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11 Answers 11


This is on the chopping block again: Is zero a prime number? The question was the subject of this meta discussion: How to prevent the loss of excellent answers to poor questions. which resulted in reopening.

(Disclosure, I have a solution on the question. I feel the question and solutions are worth fighting for, in this case.)

The reason this time for closure is "too broad", but it is far from obvious that this objection is valid. The OP asks three complete and answerable questions, two of which have answers elsewhere on the site. The remaining question became the focus of some of the answers, and there does not appear to duplicate with comparable content.

So for all intents and purposes, there is a single, clear question that seems rather likely for a layperson to ask, and there are good answers. There is nothing about the breadth of the question which inhibits solutions, as can be seen.

Furthermore, on the holistic side, after so many upvotes on the question and its solutions, and approaching now 30000 views, it seems that the post IS manifestly useful. So, I request your votes to re-open this.

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    I agree that this rather should not be closed, especially after the improvement of the post. (Yes, the question still has some shortcomings, but I feel it is "good enough".) I tangentially got involved last time; but stopped short of taking action. I reopened it now. (This is less of a so-called unilateral action as it was 'nearly' reopened two weeks ago. ) – quid Jul 16 at 17:42
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    @quid Thank you for your attention to this! – rschwieb Jul 16 at 18:28
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    @quid I'm curious: my understanding was that closed questions were still viewable and not eligible for automatic deletion (assuming that the question is upvoted and has upvoted answers). Why is it inappropriate to close the question and leave a message to the effect of "This question has been preserved because of a good answer. It is never-the-less not a high quality question." For example, the lock message on this question. – Xander Henderson Jul 16 at 19:04
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    @XanderHenderson 'Why is it inappropriate to close the question and leave a message to the effect of "This question has been preserved because of a good answer. It is never-the-less not a high quality question.' Why do you use the indicative here? No one did that, as far as I know. In any case not recently. The question was reopened after a substantive edit, and then reclosed without comment, as 'too broad'. It also had a delete vote. Maybe more to the point, I would not consider it as inappropriate. But frankly given the edit I don't consider the question as all that bad. – quid Jul 16 at 20:57
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    Sure, it is a bit of a laundry list, and the last question is a bit strange, but in it's naive way even this seems like a genuine question. But it is also not unreasonably broad. Would it be asked now, I'd recommend to split it up, maybe. But this is not easy to fix now, and maybe not that important either. Maybe the combination of question even can be seen as hinting at the level at which the questions is asked. To only ask "is zero a number" might be ill-posed or underdefined, but in context I think it works. – quid Jul 16 at 21:04
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    Then there is also a community-aspect. Somebody actually put some non-trivial effort into improving this question, and the result is not that bad. If even this is not enough, at some point the line of argument that users should improve post they care about loses credibility, which leads to less improvements. @XanderHenderson – quid Jul 16 at 21:10
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    @quid I apologize---my original comment was poorly phrased, and likely not really related to this reopen request. A better phrasing might have been "In cases where there are really good answers to questions of marginal merit, (1) don't those answers automatically get preserved even if the question is closed? and (2) can such answers be protected? Since you seemed kind of ambivalent with respect to reopening (which I see now was an over-interpretation on my part), I was asking about an alternative. – Xander Henderson Jul 16 at 23:38
  • In any event, thank you for the feedback. I honestly do value it. :) – Xander Henderson Jul 16 at 23:39


I edited the question Variable in upper bound of sum when it had 4 votes to close, and I also posted a rather detailed answer (which the OP accepted). It got "put on hold as unclear what you're asking" even though I think it's now quite clear and on-topic. Can the question be re-opened?


I would like, if it is possible, remove the labels close-hold for some of next of my recent post

The equation $\varphi(n)=n-\log_2(1+\operatorname{gpf}(n))-\operatorname{gpf}(n)+1$ and Mersenne primes

I think that the answers are very interesting and very good, and I think that the questions are in the standard of questions of MSE. Any case many thanks.


I just came across this question: Derivative of Square Root Visual after failing a reopen review audit and I'm wondering why it's still closed: unclear what you're asking. I agree that the MathJax formatting isn't the best, but it is still readable.

The OP has actually shown what they've tried, and what they didn't get, so the reason for closure is beyond my understanding. I thus request to reopen the question.

I have now edited the question to make it look neater.

  • Well it is definitely unclear what they are asking... One has to take roughly 10 mins to watch the youtube videos to see what they are trying to say (watching parts of 2:25 and 12:48 don't quite work, at least to me). – John Ma Jul 17 at 10:32
  • @JohnMa I think they meant 3:25, as it looks much more relevant? – TheSimpliFire Jul 17 at 10:43
  • They start the $x^2$ example at 2:35, and then to power rule (up to 10:30). Then they switch to $1/x$ (it seems this is the more relevant one). – John Ma Jul 17 at 10:50

(This is to break this request post into two)

I would like, if it is possible, remove the labels close-hold for some of next of my recent post Convergence of $\prod_{n=2}^\infty\left(1-\frac{1}{n^2}\right)^{i^n}$, where $i$ is the imaginary unit

I think that the answers are very interesting and very good, and I think that the questions are in the standard of questions of MSE. Any case many thanks.

Please consider undoing the duplicate votes here. The duplicate target asks for algorithms while this questions asks for easy ways to calculate determinant (so that careless errors are less likely to commit). The duplicate target is a question without context too (though with some decent answers).

FYI: I hope I did not miss something obvious. It failed the reopening review three times before.

Undeleted, then closed and deleted

I think there's a consensus that we undelete questions when they are deleted by the user who posted them after someone else has posted an answer (see, for example, the comment here: In accordance with that consensus, I propose undeletion of

Now I'll own up that I'm the one who posted the answer to the question. My answer was exceedingly terse, and came out of a review with the note, "This does not provide an answer to the question (and so on, and so forth)." But it does provide an answer. The question was to prove or disprove that there are no solutions to a certain equation (congruence, actually, but never mind), and my answer gave a solution.

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    Is this actually a consensus? – Did Jul 23 at 12:30
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    @Did, if you look at the previous edition of this thread, you'll find that in April-May, GNU Supporter posted 4 requests for undeletion, all on the grounds that OP had deleted a question after receiving an answer, and all four questions were undeleted. – Gerry Myerson Jul 23 at 12:51
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    Yes, and? $ $ $ $ – Did Jul 23 at 18:11
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    @Did For what it's worth, I have the same impression about the consensus. Preventing an asker from covering up their own question seems to be something the community values, even if it's closed later. – T. Bongers Jul 23 at 18:35
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    @T.Bongers (and also Gerry Myerson): I think that there is a moderate consensus that it is bad form to ask a question, get an answer, then delete the question. It belies an ignorance of the functioning of the site (i.e. questions are supposed to be helpful to everyone, not just the one person asking the question). However, in this particular case, the question is of pretty low quality, and should be closed and deleted (in my opinion). It seems like a waste of resources to have opened it back up again... – Xander Henderson Jul 23 at 19:00
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    For what it's worth, I have expanded my answer to the question on main. – Gerry Myerson Jul 24 at 0:34
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    "For what it's worth, I have expanded my answer to the question on main." On this topic, my understanding is that the consensus is that a good (or even great) answer is not really enough to justify keeping a poor question around. This and this are relevant. – Xander Henderson Jul 24 at 13:27
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    @Xander, the highest-voted answers and comments on your first link hardly support your understanding. The second link, even there there is considerable support for not deleting questions with good answers. I'm not convinced there is, was, or ever will be a consensus on this issue. A majority, maybe, but no consensus. – Gerry Myerson Jul 24 at 21:31
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    @GerryMyerson I think you and I must be reading very different answers. In answer to the question of whether bad questions with good answers should be preserved, my reading of the top three answers ((1), (2), (3)) suggest that it might be worth protecting a poor question if it hosts an excellent answer. – Xander Henderson Jul 24 at 22:54
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    On the question of upvoting poor questions with good answers, the top voted answer is this one, essentially "I don't do it, but there could be an argument in favor of it." The second answer is similar, with the idea being that a good answer should be preserved if it might be helpful for others in the future. – Xander Henderson Jul 24 at 22:55
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    In both cases, it seems clear to me that the consensus is that it might be reasonable to preserve a poor question if it attracted a really good, useful, generally helpful answer. Again, a good answer (or possibly even a great answer) is not, by itself, enough to preserve a poor question. – Xander Henderson Jul 24 at 22:58
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    Finally, I note that I made my initial comment in response to your assertion that you have improved your answer. Are you further asserting that the improvements created something that is of such lasting value that it will be beneficial beyond asking that poor question? Despite the fact that this question and answer have been the topic of discussion here for a couple of days, your answer has not attracted any upvotes... – Xander Henderson Jul 24 at 22:59
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    @Xander, I'm not in it for the upvotes. I objected to a user posting a question and then deleting it when it got an answer, as I agree with a moderator that such an action is an abuse of the site. Once the question was undeleted, I took the opportunity to improve my answer, in response to a comment from another user. What's wrong with that? I'm not asserting anything about the lasting value of the question or the answer, other than the answer being fuller now than it was. The answer may help someone coming along who is interested in sums of two squares modulo a prime. Fire away. – Gerry Myerson Jul 24 at 23:30
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    @GerryMyerson: it isn't pleasant to see one's own answer deleted, but in this case the question is clearly not up to many users' standards, so I think it is not surprising to see it deleted. At this point, the question is no longer deleted by the OP, but by several other users. – Carl Mummert Aug 5 at 21:06
  • @Carl, it isn't pleasant to see any answer with nonzero mathematical content deleted. More to the point, I would not have put the question up for undeletion, had it been deleted by votes of users. My objection was to OP abusing the site by deleting the question after getting an answer. I thought that was clear. – Gerry Myerson Aug 5 at 23:09


The question A Proof of the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic was rightfully quickly closed as unclear, but the asker has since edited to clarify what they meant and what specific difficulty they had adapting the standard proofs to get what they want. It seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable question which is mostly clear (though a constraint like "not using integers or rational numbers" is inevitably going to be a little slippery).


2 reopen votes left please:

Prove $ \lim_{z \rightarrow z_o} f(z) \in \mathbb{C}$ if $\lim_{z \rightarrow z_o} (z-z_0) f(z) = 0$

I made a new question, where I tried to be as clear and narrow as possible.


Please re-open this question which is put on hold:

Understanding De/Suspension $\Sigma^{-1}(\Sigma{X})\neq X$

It was said that "unclear what you're asking" and people do not know the def of de-suspension.

However, the suspension is introduced earlier in the cited question:

The suspension (topology) and elementary examples

While the desuspension is also quoted/linked to the Wikipedia (withe refs given by Wiki). I also include a new note: "The desuspension is arguably firstly introduced in the cited text mentioned in H. R. Margolis (1983). Spectra and the Steenrod Algebra. North-Holland. p. 454." And the ref cited.

Follow people's comments, I modify to also ask the basic definitions:

Question: How do we define desuspension exactly? (Please see the comments below, people complain about the meanings of desuspension in Wikipedia is useless).

Are we able to have the desuspension acting on the topological space as the suspension does? Or do we only have the desuspension act on the spectra but not the space?

Please consider reopening

I am not sure why it was deleted. If someone explains why it was deleted, I can rewrite it to fit into the format of the site.

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    Perhaps it was deleted because it was, as several people wrote, nonsense. I don't think any amount of rewriting, short of burning it and writing something completely different, maybe by someone else, will make it fit the site. – Gerry Myerson yesterday
  • @GerryMyerson, If it were truly nonsense, nobody would have even attempted to answer it, yet 3 people did. – Craig Feinstein yesterday
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    @CraigFeinstein Please don't mistake some people's attempt at a charitable reading of the question for an actual, sensible post. – T. Bongers yesterday
  • @T.Bongers, declaring that something is nonsense doesn't make it so. – Craig Feinstein yesterday
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    @CraigFeinstein Of course, but the burden of proof is on you to convince people that this question has merit. Considering the large number of (experienced) people who have told you that the question is nonsense, that may be a bit difficult. – T. Bongers yesterday
  • @T.Bongers, The only question without merit is the question that doesn't get asked. – Craig Feinstein yesterday
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    @CraigFeinstein Trite witticisms aside, there are minimum quality standards for questions here. The linked question does not have merit on MSE, in my humble opinion, and shouldn't be reopened without very substantial changes. – T. Bongers yesterday
  • @TBongers, you haven't answered my question. Why was my question deleted? I would like to know so I do not make the same mistakes in the future. – Craig Feinstein yesterday

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