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The purpose of this thread is to help focus the attention of the community on posts that may require exceptional handling. This includes requests for reopen and undeletion votes. A request should be posted as an answer below.

Please do not use this thread to engage in debates on contentious matters (e.g. reasons for closure). That should be done in a separate linked thread. The goal is to keep this meta thread free of tension, so that everyone feels comfortable posting here. Please be polite, and respect the many different viewpoints in our diverse community.

To inform readers of the current (and past) states of the targeted post, please append tags such [REOPENED,RECLOSED] or [UNDELETED] at the start of the answer.

Beware that "short" requests such as "request reopening of <link>" may be automatically converted to comments by the SE software, so you may need to write more (e.g. why you think that the question should be reopened or undeleted).

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  • $\begingroup$ For reopen requests that are run-of-the-mill (e.g. aren't meant to debate reasons for closure), do you think it would make sense to have a generic reopen-request thread, so that we don't end up with hundreds or thousands of questions on such. Then each request would simply be an answer in the reopen thread, and it being bumped would get the same exposure as a new question. Thoughts? Unless I hear any objections I will create such a thread. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Oct 24 '12 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Bill: Yes. This crossed my mind after posting this. I agree that it would be a good idea. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Oct 24 '12 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ I didn't expect that you would edit this specific question into the general question (I was writing another). But since it is done, we may as well go with it. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Oct 24 '12 at 18:28
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    $\begingroup$ @Bill: I saw no reason to wait with that idea. There was no actual discussion in this thread anyway. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Oct 24 '12 at 18:34
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    $\begingroup$ @Gerry: The solution would be to add a few words, I suppose. For example why it should be reopened. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Nov 9 '12 at 12:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Asaf, I opted for cursing the darkness rather than lighting a candle. Anyway, the question has been reopened. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Nov 9 '12 at 21:54
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    $\begingroup$ @Gerry: Darkness is just the light's way of proving the empty set exists. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Nov 9 '12 at 21:55
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    $\begingroup$ @Willie: I think that we should delete old reopening requests and perhaps have one post/additional thread for indexing them. I should also think that any request older than $n$ days for some reasonable $n$ should be deleted. If something has not been reopened and the initial votes expired... well, it makes sense to conclude that there aren't that many people interested in reopening. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Nov 30 '12 at 9:49
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    $\begingroup$ @Willie It's probably useful to have some nontrivial history remain so that folks $\rm < 10K$ can gain some idea about what types of questions do get reopened, and what types don't. By quickly scanning the requests it might help to convey some idea of the community consensus on marginal topics. To keep the unopened requests at the top of the active sort, they could easily be bumped if there is still interest. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Dec 1 '12 at 1:44
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    $\begingroup$ @Belgi: This is why I prefer to browse Meta with answers sorted by activity. $\endgroup$ – user856 Jan 5 '13 at 21:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Belgi Sorting by activity solves the problem. I just bumped the only active discussion to the top with an edit. There are two requests dated by November 2012, which I guess are no longer ongoing conversations (but anyone so inclined can bump them; it's a CW). $\endgroup$ – user53153 Jan 5 '13 at 22:07
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the workaround, I still think theres no reasons for this to log all reopen request that were/will be made $\endgroup$ – Belgi Jan 5 '13 at 22:10
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    $\begingroup$ Per the (short) discussion in this deleted meta post, I have edited this thread to support requests for votes to undelete as well as votes to reopen. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Gruber Mod Jul 13 '14 at 14:59
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    $\begingroup$ The question got protected again; I'd assume, but cannot check, since it fulfills criteria for autoprotection The simplest way out would be to restart a question of this form. IMO this would be desirable regardless the protection issue. $\endgroup$ – quid Mod Oct 17 '14 at 13:58
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    $\begingroup$ @quid: Yes, yes, I see that protection triggering every time I remove it. But I gave it some more thought, and for now it seems harmless after all. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Oct 17 '14 at 14:06

213 Answers 213

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[REOPENED]

I would like to request Motivation for the Tensor Product be reopened as I do not think it is a duplicate of and Motivation for Tensor Product.

The latter question asks "We already have Direct Product, Semi-direct products, so after all why do we need Tensor Product?", which is a question about why multilinearity is in general useful.

The former question (which was closed as a duplicate) asks "What's the reason/motivation to define the tensor product using the free vector space and that quotient to impose linearity? Can someone point me out the motivation for that definition?". These are questions about the specific construction of the tensor prodct, and NOT the general usefulness of multilinearity properties.

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    $\begingroup$ I think one thing that would help is if the two questions are edited to they have more precise and more distinct (from each other) titles. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Mar 18 '13 at 12:16
  • $\begingroup$ I edited the question titles. It only took a year and a half to disambiguate. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Dec 26 '14 at 8:47
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[UNDELETED]

Request for undeletion, or explanation of deletion:

https://math.stackexchange.com/a/898051/, a "hint" answer that does substantial work toward solving the differential equation in the question Differential equation $\sin \theta \frac{dr}{d \theta}+r\cos \theta =\tan \theta,0<\theta<\pi/2$. The answer received comments that it should be a comment, but I disagree. Substantial contributions toward solving the problem are often fine as answers, even if they do not go through the full details of a write-up of a solution. (Comments included a nonsensical one selected from a review queue.) It might be relevant that the answer was posted before the other, more detailed ones.

A moderator deleted it, so regular users cannot vote to undelete. I'm requesting that a moderator undelete it, and would be interested in explanations of why people think such an answer should be deleted.

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    $\begingroup$ I second this plea. An IMHO good hint started getting negative flags for some reason. I voted to dismiss the flag, but apparently that didn't carry enough weight. May be there is an anti-hint faction? It may be that the entire question were to be deleted for not showing effort, but singling out this answer sends a wrong message. For the record: it has six upvotes and no downvotes. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Aug 15 '14 at 19:13
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    $\begingroup$ I think the deeper question is why a moderator deleted it - there is likely to be something going on beside the anti-hint comments. They may not be able to give full info. Of course the comments are not in accord with the usual norms of this site - hints are perfectly fine. $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert Aug 15 '14 at 20:55
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I don't know what I had been thinking. I see that there were a large number of flags on that post, and I suspect I trusted them too much. I've undeleted the answer. $\endgroup$ – davidlowryduda Mod Aug 16 '14 at 7:54
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[REOPENED]

(Also, as pointed out by Asaf in a comment below, this was a duplicate request. My apologies for the inadvertent dupliaction.)


The question "If every convergent subsequence converges to a then so does the original sequence" should be reopened (in my opinion).

It is a request for clarification/explanation of an argument from a text.

It was closed as off-topic since it is essentially a repost of an earlier, deleted question. The thing is: this earlier question was deleted by the Community User, hence cannot be reopened by 10K+ voters. My view is that the earlier question was reasonable as well; if it could be reopened, then I agree that the current version should be closed as a duplicate, and the earlier one revised for clarity and reopened. Since that doesn't seem to be possible, I have voted to reopen the current question, and I would ask others to do likewise.


In general, it seems a bit unreasonable to me that the OP has been put in a Catch-22, in which their current question is being closed essentially as a duplicate of an earlier question which is unable to be undeleted/reopened.

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    $\begingroup$ See also meta.math.stackexchange.com/a/13566/622 $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod May 5 '14 at 11:26
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila: Dear Asaf, Thanks, I hadn't seen this. (I somehow missed it when looking down the list.) I'll try to sort out the duplication of posts soon (although I have to rush out right now). Regards, $\endgroup$ – Matt E May 5 '14 at 11:31
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[REOPENED]

This question was closed as a duplicate, but the question specifically asks not for a proof (which the OP knows) but, instead, for some intuition behind successful strategies for constructing such proofs - something that is not addressed at all in the proposed duplicate. Probably there is a good chance of further helpful answers appearing if it is reopened.

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[REOPENED]

Becoming Better at Math was closed on the grounds of being primarily opinion-based. It is community wiki with and tags. Though there are many possible answers (hence the CW), I do not find the question to be opinion based, as it is a call for guidance from experienced mathematics students, who in general do not disagree about most fundamental aspects of learning mathematics. (In other words, though opinion-based answers to this questions may exist, certainly not all answers are opinion-based.) This question could serve as a useful collection of practical advice specifically aimed at high school aged students preparing to major in math in college.

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  • $\begingroup$ Alexander, there are four votes at the moment. So I suppose that if you cast the fifth it won't be an abuse of the mod powers. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Apr 27 '14 at 19:20
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, @Asaf. Even so, since I have an answer on that question, I would prefer to wait for the final vote from someone else. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Gruber Mod Apr 27 '14 at 19:27
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[REOPENED] Show that floating point $\sqrt{x \cdot x} \geq x$ for all long $x$.

I would like to see this question reopened. I believe it is a valid numerical analysis question.

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  • $\begingroup$ See also this question about the closure of the above question. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Nov 18 '12 at 0:10
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I am trying to get

Let $G$ be a finite abelian group. Let $a\in G$ be an element of maximal order. Prove $|b|$ divides $|a|$ for all $b\in G$. A different proof

reopened. It was closed as a duplicate of Prove that for any element $b$, $|b|$ divides $|a|$ (order of $b$ divides order of $a$). and Finite abelian group generated by elements of maximal order. True the question has been answered, but I haven been given another outline of a proof for this and would really appreciate it if i could get some feedback on this version of the proof for this question

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I think that the

1+1+1+1 ...= -1/2

question, which at present is a merger of an older 1 upvote/1 (not so highly voted) answer Math SE question and a two days ago migrated from from Physics 5 upvotes/highly upvoted answers question, should be reopend as there is IMHO nothing unclear about the OP asking for an (intuitively understandable) proof that $ 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 \cdots = -\frac{1}{2}$.

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Please re-open https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/685061/undefinably-large-algebra . It has been substantially revised and should be sufficiently clear at this point. Also, note that you can address the question without addressing my semi-formalization of a hopeful answer. Suggestions for helping the question be re-opened can be put here: http://meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/12825/working-towards-re-opening-undefinably-large-algebra?noredirect=1#comment50240_12825

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[REOPENED]

I think this post should be reopened: Evaluate $\int\frac{\sqrt {25 - x^2}}{ x^4}$ (It already has 4 reopen votes, so only one vote is missing.)

It was closed as a duplicate of another post, but they are definitely not duplicates. (It seems that the problem might have been that the OP did not know how to make a post using TeX/MathJax.)

If course, if there is indeed a duplicate somewhere on the site or if you think that it should be closed for another reason, I do not object to closing the question. But at the moment it is closed for incorrect reasons.

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[REOPENED]

My question here was said to be too broad, so I tried to edit it with a more specific example: How can you tell when you need to use the binomial coefficient for probabilities?

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This question: How come $1^{\infty}$ = undefined, while $2^{\infty} = \infty$ and $0^{\infty} = 0$? was closed as a duplicate of Why is $1^{\infty}$ considered to be an indeterminate form. I know that this is a tight one, but I do think that they are different in that one question asks why $1^{\infty}$ is an indeterminant form. The other asks shy $1^{\infty}$ is undefined. I think that this is slightly different so I request that the question be reopened.

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[REOPENED]

Is a line just an infinitely large circle? (formerly Whats wrong with this?)

I'll repeat the same thing here that I said in the comments:

To the closers and other downvoters, please consider that although it is stated in layman's terms, the idea behind it is a deep question about Moebius transformations / stereographic projection (or if you think I'm stretching, at least basic topology). In particular, even if you don't believe the question is stated well, it could inspire a very good answer. –

I fixed up the wording a little bit to help the OP come off less abrasive to mathematician sensibilities. (And changed the title.)

This is the type of question I would really like to see stay open on MSE: genuine curiosity about a mathematical intuition by a layman. Even if it looks little lazy on the surface, I think we need to encourage non-homework questions from non-mathematicians as much as possible.

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  • $\begingroup$ As a side note, if this gets reopened, does anybody have any ideas on what tags to use here? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Gruber Mod Dec 15 '14 at 1:26
  • $\begingroup$ Mike Miller just tagged - rather appropriately, I'd say - with projective-geometry. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Fischer Mod Dec 15 '14 at 1:33
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you! Although the topology part I did unaware that it was a topology question. $\endgroup$ – tox123 Dec 16 '14 at 0:48
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[REOPENED] I would like this question:

https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/243115/field-extensions-of-cos-and-sin

to be reopened. The question was closed as a duplicate of Degree of field extension. Bit IMO, the questions are different. The closed one is about whether a specific proof is correct, not just a question about how to prove it (like the other question).

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[Re-opened] I'd like to suggest reopening What is importance of the Bunyakovsky conjecture?. The question in the body, "how important do you consider the answer to this problem", may well be "too soft", but the question in the title seems to me to be a solid mathematical question.

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    $\begingroup$ I cast the fifth and final vote. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Mar 13 '13 at 12:32
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[REOPENED] (Thanks.)

This question. I think that there may be insights that only working mathematicians could provide (as opposed to philosophers), and even if there are wildly differing points of view, seeing them described may be useful.

I understand that the question is not mathematical in the sense that "how do I integrate such-and-such" or "why is this number divisible by that one" are. I also believe its answers may be more interesting and useful in the long run.

Of course, it may be that answering the question in detail, considering as many of its subtleties as possible would just be too long and unfeasible. That's fine; even providing a few references and ideas that can potentially be fleshed out would be more useful that simply dismissing it.

Related.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'll do my best to improve this question. $\endgroup$ – MphLee May 8 '13 at 17:55
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[REOPENED] This question should be re-opened as the OP has edited the post to try to tell us what they have done.

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[REOPENED] Thank you.

The question was undeleted by the OP, and has now been closed. I think it does more good being open and have myself voted to reopen. As I told the OP elsewhere, "The thing is, many (oh so many!) people think that mathematics is just about computations (long and tedious and often times pointless). And many among those that know better think that the only way to use a computer is to help with these computations. But there is much more to math than that, and many more uses of a computer in mathematical research. And there are the incompleteness theorems, showing that not all mathematical practice can be automated anyway. Good answers to your question could be quite insightful!"


This question was actually deleted, but I think it is interesting and can be useful to many, not just the OP: Why are there mathematicians that do not use computers?

I was watching a video on Andrew Wiles and his proof of Fermat's Last Theorem and I quite liked the video, especially the complexity of the proof only to prove a simple concept which can be understood by most people. I also liked the graphics they used to illustrate elliptic curves and modular forms.

But then Andrew Wiles said that he never uses a computer, he only uses pen and paper and I also heard of other mathematicians that don't use computers.

Do they not use computers because there are problems only a mathematicians can solve or are there other motives? Wouldn't the proof have taken much less than 7+ years if he used a computer?

I have voted to undelete. I am posting this request here as it seems a natural extension of the intention of this post. Also, if there are issues with the question, this may be the place to address them, which may also prove useful on its own.

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  • $\begingroup$ I would not undelete a question that the OP him/herself deleted. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Aug 11 '13 at 19:06
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    $\begingroup$ @Thomas That's fine. In this case, I believe the deletion happened because of the downvote, which I consider unwarranted. Regardless, I think (as I said) that the question can be useful to many, not just to the OP, which should (surely?) be our main consideration. $\endgroup$ – Andrés E. Caicedo Aug 11 '13 at 19:23
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    $\begingroup$ I agree that the question with answers could be useful. But, on principal grounds, I believe that it is wrong to undelete a question that the OP him/herself deleted. I think a better approach is for someone else to repost the question. I don't think that we should assume we know why someone decides to delete his/her own question. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Aug 12 '13 at 2:42
  • $\begingroup$ The OP undeleted the question themselves. See here. $\endgroup$ – Andrés E. Caicedo Aug 12 '13 at 3:26
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    $\begingroup$ Ok, I didn't know that. In that case I see no problem. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Aug 12 '13 at 12:45
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I would like to request that the following question be re-opened.

Any two sets $Y$, $Z$ have the same cardinality $\iff$ there are injective functions $f: Y \rightarrow Z$ and $g: Z \rightarrow Y$.

I has been closed as a duplicate. However, it is a "check my proof" question and so cannot be a duplicate. Yes, the underlying maths problems are the same, but the actual questions being asked are not.

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    $\begingroup$ It might not technically be a duplicate, but it already has an accepted answer, and anyone else searching for something related to this question will probably be better off redirected to the other question. $\endgroup$ – Tobias Kildetoft Sep 23 '13 at 11:02
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    $\begingroup$ @TobiasKildetoft True, but that isn't grounds for closing. That is grounds for linking to the other question in the comments. $\endgroup$ – user1729 Sep 23 '13 at 11:08
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    $\begingroup$ While that might not be grounds for closing, I think it makes a decent case for not reopening, as this way the other question is placed at greater prominence for any later visitor. $\endgroup$ – Tobias Kildetoft Sep 23 '13 at 11:11
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[REOPENED]

Counting Shaded Squares was closed as "missing context or other details". It is a perfectly clear and straightforward question about combinatorics: how many ways are there to color exactly two squares in an $n×n$ array. Marko Riedel and I each had no trouble answering it.

(I voted to close, not as "missing context" but as a duplicate of how many unique patterns exist for a NxN grid . But on review I see that the two questions are different.)

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[REOPENED]

This question, Number of solutions of equation, asks a perfectly straightforward question of combinatorics. It has attracted three answers, including a really impressive one from Marko Riedel using multiset cycle indices.

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[Re-opened]

Please consider whether this question should be reopened.

I am not 100% sold on the question meeting our quality standards myself. But I disagree with the close reason, as IMHO the original version was already clear about what was being asked. The question asks about a specific detail of a planar motion. I took the liberty of adding a few animations hopefully making it clear to all what that motion looks like. The OP's notation is non-standard, but I explained that in a comment (just to make sure - IMO there is only one sensible interpretation). I am bit reluctant to edit the notation, as that might hurt OP's chances of understanding an eventual answer.

My interpretation is that the original close voter was taken aback by the odd notation, terse problem description, and the air of a HW problem. The others observed the same weaknesses, and then followed suit. If I misinterpreted the close-voters motives, then I apologize for my own trigger-happiness. All those weaknesses are undeniable, but I voted to reopen this, because IMO there is a well-defined answerable question in here. Checking out the OP's profile makes it probable that the OP is in self-study mode, so I am not worried about any cheating taking place here.

I do not intend to answer the question myself. Leaving that to the interested calculus-experts. After looking at the animations I would be very surprised, if my guess about the correct answer would not pop out :-)

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  • $\begingroup$ Even if the question is clear, it's completely lacking context and any sense of what the person asking it has tried. Unless that person edits the question, it may end up closed again (possibly with a different reason) if it is reopened. $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert May 5 '14 at 10:10
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    $\begingroup$ I think it looks like an interesting question, but I had some difficulty understand it, because I did not recognize the notation. I saw from the comments that others were confused by the notation also. So I changed the notation and the voted to reopen. $\endgroup$ – MJD May 5 '14 at 13:59
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    $\begingroup$ Currently 4 votes to reopen.... $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson May 6 '14 at 3:06
  • $\begingroup$ I am the OP in this particular case. (Don't know the phrase for which OP stands, but context that I have seen suggests that it stands for “the submittor of a question.”) Pp By popular demand, I have reworked my question. As to the question, What have you done?, my answer is, All that my puny education, both formal and self-attained, would enable me to do. I have tried to teach myself calculus with a bit of success, but perhaps not enough that I can go further on this self-posed problem. Ergo, my question. $\endgroup$ – Senex Ægypti Parvi May 10 '14 at 6:52
  • $\begingroup$ OP = Original Poster (sometimes, Original Post). Indications of what you have done belong at the OP, not here. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson May 11 '14 at 5:24
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[REOPENED]

The question Is there a highest order of infinity? was closed as a duplicate. Its original version asked whether "there is a limit to the orders of infinity", something that has been asked here several times already. The person asking the question has since clarified that what they are asking for is something very different,

Does there exist an infinite set of cardinality such that it can never be reached by taking power sets of a set with cardinality aleph-null?

(By the way, if reopened, an answer may as well clarify that $\beth_{\omega}$ is far from being "highest" among the infinite cardinalities.)

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  • $\begingroup$ See math.stackexchange.com/questions/666469/… for a possible duplicate of the version. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod May 25 '14 at 3:34
  • $\begingroup$ I figured, but it still seemed better to have the question point to the right preimage. (I won't vote to close since it seems unnecessarily cruel, though.) $\endgroup$ – Andrés E. Caicedo May 25 '14 at 5:43
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[REOPENED]

Please reopen Algebraically compute $\lim_{x\to0}\frac{\sin x}{x}$ which was closed as a duplicate of How to prove that $\lim_{x\to0}\frac{\sin x}{x}=1$?. The latter explicitly asks for a geometric solution, while the former explicitly asks for a solution that uses as little geometry as possible. My own reopen vote has already expired, as have two others.

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  • $\begingroup$ It is not a duplicate, but it qualifies for "unclear what you are asking", if geometric reasoning and series are both unwelcome. $\endgroup$ – Phira Feb 2 '14 at 18:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Phira: the OP clarified that he wants to minimize the amount of geometry used, even if eliminating it entirely is not possible. The meta question is whether it is better to close such a question or to allow people to provide answers either explaining the impossibility or exploring the extent to which the use of geometry can be reduced or eliminated. My own view is that there are many different ways to define the sine function; in some definitions, no geometry is needed to prove the statement, even though that definition might have a geometric interpretation or inspiration. $\endgroup$ – Will Orrick Feb 3 '14 at 11:56
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[REOPENED]

I do not agree with the closure of this question.

While the user does not have enough mathematical sophistication himself to formulate the question as one in analytic geometry, the description of the problem is clearly one of mathematics. So I don't see how it can be closed as off-topic. (I would vote to re-open myself if it weren't for my binding mod powers.)

Furthermore, it appears that the user encountered the problem in a real-life scenario and so he provided context.

The fact that the question does admit a simple mathematical answer should not be held against the original asker: we were all ignorant once.

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[REOPENED]

This question was closed as a duplicate of this question. But it's not a duplicate. The limits of integration are different.

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  • $\begingroup$ Although the substitution $x\mapsto 1/x$ takes it a long way to the duplicate target, IMO the remaining difference is large enough to not call it a duplicate. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Fischer Mod Dec 22 '14 at 20:50
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[REOPENED] The question How to define a well-order on $\mathbb R$? were closed recently due to the confusing nature of the word "define".

If by "define" we wish to mean "explicitly describe without any appeal to the axiom of choice" then it is indeed a duplicate. However as the comments clarify, this is not the case.

I believe, if so, that it is not a duplicate of the question it was closed as a duplicate of (or any of the questions in the links in the comments I posted, as well).


Thank you Andres Caicedo, rschwieb, Belgi, Matt Pressland.

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    $\begingroup$ That depends on what your definition of is is. $\endgroup$ – GeoffDS Oct 26 '12 at 15:57
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    $\begingroup$ @Graphth: The answer on that depends on what is your definition of definition. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Oct 26 '12 at 15:58
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[REOPENED. I cast the binding fourth vote on behalf of myself and Bill Dubuque]

This question: Prove $f(S \cap T) \subseteq f(S) \cap f(T)$ was voted to be closed as a duplicate of Is this a valid proof of $f(S \cap T) \subseteq f(S) \cap f(T)$?

However, the question asked actually was different. The latter asks for the readers to check whether the OP gave a valid proof (he didn't, and counterexamples were given as answers). The former asks for a proof. The closest answer we have on the latter to this question is this sketch of a proof. So I don't really think the two are exact duplicates of each other.

(The other proposed duplicate target is a mistake, as noted in the comments.)

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    $\begingroup$ I agree, since your vote and mine bring the count to 5, you should feel welcome to reopen it. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Nov 6 '12 at 14:33
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[REOPENED] I would like to see the question on "mathematics in the movies" reopened. It asks about feature films depicting math, and/or mathematicians. I think it is at least as relevant to math, and this site, as are many other "soft questions" that still stand as open. After all, we DO have tags "math history", "education", "big-list", etc.. If questions relevant to those tags are thereby subject to closure, then the tags should be removed from this site; else, they are appropriate topics on which to post.

If reopened, I think it might very well be appropriate to "wikify" the post (community wiki), but this question has merit.


ADDED, to answer Marvis's comment below: This post is not a "strict subset" of the post to which Marvis provides a link. They are sufficiently different posts to warrant separate consideration. (See for example, Rahul's reply to Marvis).

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  • $\begingroup$ I adjusted the link to direct to the question rather than to your answer, this is more fitting to the thread, and makes it easier to reopen/comment/etc. on the actual question. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Mod Nov 22 '12 at 16:50
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, @Asaf (When trying to access the question, I clicked on my answer from my user page, scrolled up, copied and pasted the link - I intended to link directly to the Question!) $\endgroup$ – amWhy Nov 22 '12 at 16:52
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    $\begingroup$ I would like the part about "what kind of stories would you like to see in the future" removed as it is discussiony and off-topic. I said that in my comment on the question, but the asker chose to ignore it and freak out instead. $\endgroup$ – user856 Nov 22 '12 at 17:50
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    $\begingroup$ I believe that this question is a strict subset of math.stackexchange.com/questions/18843/… $\endgroup$ – user17762 Nov 22 '12 at 20:28
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    $\begingroup$ @Marvis: It seems to me the questions are split along fiction/nonfiction lines. $\endgroup$ – user856 Nov 22 '12 at 22:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Will Yes, rep is nice. But I already made my answer CW. My request to re-open was more about opening the question, not about gaining rep. I just thought there was a conflict of interest, in having drawn attention to a question I happened to answer. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Nov 23 '12 at 0:22
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    $\begingroup$ points to comment that has been ignored yet again $\endgroup$ – user856 Nov 23 '12 at 20:10
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[MIGRATED] I would like to see https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/256079 reopened.

  • The stated reason for the closure ("not constructive") does not apply. There were answers, and they were supported by facts. The question did not solicit debate or arguments. There was a meta-debate, but it was about the appropriateness of the question, not its content; considering such a debate as a reason for closure would be circular, as one could then get questions closed simply by starting a debate on whether they should be closed. Nor is there any reason to expect that the question will solicit debate or arguments in the future. The question does fit our Q&A format; a question was posed and answers were given; that the answers were of the form "the question can't be answered because there's not enough information" is quite a common occurrence and not a reason for closure.
  • The stated reason for the closure bears no relationship to the reasons for closure given in the comments. The reasons given in the comment are not valid reasons for closure. Personal opinions on whether the OP should or shouldn't try to assess the chances of his wife having a serious disease by asking a question on a math Q&A site shouldn't enter into the decision whether this question is suitable for this site. It's the OP's decision and not ours whether he wants to ask this question here.
  • There were two answers at the time of closure, which had several upvotes and contained information potentially valuable to the OP. Even those who commented on problematic aspects of asking such a question on such a site can hopefully agree that it's good if the OP knows that there's not enough information in his question to answer the question.
  • I don't know the current status of the close vote cancelling policy proposal; it may or may not be relevant that I cast a no-close vote in a comment, no-one cancelled it and it received three upvotes.
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  • $\begingroup$ If you have a homework problem, you post it on m.se; if you have a life-or-death problem, you don't spend your time m.se, you hire a professional. That's the advice this person needs, and it can be given as a comment; there's no need for an answer. I don't want to think about the consequences for m.se should someone, in good faith, give a misleading answer which causes some real harm. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Dec 11 '12 at 12:33
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    $\begingroup$ @Gerry: My main point is that this is for the OP to decide, not for us. It seems that you and others disagree (though I don't think any argument against that principle has been offered yet), so I'll argue on the merits even though I think we shouldn't: Many questions are life or death questions. If someone posts a question on how to optimize a process and save the government a lot of money, that money can be invested in better hospitals or safer roads instead; yet no-one would claim we shouldn't be giving mathematical advice on that optimization. $\endgroup$ – joriki Dec 11 '12 at 12:51
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    $\begingroup$ This question is more directly related to life and death, about as directly as the present question. It has $150$ upvotes, no close votes and $17$ answers, one with $48$ upvotes. Should it be closed? If not, where is the difference? $\endgroup$ – joriki Dec 11 '12 at 12:52
  • $\begingroup$ joriki, the difference is that the programmer asking about ambulance schedules has some ability, however untrained, to translate correct mathematical observations to working code, and to discard that code if it fails simulation tests. This poor guy, whom I now believe to be legitimate, has no evident ability to correctly formulate his problem, nor to translate an answer into a better choice for his wife. His demands for a short and simple "answer" demonstrate that much. $\endgroup$ – Will Jagy Dec 11 '12 at 21:45
  • $\begingroup$ I left a comment for Michael Hardy. He can cast the final vote to re-open and post an answer, if he sees some purpose to that. His Ph.D. is in statistics, although that does not guarantee he has tables of useful percentages in epidemiology. $\endgroup$ – Will Jagy Dec 11 '12 at 22:08
  • $\begingroup$ For what it's worth, if "someone posts a question on how to optimize a process and save the government a lot of money," I would tell her to go away to hire a consultant. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Dec 11 '12 at 23:54
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    $\begingroup$ The question was migrated to stats.stackexchange.com/questions/45807/… For the moment, there is also my question stats.stackexchange.com/questions/45804/… with an excellent answer by an epidemiology guy, but the two questions will probably be folded together. $\endgroup$ – Will Jagy Dec 13 '12 at 0:35
  • $\begingroup$ As Will noted, the question has been migrated. Should we edit this answer to include a note to that effect? $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Jan 4 '13 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Gerry: Yes, you might tell her to go away to hire a consultant, but you wouldn't vote for the question to be closed (and certainly not as "not constructive"). Of course you don't have to do unpaid work in such a case if you don't want to, and perhaps no-one wants to and then the question remains unanswered; but this entire site is about doing unpaid work for people, and such a question would be perfectly legitimate here. $\endgroup$ – joriki Jan 6 '13 at 8:18
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    $\begingroup$ @joriki, I don't mind doing unpaid work to help people learn mathematics. I do mind doing unpaid work to help people in private money-making enterprises. If they are going to make, or save, some money out of it, they should be willing to pay someone to help them. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Jan 6 '13 at 15:19
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