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If I use Fraktur (\mathfrak) letters like $\frak{G,R,I,J}$, etc. on MSE in my question everywhere to denote groups, rings, etc., and not the normal letters $R,G$, etc., then does it make the question off-topic or vulnerable to downvotes?

Are those downvotes justified? Shouldn't it depend on OP which notation or symbol he use.

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    $\begingroup$ I do not think a downvote would be justified. But some irritation would be. $\endgroup$ – André Nicolas Jul 23 '15 at 3:12
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    $\begingroup$ Why do you use this notation? $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 23 '15 at 8:38
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    $\begingroup$ Just look at the I and the J, is it easy to determine which one is which? The fraktur font is hard to read in general. I don't really see the point of going against the established conventions. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Jul 23 '15 at 8:40
  • $\begingroup$ @even I did not like fraktur notations until recently when I read endliche gruppen and also used some frak in my report bcz of lack of symbols... In ring theory I have encountered frak alot esp in the bool i mainly followed which denotes prime and max ideals always in frak. Thanks fr ur replies, I also advocate easier to read notations, it was more of a ethical question which was bugging me, so I asked. Thanks, although 6 downvotes are discourahing. $\endgroup$ – Bhaskar Vashishth Jul 23 '15 at 11:21
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the reply. I think that to quite a number of users some of these characters are just too unusual, seeing them breaks the flow and some of them might not be easily understandable and recognizable. They used to be more wide spread, and indeed it seems you saw them in older books mainly. If there is no compelling reason to use them I would recommend you avoid them out of courtesy and consideration towards those that might be inconvenienced by them. $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 23 '15 at 12:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Bhaskar "bcz"? "esp"? "fr ur"? This is not some random internet forum where anything goes. Please invest the time to properly write every word. $\endgroup$ – Lord_Farin Jul 25 '15 at 8:48
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Should you receive downvotes just for using some idiosyncratic notational choices? Probably not, in most cases. Although if your choices detract from the readability of the post I can see this as a possibility. E.g., using $p$, $\mathsf{p}$, $\mathfrak{p}$, and $\mathrm{p}$ to denote four different unrelated things in the same post. But notational choices which detract from the readability of a post don't have to be so extreme: experts are often conditioned to interpreting symbols/fonts in certain specific ways, and fighting these habits can be difficult. ("$\lfloor n \rfloor = x \Rightarrow x \leq n < x+1$" is a true statement, but it certainly looks like something is amiss.)

In general, it is probably best to keep with standard notational conventions within the area that your post is about. I cannot recall seeing Fraktur used to denote arbitrary groups in English-language texts published in the last 20 years (admittedly, IANAA[lgebraist]). I don't really want to wade any further into this specific issue as I am probably not really qualified (did I mention IANAA?).

It's not exactly the same, but I know that for a question I have no problems using $\omega$ to denote the set of natural numbers without explicitly mentioning this. If I were to do the same in a question, I would probably have this usage questioned, if not criticised

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    $\begingroup$ This goes in a slightly different direction, but $\mathfrak{S}_n$ and $\mathfrak{A}_n$ are common for the symmetric and alternating group, respectively; $\mathfrak{p}$ and $\mathfrak{P}$ is common for prime ideals, especially in algebraic number theory. But I mainly agree with the post. $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 23 '15 at 8:34
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    $\begingroup$ Well Lie algebras are often written in Fraktur font too (which is probably a good argument against writing groups in Fraktur, since the Lie algebra associated to a Lie group is often the same letter but in Fraktur...). And apparently set theorists use $\mathfrak{c}$ for the cardinality of the continuum. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Jul 23 '15 at 8:44
  • $\begingroup$ @quid: I cannot recall seeing $\mathfrak{S}_n$ and $\mathfrak{A}_n$ being used to denote those groups (but, again, IANAA). But thanks for that. It seems some small clarification is in order. $\endgroup$ – user642796 Jul 23 '15 at 9:29
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    $\begingroup$ @ArthurFischer It's very common in France (to the point that until 3-4 years ago I didn't even know there were other notations), I don't know about other countries. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Jul 23 '15 at 9:32
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    $\begingroup$ @ArthurFischer See here en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… $\endgroup$ – Surb Jul 23 '15 at 9:33
  • $\begingroup$ What @NajibIdrissi said. And it is also common, or at least used to be common, in German. For a semi-random example Speiser "Die Theorie der Gruppen von endlicher Ordnung" Even other fraktur letters are used there. $\endgroup$ – quid Jul 23 '15 at 10:29

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