26

I am profoundly opposed to the "cargo cult" question. The internet is full of places where one can indulge in the pleasures of righteous indignation by mocking the failings of others. I absolutely do not want Mathoverflow to join that sorry list. People who agree with me have every right to vote for re-closure, as many times as necessary, and I hope that ...


24

Most sites are staffed by (unpaid) volunteers who expect questions with the intent, format, and content such that they can process the question for the site properly. You should look at the site information and change your question accordingly to raise the odds of it being accepted by that site. Here are some useful sites for mathematical questions: ...


20

I agree that it is good to help people who have research-level questions on their hands but lack the language to work well with the current literature. This situation appears often when people doing research encounter problems that require tools outside their areas of expertise. I have seen two ways you can use MathOverflow to connect people with experts. ...


16

Closing a question prevents new answers to be added. If one could close a question with a bounty, the net effect would be to shorten the bounty period, possibly causing the loss or misattribution of bounty points. On the other hand, adding a bounty to a question can be used to prevent closing a question, which is a misuse of the bounty system. Since there ...


14

I do not think there is much evidence to support your assertion that your question is specific. You ask whether there is research on "in which mathematical universes does Grothendieck's approach succeed", and we are left with the rather formidable tasks of unpacking the terms "mathematical universes", "Grothendieck's approach", and "succeed". When people ...


13

The judgment of whether a question is considered on-topic or not for MO is made by individual MO users. If a question is closed but other users disagree with the reasons for closure, the latter may cast votes to reopen. But there is no blanket answer to your first question. The individuals who voted to close may or may not give their explicit reasons. You ...


12

I apologize to the community for provoking this controversy. I believe I have learned from the experience, and will avoid similar questions in the future. Please let the question remained closed.


12

Here are some (somewhat disconnected) thoughts. The main sticking point expressed in the objections is over the word 'breakthrough' (which is indeed difficult to characterize). But the Calabi conjecture example, and Sam Hopkins' answer, suggests a slightly different sort of question which might (might) gain more traction. "What are some examples of ...


10

Here is one other possible reason why your question might have got down voted: Soft questions are not considered like other questions, they are kind of special gray area in the scope that are treated differently by people from technical questions. Many users think they should be infrequent. So there are higher expectations from a soft question and also an ...


10

A near duplicate of Manishearth's answer, showing the same graphs but with 7-day moving windows per François' suggestion. I think it's much clearer: My data is copied from Manishearth's with a few columns added to do the calculations. You can grab a copy and do further manipulations yourself.


10

At various times in the past 9 years or so, we have tried several different social conventions to resolve the dissatisfaction that arises with the existing opening and closing rules. This may not be a comprehensive list: Person X with at least 3000 points would comment, "I vote to keep open", so that Person Y with at least 3000 points who wanted to close ...


9

If you see a question that seems off-topic or inappropriate for MathOverflow, but protected from close votes by a bounty, please flag for moderator attention. We can remove the bounty, and in obviously bad cases, close the question immediately. More generally, if you think a bounty is being offered in bad faith, or in violation of reasonable norms, please ...


8

For the reasons that others have described, I think that the existence of this question is damaging to MO. There have already been nasty speculations in the comments threads about the characters of various people. I have thus not only (previously) voted to close it, but I have also voted to delete the question. I urge others to do likewise.


8

One can always flag a question for moderator attention, use the flag to point out to the moderators that an open/close war is in progress, and ask for moderator intervention. In my (limited) experience, moderators will wait a while to see whether things settle down of their own accord, but will take some action if it gets to the point where they reckon ...


8

Since that question has a bit of a messy history of edits and an accepted question, I recommend that you leave it closed, but post a new question. Before you do, make sure to take some time to ask a focused and well-motivated question (perhaps you have an example where that is preserved by torsion, and want to know how general it is...). And don't forget ...


7

It's generally a complete disaster when someone asks a question, has it answered via an trivial comment, and then changes the question to the question 'they really wanted to ask'. To anyone coming along later, it's near impossible to understand what's going on. It's nearly always best, if your initial question turns out to be broken in some way, to say ...


7

This change happened as part of the new post notices roll-out, on 5 Dec 2019. Apart from visual appearances, the texts of many of these notices were rewritten as well, the list of close reasons being among them. However, the functionality stays the same, only the names and accompanying explanations changed.


6

I think it is good to have MathOverflow as a helpful resource for many people. In order to maintain such a resource, it needs to be helpful to the maintainers foremost. That means providing "MathOverflow quality " responses. Remember that being helpful on this forum is primarily to give succinct answers to questions. We are not a help desk, or a ...


5

Per the OP's request I am posting information from the above comments as an answer. (Although personally I think that this addresses the OP's concerns only partially.) In some cases questions can be merged. Merging is possible when the notation and terminology in both questions are identical, or at least similar enough that the answer still makes sense even ...


4

Some information about closed/on-topic questions can be found in the meta.SE closed/on-hold faq. There are two important points about closed/on-hold questions. No new answers can be posted. That's pretty much the point of this. Being closed/on-hold is not the end of the line. Users can vote to reopen such questions, and for questions which are on-hold, ...


4

What is better, to erase/hide mistakes from the past, or leave them and learn from them? The question was asked years ago, when the MathOverflow forum was hardly a year old, and the community was still working out what made an acceptable balance of professional and popular questions. That the question you mention is still around is because it got some ...


3

Sometimes questions do not fit the forum. When I comment on these questions, I normally suggest they picked the wrong forum, and sometimes suggest a different forum. If there is an obvious fix that would make the question better, I suggest that. On a recent number theory example I suggested the poster do more research and not expect the community to do it ...


3

Checking whether close votes come from a single user One of the question asked here is: "Do the mods have any way of checking whether the close votes seem to be largely the work of a single user?" As far as I can tell, you're right in saying that regular users do not see who cast the first close vote until the post is actually closed. After the question is ...


3

Have you read the tour? MathOverflow is a question and answer site for professional mathematicians. Your question does not qualify for this; hence it's downvoted and closed. For more details, see What topics can I ask about here?


3

In a similar question from 2014 on a sister site, Stack Overflow, What should an user do when he's in a question ban with unsalvageable questions?, a moderator answered: The typical recourse for a user in a situation like this is to contact the [SO] team for assistance. When contacting the team, you need to show that you have understood how the site works ...


2

First, let me stress that I am not trying to suggest any specific course of action here, just argue why those flags make some sense. The whole point of this answer is trying to explain a phenomenon, not defend it. Take me as a devil's advocate if you will. I don't have a strong opinion on whether such questions merit closure, and in most cases I personally ...


2

I was considering an answer to the original question when a new question popped up. Rather than post an additional question, let me analyze and change Joseph's question, and then make a brief response here. If others approve, I will then post/edit a version of the question and answer on the forum. If I go through what I know of the history of mathematics, ...


2

I think that this (the MO question) is potentially a good question, or, in other words, it can be made into a good question. It should be made, a little more focused and then I don't think that it will represent a huge list of answers. Then it can be quite a useful and educating list. (Also the proof-theory tag does not seem to belong there. Update: it was ...


1

After a question is closed, it can still be viewed. So the view count can still go up. You can still edit the question, if you think you can make it into an acceptable question. Then (with enough votes) the question can be re-opened. So "closed" is not the same as "gone and forgotten".


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