The relevance of simple questions [closed]

I received two negative votes for my question about relationships between discriminants. I would like to say the following about this. I am not a mathematician, but I am very interested in the subject of mathmatics, especially numerical mathematics. I discovered many things through trying. In this case it concerns simple relationships, but my post about the relationship between the roots of the F20-quintic is also based on experimental research, starting with simple observations. That is why I argue not to be too quick in dismissing posts about simple material as irrelevant.

• The only visible question you asked this year, about discriminant relstionships, is almost the definition of a PSQ, and you appear to have enough rep than you should be familiar with key policies on the site. You certainly know where meta is. Please read the help centre and the FAQ tag here, before asking yet another duplicate of "please don't curate my off-topic, policy-breaching, sub-standard questions properly".
– Nij
Commented Apr 2 at 10:41
• The question appears to be this one, but frankly I don't understand what it is asking. You provide the left hands for a bunch of supposed equations, but not the right hands. What, for example, might "$Disc(x^2 + ax + b)$ = (for c = 0)" mean?
– lulu
Commented Apr 2 at 12:03
• @lulu The idea is that you read the four lines with Disc as one long line. The text in brackets is the condition for '='. Commented Apr 2 at 15:47
• The place to discuss ways to improve a question is in the comments below the question.
– Xander Henderson Mod
Commented Apr 2 at 15:49
• You discovered many things through trying, but you still have to think about how you can make them attractive to an audience. You did that by citing an article in your second question, which I read, liked and ended up reading your answer too. Your first question just has a result with a proof, you should think about why it's interesting to you, and then try and type that out into your question. Maybe it makes discriminant calculations easier? Give examples. Maybe it's linked to another result you know before on discriminants? Link that. Commented Apr 3 at 9:37
• @Sarvesh Ravichandran Iyer The question is not linked to any another result but is in my opinion, although simple, interesting in itself. The community may of course think differently about this. With my post at Meta I had no other intention than to highlight the importance of simple issues, using my own question as an example. Commented Apr 3 at 10:38
• @Gerard I understand what you're trying to say and there's no problem if you and the community ultimately end up thinking differently. But it feels like you're not putting the effort to make your question interesting (and changing community opinion about it), and then, when it has been downvoted, transferring the blame to the question itself being "simple". I'd have no problem if you had put the effort to make things interesting and yet it was downvoted : then the simplicity of the question could be the reason and you'd have a point. Commented Apr 13 at 8:23
• For what it's worth, I do agree that there is some amount of negative bias towards simple questions. Quickly summarizing, someone who can't attempt a simple question is more likely to be called out for a lack of effort/research (because it should be easier to solve). Simple questions, especially if they're exercises, are likely to be rote computations (like bracket simplifications, exponentiation rules etc.) which aren't very interesting due to the lack of creativity. Having said that, simple questions are easy to understand : so more people should be giving them attention. Commented Apr 13 at 8:24

1 Answer

I must say that I think the downvotes, votes-to-close, and deletion for the aforementioned question were apt. I am sorry to have to say OP.

Well, looking past this specific instance and getting on a soapbox for a moment, I also have to say that what a lot of people seem to forget is the ecology of this site. The issue isn't just that your question is interesting to YOU, the issue is how interesting your question is to the community as a whole. If we do not enforce this, then experience says that this site will become [even more] overrun with poorly motivated, poorly thought-out, or pedantic help-me-with-my-homework type questions, which is NOT what this site was intended for and NOT to the liking of many of us who have been here a while.