If one wants to begin a mathematical investigation, but is wondering about the appropriate form and using which formulae/algorithms to conduct it, which is the appropriate forum? I'm thinking that the question is likely to be closed on the main Math.SE forum for being primarily opinion based, so my contention was the best place is Math.SE Meta...

My original question was very basic, as I was just wondering if the Katz distribution algorithm is the best one for creating a matrix of influence based on fame, specifically Facebook fame, and if it would be useful to supplement this with additional algorithms as Katz seems too basic.

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    $\begingroup$ Meta is for asking questions about the main site, not for asking questions about mathematics, so your proposal would be way off-topic here. $\endgroup$ Commented May 4, 2016 at 12:40
  • $\begingroup$ And also on Math.SE for being primarily opinion-based. So which would be the appropriate Stack Exchange community for it? It's definitely Math related... $\endgroup$ Commented May 4, 2016 at 12:42
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    $\begingroup$ There is no law that says that for every conceivable question there must be a suitable website in the StackExchange system. $\endgroup$ Commented May 4, 2016 at 12:50
  • $\begingroup$ Hhhhmmmmm. I would have thought if there is demand for it, it will be in Stack Exchange's interests to create it. Perhaps people would sponsor a proposal on Area 51? Though there would probably need to be someone who wanted it and was also able to create it using the SE API...? $\endgroup$ Commented May 4, 2016 at 12:51
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    $\begingroup$ What might fly on the main site would be a question like this: what should I read to learn about alternatives to the Katz distribution algorithm, and the relative merits of these alternatives? This way, you're not asking for opinions, you're looking for references you can use to form your own opinions. $\endgroup$ Commented May 4, 2016 at 12:53
  • $\begingroup$ Or perhaps: 'what materials have other people found to be useful?' as this question would be primarily objective, since the perception the mathematician has is verifiable by the mathematician, and though memory is fallible, any opinions regarding the fallibility of memory of usefulness would seem secondary, rather than primary, in this instance, whereas asking what one 'should' learn would be primarily opinion based still, no? $\endgroup$ Commented May 4, 2016 at 13:04
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    $\begingroup$ Also, Leicester won the League. That should tell you something. $\endgroup$
    – Will Jagy
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 16:21

1 Answer 1


My advice is to craft a Question for the main site (possibly considering CrossValidated as an alternative source of statistical design expertise) that can be answered within the parameters of (1) reasoned mathematical argument and (2) practical size restrictions.

Sharing your investigation in a very open-ended way is apt to strike many Readers as primarily opinion based or (worse) unclear what you are asking. Making a thoughtful Question however will possibly benefit future Readers, if only as a good model for how to ask.


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