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After some internal discussion, the moderators have agreed to post the following text. There are calls from the community to enunciate a firm and consistent policy for what questions are permissible or not regarding Atiyah's attempted proof of RH. If for a moment we blind ourselves to the name on the paper, the natural and appropriate reaction would be to ...


36

For people who are either unfamiliar with US history (either due to growing up in other countries or who had White Supremacist textbooks in school), here are the first two paragraphs of the state of Mississippi's explanation of why they seceded and joined the country which flew this flag: In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its ...


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I will take a different viewpoint than some and say that the correctness of the proof can be discussed, and maybe it should. But as to how, that's a question of tactfulness and precision. When discussing this proof, it's incredibly important to avoid ad-hominem attacks, benevolent and malicious ones alike. Many people say stuff like "Atiyah has output a lot ...


31

As François points out in his MO comment on the deleted question, and as noted by Andy above, the same question was asked on MSE - math.stackexchange.com/questions/618147. Currently the question is closed there (as a duplicate [correction: now as "too broad" after a second closure, as mentioned by Asaf in a comment below]; indeed there was another question ...


30

It seems that the moderators' opinions are not unified on this question, so I will offer my view wearing my private citizen hat. The question asks how various parameters of an apparent black hole collision were extracted from LIGO data. If we made a Venn diagram that let us sort questions by subject, I think this question would fall squarely in the "...


29

A scientific paper is like a politician --- much of its reputation is based on hearsay, and superficial impression, not on cold analytic examination. Very few have willingness and time to investigate thoroughly. Thus, a baseless accusation can easily ruin a reputation. So, it is important to make accusations as precise as possible. If the OP read the paper ...


28

Your question was: "I would like to know examples of closed subschemes of $X$ other than $Z_n$", and when examples were given in the comments, you rejected them as trivial. Rather than explaining yourself further, e.g., describing why the examples were trivial, you repeatedly asked whether abx knows "what $Z_n$ means". You changed the question to include ...


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 ...


25

This meta question is phrased as a general question about the appropriateness of discussing published papers on MO. That's a fair question, but I think that it's actually quite a different question from the question of whether Misha Verbitsky's question was appropriate. The paper by Gabor Etesi has a history. Namely, Verbitsky read an earlier version of ...


24

I don't think there's any good solutions here, but I am going to suggest what I think is the least bad solution, and people can vote on whether it is a good idea or not. There are going to be lots of well-meaning people who want to give Atiyah the benefit of the doubt and are going to ask questions about the proof, so I think leaving it unaddressed on the ...


24

There are both content-neutral reasons and non-content-neutral reasons for wanting to delete the confederate flag avatar. Samantha Y's answer seems to focus on the non-content-neutral reasons. I actually agree with her that the confederate flag is offensive (although I would classify the flag, especially pre-1950, more as a symbol of slavery than a symbol of ...


20

My view is that what should count is the (academic/scientific interest) times (the amount of mathematics involved). So if the academic interest is huge and the mathematical component is modest we should go for it. (Perhaps even actively try to ask about mathematics angles of super major developments in other sciences.) In other words if something huge ...


19

My opinion, posted as an answer here so that it is ready for the downvotes. The "background" section reads more like a blog post than a question, and I feel it's out of place on this website. You could add a similar section to many questions and topics: with a great introduction and discussion (think one of Terence Tao's blog posts), they probably would ...


18

Questions asking for the correctness of certain papers are generally off-topic on MathOverflow. Concerning the particular problem whether P=NP or not, there have been a lot of claimed proofs or disproofs, as well as claimed proofs that the question is undecidable -- see e.g. http://www.win.tue.nl/~gwoegi/P-versus-NP.htm.


18

I would just like to record that I am disappointed about the way this question was handled here (and at MSE). In this respect I seem to be in a minority. (But I always have been with regard to closing and related matters, no matter what the topic.) I work in the area related to Wiles's argument, and from time to time I find myself thinking about the role ...


18

I find it difficult to understand many of the comments and concerns that this question seems to have raised. The site has a fairly simple and well established procedure for closing/keeping open questions: five votes to close, five to reopen, five more to close and so on. In situations where reasonable people can disagree, this seems a perfectly fine way ...


17

Actually such devices were at one point in the 20th century the state of the art for doing certain number-theoretical calculations, notably factoring. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lehmer_sieve (specifically the 1932 device, pictured in pages 18-20 of http://people.ucalgary.ca/~hwilliam/Sieve_Pictures.pdf).


17

In addition to my comment that the thread is too "discussion-y" (meaning too opinion or speculation driven), my feeling about this question is that there is probably no one in our community who can render an expert opinion on the matter based on demonstrable facts. It's all just speculation and "this is what I guess" about the matter, or even sentiments ...


16

The close votes on your question are correct. You write it correctly that the answer on MSE seems imprecise and unsatisfactory for you. But it looks like it is actually quite precise and satisfactory for the MO community. From the discussion at MSE it seems that you need a perfectly precise proof with all the epsilons and stuff. This is quite surprising ...


16

On my opinion, no general rule can be stated. But I can share my experience. I answered a MO question which was needed in someone's research. The result was two separate papers. My paper where the question was answered, and the paper of the person who asked using my result as a lemma, with a reference to my paper and to the MO answer: Zeros of polynomials ...


15

I think Joseph O'Rourke meant to say something else. I will guess that something like the following is intended. MathOverflow is not a forum for judging, critiquing, or refereeing preprints or published articles. MathOverflow is for answering specific questions in mathematics, including but not limited to judging, critiquing, or refereeing a part of a ...


15

As one of the users who casted a vote to close, I guess I should provide an answer. What I did not like was the lack of effort displayed in the question. The question in itself could be fine: it is very legitimate, not so easy and somewhat natural in view of the hierarchy of rings in commutative algebra. However, it is also quite easy to find discussions of ...


15

Answering this for closure: By the comment of Stanley Yao Xiao, the OP in question had a confederate flag as their avatar. A moderator (presumably) changed it, with the understanding that a ban would be too strong a response. By the comment of Todd Trimble, it is clear there is a precedent for dealing with trollish and politicized behavior on MO. See the ...


14

Your question is, "How do people determine if other people's questions are research level or not?" The answer is, by applying the years of experience they have in doing mathematical research themselves. That doesn't mean they always get it right, but, fortunately, there is redress in case they get it wrong. In fact, there is a whole thread on this site ...


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