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I posted a few hours ago a question about how to promote another math site which has different purposes. I really, really have no intention to spam, but I thought (and still think) that the resource I wanted to promote could be useful to users of math.stackexchange. My question was if some kind of endorsement from math.stackexchange could be possible, and "no" would have been a perfectly legitimate answer.

However, my question is now disappeared, so I guess it has been closed as spam. I don't think that there could be anything wrong with my question: for instance an analogous question on meta.mathoverflow has long been discussed and people have tried to spread the word. I guess that the difference in response stems from the fact that I have a high reputation on mathoverflow, hence people there are unlikely to treat me as a spammer.

A meta.meta.mathoverflow not existing, I ask my new question here. Why was my previous question removed? Is there a way to ask it in such a way to make it acceptable? I'd be particularly interested in hearing comments from the people who removed it, since we did not have the possibility to discuss and probably I have given the wrong impression.

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  • $\begingroup$ I edited the title to make it more closely aligned with the text of your question. It was very broad before. Hope you don't mind. $\endgroup$ – Larry Wang Aug 1 '10 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Kaestur: no problem, sorry for the badly chosen title. $\endgroup$ – Andrea Ferretti Aug 1 '10 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ I started a list of resources here. If you'd like to give a more in-depth description, feel free at: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/399/… $\endgroup$ – 97832123 Aug 2 '10 at 5:47
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, I think it is fine as it is. All the resources there have a one-line description. $\endgroup$ – Andrea Ferretti Aug 2 '10 at 9:57
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If your question asked if it was possible to promote your site, I could have answered "no that is not possible." But several paragraphs of your question was an advertisement for your site, so it had to be removed.

I know you are a regular contributor to Mathoverflow so I did not suspect that your post was spamming the site indescriminately. That is why I contacted you directly via email to let you know what happened.

These sites are still in early development so we don't yet have any adverting nor listings of other math resources. We may be able to provide such a service down the road but we do not currently have such a feature.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm sorry it looked like advertising. I was trying to explain what the site is for, so that people could figure out before (or without) actually visiting it. I think it came out more like an advertising than I wanted. Being lazy, I just copied the same message from meta.mathoverflow and adapted some sentences, but in that context a little more advertising was more suitable. Sorry for the inconvenience. $\endgroup$ – Andrea Ferretti Aug 1 '10 at 15:31
  • $\begingroup$ Also I should make clear that I did not expect that there would be a service dedicated to listing other math resources. I thought that my site could be useful, and I thought that the community could decide on its own if it was worth the pain to dedicate a link to it. $\endgroup$ – Andrea Ferretti Aug 1 '10 at 15:34
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    $\begingroup$ I'm quite sure your intentions were in the right place. The problem is if everyone who thought their service was of interest to this audience started posting, this site would become a spam magnet. It's a classic broken window problem. $\endgroup$ – Robert Cartaino Aug 1 '10 at 16:51
  • $\begingroup$ Broken Windows: "It’s pretty clear now that the broken windows theory applies to community sites as well. The theory is that minor forms of bad behavior encourage worse ones: that a neighborhood with lots of graffiti and broken windows becomes one where robberies occur. I was living in New York when Giuliani introduced the reforms that made the broken windows theory famous, and the transformation was miraculous. And I was a Reddit user when the opposite happened there, and the transformation was equally dramatic." $\endgroup$ – Robert Cartaino Aug 1 '10 at 16:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Robert: The book Freakonomics says that the lower crime rate was a result of legalized abortion. $\endgroup$ – 97832123 Aug 1 '10 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ @97832123: I believe it says that about the country as a whole, not about the specific changes in NYC relative to the broken window theory. $\endgroup$ – Isaac Aug 1 '10 at 19:41
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    $\begingroup$ What were we arguing about again? Ah yes; legalize freakonomics to lower the broken advertisements in NYC. $\endgroup$ – Robert Cartaino Aug 2 '10 at 19:33
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    $\begingroup$ To the extent that I understand this response, I disagree with it. Andrea's website is one which will be of interest to a large percentage of readers of any site devoted to advanced mathematics and could be objectionable to no one. Calling what Andrea did "advertising" makes it sound like his motives are something other than completely altruistic: why not call it "community service"? I assume that if I ask a question such as "What is a good online resource which collects lecture notes in mathematics?" someone could list Andrea's site as the answer? $\endgroup$ – Pete L. Clark Aug 5 '10 at 7:34
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    $\begingroup$ I checked in with my colleagues at Math Oveflow, and so far the consensus seems to be that Mr. Cartaino's response is reasonable from the SE perspective. So I will withhold my judgment and see what the future brings. $\endgroup$ – Pete L. Clark Aug 5 '10 at 9:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Pete: Yes, that would be a perfectly acceptable context to promote such a site, since it is explicitly answering a real question someone else has. As Robert mentioned before, Andrea's motives were not in question, it was only the unfortunate wording of that question that got it deleted. $\endgroup$ – Larry Wang Aug 6 '10 at 20:15
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I am going to say that the question should not have been deleted. Instead, any parts considered unsuitable should have just been edited out. After all, it was a valid question.

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