This is not my first maths.stackexchange account ,however, I've experienced if one seems to hold a controversial view about what he's asking about he is often down-voted rather than engaging in discussion over the problem posed:

I believe this is the reason for the down-votes I received in: Algorithm to tell if an infinite sequence is random or not??

I do not think stack exchange endorses this kind of behaviour. Is there anything that can be done?

EDIT: It seems ever since, I've posted this concern (weather or not it be legit) I have received a lot of down-votes The score is now $0$ ... I feel like people prefer to downvote (probably cause it's easier than finding a counter example). This behaviour is disengaging. What should I do? (I wasn't sure to post this as a separate question or comment)

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Maybe it's the reason for the upvotes? :-) More seriously, I am not sure what your concern is. The question at +3 has a rather good score; that it splits as +6/-3 is considering how the point-system works better than a "clean" +3. Either way, users can vote how they see fit (as long as it is not abusive or trolling). $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Mar 4, 2018 at 17:21
  • $\begingroup$ @quid would it be correct to interpret your position as downvote can be used "as how they see fit (as long as it is not abusive or trolling)"? My point is if people use it like (to downvote rather than engage in discussion) this gives incentive not to express one's view which is not healthy for questions which require some discussion. $\endgroup$ Mar 4, 2018 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ Also, I further am in risk to receive further down vote (as I just did +6/-4) ... When I raise my concern ... which gives an incentive to not raise concerns over such topics ... (Side concern) $\endgroup$ Mar 4, 2018 at 17:34
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    $\begingroup$ This site is not intended for discussions. If you questions require discussion, chances are they are not on-topic to begin with. (I did not study the question you link to in details, this is a general remark.) $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Mar 4, 2018 at 17:42
  • $\begingroup$ Since you seem short on time ... To quote one of the users: "Worth noting, a remarkable number of algorithms in the field of cryptography depend on it being difficult to distinguish a Pseudo Random Number Genrator (PRNG), aka a deterministic computer program generating an infinite stream of output, and a Random Number Generator (RNG), such as resistor noise or radioactive decay. If you find an algorithm to do what you want, you will become instantly famous in the cryptography community." (I was unaware of this fact when I posted the question). $\endgroup$ Mar 4, 2018 at 17:50
  • $\begingroup$ Hence, the seemingly existence of my algorithm is counter-intuitive. Are counter-intuitive questions not allowed? $\endgroup$ Mar 4, 2018 at 17:50
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    $\begingroup$ Your question is still open after a month and was answered. I still do not understand what you want. A question that is counter-intuitive is more likely to misunderstood and misjudge, it is also more likely to be found intriguing. In a way things balance out. I do not see any problem to be solved there. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Mar 4, 2018 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think it's fair (in my opinion) that I should receive down votes for other peoples misunderstandings or misjudgements whereas intrigue seems fine to upvote. What I would like to achieve through this discussion. A method in the future where one circumvent this (I was hoping for discussion as a method but perhaps that is not feasible). $\endgroup$ Mar 4, 2018 at 18:03
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    $\begingroup$ Why do you insist that downvotes you received are from others' misunderstandings? Perhaps they are due to your own misunderstandings. No one likes a downvote, but learn from the experience instead of whining about a few downvotes. Imagine every one of us who've gotten downvotes on an answer flooding meta to complain that they're misunderstood. Most of us don't do that. But that's what you did, here. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Mar 4, 2018 at 19:31
  • $\begingroup$ In that case, if it is not a misunderstanding I would be very grateful if they specified the reason for down-vote. $\endgroup$ Mar 4, 2018 at 22:33
  • $\begingroup$ Either way, I wish I was given valid reason for the downvotes rather than having to second guess. The privilege of downvoting comes with a responsibility ... I thank Misha Lavrov for his perspective on the reason of downvotes (now i can improve my question) $\endgroup$ Mar 4, 2018 at 22:41
  • $\begingroup$ Also, I only used the wording misunderstanding as it was used by quid earlier ... $\endgroup$ Mar 4, 2018 at 23:13

1 Answer 1


If you hold non-mainstream mathematical views and want to ask questions about them, what you should do is be extremely clear and specific about what you're asking.

Many mathematicians have had very negative experiences engaging with people that have unusual mathematical views and defend them by:

  • relying on intuitive notions rather than rigorous definitions.
  • describing procedures too vague to tell what exactly they do and therefore impossible to find a specific flaw in without asking many clarifying questions.
  • moving the goalposts when a contradiction is found.

So we've learned to react poorly to signs that a question might start going in these directions.

You've actually done reasonably well in avoiding these pitfalls: your question asks when a well-specified algorithm will always produce certain specific input. (I think you'd have done better by being more specific about the pattern you see: that for all sufficiently large $n$, the $2^{\text{nd}}$ element of the $n^{\text{th}}$ row is equal to the $1^{\text{st}}$ element of the $(n+2)^{\text{th}}$ row. But that's a minor quibble.) As a result, you've gotten a net positive response in votes, and answers that address your question.

I suspect that downvotes and criticism are due to your notion of "random" sequences, which is not nearly as well-specified. For example, the set $L$ actually described by the first paragraph is merely the set of eventually-periodic sequences, which definitely does not include the sequence of all primes. A computer with a finite amount of memory will not be able to generate the sequence of prime numbers, since eventually it will have too little memory to hold the $n^{\text{th}}$ prime number, much less test it for primality. Your conclusion also seems much stronger than warranted, which is a bit of a warning sign.


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