather standard examples to show ...
András Bátkai's user avatar
28 votes
3 answers
1k views

Do your own homework

Occasionally, we get questions on main taken from old contests, such as Olympiads and Putnam exams. These questions are inappropriate for MO, and they get closed, which is as it should be. However, ...
Gerry Myerson's user avatar
26 votes
4 answers
7k views

On using MathJax to create 'white space'

The purpose of this post is, first, to raise awareness (as this, reasonably, might not be clear) that the way some (and it seems to me the number is growing) use MathJax to create 'white space' (or to ...
user avatar
25 votes
1 answer
1k views

Using Math Overflow to check whether or not a proof is correct

A user named Jürgen Böhm recently posted two questions which boiled down to checking whether or not his proof is correct. I left a comment on the second one saying that I don't think this is ...
David White's user avatar
  • 24.7k
24 votes
2 answers
1k views

MO policy regarding pseudonyms that are other people's real name

I have noticed just now that a user has chosen as pseudonym "Alexander Grothendieck", which I'm a bit unconfortable with (the probability that it is also that user's name is extremely low, hence my ...
Thomas Sauvaget's user avatar
23 votes
2 answers
1k views

Editing etiquette

What are some general guidelines for editing a MathOverflow post? Are there some "do"s and "don't"s I should know about? (The material that was previously in this question box has been moved to an ...
Todd Trimble's user avatar
  • 51.6k
22 votes
3 answers
1k views

Answering not research level questions

I just commented the solution to a question that was obviously not research level. Then I deleted the solution again since providing it might encourage people to again asking such questions. ...
Christian Stump's user avatar
21 votes
5 answers
2k views

What should be the policy on "open problems" on MO?

The subject of this discussion are questions on "open problems" on MO. There is an existing policy on "open problems" reproduced from the (old) FAQs, which involves an open-problem tag. The ...
user avatar
19 votes
4 answers
2k views

Dealing with possible incorrectness

I have seen a few responses on MO that I think are either incorrect or possibly incorrect. What is the best way to draw attention to possible incorrectness? (I provide two examples below; if this is ...
Benjamin Dickman's user avatar
18 votes
5 answers
1k views

On the recent question "Is Euclid dead?", or: Is it considered good practice to use MathOverflow for a campaign?

Yesterday, a question entitled Is Euclid dead? has been asked in which the OP states: "Currently I am leading a campaign for the return of EG to the syllabus of the high schools of my country (...
Stefan Kohl's user avatar
  • 18.7k
17 votes
2 answers
625 views

Guidelines for contacting author of paper directly as opposed to asking on mathoverflow

Every now and again I will have a very specific question about a paper or book, for which I think there is a high likelihood that only the author(s) of the paper or book can give a definite answer. ...
Adrian Clough's user avatar
16 votes
5 answers
1k views

Do we have an unofficial quota on how many old questions one should bump for minor edits in a single day?

I noticed tonight that a well-intentioned user has been doing a lot of minor edits of formatting of old questions with the effect of filling most of the active question list with old questions bumped ...
Benjamin Steinberg's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
585 views

Is it appropriate to edit a question for the sole purpose of having it highlighted?

I recently asked this question on the main site; after one day it didn't receive much attention and I decided to completely restyle it to make it more appealing, it got to the top of the "Recently ...
Giovanni De Gaetano's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
488 views

Altering the question in a way that makes an answer obsolete

I've seen that several times: an answer makes OP want to change the question in a way that would damage the answer. Obviously this should not be done. In fact I think it is better to delete the ...
მამუკა ჯიბლაძე's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
351 views

May I borrow the question/answer editing/preview gadgets?

That is, I really like the feel and responsiveness of these gadgets (much better than LyX, for instance) and would like to use them offline. Is this actually possible? Are there licensing issues? ...
Jesse C. McKeown's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
748 views

the correct way to "cross-post"?

Obviously is to not cross-post at all. If I asked a question on Math.SE the crickets chirp, how do I move it to MO? Or rephrase in an acceptable way? I think we've all done it one or twice asked a ...
john mangual's user avatar
  • 22.2k
12 votes
1 answer
563 views

Should I delete my own question if it turns out trivial after a comment?

I had not given this question enough thought before asking it. I went straight to looking for a reference without thinking about it. Somebody pointed out the obvious solution in a comment. Should I ...
Thomas Kahle's user avatar
  • 1,961
11 votes
3 answers
382 views

Should there be a general policy for putting comments on "not-suitable-for-MO" questions?

Right now, there is a question posted on MO that rightly does not belong to MO: The equivalence of the mathematical induction and the principle of the smallest. Of course, such questions comes and ...
Amir Asghari's user avatar
  • 2,259
11 votes
0 answers
346 views

One more reason to reject an edit: too much alteration

I encountered this now, and have seen it quite frequently before: I would like to reject an edit, and the reason is something between "attempt to reply" and "clearly conflicts with author's intent". ...
მამუკა ჯიბლაძე's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
653 views

"This question has been answered in the comments."

Athanagor Wurlitzer has recently been adding answers saying "This question has been answered in the comments" (see, e.g. https://mathoverflow.net/a/156051/3). I'm inclined to delete these answers (...
Scott Morrison's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
344 views

Found an answer to my question, and want to change my question accordingly

A few months ago, I asked this question, which has gotten no response whatsoever. It asks to prove a statement, or to provide a counterexample. Today, I found a counterexample, but it is in a very ...
Erik Rijcken's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
382 views

Questions answered in a comment

It may happen that a question has zero answers, but is actually already answered satisfactorily in a comment. An example is this question. I think this is somewhat misleading, as the "0 answers" ...
Stefan Kohl's user avatar
  • 18.7k
10 votes
1 answer
545 views

What is the policy on "shortening titles" on MO?

A MO user (Myshkin) has just edited the title of a question of mine (here) to make it shorter. The old title was: Ref request: If the natural density (relative to the primes) exists, then the ...
Salvo Tringali's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
416 views

Delete wrong answers or leave them for instructional purposes

It is tempting to just delete a wrong answer on mathoverflow.net. However, some errors are subtle, and it might be instructive to label some wrong answers as such, but leave them on MO to highlight ...
Dominic van der Zypen's user avatar
10 votes
0 answers
963 views

Extending questions and answers gradually

If someone answers my question and I want to generalize it, how should I do it? Is it ok to gradually extend my question as answers improve? An answer to a question I wanted to ask may show me that I ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
9 votes
4 answers
604 views

Are MO Titles questions or Headlines:

This is a very soft question, that is inspired by an edit to one of my questions, which involved a change of the capitalization in the title; the details are not important and I don't mind such kind ...
Manfred Weis's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
463 views

Is it considered good practice to clean up one's "useless" comments?

Hovering with the mouse above the upvoting arrow of a comment shows the text "this comment adds something useful to the post". Therefore arguably the number of upvotes a comment receives equals the ...
Stefan Kohl's user avatar
  • 18.7k
8 votes
3 answers
1k views

Is it good practice to write "@someone" in a question?

On SE and on the old MO have seen @someone in a question. Probably this notifies someone in his inbox and draws his attention (which is the goal). Does it really ...
joro's user avatar
  • 23.8k
8 votes
3 answers
614 views

Community standard for contacting users off of MO?

If a user is using their full name as their user name, what, if any, is the community standard with regards to emailing that user using their independently found work email address about their ...
Trevor J Richards's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
202 views

Question with several subquestions

Suppose one question posting contains several question. If I can answer one question, but cannot answer all of the questions, is it ok to post my answer as an answer, and not just as a comment?
Dominic van der Zypen's user avatar
7 votes
6 answers
1k views

How to discourage excessive self-edits?

My question is prompted by the reappearance of this post on the front page. A glance at the edit history shows that the OP has edited his own question thirteen times. This user has a history of ...
Nik Weaver's user avatar
  • 40.5k
7 votes
4 answers
583 views

Is it morally all right to link to a particular bookseller?

I've just answered a question on MO by introducing a book. I was about to hyperlink the book to a particular bookseller then suddenly I doubted if it is all right to do so. Is it?
Amir Asghari's user avatar
  • 2,259
7 votes
1 answer
933 views

Would it be appropriate to ask why a new user chose MO over MSE?

With the move to Stack Exchange 2.0, some people feel that there will be (have been?) many more first time users asking questions on MO which should instead be asked on MSE. Presumably, such a user ...
Michael Albanese's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
176 views

Is it OK to direct attention of a particular user to a particular question of mine?

About a year ago I asked a question which did produce very little feedback; today I've noticed that a specialist in the field recently joined MO. I think it would make sense to somehow ask this user ...
მამუკა ჯიბლაძე's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
348 views

Citing papers in questions/answers

Is there an established policy for how to cite a paper you link to in a question/answer? If not, what does etiquette dictate appropriate for citations? I used to be careful to include full citations ...
Alec Rhea's user avatar
  • 8,294
6 votes
1 answer
937 views

Bizarre Recent Upvotes

Just in the last day or so, the following extremely low-quality posts have all received upvotes: https://mathoverflow.net/questions/190836/how-to-calculate-math-expectation https://mathoverflow.net/...
Steven Landsburg's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
275 views

Should I edit this question or make a new question?

Should the Grothendieck ring of varieties be K_0 of numerical motives? I want to change it to: 1) Asking about after tensoring with $\Qb$ 2) Asking if there is a map in some direction and if ...
David Corwin's user avatar
  • 14.7k
6 votes
1 answer
173 views

Subquestion of Original Post

On this question, I asked broadly about computing the Gauss Legendre quadrature for large N. However, I've mentioned there in the "edit" section an algorithm I've found on the web, which theoretically ...
Amir Sagiv's user avatar
  • 3,366
4 votes
4 answers
1k views

On: Graph Theory is the s(c/l)um of Topology (?)

Recently a question got asked that effectively asked for the origin of the quote "Graph theory is the scum of topolgy" indicating it might not be the exact quote but something along these lines. ...
user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
768 views

Strange username

We have a new user called Asian but no Chinese. It's not spam, and I guess it's not offensive, but it seems … weird. I couldn't find a tag related to username issues on the only other post I ...
LSpice's user avatar
  • 9,947
4 votes
2 answers
212 views

What should I do about a wrong tag added by an editor?

I posted a question and tagged it "infinite-sequences". A high-reputation editor added a more general tag: ca.analysis-and-odes. Now, in principle, having a more general tag is fine---but this tag is ...
John Bentin's user avatar
  • 2,417
3 votes
1 answer
235 views

Reposting a Deleted Question

What are the opinions about reposting a question that come up with the discovery of a new algorithm, but had to be deleted because an "interested party" wanted to do some checking before deciding on ...
Manfred Weis's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
605 views

Some proposals for modifications of the process of closing/reopening questions

I wish to make a modest proposal on closing/reopening questions. Let me begin by noting that by far the most frequent reviews are Close votes -- almost 37,000, and looking quickly most of the close ...
Lucia's user avatar
  • 42.9k
3 votes
0 answers
421 views

Is this ("Is this a good research question?") a good MathOverflow question?

I apologize if this has been covered before. A cursory search of meta.mathoverflow does not reveal it. There are reasons not to make research topics public. (I have some topics that I am not ready ...
Gerhard Paseman's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
363 views

Why downvote on meta?

I only posted two questions on meta, both fact based and both about the way MO is supposed to work. Today, I realized that I have received three down-votes. I have a feeling about down-votes (and up-...
Amir Asghari's user avatar
  • 2,259
2 votes
2 answers
280 views

Accepting One's own Answer

Is there a way to accept one's own answer? I know, that question is a bit strange, but I can imagine situations, where that could make sense, e.g. to indicate that the author of the questions ...
Manfred Weis's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
280 views

Using results from refereed papers

If a question pops up which is answered by a theorem inside some paper I’ve refereed that isn’t in print yet, is it appropriate to answer the question and cite the (presumably) forthcoming paper or ...
Alec Rhea's user avatar
  • 8,294
1 vote
1 answer
216 views

Giving a question a recent "activity" though nothing is visible?

It happens occasionally that a question is marked "Active: Today" but clicking on this doesn't show any recent activity. I guess that this happens whenever somebody deletes his/her answer. So far so ...
Wolfgang's user avatar
  • 12.8k
1 vote
0 answers
201 views

What is the correct action if the OP finds an answer incorrect (with a recent example)?

While I certainly think that the OP of the question Non trivial zeros of Riemann zeta function definitely abuses MO in a couple of ways, still I believe it is a good example for the question in the ...
მამუკა ჯიბლაძე's user avatar