A decade ago, this question was asked about the names of the inverse trigonometric functions. At the time, it received a Nice Answer, which was accepted, as well as a few other answers and comments. Two days ago, a new user posted another answer which did not address the original question, and which was deleted by 3 trusted users. This is all perfectly normal.

But then the original question was locked, and I cannot understand why.

A locked post does not accept answers, comments, or revisions. It is frozen in time, and can only be unlocked by a moderator. The explanation given on the question is that it is off-topic, but is kept because of historical significance. Which begs the question: Why is it off-topic to inquire about the names of the inverse trigonometric functions? It is a direct question that has a straight-forward answer, and knowing the answer will improve your understanding of trigonometry.

The impression of a locked post is that questions of this nature are not welcome on this site. This is in contrast to a closed post, which may be on-topic but in need of improvement. Searching for etymology on Main gives more than 100 questions about terms and their meaning. Which of these questions are off-topic?

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Etymology is not off-topic per se at Math.SE, but neither does asking about the origins of a math term guarantee that it will be satisfactory as a Question. By current standards that Question lacks context, though I'm personally inclined to set the bar for context especially low for problems about terminology. If you view the Timeline, the sequence of events that led to locking the post will be clarified. Perhaps Xander will want to give his take. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Commented Oct 17, 2021 at 19:15
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Also, there is a Beta SE site devoted to History of Science and Math, History of Science and Mathematics so many historically-based questions are often better placed there. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Commented Oct 17, 2021 at 19:31
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ That site has been in Beta for at least seven years now. What's that about? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 17, 2021 at 21:53
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @hard, there was a little bit of context – OP claimed to be unable to find out anything via Google. That bit of context was edited out by the moderator before locking the question. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 17, 2021 at 22:03
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson A lot of sites here have been in beta for a very long time. That is because the criteria for moving a site out of beta are dumb. $\endgroup$
    – Ingolifs
    Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 0:54
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Gerry Also, Astronomy.SE is 8 years old, and still in beta, but I don't mind. It's rather handy to get the deletion privilege at 2k. ;) $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Commented Oct 22, 2021 at 3:41
  • $\begingroup$ Also, Mathematics Educators is Beta for quite some time. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 15:45


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