# Toxicity in Maths SE

I have observed and experienced unfriendly as well as demoralising behaviour in many SEs

For instance thisquestion was marked as off topic without informing the person what amendments he/she should make.

Many newcomers face this problem and numerous examples are there on all sites. Rigidity is right however explanations are required at places where only downvotes are given in return.

Why has there been no steps to correct this?

• Reasons are given. It's inside the yellow box. Yes it is generic and are not always very helpful, but it is also not possible to provide tailor-made comment every time one cast a close vote. – Arctic Char Aug 5 at 18:39
• Could you explain what you want to discuss specifically? The question you link to or the general problem? Further, it is not clear to me that the word "toxicity" is very well chosen as regards the particular question. As far as I can see nobody made fun of the poster or anything like this. – quid Aug 5 at 19:10
• Indeed this action was unfair and unfriendly. The question should have not been marked as off-topic since OP wrote their attempts, so was not a psq question. I am glad you bring this kind of things here to let us know about it. – Isabella Aug 5 at 19:25
• @StackUpPhysics I agree with quid that your choice of using the word "toxicity" in the title is perhaps not the best. Nonetheless, with the specific post you linked to, I also agree it should not have been put on hold. I've up voted it and cast the first reopen vote for it. – John Omielan Aug 5 at 19:30
• @JohnOmielan if this had happened 2 or 3 times in a long period, then fine. But OP said many newcomers face this problem and numerous examples are there on all sites. So that is becoming toxic, no? :) – Isabella Aug 5 at 19:37
• @Isa note though that the first version of the post did not include that. – quid Aug 5 at 19:43
• I just noticed that the question has been reopened thanks for considering my points – StackUpPhysics Aug 5 at 19:51
• @Isa I've updated with one more case I personally saw I'll update with more as I find them – StackUpPhysics Aug 5 at 20:00
• That's a tricky example because it happened half way on Physics – quid Aug 5 at 20:05
• @quid yeah I agree but it's in accordance to my claim that such behaviour Exists on most sites – StackUpPhysics Aug 5 at 20:06
• Yes, but if you want to discuss something pertaining to most SE sites you really should ask it on Meta Stack Exchange; the title focuses on this site. – quid Aug 5 at 20:08
• I think the more pertinent question from your first example is why it wasn't closed as a duplicate of this. – Alexander Gruber Aug 6 at 0:43
• @quid just a reminder as you can see I'm apparently getting downvotes however nowhere are the helpful comments mentioned to improve my question – StackUpPhysics Aug 6 at 9:42
• @StackUpPhysics Perhaps it's a good idea to add more math links to your question so that your argument is more grounded. If not, then I think would be a good idea to edit your title and remove 'Toxicity'. – Isabella Aug 6 at 12:00
• @AliShather True I've experienced this a lot as well. Well there's nothing much we can do i guess – StackUpPhysics Aug 9 at 1:21

First let me stress that for the first mentioned question, I now reopened the question. In that sense I agree that the current version seems like an alright question to me. I strongly suspect it is a duplicate, but that is a somewhat though not entirely separate concern.

This out of the way let me try to explain why this post, and such posts more generally, can get closed.

A point to note is that the first version of the post read like this:

Why 1/0.5 equal 2?

I would like to know 1/0.5 =2 is why the 1/0.5 gets 2. I want to know the concept not how to get the answer. If you are able to explain this in example using image that would be super helpful!

It's hard to know where to start here. The question is in a way too broad, or it lacks details and context.

The questioner then rectified this a bit by adding:

My understand is if you divide whole pizza we get 2 halves slice of pizzas which is 1/2. So, 1/0.5 = 2 mean you will get 2 whole pizza?

I would say with this addition one has at least a relatively good idea where the questioner is standing in their understanding of the subject. Thus, one might try to answer.

However, when this addition was made the post already had a vote to close and was in the close queue. It then can be an uphill battle. The question was alright, yet not great either, and also towards the simple and well-known end. Thus, many a user will vote to close it in the queue.

The other thing is that I assume many will assume, and rightly so, that certainly this got asked already, which might influence the decision. But, in that case one likely should provide at least some link. Then again, there were answers already anyway, so one might think what's the point of me spending five minutes to search for links, the questioner anyway got an answer.

An issue is that as mentioned in a comment the volume is pretty high and some users that moderate a lot might keep it short at times.

All that said, given that it was a new user and they in the end made some effort, arguably the reception is a bit harsh. However, they also got answers and no one was snide or anything. In that sense, I would not consider it as an example of the site being toxic either.

• I may have mentioned this innumerable times by now that the point that an answer was provided is not the issue. The issue is the fact that questions are abruptly closed then possibly never reopened as the question would have definitely been gone unnoticed if it wasn't for it being mentioned as an example in my question. New users don't feel welcomed at all and rigidity is not rewarding rather restricting in a free discussion – StackUpPhysics Aug 10 at 18:14
• The site is not for free discussion. It is not a tutoring site either. It is a community-moderated place to collect Q&A that follows certain rules. If people get helped in the process that's great but the main idea is to build a resource in the form of Q&A. – quid Aug 10 at 21:40

I have observed and experienced unfriendly as well as demoralising behaviour in many SEs

This isn't the right place to raise problems with other SE sites. For cross-cutting issues there's https://meta.stackexchange.com/ (and with respect to unfriendliness, see in particular the tags welcoming and be-nice-policy).

In my personal opinion, math.stackexchange is where I see the most demoralising behaviour, but what I find demoralising might not be what you find demoralising. I refer particularly to failure to follow the basic netiquette of lurking before you post so that you can learn the expectations of a particular site.

Given that a significant part of that particular experience was on a different site, and that OP complains about people trying to help by editing their posts (damned if you do, damned if you don't?), that's really not the best example.

Why has there been no steps to correct this?

Why do you think there have been no steps to correct it? You could easily spend a full day on this meta reading about steps which have previously been taken to correct it, and proposals for steps which could be taken; and then you could spend another on meta.stackexchange.com doing the same.

If you want to be the catalyst for change which is more effective than previous efforts then you'll need to define the problems from the perspectives of the various classes of participants, and propose some solutions with arguments for why they will have a net positive effect. The previous meta discussions should help to see the various perspectives, and problems with previously proposed solutions.

• I recall reading somewhere that stackexchange does not encourage the "lurk before you post" thing, and made many design decisions to encourage people to post right away instead. – Nick Alger Aug 6 at 22:45