I have been thinking for a while about off-topic questions on Math.SE and feel that it would be a good idea to add sites to the Math.SE page to handle the following types of questions:
Educational Questions (What is the best way to learn... Where can I find this book... etc...)
Math Culture/News Questions (Why did Newton and Leibniz Fight?... Who created this formula etc, Where can I find stuff on this topic/who is involved with this topic...?
General Mathematical "Stuff" (Philosophical Implications of a theorem etc...)
I understand a lot of you consider this thing to be very unproductive/unnecessary and I too agree it should not be part of the main site however I feel that there HAS to be some type of forum to handle these types of questions. If Math.SE could create multiple forums one for the normal SE related questions, and others for these "off-topic" but still relevant questions I feel it would be a good change.
We have a huge number of users. We already have a strong base of people who could contribute
It is productive. Being able to effectively give advice on how to learn math, discussing general math philosophy/opinions debating over methods etc... may not be equivalent to problem solving but it helps establishes thoughts in the area and makes for interesting discussion.
Stack Exchange is Cool. Lets face it. This is one of the best sites on the internet for this type of discussion. It is stylish, easy to use, well moderated etc... If we moderate the other forums as highly as we moderate our current one we will have a generic math site that is much better than ever before.
For example: Rather than deleting and closing a question about education on the main SE if we move it instead to the education Math SE and visa versa we can maintain good high quality forums in both areas. It IS VERY POSSIBLE to create a high quality site that doesn't have only Objective content. The tags of "it is unclear what is being asked", "this is off topic in this particular forum" etc... still apply and can be used to moniter the other sites effectively.
The internet really does need this type of forum especially for research oriented discussion and Math.SE would be my first choice of website to support it.
This is exactly the kind of thing that we as a site shouldn't have to deter. Sure this question was off topic on the main forum but it certainly could have been handled very elegantly if there was another forum for the topic and chances are the same people who put the question on hold and rejected it would be answering it happily instead if it were in an appropriate forum.