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This question is to gather community input on what sorts of posts we should have on the upcoming math.SE blog.

  • If you have an idea for a type of blog post, post it as an answer below.

  • Vote up an answer if you would like to see this type of post on the blog.

  • Do not downvote any answers.

  • Feel free to edit existing answers to clarify or expound on an idea.

Many suggestions have already been made; I am including these suggestions as answers below.

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  • $\begingroup$ Should one vote down an answer if that's what is not liked? If so, I could edit the question to add that. $\endgroup$ – user122283 May 3 '14 at 18:04
  • $\begingroup$ @SanathDevalapurkar No, don't downvote. I'll edit the question. $\endgroup$ – 6005 May 3 '14 at 18:13
  • $\begingroup$ How long is this poll being held for? I'd say before 17th May, since that's when the deadline is, for the blog posts being completed for submission. $\endgroup$ – user122283 May 3 '14 at 18:17
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    $\begingroup$ A problem is that this post could be closed for being primarily opinion based. I'd add something in the question saying users not to do that, since this post is important for the community. $\endgroup$ – user122283 May 3 '14 at 18:29
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    $\begingroup$ @SanathDevalapurkar I don't think there is danger of this being closed. $\endgroup$ – 6005 May 3 '14 at 19:56
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    $\begingroup$ I would like to point out that $4$ of the answers have been downvoted against instructions, so their relative order (by number of people interested) is slightly off. $\endgroup$ – user142299 May 5 '14 at 21:06
  • $\begingroup$ I see no point in disallowing downvotes on polls like these. It is not hard to imagine someone being against a certain topic while not necessarily being for all the other suggestions. For example, I am personally against a few of the suggestions, neutral towards most and in favor of some. By not allowing downvotes, it makes it much more difficult to show one's preferences for the various ideas. $\endgroup$ – mrf May 6 '14 at 7:11
  • $\begingroup$ Well, something... related to Maths! $\endgroup$ – user3459110 May 8 '14 at 10:45

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Short exposition pieces on interesting mathematics, primarily at the advanced high school to advanced undergraduate level.

Some potential contributors have already given examples of what such posts might look like.

This comment raises an additional issue, which you can vote on in the comments:

Can anyone write about anything, or do we expect the people that write about a certain topic will have some "cred" as knowledgeable about it?

Please do not vote for more than one comment below.

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    $\begingroup$ Vote this comment up if you think we should be restrictive in only allowing posts from people with sufficient math.SE reputation or obvious knowledge about a topic. (This may not apply to posts about "recreational math.") $\endgroup$ – 6005 May 3 '14 at 17:56
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    $\begingroup$ Vote this comment up if you think we should accept posts from anyone in the community, as long as they seem to be mathematically sophisticated and/or well-written. $\endgroup$ – 6005 May 3 '14 at 17:56
  • $\begingroup$ What would you define as "cred"? I'm a middle school student. However, I study topological quantum field theories and $(\infty,1)$-toposes. Do I have enough credibility or not to write a blog post? $\endgroup$ – user122283 May 3 '14 at 18:01
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    $\begingroup$ @SanathDevalapurkar My opinion is that you have plenty of credentials. :) I think we should gauge on exhibited ability, rather than grade level, etc. $\endgroup$ – apnorton May 3 '14 at 21:02
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    $\begingroup$ @anorton: The point of my [quoted] comment, is that we should gauge on exhibited ability on the topic of writing, rather than general exhibited ability. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila May 4 '14 at 6:09
  • $\begingroup$ @anorton Thank you! :-) $\endgroup$ – user122283 May 4 '14 at 15:41
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    $\begingroup$ @Asaf Ohhh! Ok-I didn't know what was being quoted when I wrote that response. We agree, then, but I should have been more specific. (I saw the discussion in the other question after writing this) $\endgroup$ – apnorton May 4 '14 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ Why not to install some sort of filtering instead of trust in credentials? If the blog post is not at very high level (research level), wrong things can be noticed quickly, in my opinion both form and technical content should be reviewed. $\endgroup$ – leo May 4 '14 at 18:00
  • $\begingroup$ @leo Precisely the reason for admins and mods to review articles. $\endgroup$ – user122283 May 4 '14 at 22:42
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    $\begingroup$ @Sanath: Every system has its problems. I prefer to delegate the problem to the writer rather than the editor. If the editors (admins, mods whatever) don't have sufficient knowledge in a particular field, how can they judge a blog post about it? It seems easier to me to slightly diminish the writers database, but ensuring in advance that the chances that the writer knows what they are talking about are higher. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila May 5 '14 at 23:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Asaf Shouldn't we then elect/choose the admins so that together, they cover "everything" that is in the scope of advanced high school to advanced undergrad? Most on this know at least advanced high school/early undergrad math, so I don't think that problems would arise due to the editors not having sufficient knowledge in a particular field. $\endgroup$ – user122283 May 5 '14 at 23:20
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    $\begingroup$ @Sanath: Moderating the site shouldn't have to do with particular mathematical knowledge; basic knowledge to discern spam from posts is sufficient. I don't know if we are going to "elects" blog administrators, or if there will be sufficiently many to cover "everything". I don't even know if it's possible to properly cover "everything". If we think about this as a journal, note that a journal has several editors and each has its own crew of referees for various topics. Sure, this is not a journal and we shouldn't have a referee-based system, the analogy is just to extend my point. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila May 5 '14 at 23:25
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila I understand your analogy and your previous comment. My idea (I don't know if others agree with it) is that if the admins and mods don't have sufficient knowledge in a particular field, then we will turn to someone in the site who has knowledge in that area to review the blog post. As an example, suppose the admins and mods (not true, of course - just an example) are not experts in set theory, and a set theoretical blog post comes about. Then, they'd give it to someone experienced in the field, like you. $\endgroup$ – user122283 May 5 '14 at 23:29
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    $\begingroup$ @Sanath: Luckily that scenario is unlikely, and I hope they pick someone else. I already have one blog that I avoid maintaining. I don't a second, similar duty -- even if transient. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila May 5 '14 at 23:37
  • $\begingroup$ I don't see why we wouldn't accept a post from anyone, assuming it was well-written and showed understanding of the material. Poorly written articles could simply be rejected. $\endgroup$ – user142299 May 6 '14 at 0:21
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As I commented in the other thread, a "What is..." style post, similar to the article published by the AMS, would be great. In essence, the goal of these articles would be to explain, in understandable terms, a 'buzz-word' mathematical concept. The focus should be on 'what is it used for' in mathematics, and 'why is it such a ubiquitous term'.

For example, here are some possible topics that may be well-suited to math.se

"What is...a Manifold?"

"What is...the Random Graph?"

"What is...an Elliptic Curve?"

"What is...a Sheaf?"

"What is...a Variety/Scheme?"

"What is...a Complete Theory?"

"What is...a Topos?"

etc.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good idea! However, I have a question - say we have the blog post with topic title: $$\mbox{What is ... a }X?$$ How do we choose the topic $X$? $\endgroup$ – user122283 May 4 '14 at 15:48
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    $\begingroup$ I'd say the choice of X is up to the author. It may be taxing to find one for all choices of X that the crowd would like to see. Supply and demand should meet somehow though. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen May 4 '14 at 21:22
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Very general outlines of the work behind recent major breakthroughs, or concerning the status of potential breakthroughs, such as Mochizuki's claimed proof of the ABC conjecture.

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    $\begingroup$ also eg Zhang twin prime conjecture advances $\endgroup$ – vzn May 6 '14 at 23:41
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Explanation of popular or recurring topics from the main site. For example, if the series $1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + \cdots$ keeps coming up in questions on the main site, it could be answered definitively and thoroughly in a single blog post instead of in various disjointed threads. (The blog post could also link to the best of the threads.)

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"Question of the Week" posts, which in some manner highlight one or more questions or answers fromt he main site, voted on by the community. "Week" is mutable.

These would probably be selected by a vote here on meta.

Edit: Vote below for whether you would prefer weekly, every other week, or monthly for such posts. Please vote for only one comment.

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    $\begingroup$ How would these be selected? $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen May 3 '14 at 19:03
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    $\begingroup$ @JyrkiLahtonen Community polls - perhaps one like this one itself? $\endgroup$ – user122283 May 3 '14 at 19:12
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    $\begingroup$ Vote this comment up if you would prefer a weekly poll. $\endgroup$ – 6005 May 3 '14 at 19:33
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    $\begingroup$ Vote this comment up if you would prefer a poll every other week. $\endgroup$ – 6005 May 3 '14 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ Vote this comment up if you would prefer a poll only once a month. $\endgroup$ – 6005 May 3 '14 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not totally happy with the method of community poll. I am worried about the prospect of seeing only low level questions survive the vote. Or only select few tags being presented. How about adding a rule that questions sharing a tag with any of the three most recents QoWs are not eligible? $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen May 12 '14 at 17:41
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Reviews of new or old math books recently read by contributors.

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A monthly greatest answer post from "The Crusade of Answers" group. This is a group of kindred fellows who dig up old unanswered questions and provide answers to them so as to take them off of the unanswered list. They are known chiefly by the existence of their long standing no nonsense chat room, and the fact that they bring the ratio of unanswered to answered questions down through their efforts. Other than that, I expect they are unknown in the community.

In a sort of news magazine favorite author way of thinking, it would definitely entertain me to see the most nifty answer of the month that has been brought up from this graveyard. Of course the grave diggers themselves would have to have the prime input here on which answer is the top of the month. As well, it is possible that none of the grave diggers (or anyone else) is interested in doing the work to convert the chosen answer into a blog post, but the question being "What sort of posts would you like to see...", this would definitely entertain me, as I appreciate what they do for the site and the community.

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    $\begingroup$ I present this blog post column suggestion in part to relieve Goos from having to come up with all of the great ideas. I would certainly be happy to help with any transcription chores as needed. $\endgroup$ – J. W. Perry May 4 '14 at 9:46
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Posts about current events of interest to the mathematical community, such as major conferences, outreach efforts like Mathematics Awareness Month, and major awards like the Fields and Abel medals.

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Posts highlighting and expanding on great threads from the main site.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't understand this. What should be counted as great threads? who or how is it decided? any example? $\endgroup$ – achille hui May 4 '14 at 6:50
  • $\begingroup$ @achillehui Maybe you should ask Alex Becker who proposed it in the other thread. But I think the general idea is if there are threads on mathSE better fit for the blog format, we could highlight and expand on them there. See this. $\endgroup$ – 6005 May 4 '14 at 9:17
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Solutions or solution outlines to problems from major math competitions, after the competitions have ended.

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I would like to see some posts by non-mathematicians about mathematics. For example posts like

  • A physicist's view of representation theory
  • A philosopher's view of set theory/foundations of mathematics
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    $\begingroup$ I would not want to see the latter. The very thought runs chills down my spine. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila May 4 '14 at 12:16
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila: Why not? I think it could be interesting to see how non-mathematicians view topics in mathematics. I didn't mean to suggest that a philosopher would write a post about what set theory is about, but about how (s)he views this. It, of course, should be clear that it is a non-mathematical point of view. $\endgroup$ – Thomas May 4 '14 at 12:33
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    $\begingroup$ Well, maybe. My experience tells me that I'm unlikely to be happy with the result. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila May 4 '14 at 12:41

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