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For discussions and questions on the appropriateness (for the main site) of a question or a certain type of question.

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84 votes
3 answers
2k views

Should this site be "a shortcut to substitute for literature searches"?

On Reference for invariance of essential spectrum under relatively compact perturbations, Michael Renardy voted to close with the comment "This site should not become a shortcut to substitute for ...
Nate Eldredge's user avatar
82 votes
4 answers
26k views

Is there a way to discuss the correctness of the proof of the RH by Atiyah in MO?

I just made a question in MO to discuss the correctness of the proof provided by Prof. Atiyah for the Riemann hypothesis (link here: Is there an error in the pre print published by Atiyah with his ...
Héctor's user avatar
  • 515
49 votes
3 answers
2k 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
  • 7,219
48 votes
4 answers
3k views

On discussion of published papers at MO

There is an interesting discussion taking place at MO over the suitability of this question: Complex structure on $S^6$ gets published in Journ. Math. Phys. The question is about the correctness of a ...
Todd Trimble's user avatar
  • 52.5k
39 votes
4 answers
2k views

A StackExchange website aimed at graduate students?

There has been a lot of discussion about questions that do not get answered on MSE, but are not considered 'research level' on MO and thus get closed. The problem seems to be that certain questions ...
R. van Dobben de Bruyn's user avatar
38 votes
4 answers
2k views

Most important results of the year - appropriate or not?

The question Most important results in 2023 has been posted to MO, and as in previous years, has had a mixed reception. (EDIT: As of this writing, the post has been deleted by the author, presumably ...
Timothy Chow's user avatar
  • 79.3k
36 votes
1 answer
1k views

How is it off-topic to ask whether the normalization of a local complete intersection is Gorenstein?

This question (which I did not ask) is whether the normalization of a local complete intersection domain is Gorenstein. Why was this closed as "off-topic"? Especially when this one, which asks ...
Gro-Tsen's user avatar
  • 30.3k
32 votes
2 answers
2k views

early graduate level questions: MO or Math.SE?

When I first began on this site MathOverflow took questions at all levels. Then Math.SE was created and the level of MO has crept up steadily with Math.SE not necessarily absorbing the remainder ...
john mangual's user avatar
  • 22.6k
26 votes
2 answers
1k views

Policy toward GPT-generated conjectures?

The recent MO post, A number theoretic conjecture by Chat GPT, posed a conjecture that was generated by ChatGPT. In my opinion, it was not a particularly interesting conjecture. For me at least, the ...
Timothy Chow's user avatar
  • 79.3k
26 votes
1 answer
844 views

Should I start posting my questions on MO?

I have been a member of MO and of math.SE for a long time now. My participation in MO has been mainly lurking because I am not a researcher but a student who aims to become one. So, logically, I have ...
Bruno Stonek's user avatar
  • 2,904
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 - gone from MO's user avatar
25 votes
1 answer
833 views

"Is this a known/interesting result?"-type questions

Are questions of the form "Is this a known result?" and "Is this an interesting result?" legitimate for MO? I have sometimes found myself staring at results that were new to me and unsure whether ...
mweiss's user avatar
  • 525
24 votes
5 answers
2k views

How should we react to the existence of Math Educators SE?

As was previously announced at meta, there is now an SE site for mathematics education (MESE). My broad questions is this: Should we react to this somehow? (More specific questions are below.) Does ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
23 votes
4 answers
2k views

Appropriateness of recent LIGO question for MO

There had been numerous comments under the question Recent observation of gravitational waves that discuss whether it is appropriate for MathOverflow. That discussion is properly a concern of MO meta, ...
Todd Trimble's user avatar
  • 52.5k
23 votes
3 answers
1k views

"Newbie-style" questions: is there an "official" viewpoint of MO?

(Neil Strickland provided a link to early graduate level questions: MO or Math.SE? which more or less answers this, so I have marked it as a duplicate) Every now and then I encounter questions which ...
მამუკა ჯიბლაძე's user avatar
22 votes
4 answers
2k views

Are professional Physicists, Computer Scientists, Engineers, Economists... not allowed to ask questions at MO?

"MathOverflow is a question and answer site for professional mathematicians." May other professional researchers ask questions at MO? Should they check their credentials at the door? If not, and ...
André Levy's user avatar
22 votes
3 answers
926 views

Pronunciation questions

Every so often, I have a question about the correct pronunciation of a math term/name that I’ve only read, and the answer isn’t on Wikipedia. Some examples from my past: “Hartshorne” (I ended up ...
Avi Steiner's user avatar
  • 3,039
21 votes
4 answers
2k views

Publicizing conjectures on MO

This question Positive integers written as $\binom{w}2+\binom{x}4+\binom{y}6+\binom{z}8$ with $w,x,y,z\in\{2,3,\ldots\}$ is basically just a statement of a few conjectures by the asker. The "...
Zach Teitler's user avatar
  • 6,207
21 votes
3 answers
939 views

Is there a consensus on whether history of mathematics questions are acceptable on MO?

I recently stumbled across an old meta discussion in which some people suggested that history of mathematics questions were off-topic for MO. This took me by surprise and I would like to ask for ...
Timothy Chow's user avatar
  • 79.3k
21 votes
1 answer
1k views

Can I ask a question on MathOverflow and also on another site?

Sometimes one might ask a question on a website such as Mathematics Stack Exchange which is comparable but not identical to MathOverflow, and then decide to post the same question on MathOverflow. ...
Tim Campion's user avatar
  • 62k
21 votes
2 answers
918 views

Questions on Coq

Now I'm awake again, I can raise this here in meta, as per quid's request. I commented on the question How do I verify the Coq proof of Feit-Thompson? I like this question, and would defend it ...
David Roberts's user avatar
  • 34.3k
21 votes
2 answers
804 views

How do off-topic question askers find MO?

Apologies if this has been addressed on Meta before (it's a little hard to know the right keywords to search for Meta questions with). Question: Has there been any systematic attempt to try to figure ...
Sam Hopkins's user avatar
19 votes
2 answers
2k views

Any other site besides mathoverflow and mathematics stackexchange?

I know the differences between mathoverflow and math-stack but I have been wondering: Are there legitimate mathematical questions that would not get answered at math-stack because there is no ...
Sergio Parreiras's user avatar
19 votes
1 answer
940 views

Is my question suitable for MO?

Around a month ago I asked a question on ME here. It was well received (got seven up votes). Sadly nobody was able to help much. To get more attention I also placed a bounty on it. Still no luck. The ...
PMaynard's user avatar
  • 211
16 votes
6 answers
2k views

Questions about applied mathematics

There's a discussion taking place at this question Mathematical study of Mpemba effect? where the author UwF is arguing that this question isn't clearly off-topic and would like some explanations for ...
Todd Trimble's user avatar
  • 52.5k
15 votes
1 answer
753 views

Are "has this been studied before" questions on topic?

I have a fairly elementary question but rather than feeding it straight to the wolves I thought I would ask it here. Well, via a more general question: Are questions of the form "has $X$ been ...
JP McCarthy's user avatar
15 votes
2 answers
827 views

Suggestions for the design of a font for math articles/books

Recently I've resumed work on a font I'm currently developing, meant to be released as a completely free, open-source, OFL-licensed font designed specifically for use in papers, theses, books, lecture ...
Emily's user avatar
  • 11.3k
15 votes
1 answer
425 views

Is it fine to repost questions from a paper

Is it fine to re-ask open questions from ones paper on mathoverflow? On the one hand, I am interested in finding an answer to the question, and it might help if it is more publicly available. But if I ...
HenrikRüping's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
318 views

Mathoverflow for finding the name of mathematical concepts

I am used to posting on MathOverflow problems with questions. However, now I am looking for the name of a mathematical object that I think already exists (and I would be happy to find reference ...
Penelope Benenati's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
917 views

Revamping the closure reasons in 2022

Prompted by Gro-Tsen's recent meta question, it appears that now may be a good time to rethink our site-specific close reasons here on MathOverflow. Background: If you have sufficient rep, you can ...
Tim Campion's user avatar
  • 62k
14 votes
1 answer
595 views

Are questions appropriate if they require answers to be edited in perpetuity?

A recent popular question asks about the status of a certain list of open problems. The OP answered his own question within 13 hours of asking it, and has now edited his answer 26 times, so that it is ...
David White - gone from MO's user avatar
14 votes
0 answers
604 views

To which extent can one modify another's question?

One highly off-topic question of real analysis was asked in the main site by a new user. One user sent, 1 hour later, a long answer going far beyond the the question, and then, 12 hours later, edited ...
YCor's user avatar
  • 60.8k
13 votes
2 answers
837 views

Questions about correctness of published papers

A recent thread brought up the issue of the appropriateness of discussing correctness of a published paper on MO. Correctness of Thierry Aubin's argument about positive Ricci curvature I did a ...
Ryan Budney's user avatar
  • 43.4k
13 votes
1 answer
997 views

Humans, Go, Computers, Math

This is the meta thread for What advantage humans have over computers in mathematics? It was closed, got reopened and reclosed, and reopened again. In an effort to close the barn before the horse ...
user avatar
13 votes
0 answers
584 views

Is this question appropriate for MO? (Recognizing cohomological ideas)

About two weeks ago I asked this question on MSE: https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/1085946/when-should-i-be-doing-cohomology. (Short version: what are some ways I can tell that some sort of ...
Noah Schweber's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is it appropriate to ask a research-level question that is not part of a research problem?

I think that the following question is conceivably research-level, but it arose just as a curiosity, not part of any serious research. Is it reasonable to ask it on MO? (I include the specific ...
LSpice's user avatar
  • 11.6k
12 votes
2 answers
385 views

(When) are "career advice" questions on-topic here? If and when such a question is on-topic, what to keep in mind in answering such a question?

We have a tag career and a tag advice. We don't have a flood of questions under these tags, but for several reasons I think it would also be appropriate for us to have a bit more guidance on meta ...
Tim Campion's user avatar
  • 62k
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is this an appropriate MathOverflow question: can I ask for some intuition and "excitement" behind the Dynamical Mordell-Lang conjecture?

I am a math undergraduate at my local university, and I have decided to make it a habit to attend the weekly seminars that are given by the faculty. Today, the talk was on the Dynamic Mordell-Lang ...
bzm3r's user avatar
  • 398
12 votes
1 answer
530 views

Can I ask about entry-level questions (understanding and definitions) of research-level topics?

I am currently doing a reading on Teichmuller space and I am having trouble understanding some basic definitions. So I asked these two questions on MSE first: Understanding Teichmuller equivalence of ...
trisct's user avatar
  • 273
12 votes
0 answers
636 views

Is the following question on paper-writing etiquette appropriate for MO?

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 ...
Chuck Hague's user avatar
  • 3,627
11 votes
1 answer
985 views

About if questions in Research papers can be asked on MathOverflow

I am new to MathOverflow. I am a master of mathematics student. I wanted to ask if questions in research papers ( regarding what I am not able to understand in the paper ) can be asked on ...
Arnold's user avatar
  • 668
11 votes
1 answer
517 views

Is it appropriate to ask for exercises?

I am teaching an independent-reading course from Simon's "Representations of finite and compact groups". I chose this book based on fond memories from a previous reading course in which I had ...
LSpice's user avatar
  • 11.6k
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is the question "Why fund the research in pure mathematics?" allowed on MO?

Because it's now very "sensitive" to ask soft-questions on MO, I prefer to take my care. I would like ask "Why fund the research in pure mathematics?" on MO (in community-wiki mode), with the tags: ...
Sebastien Palcoux's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
504 views

Writing a proper MathOverflow question

I am in uni and I'm struggling to write a proper question for this site. I always end up writing too little and people say they need more detail. Sometimes I get a bad rep and criticised for being ...
geocalc33's user avatar
  • 101
11 votes
1 answer
623 views

Is MO the place to explore whether a problem has been considered or solved by mathematicians?

I am a university AP and I like composing problems (not for kids, not for practice). Oftentimes I don't know whether or not the problem has been considered or solved by other mathematicians. Is ...
Haoran Chen's user avatar
11 votes
4 answers
1k views

How to treat `polymath' questions?

W. Kuperberg asked a question about plane geometry, which invites contributions to solving a research problem which he has worked on. Small quadrilaterals containing a given convex region Given that ...
Daniel Moskovich's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
533 views

Could we add another reason for closing that's more appropriate for "check this (dis)proof of RH"-type questions?

I wanted to vote to close this question which claims to disprove the Riemann Hypothesis, but I realized that, even though we get questions of this kind occasionally, none of the reasons to close is ...
Gro-Tsen's user avatar
  • 30.3k
11 votes
1 answer
711 views

Can a definition make a good question?

There is a question I would like to ask at MO, but it seems somewhat unorthodox compared most others, so I want to get some support (or discouragement) here first. What I want to do is to give a new ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
717 views

Advice with arXiv: MO Meta or academia SE?

I would like to write a question $Q$ asking for advice about what to do with a note which I wrote (itself based on a self-answer on MathOverflow) which was rejected from the arXiv (something I didn't ...
Gro-Tsen's user avatar
  • 30.3k
11 votes
0 answers
391 views

Utility of Mathematics: Is this question appropriate here, and if not/if so, how can I phrase it better?

I would like to know if this question is appropriate for Math Overflow, and if so, how I can phrase it better to get the best results. Question: I recently spoke with a very nice mathematician who ...
trujello's user avatar
  • 101