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60

It's fine in my opinion just to ask and not answer questions, and conversely I think it's fine just to answer and and not ask questions. In time you will probably acquire enough knowledge to feel comfortable and confident answering questions as well, but there's no particular hurry. Either way, if your questions or answers are well received, you are seen ...


58

Using MathOverflow should be an extension of the way you normally do mathematics, and the same rules you use to effectively solve problems can be used to make good MO questions. Just like solving problems, crafting good questions requires you to put in some effort! Ask a focused question that has a specific goal Be precise Do your homework Break it down ...


15

I do not see how registration will decrease the number of poor quality questions. From time to time I look at MathSE, and the number of poor quality questions there is larger than here, despite the registration requirement. On the other hand, there is a class of people who really hate any registration, and this requirement can deter them. I am in this class ...


14

If you ask a question you're asking a favor (the eventual award of MO-points does not change this fact). This means that you should give the public something in return. The formulation of the question should not be egoistic, just for sake of getting an answer. Within reason, you should educate MO-public about the topic. Thus the formulation should be as self-...


12

I'm sorry, but this idea seems completely wrong to me. Not just because 500 characters (less than a comment box) is too parsimonious, but because most questions could actually stand more in the way of setting context, motivation, descriptions of what the OP has tried, rejected, and so on. There are some users who frequently add a lot of padding to their ...


10

Let me copy the discussion in the comments of Dominic's linked question. The pre-history of this discussion was Dominic's question posted March 6 6:02, 2018 (all times are GMT+1), followed by Francesco's answer [b], and Dominic's edit [c]. [a]: Dominic's post (abridged): A topological space is homogeneous if (...). Does there a homogeneous Hausdorff ...


10

MO seems to be a place where a differential geometer may ask about general topological manifolds, a topologist about algebra, etc. (and everybody would love to ask about logic if they were not afraid :-). Thus in my opinion the homework should not be stressed too much. Instead, one should aim at mathematically interesting questions. And this means--not ...


9

Since your old question has two upvoted answers, I would recommend not to edit it. If you did, the good answers would become non-answers (or only partial answers), which can make the answerers unwilling to answer you again. Also, people that want to find an answer to your old question (which was of interest to some people judging by upvotes) will have harder ...


8

It is OK, if you attribute appropriately and you are not a hog about it. Although you can update a question, unless done very carefully, it can invalidate previous answers. One of the times I've gotten very mad is when I post an answer to a question showing that some aspect needs more consideration, and the poster deletes the question along with my answer! ...


7

It's quite difficult to give an answer to your question. (At least to the part about reinstating the question ban after a positively received question.) One thing is that the algorithm for determining question ban is not public. But you also omitted quite a lot of details in your question: What exactly was the the error message you get? At the time of the ...


6

Let me rephrase the suggestion as I see it. The problem: too many undesired questions asked by new users; suggested tactic: require new users to register before asking a question; the post asks for opinions on whether this tactic will be effective/should become policy. I think a different perspective should be considered. The problem should not be viewed ...


6

Maybe we could go in a similar way as on Mathematics where the How to Ask page1 is shown to a user who asks their first question. But on Mathematics the How to Ask page is slightly modified to include some additional points at the beginning. The relevant discussion on Mathematics Meta can be found here: Show “how to ask” advice before a new user asks a ...


5

In my opinion the best way to handle this is usually to accept the trivial answer and ask a new version question containing the correction. My arguments: If you didn't think of the trivial example then it's likely that other people won't either. A unique service that MO provides is that you can google trivial questions and see trivial answers, whereas ...


5

Sometimes an interesting question is spoiled because the poster forgets an important detail, or explains it ambiguously. Sometimes there is no mistake, but it simply happens that the first answers or comments make it clear that the truly interesting question is just a bit different. What it usually happens, and I find perfectly correct, is that the poster ...


5

A question (or an answer) is an exercise in communication. Thus the well known general suggestions will work most of the time, be it mathematics, prose, poetry, ... (granted that there are exceptions). For instance, the sentences should be preferably simple (not compound) and short. My oooold advice is: keep pronouns to a minimum. Use explicit nouns. Most ...


5

Given that your first answer is already pretty long and full of (nice-looking, but numerous) diagrams, I would personnally prefer a new question with link to the original problem.


4

Yes, we should have a page (or a box in the "ask question" page) filled with basic instructions, including "this site is for questions that are non-obvious to professional mathematicians" and "use Mathjax, formulate your problem clearly with all the relevant definitions and describe what you have done to attack it". I'm answering mainly to bump up this ...


3

Regardless of any advice pages, perhaps mandatory before 1st question by new user, how about getting the attention of everyone who views any math overflow page? Include a prominent banner on the top of every page, perhaps (with portions) in bold red. ========================= For research-level math questions only. See [link] for where to post non-...


2

I'm late to the party, so I have undoubtedly missed something. My two cents might be worth a little more than two cents though. The problem was marked unclear when the basic parameter $n$ was marked as a real number. While it is possible to frame the problem this way (and assume $p_t$ is 0 for all but countably many $t \in (0,n]$ ), it is more natural and ...


2

The problem (and other little problems on different sites) resolved itself when I cleared the cache of my tabletop computer at the university and then connected my laptop to the university network and let it update itself. Maybe the problem was that my laptop was trying to synchronize with my user profile at the university (my "main profile" as opposed to my ...


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