The question is the following:

Is it allowed to ask for comments about mathematical results found around the net?

I mean, I am not referring to professional articles or preprints (like the ones on arxiv.org); on the contrary, I'm referring to webpages/documents written by "non-professional mathematicians", whose content isn't usually checked by any reviewer.

For example, recently I stumbled upon a page whose author claimed to have proved P=NP in ten lines... And it was crap (obviously); but am I allowed to ask about comments on that page?

  • $\begingroup$ @Moron: Thanks for retagging my question; I was not sure of what tag has to be used. $\endgroup$
    – Pacciu
    Apr 2, 2011 at 0:59
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ You can spare yourself and others the time. 10 line proofs of P=NP that the author is not sending to a journal score so high on the crackpot index that one doesn't need to look at the paper to know that there will be no mathematics in it. $\endgroup$
    – Alex B.
    Apr 2, 2011 at 5:08

1 Answer 1


My take is: you can ask mathematical questions.

  • $\begingroup$ Is it a mathematical question to ask Is the proof of Goldbach conjecture published here (link) correct? or not? $\endgroup$
    – Pacciu
    Apr 2, 2011 at 0:56
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    $\begingroup$ @Pacciu: yes, but on top of condition of being mathematical there is an implicit need for tact. See <tea.mathoverflow.net/discussion/823/…> for a similar situation, where great advice is given. $\endgroup$ Apr 2, 2011 at 1:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Pacciu: Not to mention that you are unlikely to get much interest from such a query unless the link happened to be to a reputable cite and a reputable author... $\endgroup$ Apr 2, 2011 at 2:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Arturo: I like your pragmatic approach to the question. @Mariano & Arturo: Fair. But, don't you think wrong mathematical opinions can spread around the net even if they comes from that kind of sources? (Say, like a minor infection which becomes gangrene if not cured in time...) And, in the positive case, isn't this a case worth a discussion? I mean, it is totally obvious experienced professional mathematicians cannot believe any ten line proof of P=NP, but what about unexperienced guys? Cannot they be badly influenced by those kind of things? $\endgroup$
    – Pacciu
    Apr 2, 2011 at 16:09
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    $\begingroup$ Ah, the Someone Is Wrong On The Internet phenomenon xkcd.com/386. Well... $\endgroup$ Apr 2, 2011 at 16:29
  • $\begingroup$ Very nice answer; pragmatic, as I expected. $\endgroup$
    – Pacciu
    Apr 2, 2011 at 17:25

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