I have come across a couple of questions which have asked about the "Real World" applications of things (specifically, of the Fibonacci series and of Groups, Rings and Fields). It seems to me that these questions have attracted rather passive-aggressive* comments, along the lines of "Who cares about applications, we are pure mathematicians!". This seems to be a relatively recent phenomenon (for example, compare the reception of the recent question on the application of the Fibonacci sequences with an older, but identical, question.). Examples of comments include the following.
"Not all mathematics has to have an application..."
"Would it be so terrible to have learned something beautiful that lacked practical applications? I hope not."
"Groups, rings and fields are everywhere in mathematics. I don't much care about their real-life applications."
I find such comments unhelpful. They don't answer the question and they are a tired, unoriginal opinion. However, my issue lies deeper than this. Although it is true that pure mathematicians are not motivated by applications, it is not unhelpful to keep one eye on possible applications. Indeed, the UK funding agency in maths, EPSRC, makes it very clear that you need to keep an eye on possible applications. Therefore, if you want money (aka you want a job as a pure mathematician) you cannot have this insular attitude. But more than this, applications of pure maths can be exciting! For example, Ricci flows are being used to diagnose colonic cancer, while there is a big push in group theory to apply the plethora of decision problems in this setting to cryptography (as current encryption protocols are susceptible to quantum computers).
In summary, and to borrow a comment from another user in the Rings and things question,
"can we not do the whole "I don't need real life (sneer) applications" routine? Good for you if you don't need them, but the applications to other academic fields have always been a huge source of inspiration for mathematics and play a large part in making it so wonderfully rich. Acting like "I don't need them" $\Rightarrow$ "we should all ignore them" is just as ignorant as the reverse view"
I am posting this in order to bring attention to these comments, but one can ask a question: Are these comments an issue? If so, what is the appropriate course of action? Should these be flagged? Or just ignored?
If I wanted to ask vaguely controversial and mildly philosophical question, I would ask the following:
Is this a commentary on the decline of quality within this site?
This is motivated by the difference in the two Fibonacci sequence questions. In 2010, we see multiple answers which give genuine, real-world applications - people know the answer! In 2013, noone gives a genuine real-world application, and the question is closed (I mean no disrespect to those who answered - this is meant as a commentary on the breadth of knowledge within members the site, not of certain individuals).
*I say "passive aggressive" because they are implying that the OP should try and give a reason for wanting to know about applications, as if being curious was not enough! Probably passive aggressive is not the correct phrase. Feel free to edit this phrase and put words into my mouth.