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I used to post here at least one question a week. Within the last few years, it has felt like the community has changed and the moderating has changed. I stopped being as active and watched questions to better understand what was being encouraged. I believe very strongly that each community member needs to support the policies or leave.

I stopped posting questions here and took my questions elsewhere. Recently, a thought occurred to me on approaching the collatz conjecture as a combinatorics problem. This is probably an obvious point but it was not obvious to me and I thought that either I would learn that this does not work or works well and has already been well explored.

I did not see this covered in wikipedia or in other sources.

I raised the question here.

Today, that question was closed as not relating to mathematics.

If this is the appropriate response, if someone could explain to me how this question is not about mathematics, I would greatly appreciate it.

If this is a web site solely for standard homework problems, problems about understanding published math papers, or problems about standard mathematical concepts, just let me know and I will restrict my future questions to these 3 areas.

Thanks.

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    $\begingroup$ You asked four questions in one question post, with almost no context; only questions. Furthermore, you should clearly know by now to not make your post depend on users chasing links to know why you posted them. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    May 26 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ Apologies if you did not already know it, but links required to understand a question, or an answer, are not valid. Best to summarize, at minimum, or transcribe into your question. Remember, users who may want to answer, and even moderators, are not paid for their help. Every user, mods included, is a volunteer. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    May 26 at 17:08
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    $\begingroup$ I believe the actual text of the close reasons, and the whole question reviewing & closing flow, are strongly dictated by our overlords at StackExchange, and that we are unable to modify them to be more appropriate to our particular sub-site. I know that I find them clunky, So when you see "... question was closed as not relating to mathematics" it's probably best to not get too hung up on the precise words (although Xander does explicate them somewhat i)n his answer), and instead go by the further explanations people have provided in the comments. $\endgroup$ May 26 at 17:09
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    $\begingroup$ @amwhy I thought about your point. What are the 4 questions? I am asking whether the existence of nontrivial cycles in the collatz conjecture can be restated a question about combinatorics? It is not asking users to chase links. It is asking folks who are knowledgeable about the collatz conjecture to share their knowledge. The post does not depend on chasing links. I am clear how it is 4 questions. What are the 4 questions? I am very glad to edit the question to 1. $\endgroup$ May 26 at 17:12
  • $\begingroup$ When one ends a sentence with a question mark, that signifies the sentence is a question. You used four question marks, at the time of my comment here. I have nothing more to say to you. Cheers! $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    May 26 at 17:17
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    $\begingroup$ I’m voting to close this question because the asker deleted their question given feedback here, so for most users, the question is not accessible. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    May 26 at 17:28
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    $\begingroup$ Fair enough. I deleted the question because of your comment. I am not clear how to address your point. I have temporarily undeleted the question but will delete it again if its rating remains negative. $\endgroup$ May 26 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ I think the linked question is now open? $\endgroup$
    – High GPA
    May 27 at 6:09
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    $\begingroup$ I am very curious that you "took my questions elsewhere". Where exactly? I am asking this because I am the same feeling as you for some SE sites. $\endgroup$
    – High GPA
    May 27 at 6:10
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    $\begingroup$ @High GPA I've been going more and more to reddit as a math alternative. I haven't been so impressed with quora answers. I prefer mse since I've learned more here than elsewhere. $\endgroup$ Jun 3 at 2:25
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe Check Out mathoverflow.net . $\endgroup$ Jun 7 at 12:19
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy: His original post did indeed include four question marks, however if you bothered to read the post then you would know that two of those question marks are actually the context of his post ("I've noticed that Question X in the literature can be rephrased as these two Questions Y and Z"). These are not questions that are being directed to the reader, and the other two question marks seem like perfectly sensible things to ask in one StackExchange post. Trying to enforce "one question mark per question post" sounds like a bad idea. $\endgroup$
    – Will R
    Jun 8 at 13:57

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  1. The question was closed with the close reason "This question is not about mathematics, within the scope defined in the help center." The close reason states that the question is out of scope. In this case, you appear to be asking people to review your original research, which is not mathematics within the scope of this site.

  2. It is worth noting that your question was closed by the vote of five users. Three of those users voted to close the question for the reason that it is out of scope. The other two selected the reason "Needs more focus".

  3. There are a number of issues with your question. As amWhy states, it is unfocused, and it is difficult to discern a specific mathematical question. Moreover, Math SE is not really equipped to peer review new results, or to collaborate on the production of new results. As you seem to be looking for this kind of peer review or collaboration, the question is not appropriate for Math SE, and could reasonably be closed, either for being too broad, or for being out of scope.

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    $\begingroup$ Just to be clear, "unfocused" = 4 questions Not clear about difficult to discern a specific question. That is not true. Question: (Has the question about nontrivial cycles in the collatz conjecture been restated as a combinatoric problem). That's clearly a specific mathematical question. This is not peer results. It is not research. It is a mathematical question. Your answer is very confusing. Sorry. I will be glad to delete the question if you disagree. $\endgroup$ May 26 at 17:10
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    $\begingroup$ @LarryFreeman A question on Math SE should be one question. I see at least four in your text: 1) "Is there a general method...?", 2) "Would it follow...?", 3) "Do my assumptions sound reasonable?", and 4) "Are there any well known papers...?" What is the one, specific mathematical question that you want answered? $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    May 26 at 17:17
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    $\begingroup$ Moreover, it appears to me that answers to either 1) or 2) would be new results, which would go a long way towards resolving the Collatz conjecture. Thus these questions are acting as an invitation to collaborate on new research. These kinds of questions are typically out of scope. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    May 26 at 17:18
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks. I deleted the question. Feeling a bit down. For the record, I spent 1 week on that question. It may not be obvious but fine. I had hoped that others might it interesting. Since they do not, I am deleting... $\endgroup$ May 26 at 17:19
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    $\begingroup$ Too bad there's not a collaboration feature on this web site. It used to exist. I am not clear on the reasons for preventing original thought or collaboration but as moderator, it is your right to make this decision and the community's right to affirm your decision by re-electing you and others who set these policies. $\endgroup$ May 26 at 17:23
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    $\begingroup$ @LarryFreeman I found your question quite interesting. It’s sad that it was closed. $\endgroup$
    – user905694
    May 26 at 17:27
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    $\begingroup$ @LarryFreeman I think you should undelete it. $\endgroup$
    – user905694
    May 26 at 17:33
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    $\begingroup$ @LarryFreeman There is a place for collaboration on the SE network. It is called chat. It is also possible that your question might be better received on MathOverflow, which is intended to be more about research-level questions. The culture there is quite different than the culture here, however, so I have no idea how questions on Collatz might be received. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    May 26 at 17:35
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    $\begingroup$ I disagree with this. I think it's a good question. Questions should be allowed to have follow up questions (like "are there any papers about this") without being closed for focus. Most questions from original research can't be asked as pointedly as homework questions, and I absolutely do not agree that those do not belong on the site. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander Gruber Mod
    May 26 at 18:49
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    $\begingroup$ Frankly, I think this is a prime example of where rigid policy is driving away the type of non-homework content I wish we'd have more of. This isn't crankery just because it's about Collatz. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander Gruber Mod
    May 26 at 18:55
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexanderGruber I agree. I feel that this community is starting to encourage precisely and unambiguously defined question with cute solutions, and discourage original, unpolished questions. The former question usually comes from textbook and latter ones are usually from original research. $\endgroup$
    – High GPA
    May 27 at 6:22
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    $\begingroup$ @HighGPA We discourage "unpolished" questions so that experts can answer a finished product. I wrote a paragraph above on how I think it can be best polished. I get the feeling that Larry is probably right about his own research and can restrict attention to asking for papers on that particular topic (a question I don't think is broad because of the specificity of the request). $\endgroup$ May 27 at 6:42
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexanderGruber What level of original research into open problems are you arguing for on the site? I thought we were supposed to suggest research problems were better placed on mathoverflow. We shouldn't be competing with MO on this field, at least not for open problems. Encouraging more original research material a nice thing and all but on this site it sounds like an about-face in what I thought the policy was. $\endgroup$
    – rschwieb
    May 27 at 19:10
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    $\begingroup$ @AdilMohammed This is not a research question. This is an advanced, standard question about the collatz conjecture which has its answer in OEIS and which should be reasonable to ask on a non-research math website. Unless mathematics should only be about homework problems and very old, classic math papers. I hope not. $\endgroup$ Jun 1 at 21:26
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    $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson You see four questions in his post, but two of them are the context of his query ("I've noticed that Question X in the literature can be rephrased as these two Questions Y and Z"). The other two seem entirely reasonable to include in one StackExchange post, to me. (For one thing, "do my assumptions sound reasonable?" is looking for reassurance, not a really a mathematical answer.) Trying to argue that these two (pretty innocuous) questions require separate posts seems very draconian. $\endgroup$
    – Will R
    Jun 8 at 14:01

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