Am I right in guessing

What Does it Really Mean to Have Different Kinds of Infinities?

is the first question in math.SE?

I got it with math.stackexchange.com/questions/1.

Also, are the questions numbered as they are asked? For example; if the link is math.stackexchange.com/questions/X, does that mean its the Xth question asked in the site?

But for users, I felt they are numbered different; with SE staff taking first numbers (1 doesn't exist; starts from 2)

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Note that Math.SE went through a "beta" period in which salted Questions were "asked" to promote discussion about policies around appropriate site content. Also related: History of Math.StackExchange. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Nov 27, 2015 at 15:50
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    $\begingroup$ @hardmath: Seeded questions. It is true that often nuts and seeds are roasted and salted, but it's not generally the case with questions ... :-) $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Nov 27, 2015 at 16:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Related: math.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/33048/… I.e., the first question on MSE is not the oldest question on MSE. $\endgroup$ Aug 24, 2021 at 11:57

1 Answer 1


Posts are numbered sequentially, but there are a number of different kinds of posts:

So a question having number 1000000 doesn't mean that one million questions have been asked.

User IDs (numbers) are also issued sequentially (but separately from posts). Since SE employees can know exactly when a site opens, they can often nab earlier numbers, though non-employees have been known to grab very early IDs. Of some note, Jeff Atwood (one of the founders of Stack Exchange, and fairly active throughout the network in the early years) only has ID 153, one more than Grigory M, who, as far as I am aware, has had no affiliation with Stack Exchange.

There almost certainly was a user 1, but that account would have been deleted before deletions were logged (so even site moderators cannot see any information whatsoever about the user). Note, too, that there is a user -1.

  • $\begingroup$ I expected community to be user 1 actually, was disappointed to find "it" nowhere in first 10, but I think -1 is a honour enough! Anyway, thank you for the quick answer! $\endgroup$ Nov 27, 2015 at 16:38
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ In recent years, server reboots (for upgrades) caused non-consecutive numbering of posts on a few occasions: What are these mysterious gaps in the progression of post id?. I understand that the server allows 1000-id gap in case some posts trickle through the system as it's rebooting. $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Nov 27, 2015 at 18:46

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