If I have very simple questions about mathematics. Can I ask them in Math SE?

I know that if I ask them here, I can get a response very quickly and from professional people. On the other hand, if I go I look for the answer by myself, I will find it but maybe I will lose a lot (time, work I must do) since mathematics is not my specialty.

Here I give some examples (they are very simple and basic questions):

  • What are the conditions to use someone's Theorem? (e.g., what is the condition of series to be convergent?)
  • What is the best known result of $\dotsc$?
  • Is my result correct using this lemma $\dotsc$?
  • $\dotsc$
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    $\begingroup$ "What are the conditions to use someone's Theorem?" Would not the conditions be stated in the Theorem? $\endgroup$ – user127096 Mar 31 '14 at 17:19
  • $\begingroup$ "Would not the conditions be stated in the Theorem?" What do you think? $\endgroup$ – npisinp Mar 31 '14 at 17:51
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    $\begingroup$ @npisinp I would think "yes"?? I can't tell if your comment is sarcastic or not. $\endgroup$ – Alex Becker Mar 31 '14 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ I am sorry. I was wrong when I asked my question. My comment was not sarcastic. And if I do not have the theorem but know it and wanted to know if the conditions that I used are correct or not? $\endgroup$ – npisinp Mar 31 '14 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ Define "not have the theorem but know it". $\endgroup$ – Did Mar 31 '14 at 20:35
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    $\begingroup$ @Did Thank you. Because I studied math once before, I still remember things but probably I have forgotten a lot. For example I know that I cannot switch integral and series without verifying some conditions, and a lot of others... I want to know if I can simply ask a question like this related to my work I am doing without getting ignored or getting down votes. Questions like: I did this, am I right? I heard of this, is it correct? an so on. Thank you again. $\endgroup$ – npisinp Mar 31 '14 at 20:53

This site is for mathematics at all levels. These kinds of questions seem fine to me.

However, note that if your question is along the lines of "How do you prove ...", you will be expected to show some work. If it is more like "What are the necessary conditions for ... to hold?" you can get away with showing less.

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    $\begingroup$ Questions of all types have quite a good probability of being answered without any work being shown, and some people find displays of work that accomplish nothing but to show (or to claim) that work was done to be annoying. The opinions in the second paragraph are neither unique to the author nor shared by all answerers on the site. Several of the 100k+ answerers have complained (or left the site) over the tendency to close and downvote and demand displays of effort when bare questions are posted. $\endgroup$ – zyx Mar 31 '14 at 21:28
  • $\begingroup$ @zyx By "you will be expected" I did not mean "required", only that it will be likely that many users of the site will object if he does not. $\endgroup$ – Alex Becker Mar 31 '14 at 22:02
  • $\begingroup$ As I wrote, the views in the 2nd paragraph of the answer are shared by many users of the site (they are "[not] unique to the author"). But since the views were stated categorically, it is important to note that there are other preferences also in play. The OP's questions, for example, consist of several conceptual questions for which showing work is irrelevant, that received no answers (but some helpful comments), and three more specific questions given without any work, which received 5 answers in total, and an accepted answer in all three cases. $\endgroup$ – zyx Mar 31 '14 at 23:20
  • $\begingroup$ It is also notable that one of the OP's questions received a "what have you tried" to which the reply (almost in so many words) "not much" did not dissuade the WHYT inquisitor from providing an answer, which was accepted and multiply upvoted. It seems that even when dealing with WHYT hard-liners there is some nuance. The users who post questions do not face a set of rules but more of a marketing problem, of getting people interested in answering the questions. Displaying work is one way to attempt to increase the rate of response, but it is only one of many possible methods. $\endgroup$ – zyx Mar 31 '14 at 23:29
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    $\begingroup$ Has any 100k+ member actually written anything to the effect of, "I am leaving because of the tendency to close and downvote and demand displays of effort when bare questions are posted"? In the other direction, has any 100k+ member written something like, "I am leaving because people are answering questions that don't display any effort"? $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Apr 1 '14 at 5:33
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, and none in the other direction. At least three 100k+ made vocal complaints about those tendencies, one left as a result, another has not left as yet but specifically linked said tendencies to a "profound [negative] effect" on his interest in participating. I'm not counting in that the recent complaint by a 100k+ user from Australia about the ridiculously hyperactive review queues. No ultra-high reputation user has suggested that they might leave because of permissiveness in answering questions or leaving them open, and there are obvious reasons why that is the case. @GerryMye $\endgroup$ – zyx Apr 1 '14 at 19:33
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    $\begingroup$ @zyx, citations? (and how does one make a vocal complaint on a text-based website?) $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Apr 1 '14 at 22:35
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    $\begingroup$ Alas, I'm merely second page on the user list, so my opinions don't count. T_T $\endgroup$ – user14972 Apr 2 '14 at 8:30
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    $\begingroup$ @zyx The reasons are not obvious to me. What are the reasons that one side of the chasm would complain about behaviour they dislike, but not the other? $\endgroup$ – Daniel Fischer Apr 2 '14 at 9:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Daniel: The most obvious reason, although surely not what zyx intended, is that such users would have less opportunity to gain reputation rapidly, and are far less likely to even bother sticking around MSE long enough to accrue an ultra-high amount. $\endgroup$ – user14972 Apr 3 '14 at 19:20

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