I am currently reading Galois Theory on my own from Patrick Morandi's Field and Galois Theory. There are many statements in the textbook that I do not find to be obvious, which is to be expected from a graduate-level textbook, I think. I would like to post questions to fill in these gaps that I encounter while reading, along with a full solution. I will be posting as and when I encounter an unclear statement and am able to write down a clear explanation, which shouldn't be too often.

I have done this earlier with a couple of question+answer posts while reading Hoffman & Kunze's Linear Algebra, and there hasn't been any negative feedback. In fact, one user commented positively that my posts were quite useful for the community. However, I still thought it would be wise to post this on meta before embarking on a potentially long-term series of posts.

So, will such question+answer posts lie within the scope of MSE, and will I be encouraged? Even after going through past discussions on the subject (for example, here), I have not understood the consensus.

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    $\begingroup$ It is hard to say how others will react, but as long as you provide the context of where the problems originate and what you've tried, it should be received well. $\endgroup$
    – robjohn Mod
    Jun 16, 2018 at 18:30
  • $\begingroup$ @robjohn The format I've been using for the Hoffman&Kunze questions are like this: example1 and example2. I haven't really shown what I've tried, but I've provided context. Does this look acceptable? $\endgroup$
    – user279515
    Jun 16, 2018 at 18:37
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    $\begingroup$ I don't see anything wrong with that question. $\endgroup$
    – robjohn Mod
    Jun 16, 2018 at 19:12
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    $\begingroup$ Based on your examples: not a PSQ ("problem statement question"), clearly not homework, and you're giving context to your questions. I also don't see any problem. $\endgroup$
    – Ivo Terek
    Jun 16, 2018 at 20:39
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    $\begingroup$ I do not see any problem in posting either, but my own experience (e.g. this) is that very concrete questions receive few answers. $\endgroup$
    – Miguel
    Jun 17, 2018 at 10:31
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    $\begingroup$ Posts like this can be very useful, particularly if you keep track of errors. Just make sure that your questions make sense to those who don't have the book. $\endgroup$ Jun 17, 2018 at 13:35
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your feedback! I have now made my first such post here. $\endgroup$
    – user279515
    Jun 17, 2018 at 19:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Brahadeesh I've been doing the same with many textbooks, such as Principles of Mathematics by Walter Rudin, 3rd edition; Topology by James R. Munkres, 2nd edition; A First Course in Abstract Algebra by John B. Fraleigh, 7th edition; and a few others. Please have a look at my questions at the following link. math.stackexchange.com/users/59734/saaqib-mahmood?tab=questions Saaqib, Abbottabad, Pakistan $\endgroup$ Jun 18, 2018 at 12:44
  • $\begingroup$ @SaaqibMahmood woah, you have a bazillion questions and answers! Have you also asked and answered your own questions? :) $\endgroup$
    – user279515
    Jun 18, 2018 at 17:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Brahadeesh while I've not explicitly answered my own questions, I certainly have posted complete proofs / solutions as part of my attempt at a question I've posted. $\endgroup$ Jun 18, 2018 at 21:28
  • $\begingroup$ @SaaqibMahmood i see, thank you $\endgroup$
    – user279515
    Jun 18, 2018 at 21:34
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    $\begingroup$ As an off-topic note, for me it seems it could be a very useful feature to add a possibility to tag such questions somewhere along the lines of "following a textbook" with a certain citation/link (since MSE already has a nice bibliography-index available to most popular textbooks). This would allow for easier searching/filtering for future readers, following the same book and likely having similar questions. $\endgroup$
    – runr
    Jun 20, 2018 at 11:03
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    $\begingroup$ Of course, one should already have included a precise bibliographic reference in each post, and if everyone doing this followed that then one can indeed find all posts on that particular text. $\endgroup$
    – user21820
    Jun 23, 2018 at 7:15
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    $\begingroup$ I think the main thing is to show in those posts a desire to genuinely understand the textbook. Ideally, that would be enough to distinguish you from the "do-my-homework-for-me" posts. $\endgroup$ Jun 23, 2018 at 12:52
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    $\begingroup$ Just please make sure you ask a question in each and every post, and don't turn your ongoing posts into a blog. I.e., don't over do it. But the Question Answer format is a must. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Jun 28, 2018 at 23:29

1 Answer 1


I'm new here, but I don't see why it would be a problem. From the about page:

Mathematics Stack Exchange is for people studying mathematics at any level and professionals in related fields. We welcome questions about:

  • Understanding mathematical concepts and theorems.
  • Mathematical problems such as one might come across in a course or textbook. (First read our how to ask a good question page.)
  • Solving mathematical puzzles.
  • Software that mathematicians use (except Mathematica, which has its own Stack Exchange site).

Your questions are well educated and provide good discussion and information, I say keep posting them :)

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    $\begingroup$ I browse the new Q's every day and there is almost always a Q on not following part of book. If the proposer is specific about what part (s)he does not follow, and quotes the relevant passage, and provides some necessary definitions (bearing in mind that not all authors use the same notations) there is almost always positive feedback and an answer. $\endgroup$ Jun 24, 2018 at 4:11

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