Had I known about this site in high school, I would have slept a lot more. I think that we should think about how to get more high school students involved. After all, this site is about math in general. Thus, all the way down to the elementary level. However, the strong majority of questions that are posted are at the level of linear-algebra, differential geometry, or integral calculus.

Why is this? How do we get more minor students on here asking questions?

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    $\begingroup$ The first question to ask is if the community really wants this to happen. (A potential problem is that many highschoolers would want to use the site as a homework answering service and not really contribute much.) I, personally, would probably be ok with younger contributers (more questions I can answer!), but I'm sure that the attitude from a few of them could be grating to some people. $\endgroup$ – apnorton Apr 8 '13 at 1:47
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    $\begingroup$ Now that I know this site, I sleep a lot less ... $\endgroup$ – Hagen von Eitzen Apr 8 '13 at 21:13

I think that part of the problem is the difference between getting people to join the site and getting people to join the community. The first merely requires that a user set up an account, whilst the latter includes (but does not require all of) reading through (and possibly answering) questions posted on a regular basis, taking part in the review process and participating in or reading meta. High school students simply do not have the knowledge to read through most of the questions on this site and gain something from it, let alone attempt to answer them. They are therefore not able to really "join" the community, but are only really able to use this site as a means of occasionally asking questions.

I would contend that a fair number of people on this site are in high school. There are many elementary calculus questions on the site, as well as a great number of introductory probability-type questions (including permutations and combinations, among other things) that could all reasonably be asked by high-school students. I think it is simply that this site offers less for people who know less maths.

(I feel that I should point out that I am not saying this in a derogatory manner, it is certainly possible that some high school students may gain a lot from the site. Speaking as an undergraduate who doesn't understand the material covered in a great many of the questions posted, and who would certainly have understood a lot less when I was in secondary school, I know that I would not have gained much from this site before I had done a reasonable amount of university-level maths.)

As to how we can fix it, I'm not sure. It's been my experience that most high-school level questions don't have that much depth to them. Thus, if someone is struggling with a particular question they are likely struggling with an entire concept. This means that they are unlikely to be able to provide much information on what they have tried already, and the asking of low-level questions without providing this is often frowned upon.

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    $\begingroup$ Yes (+1) but... the selection of questions a highschooler might be able to understand (or answer) is certainly more limited than mine; but even with some 2/3 of the questions being total Greek to me I do have a lot of fun with what I do understand (and can answer). More youngsters asking elementary questions, and being "part of the comunity" as described? Hell, yes! Interested parties should always feel wellcome. More "do my homework for free" types? Well, we do have our fill of those already... $\endgroup$ – vonbrand Apr 8 '13 at 17:12

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