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A2: I treat MO to some extent as a substitute for a large mathematics department with experts in all sorts of areas. My university is small compared to many, and with only a few specialised research groups, and I can't always find an expert to wander up to and talk ask about various things I need that are at arms length from what I know.


Restore +10 reputation for questions. A good question might actually be more important than a good answer, in mathematics and in life. Having them count for less than answers decreases the relative motivation to write detailed and coherent questions, and I suspect that it lowers the overall quality of questions on MO. On Fantasy MO 3.0, I would return +10 ...


For me, MathOverflow is a relaxing way to learn some math. It's like walking into a bookstore and just randomly browsing the selection. Sometimes you come away empty-handed, but but just as often you're pleasantly surprised. And you might come across some stuff you wouldn't have thought to actually look for. Since I've gotten so much from MathOverflow, I ...


Increase the allowed length of comments. I am running of space more often than not and have to either castrate both my thought and my language in such cases or make a chain of comments instead of a single one. Posting an answer instead is often not an option because the comments are tied to the post or even to the previous comments and may be quite ...


Minor edits See this post of Scott Morrison : << Can we have a "minor edit" checkbox in the edit interface, along with the parenthetical text "minor edits do not bump posts on the list of active questions, but are subject to review but another user"? >>


Semi-legitimate procrastination


Change the term "reputation" to something more neutral, e.g. "points" or "score" I can't help myself, but I feel that having a numerical "reputation" value attached to oneself is in a certain sense disreputable in itself, enough to possibly scare off potential users. -- Maybe this is a subtle issue of use of language, or reflects some cultural difference (...


Allow reopen votes and close votes to cancel each other. If the difference between close votes and keep open votes does not reach 5 the question remains open. Likewise a closed question will remain so as long as the difference between reopen and keep closed votes does not reach 5. I think this might help with reducing the amount closing/reopening/...


MO is for me a humbling education.


When moderators make a question CW, by default they remove all rep earned from the question There are many soft questions which quickly earn enormous rep for both the question and its answers before the moderators mark the question CW. In most of these cases, if the moderators had noticed the question earlier then it would have been CW'ed earlier, and no ...


Restore "No longer relevant" as a reason for question closure It happens sometimes that a question turns out to be naïve and is immediately answered in comments, or the OP notices a mistake in the question. Alternatively, the question is asking for a reference to XYZ, and in the interim a paper on XYZ is posted to ArXiv or a difficult-to-find reference is ...


Before MathOverflow, the culture of mathematics question-and-answers was quite primitive. I remember the days when a student would impress their mathematics questions, expressed in cuneiform, by pressing with a stylus into clay tablets, and then bake them and carry them the next day to the summit of the mountain, to be viewed the next dawn by the gods. The ...


Separate points into Question score and Answer score Why not have two reputation scores in Fantasy MO 3.0, a "question reputation score" and an "answer reputation score"? Then the rep levels required for various privileges can be in terms of some linear combination of the two rep scores. The two ways of earning rep seem very different from each other, so ...


Make it possible to flag errors Presently the only ways to point out an error in a post are adding a comment and editing the post. However comments are not very visible in particular if a post has already many of them. Editing the post does not have this drawback, but it still may not be what one really wants, in particular if one does not know how to ...


This is a trivial request but it can be helpful: allow to order answers to questions by "newest" and not only by "oldest" (maybe it is possible now?)


It gives a unique opportunity to ask a question to a very large audience. In the usual conversations in a math department or in a conference, the audience is small. Here the audience is larger and much more diverse than even for a question published in a journal. And the feedback is usually immediate. Mathematics is my profession and also my hobby. I enjoy ...


[RE-OPENED and later CLOSED again] The question How the idea of adjoint matrix has been designed? isn't great, but isn't awful, and these two answers have been posted (and upvoted) on G+ rather than as answers, which is dumb. Let's reopen the question so that the answers can be added. As an aside, the fact that Allen Knutson basically said "this is going ...


Let users opt out of reputation This was the topic of a thread by Francois Dorais, and is discussed there: Opting out of reputation To quote: Indeed, some users have resorted to various schemes to avoid accruing reputation on MO such as answering in comments, answering in community wiki mode, discarding points through bounties, etc. There are a few ...


Commutative diagrams It would be wonderful if there was some way of adding support for xypic to mathoverflow.


Okay, here's one that I think is interesting and has remained unanswered for over a month. (It might also test out this system.) Does there exist a bijection of $\mathbb{R}^n$ with itself such that the forward map is connected but the inverse is not? If it isn't clear from the title, this question (asked by Willie Wong) asks whether the inverse of any ...


Can someone figure out what is going on in this question about representation varieties of associative algebras? It looks like the OP may have found an error in a published article of Smalo, but I can't prove that its an error.


Editable comments Since comments are used a bit differently on MO I think it is reasonable to allow a bit more editing.


Usenet For example, these newsgroups: sci.math sci.math.research sci.math.num-analysis sci.math.symbolic See back in time to them HERE


Having an incubator thread on Meta for soft questions This was suggested by Noah Snyder and is discussed there: Crazy idea about soft questions To quote: I was thinking the other day about big list and other soft questions and had the following crazy idea. It seems to me that what we want is to occasionally have good soft questions. The main thing that ...


I really do not like the idea of a two-step process for anything, especially if it means creating a thread of unbounded length (after the first 4 screens are full, I doubt I will be willing to look at it any more pushing various ordering buttons to see what's new). Of course, we can hard-delete the bad questions and the moved ones every 2 days or so, but it ...


Watching questions and answers for comments. In StackExchange, you can mark questions you are interested in as "favourite", and later find new answers for those questions by checking the list of your favourites ordered by activity. This way, you can learn if someone posts a reply to a question you are interested in, even if you haven't asked that question. ...


I thought that it would be a good place to make available to a wide audience problems which I've been unable to make progress on despite years of effort. To my great surprise, the effort to alter my questions and make them easier led to my posing a question which I could actually answer partially.


This question asks, given a homogenous degree $n$ polynomial map $f: \mathbb{Z}^n \to \mathbb{Z}$, how can we test if it is a norm map from a number field? I know roughly what the answer must be: Over $\mathbb{Q}^{alg}$, $f$ should factor as $n$ distinct hyperplanes and $f$ should be irreducible over $\mathbb{Q}$. That should make $f: \mathbb{Q}^n \to \...


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