Today I stumbled upon two different (now deleted) questions. The format of the two questions was very similar: a question on measure theory (more specifically, on the exchangeability of a sum and a integral basically), introduced by the same paragraph, which went something like : Hello! I have been studying math on my own and I stumbled upon this problem in "Introduction to Manifolds" by Loring W. Tu.

In both situations it was clear the problem did not come from Tu's book (which does not introduce Lebesgue measure only the concept of "zero measure" sets). When I pointed this out in the comments to the question, both were promptly removed from the website.

EDIT: I found another question like these, presenting the same problem, this time without the fake origin

I also think I spotted another question of the same kind: note that, as the others, it begins with "I've been trying" ... and presents a problem using Lebesgue measure while the book it is supposedly from does not present anything remotely related (e.g., "odern Network Interdiction Problems and Algorithms" never uses the terms "compact" or "Lebesgue" and it seems to me to be on a totally different topic)

I am making this question on meta mainly to point this out and to see if anyone has a reasonable explanation for this

  • 18
    $\begingroup$ I failed to mention that all of these questions are from different accounts, presumably sockpuppets, and that they have a quite high amount of upvotes (3-6) $\endgroup$
    – Pelota
    Apr 7 at 12:39
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    $\begingroup$ Both are now self-deleted by their respective authors. One had an answer. I have flagged both. The number of votes is unusually high. I also participated in one such question here, it turns out it has $8$ votes but it's a question that really had information missing, so nothing came of it. $\endgroup$ Apr 7 at 15:03
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    $\begingroup$ guess: pretending to add context with the lowest effort possible $\endgroup$ Apr 8 at 9:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ 42 likes and no $\endgroup$
    – Guenterino
    Apr 13 at 10:53
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    $\begingroup$ @Guenterino: ...and no what? No answer, maybe? $\endgroup$
    – Alex M.
    Apr 14 at 11:59
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexM. Yes, correctly. I sadly can't edit anymore now. What I planned to say was (updated): 45 likes and no answer. This seems to be really mysterious to everyone. $\endgroup$
    – Guenterino
    Apr 14 at 23:44
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    $\begingroup$ I've read about this phenomenon occurring multiple times in the past, on MSE. One hypothesis someone presented was that it's a copy/pasted message shared within a single class, originally written by either a student or the professor. I don't remember what happened in the previous situations , but this kind of thing has happened multiple times before. $\endgroup$ Apr 17 at 15:04
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    $\begingroup$ @JadeVanadium If so, maybe foreign language students who are uncomfortable with writing in English, and so non-critically copy-paste an example question, not understanding it's not really generic enough for that to work? I would have guessed some sort of manufactured signal boost to increase the google presence of the books in question, but then I'm something of a cynic these days. $\endgroup$ Apr 18 at 12:33
  • $\begingroup$ May be they're farming reputation? $\endgroup$
    – Harsh
    Apr 19 at 22:20


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