Books with errors are quite dangerous and would be very helpful find the errors of a book and report and discuss them in some place where everyone can check if the books he is reading has errors and correct them before struggling with them. Can we use Mathematics S.E. for this reason? Can I post a question, (community question?) like this: - Errors in "A Book of Abstract Algebra" by Charles C. Pinter - and leave it open so every one who thinks to have find an error post it as an answer and the community can check is if a true error. I think this could be very helpful... And it can save a lot of time and errors!


I think the answers would be more accessible, this would not an invasion of questions about errors in textbook but simply a way to organize better this sort of questions when they comes, so if someone ask for a possible error in a book the question can be joined as an answer to the related community question even if it is created at the moment. Many questions can be placed in a single question more accessible for further users.

Please if you downvote tell me the reason of the downvote, what does it means, I write it in a wrong way? Is a duplicate? Too obvious?

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    $\begingroup$ If the proposal succeeds, please create a new tag so that those who don't want to see such lists can put them on ignore. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 15:50
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    $\begingroup$ Once upon a time there used to be a Area51 proposal about something similar to this; it has unfortunately failed. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 16:01
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    $\begingroup$ Should this be deemed acceptable, I would advocate that all editions of a publication be grouped under one question, with separate answers addressing different editions. With the rate of textbook publishing it doesn't feel tenable to have a question for each edition. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 16:02
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    $\begingroup$ Some older related discussions: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/2042/… and meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/2658/… Perhaps also: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/2985/… $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 16:11
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    $\begingroup$ Does a downvote here mean: "we should not discuss this" or "we should not encourage error-report questions"? $\endgroup$
    – GEdgar
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 17:18
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps the most reasonable thing would be to have a single dedicated meta thread for errata, with one answer per publication. That way bumps are easy to ignore, and do not disturb the main site. It could also be used to call for votes on erroneous MSE answers. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ @BillDubuque I think that with one answer for publication is impossible to discuss and to review the error... You need one question for book in my opinion... $\endgroup$
    – G M
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 20:19
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    $\begingroup$ @GM It's probably rare that the discussion is needed, and comments probably suffice for run-of-the mill discussion. If the error is subtle or requires extensive discussion then a new question could be posed. It wouldn't be a good thing if many errata threads starting occupying valuable multiple front page slots (which could easily occur, e.g. if students using a newly authored book for a course start posting many trivial errata). This is why I created the single threads for reopen requests and drafts, so that those bumps would be localized to a single slot on the front page. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 20:35
  • $\begingroup$ @BillDubuque but with one answer for publication if you are an user how can you contribute with the error you have find... You have to edit the answer, and then how can you comment about a specific error inside the answer. For me is better one answer for error: voting up and down if the error is a true one or a fake! Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – G M
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 20:46
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelGreinecker I don't think it will be an invasion of question simply a more efficient way to find what you need and to organize the question... $\endgroup$
    – G M
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 20:52
  • $\begingroup$ @GM I think it is rare that one would need to vote on errors to judge their correctness. If so, then those errors may deserve their own question on the main site since they represent pedagogical subtleties. We already have some questions like that, e.g. Apostol proof divides by zero? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 20:52
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    $\begingroup$ Sounds more adapted to a wiki. $\endgroup$
    – Phira
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 23:16
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    $\begingroup$ -1: Stack Exchange is just not suited to this kind of thing. $\endgroup$
    – Isaac
    Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 5:20
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    $\begingroup$ @Bill, a meta thread for errata? But meta is for discussion of m.se, not of math. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 8:29
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    $\begingroup$ @Gerry We can use meta however we like. Errata are sort of meta-mathematical anyhow. I didn't say that I agree with the proposal. Rather, I'm saying that if it gets implemented, then I think that it could be too disruptive to the main site, so it would be better placed on meta, with a single thread (for said reasons). $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


Someone commented: should be a Wiki. In fact, how about using:


and not math.stackexchange ??

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    $\begingroup$ I will do so and discuss case by case error I found here. Thanks a lot for the information! $\endgroup$
    – G M
    Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 15:56
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the mention of my site! $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 16, 2014 at 3:41

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