A mathematician once said "everyone is a student". I believe that is very true in Mathematics, you always have something to learn in this discipline hence this study -point is crucial.

This experience here with studying a course in SE made me think that I would like to see how I as an op evolved over time. Some of my friends now after the course said that they failed (too hard to read a book without references xyz -reasons), it is odd that that they did not open their mouths earlier! I believe me and other students could easily help one another to learn things with more accessible information! Many times the hard parts are the same for many students.

I am proposing that students are allowed to honestly categorize their questions with proper references to categories like the example above. Why are some teachers who have helped us now attacking our freedom to study? Why am I not allowed to help my friends or anons who struggle with some course by posting a category -style helper thread that would surely help many people? The questions asked here belong here, things such as blogs suck -- you know it, SO could be made into much better with consistency.

My propositions

  1. threads categorizing and organizing questions must be allowed as the rule presently passed. The argument that Math.SE is an independent party is a diversion. This proposal drives for better quality!

  2. homework analysis/helper -system could be much easier to do and Math.SE could move to the level of professionalism if point 1 accepted.

Motivating reading [1] that I think is spot-on and particularly the below paragraphs

"According to [Steve Jobs], it was absurd that class-education in USA is based on a teacher that stands in front of the chalkboard and used printed study -books. All study -books, study -material and exams should be digital and interactive. They should be tailored for each student separately and they should offer real-time feedback." (p.576 [1], I added bolding)

"School -reform had no chance unless teacher -organization was broken down. Jobs said that teachers should be treated like professionals not like machine -workers. Heads should have possibilities to hire and fire teachers only based on their skills. Schools should be open at least until 6PM c'lock and 11 months per year." (p. 575 [1])

"Jobs presented two questions about education and Gates visioned future schools where students watched lectures and videos in their own space and used study -rooms for discussions and problem solving. They agreed that computers had so far affected surprisingly little to education, much less than to other social areas such as media, medicine and jurisdiction. So that the situation changed, Gates said, that computers and mobile devices should focus on more tailored teaching and offer more motivating feedback." (p.584, I added bolding)


[1] Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs (Finnish version, freely translated -- please replace with original version if you have the English book, thank you.)

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ This is off-topic for meta/main site. Why don't you upload it to your website and put a link in your profile? $\endgroup$
    – Aryabhata
    Mar 10, 2012 at 8:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Aryabhata: how? Can I somehow use the same markup as in Math.SE? $\endgroup$
    – hhh
    Mar 10, 2012 at 8:33
  • $\begingroup$ You should be able to use Mathjax. I believe that is freely available. $\endgroup$
    – Aryabhata
    Mar 10, 2012 at 8:52
  • $\begingroup$ ...I asked a question here about how to get that, I think it would be useful reference SE on a homepage. I am fed up to change formating... $\endgroup$
    – hhh
    Mar 10, 2012 at 10:03
  • 11
    $\begingroup$ Imagine if every user used meta as their personal repository! The site would be overrun. If you want to use Mathjax, you should read up mathjax documentation. btw, if you are making a page of links to MSE questions, do you really need mathjax? (and your question of Meta.SO seems to have been deleted) $\endgroup$
    – Aryabhata
    Mar 10, 2012 at 16:50
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If you think this collection of questions would be useful for others, you should start a blog and post the links there. Meta.math.SO is not the place for this. $\endgroup$
    – user856
    Mar 11, 2012 at 6:44
  • $\begingroup$ @RahulNarain: yes and I asked how? I would like to write it like Math.SE and I asked instructions in Meta.SO. It is stupid to consider this as a personal issue. SE is no closed entity, it is odd that you cannot speak about it without looking-down. What is wrong with Reuse and helping other? People down-voting are pretty much shooting the whole service. I see nothing wrong what I am doing, this work surely help many others in the future. Be honest, many ask here questions about homeworks -- why honesty is not allowed? The origin must get credited, reference required. I find current actions odd. $\endgroup$
    – hhh
    Mar 11, 2012 at 7:40
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @hhh: Nothing is wrong with collecting questions you want to collect for whatever reason and posting links to them. You just cannot do it here, because that's not what the site is for. The main site, math.SE, is for asking math questions; meta.math.SE is for asking questions about the operation of math.SE. The kind of thing you want to construct is neither; therefore you can't do it here. As people have said, there are many free website creation tools out there, e.g. Google Sites. Post as many links to math.SE questions as you want there. $\endgroup$ Mar 11, 2012 at 16:55

3 Answers 3


I don't understand what you are saying in your comment. Perhaps my comment was misunderstood.

There is nothing wrong with creating a collection of links to math.SE questions and posting it online somewhere. There are lots of different services where you can do this, anywhere from a full blog at a blog host like WordPress, or a public post on a social network like Google Plus, or just a collection of links organized by tags at a bookmarking site like Delicious. Many blogging sites like Blogger and WordPress also supports LaTeX.

All I'm saying is, meta.math.SE is not the right place to put this. The meta site is for questions and discussion about the main site, not really about making a link collection (even if they are links to questions on the main site).

It is stupid to consider this as a personal issue. SE is no closed entity, it is odd that you cannot speak about it without looking-down. What is wrong with Reuse and helping other? People down-voting are pretty much shooting the whole service. I see nothing wrong what I am doing, this work surely help many others in the future. Be honest, many ask here questions about homeworks -- why honesty is not allowed? The origin must get credited, reference required. I find current actions odd.

There is nothing personal about it; I am not looking down on anything; you should definitely post your links somewhere if you think they will help others; downvotes on meta don't necessarily mean "this is a bad question" and you shouldn't take them personally; certainly none of the objections have anything to do with you asking about homework; citing your references is always a good idea. There, I hope I have responded to your comment adequately. I feel you should also look at the FAQ for the meta site.

  • $\begingroup$ ...google+ does not show LaTex like this site, it is not as nice as this site for writing mathematical things :( In Blogger, it is some Javascript hxck. Any +SE around? $\endgroup$
    – hhh
    Mar 11, 2012 at 8:20
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I was mistaken about Blogger. Use WordPress, which does support LaTeX, like Timothy Gowers and Terence Tao do. $\endgroup$
    – user856
    Mar 11, 2012 at 8:31
  • $\begingroup$ ...lolz when I think this SE+ -- that kind of transition would knock out people here and there. Actually, I cannot see it would be hard for the guys to do but it requires some sort of courage. Well it is good dreaming -- perhaps, some clever manager will decide it ;) $\endgroup$
    – hhh
    Mar 11, 2012 at 8:38
  • $\begingroup$ Blogger supports MathJax. You just have to edit the theme and plop a tiny snippet of HTML there to reference the MathJax CDN. $\endgroup$
    – cardinal
    Mar 12, 2012 at 22:28
  • $\begingroup$ [UPDATE] I got new idea from this experience of using SE for studying, what about creating reference-incentives (such as nice displaying, perhaps a bit resourceful) to boost up the quality of this network? I am not sure but I think well-categorized homework -threads could easily become nice spot of monetanization later, again an incentive to boost up the quality. We need more incentive for people to create quality SE. Look this content is here-and-there better than ortodox school books...well just a novel idea, maybe nothing but I cannot see a reason not to fail/try ;P $\endgroup$
    – hhh
    May 23, 2012 at 14:50

Apparently the OP has decided to test the waters in spite of the negative feedback received here. S/he made a "question" on the main site, and posted the collection of links as an answer using an announcement at SO blog as an excuse.

I have voted to close that question as too localized. The target audience of that question consists of the future students of a single course at a single university, so I find it difficult to think of a more localized question. "Not a real question" would also be fitting. I try to dissect my own feelings/reasons below:

  1. I don't know whether to despise or admire the gall of doing this in spite of the reaction here. The comments radiate IMHO a dash of "in your face"-attitude, so my inner grumpy old man may be turning a thumb down for that reason alone.
  2. There is also the old "if everybody did this..."
  3. I don't know if keeping a private study blog as a main site question is ok at other SE-sites, because I'm only active on this one. I strongly agree with Aryabhata in that a private blog is the right place for this kind of lists - not math.SE!
  4. I don't know, whether this is what Joel Spolsky had in mind, when writing the blog. But as commented by a moderator in the cited question: "the individual SE-sites have a degree of autonomy". May be this is the time to practice that kind of autonomy?
  5. Our own moderators have refrained from doing anything even though some of them expressed support for my view (at least that's how I interpreted it). They wisely refrain from casting close votes, because their vote is binding, so community moderation is the only way to nip this in the bud.
  6. I am often irritated by ideas originating from SO being forcefed to all the sister sites. This is probably one of the main reasons, why I react so strongly to this.
  7. If we don't want this kind of questions here, then it looks like our elected moderators need a clear signal from the math.SE community. If that signal does not come, then I try to hold me peace difficult as it might be.
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ How many times I told you to vote for me? But seriously, my inner grumpy old man would do the same thing if I had one. $\endgroup$
    – Gigili
    Jun 23, 2012 at 1:08
  • $\begingroup$ -1 sorry I understand nothing you write here. A lot of odd bullet points. I wish you could talk more directly. Are you afraid of cheating? Are you afraid of collusion? Are you afraid that the quality of education between different institutions could be easily compared? Sorry I cannot understand a word, I like Gigili notice -- it is Fun. I hope you see that I am doing this to help people and me who want to learn more -- yes I am stupid moron but so what? Your point about "testing waters" is insulting. Your point about autonomy is hot-air. SO is broken, dot. I wish it will flourish much longer $\endgroup$
    – hhh
    Jul 3, 2012 at 23:18
  • $\begingroup$ I added some resonating literature that you may find interesting, I am sure my ideas are no novel ideas but there are other people also with this kind of views but they are afraid to speak about them. I am nothing so I can speak, education requires doing mistakes -- and I am proud about studying -style threads! $\endgroup$
    – hhh
    Jul 3, 2012 at 23:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @hhh: This is not about education. This is strictly about what I expect to see at this site. About the "testing waters". What else would you call it, when your suggestion gets -12, and you still go ahead with it :-) $\endgroup$ Jul 4, 2012 at 5:40
  • $\begingroup$ Most down-votes emerged time when the question had a large category of questions and people exploited the unprepared question for their odd ideologies but I improved it fast. I don't care about people's political views but I care this site becomes better, now requiring some openness, honesty and references. Now it is has a clear point for this as discussion to improve education and quality on this site, by encouraging co-operation -- perhaps something like Steve and Gates wanted? You are sticking too much to discrimination in the past. We have here now the fire to make it possible, why not? $\endgroup$
    – hhh
    Jul 4, 2012 at 9:21

Because people are exploiting the evolution of this question, I must make clear objective reason why this kind of material should be encouraged and ironically for the same reason it can be argued be discouraged. The copy-right -issue is a double-edged sword here. I believe that this double-edged sword can be used for good such as higher quality -material, even though some evil people may use it to censor material or support their evil discriminatory -policies.


I. SOPA -style restrictions may become a problem in some case. Suppose a teacher asks you a question on paper or verbally. Students asks help for that question on Math.SE, in SO or in other SE -site. Does the teacher have rights to take down the material on the site? Well if s/he has, it is awful. It would endanger the whole Math.SO and probably SO. More here.

II. By allowing categories of questions, it makes it easier for copy-right owners and evil people to attack this site for baseless reasons.


II. Due to the opposition I, SO users must co-operate or it can endanger the whole SE soon. Material on SO belongs to SO, even the indices that tries to make this place much better place for students and teachers alike. It is much easier for an evil person to go against a random student or a competitor such as a writer if s/he is not on SE. It is extremely important to protect high-quality material in SE by having proper references openly, honestly and here. If some copy-right -holder thinks that some material is against the copy-right -- it is by far easier to check things together what the problem is rather than alone.

II. Due to the opposition II, we must keep SO-generated material as close to SO as possible. It is by far easier to protect material here. Focus is the key: do not splitter SO -material all over the planet. Similarly to studying, co-operation requires consistency and references!


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