0
$\begingroup$

Please observe the following thread Proving that the given Diophantine equation has a solution.

There is a long boring argument/discussion about whether it should be posted, who should post it - how to get more people involved in the site... There is also a trend of converting mathematical problems into google search problems - I don't think much insight or understanding comes from this.

Is this necessary?


It is frustrating to be downvoted when I post questions like this. Please give me some idea as to what the problem is if you would be so kind.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Since you created this meta question specifically to discuss the comments on Chandru1's linked question, I moved the off-topic comments you described to an answer here. $\endgroup$ – Larry Wang Sep 13 '10 at 8:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @muad: In this case, I think people may be downvoting you because it is not terribly clear what you are asking. I interpreted your question as - "this question has too many off-topic comments. What should we do about this and questions like it?" $\endgroup$ – Larry Wang Sep 13 '10 at 10:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Kaestur Hakarl, Thank you for doing this. $\endgroup$ – anon Sep 13 '10 at 17:17
2
$\begingroup$

I removed those comments that were not related to the question Chandru1 posted, and reproduce them here so that they will not be lost. Both on-topic and off-topic comments have been provided for context.


Chandru1, may I suggest in the future that you ask your friends to post their interesting problems themselves... – Qiaochu Yuan 13 hours ago

$\mathbb{Q}(\sqrt{-11})$ has class number one. – Robin Chapman 12 hours ago

@Qioachu Yuan: Whether "my friend" posts or i post whats the difference? – Chandru1 12 hours ago

@Chandru1: It is fine to post your friend's question (and I'm not sure why you put that in quotes), but I agree with Qiaochu. If your friends post their own questions, they can interact directly with the answerers. Also, you have posted 98 questions in 40 days; it might be nice to take a breather and at the same time encourage more people to get involved with this website. – Jonas Meyer 12 hours ago

deleted comment from Chandru1

@Chandru1: No, I don't mean to say that there is a restriction on the number of questions you can post (nor am I in any way an authority), just that it would be beneficial to the website to have more people involved, including your friends, and hopefully beneficial to your friends to use the website directly. There is also some discussion on meta about how rapidly posting questions makes it more difficult to follow-up appropriately on each one. – Jonas Meyer 12 hours ago

Here's the source: Mathematical Olympiad in China: problems and solutions by Bin Xiong, Peng Yee Lee - Page 115 – baudrillard 12 hours ago

@Jonas Meyer: Agreed! – Chandru1 12 hours ago

deleted comment from Chandru1

@Chandru1 I've made a simple Google Books search, it took me less than a minute. The exact search line was: diophantine "with * being odd numbers". By the way, there's a complete solution in the book. – baudrillard 12 hours ago

@baudrillard: Great thinking! I was trying with Diophantine equation has a solution :x)! – Chandru1 12 hours ago

@Chandru: Maybe you should edit the source back in quickly, before we got another complain ;) – KennyTM♦ 12 hours ago

Chandru: why exactly don't you want your friends to come here? This site could use more people, you know. It would also be better that they can directly ask people who "know" instead of having to use an intermediary. – J. M. 10 hours ago

@Robin Chapman, I noticed that $z^2+z+3$ has discriminant $-11$ but how does the class number come into play? – muad 5 hours ago

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I can no longer delete my second comment (editing it out here would probably be counterproductive), so I'll just comment here that I was repeating myself/elaborating in response to a comment from Chandru1 that was deleted afterward. The deleted comment had asked about whether there is a limit to how many questions can be asked, and I don't remember what else. $\endgroup$ – Jonas Meyer Sep 13 '10 at 16:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'd also like to emphasize that my second comment ("I've made a simple...") was made after Chandru1 asked me how did I find the source. He deleted his question later. $\endgroup$ – Baudrillard Sep 13 '10 at 17:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Jonas: Actually, I think you should feel free to do so, if you think it would make the conversation easier to understand. That is because deleting text from an answer leaves an edit trail, while deleting comments does not - the main reason I pasted the comments here. $\endgroup$ – Larry Wang Sep 14 '10 at 0:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Kaestur: Thanks, but although I would have deleted it from the original post (to reduce clutter if nothing else), I don't see any good reason to do so now. In fact, I think it makes muad's question more comprehensible to leave it as it is. Thanks for cleaning up the post; I think it's easy enough to follow now. $\endgroup$ – Jonas Meyer Sep 14 '10 at 1:10
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @Kaestur: unfortunately the votes are lost in the above migrated comments, e.g. it was useful to know (esp. for Chandru1) that many people upvoted Qiaochu's first comment. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Sep 14 '10 at 1:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Bill: Thanks for pointing that out, you're very right. I will be sure to note down the votes if I do this again. $\endgroup$ – Larry Wang Sep 14 '10 at 16:35
1
$\begingroup$

I may as well respond as one of the posters of comments there. The discussion was started there partly as a reaction to the OP's past practices. I have gathered from browsing around here that posting on meta has had little to no effect on these practices. I don't know whether there is a serious problem here, but the OP didn't find Qiaochu's initial comment clear, so I tried to elaborate in a way I thought would be constructive. My second comment is a clarifying response to a comment from Chandru1 that has since been deleted (hence the repetitiveness), and I would be happy to delete it. In fact, I plan to do so if no one objects (maybe tomorrow).

My comments are the longest, so hopefully my deleting at least the second one will help.

Regarding your last question, I'm not sure what you mean by "Google search problems". If a question is posted from a problem book that includes solutions (even if inadvertently), then someone doing a Google search to find this source not provided in the question is doing a good service by pointing it out. This won't stop anyone from posting new solutions if they want to, but it will stop people from wasting their time trying to help someone with a problem whose solution is readily available. And, perhaps most importantly, it provides the OP with the answer.

$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Bill Dubuque, Yes I think it is unfair that he is being treated this way - that should be obvious from this question I have posted here. $\endgroup$ – anon Sep 13 '10 at 3:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @muad: It may be clear to those who have been involved in all of the past discussions, but it wasn't clear to me. I just thought you were complaining about off-topic comments. Could you please add more context to your question to make it clearer what you're after? $\endgroup$ – Jonas Meyer Sep 13 '10 at 3:08
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @muad: I agree that there is much more to be gained from this site than the OP getting an answer, but I strongly disagree that the OP getting an answer is not important. We also disagree about the usefulness of posting links that fully answer questions from problem books. But I'm not really sure what the question is anymore. $\endgroup$ – Jonas Meyer Sep 13 '10 at 3:15
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @muad: Since you are here to learn things, do you think that it is good for another user to waste the time of experts by posting many questions simply to gain reputation? I prefer to spend my valuable time answering questions from students who are sincerely interested in the questions that they pose. Never once has Chandru1 demonstrated any such interest. In fact he's demonstrated just the opposite. It's clear from his remarks that he doesn't even understand some of the problems he's posted. It's quite disrespectful for him to waste our precious time by gaming the rep system in this manner. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Sep 13 '10 at 3:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Bill Dubuque: If you feel that way then why don't you ask the moderators to delete my account. I clearly mentioned them, do delete my account permanently, after the 2 days suspension. By the way Bill, i request you to keep your mouth shut on my understanding of the questions. Why does it itch you so much. If you don't want to respond to my questions, then don't do it. But what you are doing is creating an atmosphere in which, i am acting as a criminal to this website. $\endgroup$ – Chandru1 Sep 13 '10 at 8:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Bill Dubuque: Bill, also i don't understand you! First you said you need the source of the problems, and next when i cite, that still you have some problems with me. Now tell me, what more should i do, so as to remain out of scrutiny. I mean every time i pose a question if you people have some, problems, then i guess this site is not good for posing questions for which i don't know the answer. $\endgroup$ – Chandru1 Sep 13 '10 at 8:55
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Chandru, you will have to first admit that you were not on your best behavior pre-suspension. Having done that, consider that "once burned, twice shy". It is just too freakin' uncanny that the problems your peers are asking by proxy are nearly word-for-word identical to olympiad problems. Also, I have the feeling that if your friends are as interested in olympiad-class problems as you say they are, they should not have problems registering here and asking themselves. $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Sep 13 '10 at 11:38
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ "i guess this site is not good for posing questions for which i don't know the answer." - It is, but it is also highly appreciated by would-be answerers that you have shown you've done some legwork (e.g. "I tried so-and-so approach, which failed, and tried to find it in the book of Mr. X, and a Google search gave me nothing useful"). You don't even show evidence that you've tried something, anything. $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Sep 13 '10 at 11:46
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You really shouldn't wonder why people are putting you through intense scrutiny. To end this on a positive note, please please read catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html at least twice before you even consider asking your next question here; it will help you a lot and maybe make people here more enthusiastic about resolving your queries. $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Sep 13 '10 at 11:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @J.M: Ok J.M! They can be more nice in conveying that. $\endgroup$ – Chandru1 Sep 13 '10 at 14:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @muad: You say that "past behavior or the particular person who posted the problem has nothing to do with this question." I can take your word for it because you asked the question, but it does have something to do with what happened, and hence it has something to do with the answer in this case. $\endgroup$ – Jonas Meyer Sep 13 '10 at 16:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Jonas Meyer, yes that's correct - he wouldn't have been lambasted by the wolf pack if it weren't for previous frictions - The implication Bill is trying to make is that I have some kind of irrational continued sympathy for him, this is not the case. $\endgroup$ – anon Sep 13 '10 at 17:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @muad: Thank you for clarifying. I for one did not intend to lambast. $\endgroup$ – Jonas Meyer Sep 13 '10 at 17:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Bill: Why do you have problems when some one comes to support me! Are you playing a politicians role here! It's his wish to support! Each one has different opinions. You may think i am doing wrong whereas he thinks differently. I don't understand your mentality! $\endgroup$ – Chandru1 Sep 14 '10 at 13:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @J.M: You are absolutely right, J.M! But there are things which can't be explained here! Yes as a Grad student, i know i am not up to the mark, but i am trying! $\endgroup$ – Chandru1 Sep 14 '10 at 13:05
1
$\begingroup$

I think that the question of where to draw the line between how much discussion should take place in comments before it deserves to be moved elsewhere may be a difficult one, but if meta-discussion of a specific question on the main site exists already, discussion of things not related to the mathematical content of the question should take place there, rather than in comments on the main site.

If a discussion becomes lengthy/involved enough to merit its own meta topic, then discussing it in comments on the main site will make the discussion inconvenient, since it must take place in two different places, and will make it harder to find the mathematics.
As posts collect many comments, only the highest voted ones are immediately shown, and many types of discussion lead to opinions about users/site policy/etiquette being more highly voted than informative comments about the substance of the post. This goes against one of the purposes of the stackexchange software - creating an easy-to-navigate repository of mathematical knowledge by using upvotes to make informative and useful content more visible.

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I agree about the off-topic banter often skewing voting. That's a major problem here. Often the best posts are far from the top - for a variety of reasons. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Sep 14 '10 at 1:43

You must log in to answer this question.