Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I saw this today. But I do believe that although free, one does need to register here to gain the privileges. Indeed one need not register to ask and answer questions but privileges like upvotes and downvotes along with user moderation available to registered users with definite reputation keep the site going.In this context, is the endorsement not slightly misleading?

  • $\begingroup$ I can't quite understand the number of down-votes. The question sounds legitimate to me. Although I would argue that the endorsement is not misleading, I don't see much fault in asking if this is perhaps not the case. Or am I wrong? $\endgroup$ – Jakub Konieczny Apr 22 '13 at 11:17
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    $\begingroup$ @Feanor: Voting on meta has a different meaning than on the main site. Likely at least some of the downvotes are meant as a disagreement to the assertion that the above statement is "slightly misleading". $\endgroup$ – user642796 Apr 22 '13 at 11:47
  • $\begingroup$ @ArthurFischer: Thank you for the clarification! I did not realise that at first, I stand corrected. $\endgroup$ – Jakub Konieczny Apr 22 '13 at 11:54
  • $\begingroup$ Dear mods, Please delete my math.stackexchange account. If a perfectly legitimate question gets 5 downvotes and my correct answers don't get a single upvote, not to mention the lack of user-feedback on a proof I wrote, I have no business on math.stackexchange. 5 downvotes when questions about ipads are on-topic here.Thank you. $\endgroup$ – user70532 Apr 22 '13 at 12:17
  • $\begingroup$ Update: I have deleted all my answers with zero upvotes. :) $\endgroup$ – user70532 Apr 22 '13 at 12:26
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    $\begingroup$ "5 downvotes were served to me when questions about ipads are on-topic here." - so, you seem to have completely ignored Arthur's comment. As already mentioned, it will seem that seven people do not at all agree with your assessment that the statement is misleading. Nothing more. If, despite considering this, you still feel marginalized, then I suppose no amount of explanation will appease you. $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Apr 22 '13 at 13:13
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, the reason that votes on meta do not affect your reputation is for the exact reason that Arthur Fischer gives: "voting on meta has a different meaning than on main". It means no more than what J.M. says, that a certain number of people strongly disagree with your assessment. $\endgroup$ – robjohn Apr 22 '13 at 13:34
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    $\begingroup$ If it makes you feel better, I have about 50 answers without upvotes, all of which I think are correct. Brian Scott - a top five user - has something like 400 answers without upvotes. It's just the way the site works nowadays. Many good answers pass unnoticed simply because very few people see them now that we get so many new questions per day. Posting in popular topics helps the level of exposure, but the variation is HUGE. An elementary or a catchy problem get viewed by several thousand members. On some of the esoteric topics that I frequent we get may be 30-60 views. Sad? Very human! $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Apr 22 '13 at 13:51

You are correct that the site works in part because there are users who are willing to register and use their privileges to help improve the site.

But it is not required that every user register in order for math.SE to work. The simple fact that math.SE continues to work rather well despite there being many unregistered users is evidence of this.

If somehow there were no active registered users, I would assume that math.SE would simply collapse for lack of interest. But even in this situation I would not expect to see a registration requirement. (What would be the point of requiring disinterested people to register?)


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