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I am puzzled why my answer to "a consistent notation for algebraic numbers" was deleted.

I've moved the answer to the comments, as suggested by the boilerplate. I was tempted to just repost the answer with a few more details... but I thought I should ask here before starting an edit war with the mods (which I would lose, of course!).

Any clarification would be most welcome.

EDIT: Thank you to all. I've written a new answer and posted it.

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    $\begingroup$ I think it was deleted by people who did not understand the question and/or the answer. Sadly, this happens. $\endgroup$ – Moishe Kohan Feb 6 at 9:45
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    $\begingroup$ Part of the question was that "each possible value that it can represent will only ever be represented in one way." The rectangles are not unique or at least a canonical rectangle was not proposed. $\endgroup$ – robjohn Feb 6 at 10:57
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Since it's one way of describing a root of a polynomial with Maple's RootOf (see the documentation, for instance RootOf(x^2-2,1-I..2+I) is $\sqrt2$), I would say the answer is not inherently bad.

However, it's a very late answer (the question was asked more than three years ago), which means it will likely be useless to the OP. To make it useful to the reader passing by, you should explain a little bit why you think this method is sensible, and how it would work in practice.

Very short answers to very old questions tend to be frowned upon here, because most of the time the answer isn't very good.

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    $\begingroup$ The age of the question isn't really relevant. The goal of Math SE is to create a repository high-quality questions and answers which can serve as a reference for readers, both now and in the future. Your final sentence could just as easily read "Very short answers tend to be frowned upon here, because most of the time the answer isn't very good." $\endgroup$ – Xander Henderson Feb 6 at 12:54
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    $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson Correct. But that's my experience with late answers that they are often very bad, especially short ones, especially when posted by a newbie. Even if it's not very good as is, this one stands far above the complete BS I often see in review. That said, I agree with your answer and robjohn's comment above. And at 3k rep, the OP should know what is expected here. $\endgroup$ – Jean-Claude Arbaut Feb 6 at 12:58
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    $\begingroup$ Again, I think that the age of the question is irrelevant. Your answer here seems to suggest that a low-quality answer to a new question might be acceptable, while a low-quality answer to an old question is not. In reality, all answers should be judged by the same standard. Indeed, it was not until I saw this thread that I even knew that the question was more than three years old. $\endgroup$ – Xander Henderson Feb 6 at 13:15
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    $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson No, I suggest that it's more frequent for older questions. Or, to be extra accurate before you repeat that I suggest something else, that the proportion of low quality answers is higher for older questions than new ones. It's also quite common to stumble on an old question and see a number of answers of roughly the same age, and a flood of BS answers that appear years later. $\endgroup$ – Jean-Claude Arbaut Feb 6 at 15:00
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    $\begingroup$ Upon reading your answer, I was left with impression that you believed that age had something to do with the deletion (it did not). You also said "However, it's a very late answer (the question was asked more than three years ago), which means it will likely be useless to the OP."---this leaves the impression that answers are meant primarily to serve the original asker more than some notion of posterity. I am not trying to pick a fight with you---I am just explaining how I understood your answer. What you do with that information is up to you. $\endgroup$ – Xander Henderson Feb 6 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ When I review "late answers", I often observe that haste in posting is not of much benefit, and encourage taking time to review previous Answers (if any) so that points of new information can be highlighted. Good Questions can often create an opportunity for responding with various viewpoints and techniques to get solutions. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Feb 7 at 1:31
  • $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson: Good to learn "the goal of Math SE is to create a repository [of] high-quality ..." material, I hadn't seen that statement in the site's policies. Please share where to find it, never know it might mitigate some confusion in the future. $\endgroup$ – A rural reader Feb 9 at 19:22
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    $\begingroup$ @Aruralreader Frome the founder: "By this I mean questions and answers on Stack Overflow are not primarily judged by their usefulness to a specific individual, but by how many other programmers that question or answer can potentially help over time." $\endgroup$ – Xander Henderson Feb 9 at 19:24
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    $\begingroup$ And from the same post: "I wish more people understood that the goal of Stack Overflow is not "answer my question" but "let's collaboratively build an artifact that will benefit future coders". Perhaps SO could be doing more to educate people about this." $\endgroup$ – Xander Henderson Feb 9 at 19:25
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    $\begingroup$ I'll note that those comments are about SO in general, and not specific to Math SE. However, Math SE is part of the larger Stack Exchange / Stack Overflow ecosystem, and was built with the same design philosophy. The goal is to connect users to answers, with the best case scenario being that a user has a question, searches Math SE, and finds their answer. $\endgroup$ – Xander Henderson Feb 9 at 19:29
  • $\begingroup$ Good to know! Probably a super idea to include it in the site somewhere rather than an external blog. $\endgroup$ – A rural reader Feb 9 at 19:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Aruralreader That's above my paygrade. :\ $\endgroup$ – Xander Henderson Feb 9 at 19:37
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The answer was flagged as low-quality, and I encountered it in the low-quality review queue. My initial impression of the answer was that (a) it was likely far too terse to completely answer the question and (b) didn't really address the question of uniqueness at all. My reading of the question was that the issue of uniqueness was somewhat central, and hence an answer which failed to address this part of the question fundamentally failed to be an answer to the question which was asked.

Therefore the answer is, at best, a comment. Not all moderation tools are available via the review queues, hence it was not possible for me to easily convert the answer to a comment. I have since converted it.

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Actually, the deleted answer gives the unique name once $p$ is assumed to be the minimal polynomial of the algebraic number: The proposed full name is the pair $(p, B)$, where $p$ is a polynomial and $B$ is a box. To determine such a name one starts with the minimal polynomial $p$ (the first name), then determines the box $B$ (the second name), which of course depends on what $p$ is. Now, the root has a unique name. Deleting an answer because it is terse and lacks one word is too harsh IMHO. As far as I understand the deletion protocol, it is reserved to answers which are unlikely to be salvageable by an edit and the deleted answer clearly was.

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    $\begingroup$ The answer does not specify the minimal polynomial. It specifies a polynomial. Moreover, it does not specify which box to choose. There are at least two choices which need to be made. The answer does not answer the question. It is better left as a comment---answers should not force readers to fill in such details. $\endgroup$ – Xander Henderson Feb 6 at 16:04
  • $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson - The original post said "defining polynomial" which I thought meant "unique naming polynomial thing-a-ma-bob". Obviously that was not clear. I've written a new (much longer) answer. Comments are most welcome! $\endgroup$ – Sam Nead Feb 7 at 8:53

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