43

I thought the policy was the following, and I continue to think that it should be the policy: Questions asking about famous open problems are typically closed Questions that turn out to be less-famous open problems, but still well-known to experts, are answered by giving a reference to somewhere that the openness of the problem is discussed. Questions which ...


30

The thread http://mathoverflow.tqft.net/discussion/973/where-is-the-hole-in-my-proof/ -- and related discussions linked to from that thread -- are sort of relevant to precedents and consensus-forming regarding these sorts of questions. Basically there was a fair bit of agreement that asking for evaluations of preprints was off-base; published papers are ...


30

The answer is no, it is not a good idea to hand out answers to trivial problems, but that doesn't mean we won't do it. Many MathOverflow users find it very difficult to resist the urge to write a solution to a problem. This is actually one of the root causes for MathOverflow's success: Mathematicians love solving problems and, to fully savor it, a solution ...


28

Ironically, this question has been answered in the comments by Tobias Kildetoft. If you see a question which has been answered in comments you can make a CW answer which incorporates that comment. You can also add some additions of your own, and if your additions are sufficiently substantial then it's ok to make it not CW. In addition to what Tobias said, ...


26

One approach is to find a different stakeholder: see who cites the paper and uses the result. Then ask them if they are interested in your counterexample. If they are responsive, they may give you some help, either in showing you are right (your counterexample works and a rough indication where the original proof breaks) or in showing you are wrong (the ...


24

I think that we should explicitly welcome open questions. I mean this, first, in a narrow sense. Namely, every mathematician hopes that the questions on which they are currently working---whether for their dissertation or a later project----is an open question. These open questions come in all types, some interesting, some difficult. Let us welcome them ...


23

@notifications only work in comments, and then only if the target user is either the owner of the post you're commenting on, has edited or closed that post or has commented on that post. You can only use @notifications to respond to a user directly, not to notify them in a different question they have never interacted with. I personally would avoid using ...


23

Too few users bother upvoting comments for this to make sense as a policy. In general, only very problematic or absolutely useless comments should be deleted on MathOverflow. In order for MathOverflow to have lasting academic value, the MathOverflow community should strive to maintain as accurate an historical record as possible. A perfect historical record ...


23

I propose to ask it as follows: In my view such a question written clearly is suitable for MO. A question about X's paper on Y The main theorem of X's paper on Y is "quote (precisely) and if necessary explain the terms" I have found the following apparent counterexample which goes as follows: "explain clearly" Is this indeed a counterexample or did I ...


23

I think that it makes a difference whether there is any chance that the person using the pseudonym could be confused with a more well-known person with that name. There are a number of users who have chosen the pseudonym "Gauss" (or something similar). Obviously, nobody is going to think that Carl Friedrich Gauss has come back from the grave to post ...


22

It is perfectly acceptable to answer non-research level questions in comments if you feel like doing it. What is trivial to an expert is often hard for anyone else. I wouldn't send a colleague who knocks on my door with a trivial question to go take a graduate course. We of course should firmly discourage users who flood MO with trivial questions. ...


20

Everywhere were people come together, some are less polite than they should be, and some feel insulted also when nobody intended to be impolite, let alone insulting. MathOverflow is no exception here, but these things are also in no way particular to MO. Without knowing a concrete case, I fear nothing more can be said.


20

To answer the question in the title, no it is not appropriate. To answer the intent of the question, consider the following strategy: take a single somewhat general question and break it up into individual questions, each with its own singular perspective and each giving a different part of the big question. Provide links between the various questions. ...


20

Upon thinking a little longer about my question, it seems to me that the following should often constitute a sensible procedure: If you think the answer would be of public interest, ask on mathoverflow first. If you do not receive an answer, ask the author directly, point out that you have already asked the question on mathoverflow, and request ...


18

MathOverflow is a means of communication between professional mathematicians. By standard professional ethics, these should be properly acknowledged in the same way that similar exchanges (informal discussions, email exchanges, circulated notes, published papers, as appropriate) are normally acknowledged, to the extent possible. Note that we are currently ...


18

As Gerald Edgar said, the most common reason for this situation is that the answer reveals to the OP that they posed the question in a form that did not properly capture what they intended to ask. I think that it is often OK to edit the question in this context, provided that the edited question explains the history in a clear and prominent way, with due ...


17

I think that mathematical questions are fine (though don't pester people), but I get annoyed when I get emails about administrative issues (e.g. closures and down votes). Those should be dealt with on the site.


17

Most of the time, the edits that I see on MO are respectfully and tactfully performed and small in scope, and gratefully received by the post's author as improvements. Occasionally though I see flare-ups over an edit, to the point where a post will be self-mutilated or self-deleted; (more rarely) there will be an edit war. I hope this answer can help to ...


14

There are alternative ways to post a short comment or answer. My shortest to date is an answer of three visible characters: https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/32692/86 I think that someone else on TeX (or meta-TeX) beat that with an answer that was two characters. The secret is invisible unicode characters. In answers, you can use entities in which case &...


13

I'm not a member of this community, so I'm going to throw this out as a suggestion and see how many votes it gets. Consider linking to isbn.nu, which queries a number of online booksellers and shows prices for all of them. (My current reading.) This is always my own choice these days, on Stack Exchange or elsewhere. Be aware that links to Amazon have the ...


13

I think having a hyperlink to a bookseller can be quite useful for the reader, and that's all that matters.


13

Maybe the solution is to change the title to something like "Derogatory Quote About Graph Theory" and restore the original word scum to the body (but not the title) of the question. Quid is certainly right that the question as it currently stands makes it look like the OP didn't bother to Google, and I think it's wrong to create that impression. I am among ...


13

Sure, the editor and preview components are open source. It's released under the MIT license which is one of the most permissive copyleft licenses in existence. You'd need to make your own customized bits, but it wouldn't be entirely difficult to have it work entirely from local storage. If you come up with anything neat, feel free to share it :)


12

I believe that I am the user that you are referring to. I apologise to anyone I have inconvenienced. The majority of the edits that I have done over this short period of time were fixing very similar errors which caused the output to split over several lines. I think I got carried away because I wanted to fix all of them (there aren't that many to fix). ...


12

The question if and how should Euclidean geometry be taught in high-schools is among the most crucial and interesting possible questions in the category "mathematical education." So overall I welcome such an (appropriately written/edited) question to MO.


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