Yesterday I asked this question. So far it has very few views, zero score and no answers or even comments. I am not sure what to make of this. I would like to know why everyone seems to be ignoring my post.

Is my question too difficult for this site? Does it have too much information? Is it unclear what I am trying to do? Is it too similar to other questions I have asked? Is it too general? Or is it just plain boring?

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    $\begingroup$ Now your question has 58 view. I have a quick look of my question, only 9 of 25 of them has >100 views. Some of these questions are at least two years old. This is just a general phenomenon when you ask a non first year calculus question. $\endgroup$
    – user99914
    Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 4:50
  • $\begingroup$ Your formatting highlights the theorems you want to ask about, but the Question itself (how does the assumption of roots of unity get used) is buried in the middle of the text. I suggest editing to highlight the issue. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 6:20
  • $\begingroup$ Basically on all SO sites, the easier question you ask, the more people are able to answer it and willing to write something. This is why the most basic questions that anyone can find an answer in 1 minute get many upvotes and many almost the same answers. Just look at the most voted question list. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 9:49
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    $\begingroup$ Isn't the most voted question about Bat Man? (No, I looked, that is only the 13th most voted question.) $\endgroup$
    – GEdgar
    Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 13:53
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    $\begingroup$ @Salvador There is more to answers than how "easy" they are. Just because one knows the answer, does not therefore a good answer make. To answer effectively requires the ability to gauge the level of a particular OP; it also requires the ability to put aside one's more advance, conceptual level, or to help bridge an OP's level of knowledge to a deeper and richer, in order to be best understood by the OP. It requires sound pedagogy, which does necessarily, which is not universally dispersed among professional mathematics. So, knowledge is not the only factor that makes for a good answer. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 15:12

1 Answer 1


In absolute terms, I don't think your question is too difficult. However the focus of this site seems to be drifting ever further towards questions from elementary/introductory courses, so a question based on results from a research article is put at a great disadvantage. There are fewer users able to actually answer the question, and the time it spends on the front page is much less than a basic calculus question (since these get multiple answers, each bumping them to the front page). At the same time in the reputation economy of Math Stack Exchange there is little incentive to answer advanced questions: they generally take more time and effort to answer, and at the same time receive much less attention/votes.

As the asker you have to do more to increase the chances of getting an answer. This might include offering a bounty, although the added attention gained by posting this meta question might make that unnecessary. Most importantly, your question must be extremely clear, focused and concise. Don't make the reader wade through a lot of stuff to finally arrive at the question. Include the information you think might be necessary to answer the question in the question itself, and don't waste space with extraneous things.

After a cursory look at the question, I have a few observations.

  • While you mention the article and its authors, you do not make it easy for people to find it. A direct DOI link to it would probably help out.
  • Your numbering of the theorems does not match the numbering of the results from the paper, again perhaps making it more difficult for users to digest. Telling people where they can find these results in the paper may again help out.
  • You appear to be asking for proofs of two separate results from that paper. IMHO this should mean two separate questions.
  • The included proof of your Theorem 1 seems to be utterly superfluous to the question. Similarly, I think, with the statement of Theorem 2.
  • Your Theorems 3 and 4 — which you are asking for proofs of — are properties III and II, respectively, from the paper (p.181). I note that both are given a reference, so have you looked up this reference?

In my opinion, your question(s) should really have the form of

I've been reading Article Title by author(s) (link), and am having difficulty proving some of the results stated therein without proof. I am looking for a proof of the following, which is Statement A on p.###:

Statement of the result.

Now I'll explain some of the notation/concepts in this statement. ...

In your case you might also have to explain why the reference (which you should also name and link to if possible) also doesn't help you out.

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    $\begingroup$ Hat off to your internet searching abilities. (I suppose the paer in question is Baker, I.N., Rippon, P.J.: Convergence of infinite exponentials. Ann. Acad. Sci. Fenn. 8, 179–186 (1983) which I was not able to find. And +1 with very thorough answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 2:50
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    $\begingroup$ I slightly disagree with: "there is little incentive to answer advanced questions". I think that many other users share similar viewpoint: I would rather spend the same amount of time going through the paper about which somebody asks a question than answering somewhat trivial precalculus question. (Assuming the paper is from the area I am interested in and at difficulty level I am able to understand.) The difference is that it is not very likely that I stumble upon a question about a paper from area close to my interests simply because questions asking about clarification of some part... $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 2:54
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    $\begingroup$ ...of a paper are minority on this site. (Not to give false impression, I am guilty of occasionally picking lhf. And I understand that there are some psychological effect in play, such as instant gratification and gamification. But still I would hope that the main factors that make me answer a question are possibility to help other users and my own interst in the topic - rather then reputation.) $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 2:58

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