I recently asked a question which is desiring a learning map for the self-study of a subject in mathematics. In my opinion, it is not really seeking personal advice but it was voted by the others to be closed! I have seen lots of questions like this on the site while they are not voted to be closed. I have listed some of theses below. I think these questions are not really seeking for personal advice and they are not only useful for an individual but can be a source of guidance for many others.

1) So if mine is not proper to be asked on MSE why the others are?

2) If it is not proper to be asked on MSE so where should I ask such a question?

3) Are theses questions useful or useless for others?

My Question
Sample Question 1
Sample Question 2
Sample Question 3

Thanks for the attention

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @JohnMa: OK, I will re-phrase, I do not know what is the exact definition of a moderator! Sorry for bad usage of the word! :) $\endgroup$ Nov 17, 2015 at 7:50
  • $\begingroup$ Note also that asking "what do I need to know to understand something" can be objective, while asking the order of study is quite personal. $\endgroup$
    – user99914
    Nov 17, 2015 at 7:52
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    $\begingroup$ Also, there is a place for you to post your request for open: click here $\endgroup$
    – user99914
    Nov 17, 2015 at 7:53
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnMa: Thanks for the guide! :) In fact, in the question, I asked both the things I need to know and the order they are proper to study! You are right, order may differ by one's opinion. However, we can't ignore the fact the order of studying is also important in understanding things so why not discuss on that too! :) $\endgroup$ Nov 17, 2015 at 7:57
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnMa: Where should I ask this kind of question? $\endgroup$ Nov 17, 2015 at 8:48
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnMa: I don't have a teacher! It is a matter of self-study! :) Anyway, I think this policy of MSE is not that good! These kind of questions are really related to the study of math and may help many many others that want to go the same way in future! $\endgroup$ Nov 17, 2015 at 9:03
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Whether or not it is helping or misleading others is hard to tell. If someone write a specific road map for you and you upvote and accept that, others seeing this might believe that this is the "correct" one, while it isn't. (I think there are some recent discussions on this topic on meta, as the "seeking personal advice" option is newly added). $\endgroup$
    – user99914
    Nov 17, 2015 at 9:06
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnMa: OK, we are users and we obey the law! :) It is true that one road map may be good for one and not for the other; however, one can decide on its own taste that which is proper for them! These kind of questions do not have a unique answer! There are variety of suggestions that may come up and this serves as a source of good suggestions which is really better than nothing! :) $\endgroup$ Nov 17, 2015 at 9:58
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    $\begingroup$ @H.R. Incidentally, part of your argument is an example of what we call (at Wikipedia) "other stuff exists". The mere existence of other similar content is not always a valid argument for keeping the new content. As policies shift over time, there are bound to be things that have become acceptable or unacceptable according to recent fashion, but it is foolish to expect a community to retroactively apply current fashion to everything retroactively, or to apply historic fashion to everything modern. So, be careful with the reason. $\endgroup$
    – rschwieb
    Nov 17, 2015 at 11:24
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    $\begingroup$ I have added (allowed-questions) to your questions, since you basically want to discuss whether they are on-topic. If your questions is supposed to be only about this particular instance and not about the general issue, the tag (specific-question) would be suitable. But I think it is better to discuss the suitability of this type of questions in general. $\endgroup$ Nov 17, 2015 at 11:45
  • $\begingroup$ @rschwieb: OK, you are right, policies change over time but question 3 is just for 4 month ago! Does the policies have changed since then!? I don't think so! Anyway, I just think this type of questions are really useful as explained in my comment above to John Ma. $\endgroup$ Nov 17, 2015 at 13:04
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak: Thanks! :) $\endgroup$ Nov 17, 2015 at 13:05

1 Answer 1


Regarding Question 2 ("where should I ask such a question?"), the following excerpt from the Help Center at Math Educators Stack Exchange, which has a tag for self-learning, might be pertinent:

I am not a teacher but I still have a question about teaching or learning mathematics. Can I ask this here?

Absolutely: You are welcome to contribute to the site. There are no formal requirements for asking, answering, or generally participating here. Please note, though, that the site is not for questions solely on mathematics itself, but rather for questions on teaching mathematics and the process of learning mathematics. As stated earlier, mathematics questions may be a better fit on Mathematics Stack Exchange.

  • $\begingroup$ I do really appreciate your guide for where to ask my question! :) Finally, someone is found to give guides instead of down-votes! :) Many thanks! $\endgroup$ Nov 18, 2015 at 8:34

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