Today when I was going through the questions on our main site, I saw a question that showed absolutely no effort. But the op left a sentence "don't know where to start". Then I remembered I've seen such questions before, so I wondered where the line between "no idea where to start" and "no effort" is. And then I found this on meta: A criterion for distinguishing between two kinds of questions. I believe this post and the discussion provoked by it, in a way, explain the policy regarding such questions. Then I thought "how was I supposed to know about this if I didn't even know such posts exist?" Along with this I found two other kinds of posts useful:

(1) Tutorial and reference, for example: MathJax basic tutorial and quick reference

(2) Lists, for example: List of Generalizations of Common Questions

Therefore I'd like to make a request: a way to organize the posts on meta that (1) explain the policy of this site; (2) serve as tutorials or reference; (3) serve as lists, for those who want to learn more about and make full use of this site but don't even know what to search for.

I've tried some alternatives.

(1) Help center. But it cannot cover everything, especially something that requires a little discussion like the one I mentioned above.

(2) Filter the posts by upvotes. But a lot of other kinds of posts (like some moderator announcing retirement) also get a lot of votes.

So they don't really solve my problem.

Do you think this is a reasonable request?

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    $\begingroup$ I commend your habit of reading posts on Meta and your ability to recall the policy discussions. However I would not know how to filter the Meta posts that you find illuminating (and I agree that there are many such posts I find informative). "Favorites" (click the star) might be helpful in this respect (as they can be individually assigned). $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Jul 18, 2019 at 18:42
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, Favorties is a good idea. But I don't really know how many more such informative posts are out there. It is hard to add them to my Favorite. $\endgroup$
    – trisct
    Jul 19, 2019 at 1:53
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    $\begingroup$ Regarding lists of questions, the ones I am aware of are mentioned in the corresponding answer of "How to search on this site?". $\endgroup$ Jul 19, 2019 at 4:22

1 Answer 1


At least in theory, the meta posts that discuss recurring and relevant issues are tagged (there is a also as a precursor).

In practice, we might not be consistent enough with this, yet still I think that some of the relevant stuff can be located via this tag (or these two tags). Indeed, two of the three posts you mention are tagged with one of the two.

There is also an index for the FAQs FAQ for math.stackexchange (not completely up to date).

Thus, I think a way to address your issue is via maintaining these two tags and tags more generally.

Actually, I think regarding usual tagging, meta is quite well maintained (thanks to the efforts of Martin Sleziak and some others). Thus, if you want to know something about a subject you could start looking in the relevant tag (or first browse the tags to see what is relevant).

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    $\begingroup$ Just popping in to also register my profound thanks to Martin Sleziak for all of the work that he puts in keeping things organized both on meta and on the main site. Martin deserves some pie. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Jul 19, 2019 at 0:15
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    $\begingroup$ some pie? He deserves an entire cake, really :) $\endgroup$
    – user486983
    Jul 19, 2019 at 1:15
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    $\begingroup$ This is a good idea. I just checked these two tags and there are quite some useful posts under them. I think my first example post also derserves to be tagged faq, doesn't it? (and I'd like to express my thanks to those who maintain these contents, too) $\endgroup$
    – trisct
    Jul 19, 2019 at 2:08
  • $\begingroup$ @trisct I don't think that question is really the right format for a faq, it's to discursive. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Jul 19, 2019 at 12:44
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    $\begingroup$ @Isa I have it on good authority that the cake is a lie. Anyway, as a mathematician, I prefer pi to cake. Though $\tau$ beats both. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Jul 21, 2019 at 2:48
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    $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson Huh? why you have it on good authority that the cake is a lie?. That is because you haven't taste chocolate cake. $\endgroup$
    – user486983
    Jul 21, 2019 at 23:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Isa: The cake is a Lie group. $\endgroup$
    – celtschk
    Jul 28, 2019 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Isa: About the meme: knowyourmeme.com/memes/the-cake-is-a-lie — I assume you understood my tweak, but just in case: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lie_group $\endgroup$
    – celtschk
    Jul 28, 2019 at 22:53

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