This Question, about random appearance of primes, is a bad one, no doubt. So far it has racked up 3 downvotes and 2 close votes in about half an hour.

And yet I believe there is something impressive to be said on this subject for future Readers. That it would likely not make much impression on the OP is discouraging, but not a show stopper.

I suspect many Readers would be interested to learn a little about the remarkable connection between the distribution of primes and that of zeros (roots) of the Riemann zeta function. I'm reminded of a (more than slightly) contentious thread on sci.math where one of my heros was surprised to be told this connection was not a figment of a troll's imagination.

And surely something can be said of recent progress in understanding the distribution of prime gaps, a remarkable development.

My recommendation is that terrible-but-interesting Questions should be given a little more than the usual hour before closing/putting on hold, to see if someone steps up to post the heroic edits or amazing Answer necessary to keep the box open.

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ there is an MSE blog... $\endgroup$
    – Will Jagy
    Sep 22, 2014 at 1:33
  • 17
    $\begingroup$ We need to resist to urge to extract what we wish the OP had asked about, and then write about it. The question as written is not well composed - in fact, at present it is not even a question. In full, it states "Since the Order of Sequence of the Prime Numbers has not been found, it seems that all famous Mathematicians have opted for the random appearance of Primes." It is not our job to guess what the OP wants to ask, or to struggle to "keep the box open". $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2014 at 2:04
  • $\begingroup$ Cooler heads (than mine) prevailed, and the Q is closed-as-duplicate. Actually I think there were four close reasons given, so the duplicate was a barest plurality. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Sep 22, 2014 at 2:11
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    $\begingroup$ The simplest advice seems to be: If a terribly-posed question has the kernel of an interesting one with a good answer, then take the interesting question and ask it yourself. $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2014 at 22:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Semiclassical: Shockingly simple and effective, nice $\endgroup$
    – MPW
    Sep 22, 2014 at 22:57

1 Answer 1


Removing the stuff about famous mathematicians, one is left with: Are prime numbers randomly distributed? And of course, Are primes randomly distributed? already exists, without any terrific answers to report. Only predictable links to Terence Tao.

More generally, terrible-but-interesting Questions are likely to be posed by cranks. One should be aware of a side effect of rewriting such questions: the author will reap reputation (hence privileges) they do not deserve.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the discussion. Actually the OP did give a nice quote from Euler in a Comment below the (so far) only Answer posted, so I tried to encourage editing to focus on that (of course Euler says nothing about randomness, only that the distribution of primes is a "mystery" not yet resolved). $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Sep 22, 2014 at 1:51
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    $\begingroup$ Cranks, or curious teenagers. Sure, they should smarten up their question, but I feel that your labeling them as cranks is unnecessary and dilutes the "crank" issue. $\endgroup$
    – user1729
    Sep 22, 2014 at 10:14
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    $\begingroup$ @hardmath: He's also "proved Euler wrong", although I am not sure this relates to the statement quoted. $\endgroup$ Sep 28, 2014 at 4:42

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