Would it make sense to provide a place for a subgroup or two where young people can ask and answer questions appropriate for their level of education? Say ElementaryMath and HighSchoolMath? Then perhaps give a day for people within the group to answer after which any of us could answer.

  • $\begingroup$ This recent meta thread addresses pretty much the same suggestion. $\endgroup$ – Milo Brandt Jan 28 '15 at 15:12
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    $\begingroup$ And NO! The other thread did not address my point, regarding AGE. So give me my points back. $\endgroup$ – Paul Magnussen Jan 28 '15 at 15:31
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    $\begingroup$ Down-voting on a feature-request indicates dis-agreement with the idea. If you have a problem with somebody disagreeing with you, it is your problem. (I did not vote on this so far.) $\endgroup$ – quid Jan 28 '15 at 15:32
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    $\begingroup$ -1 for age-ism. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jan 28 '15 at 15:32
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    $\begingroup$ @Fundamental Your behavior is exactly what I want my kids not to experience. That's why there should be a way for kids to have a chance to ask and answer their own questions. The overgrown babies should be kept at bay for a day or so. $\endgroup$ – Paul Magnussen Jan 28 '15 at 15:34
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    $\begingroup$ @quid Thanks for the clarification. I suspect then that means it doesn't affect reputation. Then I don't have a problem with it. And that's why I deleted a comment above. $\endgroup$ – Paul Magnussen Jan 28 '15 at 15:37
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    $\begingroup$ You are welcome. There is no reputation on per-site metas. There is a measure of participation that is however independent of the votes one receives. $\endgroup$ – quid Jan 28 '15 at 15:39
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    $\begingroup$ See: Yahoo Answers, a nonstop teenage chat with no closevotes or downvotes. You are welcome. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jan 28 '15 at 15:54
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    $\begingroup$ Do you really mean age, or rather level of education? How would this be measured or enforced? What advantages would it have? I don't see any. $\endgroup$ – Jonas Meyer Jan 28 '15 at 15:55
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    $\begingroup$ Age is fine. I know there could be genius young people mixed in with the regulars. The really sharp ones can mix with the current open group. I think 12 and under, 13 to 18, and that's if they want to be there. Anyone in that playground might get bored answering algebra I and geometry questions. It would be nice to let them repeat questions and not beat them up because the same one was asked 6 months ago. Maybe think of it like picking ski slopes. $\endgroup$ – Paul Magnussen Jan 28 '15 at 18:45
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    $\begingroup$ You need to be 13 to be able to use SE at all as per the user agreement. From the rest of your comment, I don't think you've understood what MSE is for. Duplication of content is bad in every possible way. This isn't a website to make you feel good about answering the same elementary math questions over and over again, as much as some users would like to make you believe. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Jan 28 '15 at 18:49
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    $\begingroup$ Ignorance can be a benefit. Why can't we let younger people in if they are serious? Enforcement could be based on the number of reputation points earned at the different levels. Call the current group C. Level A for the youngest (or maybe just starting out). Let them try to answer questions in levels B and C. If they earn 100 points in level B, then they enter the level B group, and then encounter restrictions in A questions. Same process with level B. Once earning 100 points in level C, restrictions kick in for questions in levels A and B. SO if we do this, age per se less important. $\endgroup$ – Paul Magnussen Jan 28 '15 at 18:55
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    $\begingroup$ @Najib Idrissi Content in A and B levels could be purged on a schedule. We don't produce pre-programmed young people. The new generations have to repeat what we've done. The cool thing is when you learn for the first time, you have a chance to create new ways of doing the same thing, and some will be better. Young people can answer probably well less than 1% of the questions here. Should they be turned away, or invited in somehow and encouraged to learn? The reputation point system is a great feedback tool if we don't beat them up. $\endgroup$ – Paul Magnussen Jan 28 '15 at 19:05
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    $\begingroup$ @PaulMagnussen Because of COPPA (SE is US based, so US laws apply), there are significant ramifications of allowing people under 12 to have accounts. $\endgroup$ – apnorton Jan 28 '15 at 20:03
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    $\begingroup$ @anorton Unaware. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – Paul Magnussen Jan 30 '15 at 14:49

Poor fit for SE

Setting aside the highly discriminatory idea that age is a suitable grouping metric for learning, there are several problems with your suggestion.

If you want such a site, I suggest you propose one on Area 51 and rally people to support the proposal. However, your proposal has several problems that make it a poor fit for an SE site. I, for one, would not be active on that site, for the reasons I give below.

The purpose of StackExchange is to create a repository of high-quality questions and answers. We are creating a reference book, not replacing a tutoring center. In a comment, you say:

Content in A and B levels could be purged on a schedule. We don't produce pre-programmed young people. The new generations have to repeat what we've done.

This idea of purging questions and answers periodically is antithetical to the purpose of StackExchange.

However, even if your idea was in-line with SE goals, implementing a "subforum"-like structure with separate permissions depending on age would be a large change to the SE engine. We are not the only site that uses the SE engine, so any such change would have significant effects for the other 132 sites on the network.

Finally, you suggest allowing children under $13$ to post questions/answers. This is not in-line with the SE terms of service, for reasons outlined here.

General Advice

Over the years, I've seen several suggestions on Meta.Math.SE that are borderline site-overhauls. (I consider this suggestion to be one of them.) These suggestions are nearly always made by relatively new users. That makes me feel uneasy, as it is similar to the person who walks up to a group of people having a nice conversation and hijacks it to talk about something else.

Don't get me wrong--I'm all for improvement. But, many of these "overhaul suggestions" would be better suited as ideas for new websites not related to StackExchange.

  • $\begingroup$ I was trying to think of ways to add features without having to write a lot of new code, just reuse mostly existing functions. OK, then what about HSMathExchange with all the same functions, but dump data >1 yr old? No doubt the SE sites are DB driven. It would be easy to check the pts a user has >100pts on MSE to delay answering on NBMSE. Adding a delay function might be the only new code needed. The concerns you raised are old to you, but not to me, and not to others I'm sure. Promise - that's my last comment. $\endgroup$ – Paul Magnussen Jan 30 '15 at 15:06

Fundamentally, I disagree with any suggestion that seriously restricts who can answer a question. A simple question may benefit from a sophisticated answer. I think my greatest contributions (which is closely approximated by my highest upvoted posts) to the site are very accessible to anyone and are substantial answers to simple questions, and I most appreciate these contributions of other people as well. Experience, in both mathematics and mathematical writing, aids the creation of such posts. It is thus desirable that we should have experts (in whatever sense you want to take this) answering good but "easy" questions and additionally that, when the stars align and an awesome question/answer pair shows up, we should keep it forever. Any restriction on question answering will get in the way of this process - even a delay would make experts less likely to browse questions.

Aside from the intrinsic problems with the idea, it's also unclear how one would implement such a feature. How do we decide what "level" a question is at? Question askers certainly aren't good judges of how hard a question is, and given that questions are so often tagged as , we can't exactly go off of tags. And who, in the first place, is going to decide exactly how the graduations are set up?

It sounds like you're proposing a different site than what SE intends to be. This site is really good at getting questions answered well - that's what's it's set up to do. As someone who primarily answers things, I can I learn a whole lot while I answer questions - but this isn't more of a byproduct which only needs to exist insofar as the site needs to attract answerers (which it seems to be doing). The primary goal is that this site will be a high quality collection of questions with useful answers. Your idea is not, in some universal sense, bad, but it does not fit here.

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    $\begingroup$ I understand your position, and it is the most reasonable one I've heard. I was hoping to encourage young people to have an opportunity to do what we do here, but not have to go at full speed, and work at a level where they can function and have fun. This interchange has been very helpful. $\endgroup$ – Paul Magnussen Jan 30 '15 at 14:33
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    $\begingroup$ (Grr. Over 5 min editing, finish here, sorry.) I understand your concerns now. Restriction by age not necessary, but have a protected area where we learn the skills needed to enjoy the site, with easier questions for young. When they are comfortable, they can move up to the main area. If someone has >100 pts here, then delay permission to answer there by maybe 24hr. Dump content &pts >1yr old. Training pts would not carry over. I guess I did arrive at your other thread by having to dump the age requirement, but the intent is still valid. Thanks for considering it! And thanks for MSE. $\endgroup$ – Paul Magnussen Jan 30 '15 at 14:48

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