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I don't like the way this question is worded, but I don't want to take unilateral action against it. I feel like it is breaking some kind of implied social norm but as far as I can tell there is nothing in the FAQ I can hold against the OP. Opinions?

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    $\begingroup$ New OP comments on the thread, post-closure: "A true mathematician would notice that is does not matter in which format the genius bringeth the discovery, but only the content of the message he bringeth." and "Please forgive me if the actual math went over your heads a bit. This is the nature of new discoveries." ... behold that which has been created. :| (FWIW, I already had a bad feeling when people started mentioning hyperreals, when it is clear that the OP wasn't prepared for them.) $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Dec 21 '10 at 15:58
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    $\begingroup$ LOL. From what I've gleaned from the little describing the question here, I think I just asked the same thing. I sorta realize the fundamental problem now (that such numbers wouldn't be well-defined and considering anything after the infinitely-repeating digits is pointless) and I don't think I suffer from the same tendency to act like an self-aggrandizing troll, so I'd like it if you could check it out... $\endgroup$ – Yatharth Agarwal Sep 10 '13 at 14:33
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This scores at least 80 points on the crackpot index:

  • 10 points for each new term you invent or use without properly defining it.

  • 20 points for naming something after yourself. (E.g., talking about the "Caldwell primes" or "the Caldwell factorizer" when your name happens to be Caldwell.)

  • 50 points for failing to respond to appropriate corrections, questions and challenges.

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    $\begingroup$ The mother of all crackpot indices is the original masterpiece by John Baez : math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html . This has spawned subject-specific variants such as Scott Aaronson's guide to evaluating P=NP proofs or the above page for would-be factorization breakthroughs. $\endgroup$ – T.. Dec 22 '10 at 0:01
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed... the one I quote was adapted for studying prime numbers. $\endgroup$ – Douglas S. Stones Dec 22 '10 at 0:07
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Perhaps a rollback to the original question -- which was at least apparently in good faith and not self-aggrandizing in nature -- might be in order?

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The question was initially just a misunderstanding about infinite decimal expansions. Strictly speaking, it didn't make sense, but it was at least possible for Elliott and others to make a good faith effort to clear up the confusion. Now it has gotten ridiculous. I think it qualifies as "not a real question", and I am voting to close as such.

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    $\begingroup$ I agree, and have likewise voted to close. If the question gets closed and the OP persists, then it would be time to take action. $\endgroup$ – Arturo Magidin Dec 20 '10 at 19:43
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I actually think that a moderator or group of 10k+ users should just delete the question now. It is nothing more than crankery and trolling, and the OP is obviously acting in extremely bad faith.

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    $\begingroup$ @Ahkil: I've just left a comment warning kalleman of his behaviour. If the user persists, please flag for moderator attention, and we now have ground to suspend the user for abusive behaviour. I think the deletion of question should not be taken lightly, and I still consider this case somewhat borderline for a moderator to act unilaterally. On the other hand, if more of a consensus builds up... $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Dec 21 '10 at 17:55
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    $\begingroup$ Dear Akhil, I think it's fair to say that I aggravated the situation with my comment. Let's see if the question now dies for good before considering deleting it. $\endgroup$ – Matt E Dec 21 '10 at 18:07
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    $\begingroup$ Deleting a question deletes answers that may have a value of their own, separate from the specific question and OP. $\endgroup$ – T.. Dec 21 '10 at 22:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Willie, @Matt E, @T..: Yes, perhaps I was too harsh. In any case, the activity on that question seems to have faded away. $\endgroup$ – Akhil Mathew Dec 21 '10 at 23:08
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    $\begingroup$ Alternatively, if the need arises, the question can be locked to prevent further editing while preserving the work of the answerers, perhaps after performing a rollback as Pete suggests. $\endgroup$ – Jonas Meyer Dec 22 '10 at 2:41
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with Jonas; locking to prevent further edits to the question would be the best course of option if he tries editing again after Willie's rollback. If he reposts, then escalation is in order... on another note, I don't understand why the question has one reopen vote. $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Dec 22 '10 at 2:43
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Dear Qiaochu,

This question has been massively downvoted (I just added my own downvote, and a comment answering the question: there are no implications). Hopefully this massive downvoting will consign the question to the oblivion it deserves. I wouldn't do anything more than this unless the user persists in bumping the question or something similar.

Best wishes,

Matt

P.S. I just checked and it seems to be off the front-page, which is all that is really needed, so with luck no moderator action will be required.

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    $\begingroup$ Well, I guess your comment to his question triggered kallemann to edit his question once again ... I thought it would be best to just ignore the whole thing; some people just are resistent to any kind of advice. $\endgroup$ – Hendrik Vogt Dec 21 '10 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Hendrik: Dear Hendrik, You're right, and I should have let sleeping dogs lie. Apologies to everyone for throwing fuel on the fire. Best wishes, $\endgroup$ – Matt E Dec 21 '10 at 18:05
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    $\begingroup$ Delaying the dying off of the question by a few hours is a mild side effect. I personally find it satisfying that there is an eloquent dose of reality accompanying the present form of the question, so I appreciate you leaving your comments. $\endgroup$ – Jonas Meyer Dec 22 '10 at 3:11
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In all good conscience, I am terribly sorry to have answered it the way I did. It brought a lot more harm than it did good.

Consider this as my apology for this mess.

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    $\begingroup$ What is wrong with answering a mathematics question, especially one that is often posted on Internet math forums? Contributing a reasonable answer on a site with high search-engine ranking, that can be linked the next time this comes up on or off this site, seems like a good thing. If the site has trouble dealing with trolls this is a separate issue of the FAQs, software platform etc. Restricting the answers is not a good solution. There are three good answers there now and un-deleting yours would make it four. $\endgroup$ – T.. Dec 21 '10 at 22:58
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    $\begingroup$ @T..: Thanks for the support, but all in all I am learning to appreciate the fine structure of methodology. Even if the guy was in fact a troll that came to bother us with whatever, well. My points were sloppy and just made things worse. If my answers were accurate 100% (or close enough for some $\varepsilon>0$ at least) it would have been different. But I gave a popeye-troll some spinach. That's not cool in my book of the internet. Next time... we'll see. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 21 '10 at 23:03
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    $\begingroup$ I can't see your answer, being under 10K. If it's not worth posting even for a more conventional question/OP then of course a deletion is reasonable. But the old "don't feed the trolls" method is not necessary with a software platform that allows ratings, linking between questions and so on. (Also, having mistakes or inaccuracies from knowledgeable posters just shows that there are subtleties or that some of the "wrong" elementary questions are not so stupid after all.) $\endgroup$ – T.. Dec 21 '10 at 23:05
  • $\begingroup$ @T..: Of course. It was just the combination of the two which makes things not nice for me. My answer had a good part and some not-as-good part and some bad-parts. Just for the sake of the good parts in it, I rather keep it deleted and just point them out when needed the next time the issue comes up (writing infinitely many 9's and then one more 8, in this case) - which I think you addressed in your answer anyway. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 21 '10 at 23:08
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    $\begingroup$ Dear Asaf, I don't think you need to apologize. You made a good faith effort to read something interesting into the question. The fact that the whole thing became a shambles reflects poorly on the OP, not on you. Best wishes, $\endgroup$ – Matt E Dec 22 '10 at 1:45
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[faq-proposed]:

"Do not put usernames in question titles."

"Avoid personal names in questions, except where standard or necessary to name specific literature or concepts (examples: Wiles' proof of Fermat's conjecture, Einstein equations, Hilbert space, historical discussions of who discovered what when), or as unique/original sources, or friendly anecdotes."

[meta faq-proposed]: do not debate individual postings or users when the problem can be addressed by FAQs, tags or other improvements that apply to all postings.

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    $\begingroup$ I'd think this is too rare a case to make it into the faq. $\endgroup$ – Hendrik Vogt Dec 22 '10 at 5:48
  • $\begingroup$ The [meta-proposed] addresses a very common case on the meta. Qiaochu noted that the posting in question highlights an FAQ omission and I think it would be good to formulate what the objective problem is. $\endgroup$ – T.. Dec 23 '10 at 1:05

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