I posted a pretty frivolous question on the main site earlier; something along the lines of "How do you fill a blackboard with impressive looking mathematics?"; though I disagree that it was a completely pointless question, I'll agree that math.stackexchange probably isn't the right place for it. Just to clarify:

Is math.stackexchange purely for serious, technical questions, i.e. are questions that aren't directly about learning or doing math inappropriate?

The spirit (but not the letter) of the FAQ seems to imply "yes", but I'm still hoping to get some sort of feedback.

  • $\begingroup$ Watch Big Bang theory and Numb3rs, they do plenty of that. Also IIRC there is a consulting firm to movie companies to get their math lingo right. Sorry I do not recall any more details. $\endgroup$
    – jimjim
    Jan 2, 2011 at 15:55

1 Answer 1


"Serious" and "technical" convey the wrong tone to me, but I would like questions here to be in some way related to learning and/or doing math. It is fine not to interpret this too strictly, but the reason I expressed dissatisfication with your question is not just that it was frivolous but that it expressed what I consider a damaging attitude towards mathematics (namely that it is difficult to understand and the more inscrutable it appears, the better). That is, it was a value judgment, not a statement reflecting any policies the site may have, which is why I left a comment instead of downvoting.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for letting me know, Qiaochu; I agree with your assessment. $\endgroup$
    – Elliott
    Dec 31, 2010 at 23:27
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ the key word is definitely "learning", if I had to pick a single word to describe the intent of all of our sites, it would be that one. $\endgroup$ Jan 1, 2011 at 4:02

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .