Questions tagged [allowed-questions]

Use this tag when asking what is on- or off-topic on the main site, and why.

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78 votes
1 answer
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Academic advising should be explicitly off-topic

Occasionally we get questions of the form I am a student of $N$th year majoring in $A$ with minor or emphasis in $B$. I took courses $C_1,C_2,\dots,C_n$ and did extracurricular activities $E_1,\dots,...
user avatar
65 votes
11 answers
3k views

What is the site etiquette about (i) asking and (ii) answering questions in a language other than English?

We have a new user who has recently both asked and answered questions in French. I think we should discuss the appropriateness of this practice. As of 2023, there is a new policy on this.
Pete L. Clark's user avatar
55 votes
4 answers
1k views

How should we deal with "sob stories"/gaming the system?

There are many questions where someone posts something along the lines of "my 4 year old daughter conjectured that: (math a 4 year old would obviously not know)". There was one recently where they ...
user avatar
50 votes
6 answers
2k views

Are questions about history on topic?

By now, many of you are likely aware of the existence of History of Science and Mathematics Stack Exchange, which started up a year and a half ago and is still going strong in the beta stage. ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 2,354
49 votes
6 answers
3k views

Should I ask stupid questions?

As I'm starting to study mathematics and I feel like to ask a lot of questions, but I'm aware that I could answer part of them alone instead of just asking. Sometimes I can answer the question a few ...
Red Banana's user avatar
  • 23.9k
45 votes
2 answers
2k views

The problem with proof verification

What I am going to bring up is not a new problem. It was hashed again and again and again. It was brought up as far as 2013, and repeatedly almost every year. See 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. Some of ...
Asaf Karagila's user avatar
  • 393k
44 votes
2 answers
2k views

What qualify questions to be in mathoverflow and not in math.stackexchange?

I have read that https://mathoverflow.net/ is only for the very advanced mathematics, such as upper graduate level or research level, counter to https://math.stackexchange.com/ which is for any ...
ahdahmani's user avatar
  • 1,298
39 votes
2 answers
3k views

Clarify an old answer

Today I went to ask a question, but I discovered that somebody else had already asked the exact same thing. Goody for me, right? Well, the trouble is, the question got several answers, but I don't ...
MathematicalOrchid's user avatar
39 votes
5 answers
2k views

Is it appropriate to close every question that doesn't show efforts and/or lacks of context?

Yesterday this question was asked: Finding solutions to $2^x+17=y^2$, then it was closed and finally it was reopened. My concern is about if every question showing no effort or lacking of context ...
Xam's user avatar
  • 6,109
38 votes
2 answers
1k views

"Context" vs. "your work" redux

Recently, we (once again) discussed the practices of requiring context and asking for someone's work on a question. It has been quite an established principle these days that people ought to include ...
Lord_Farin's user avatar
  • 17.7k
37 votes
3 answers
1k views

Large number of posts in the spirit of "How do I become good at Mathematics?"

There have been a steady number of questions being asked in the spirit of: Hi, I'm yada yada. Here's a short version of my life story and why I can't math. I currently only understand such and ...
JMoravitz's user avatar
  • 79.1k
36 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is it appropriate to ask "dumb" questions.

As I found, most people asking really smart questions. But what if I have a "dumb" question. When I simply don't understand something or even don't understand some answers. More specifically, can I ...
user avatar
36 votes
1 answer
1k views

Can we ask about code in math.stackexchange?

I was wondering if it's OK to ask about the implementation of a mathematical function in code? Really do not know if I should ask in StackOverflow or math.stackexchange.
SHM's user avatar
  • 181
36 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why don't we use a homework policy... like physics.SE?

I was reading Proposal: ban verbatim homework questions which have no accompanying text and I came upon some startling old statistics. Since 2013, the number of questions on this site has multiplied ...
Simply Beautiful Art's user avatar
35 votes
3 answers
1k views

Large number of self-answered questions permissible?

I have some free time over the next month, and I was thinking of reviewing some material on Hilbert spaces and eventually learning about the associated spectral theory. (I never got to this when I ...
Potato's user avatar
  • 40k
34 votes
4 answers
1k views

Is there a lower bound to the level of the questions that can be asked in here?

Recently I've seen a couple of questions, specifically this one and this one, that were relatively low level for what I've seen up to now in the site. Basically both questions were just asking for ...
Adrián Barquero's user avatar
34 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is Math Stackexchange only for experts?

So recently I asked a few questions that seemed pretty difficult to me. But when I scrolled through some other questions I felt that to most other users my question are probably just elementary. Since ...
tempdev nova's user avatar
32 votes
4 answers
1k views

Can I make a post just for curiosity?

I wanted to ask if I can ask questions that arise only from my curiosity (example: I waste time doing random functions and create a problem out of nothing that seems interesting to me because it has a ...
Efesto's user avatar
  • 1
32 votes
1 answer
572 views

A question on an answer made by a user who is no longer active

I saw an answer in a old thread that I do not understand. I made a comment yesterday asking the user to explain a particular step. But I realize now that the thread is old and the user is no longer ...
Srini's user avatar
  • 737
32 votes
1 answer
866 views

Is it okay to ask for an exercise or example?

I just thought of this idea. I am currently studying some advanced abstract algebra and recently I learned about Jordan-Holder factors, central simple algebras and stuff. The concepts are very new and ...
trisct's user avatar
  • 5,211
32 votes
2 answers
482 views

Add "teaching math" to the on-topic list

The following transpired in the comments to the (currently closed) Stopping the "Will I need this for the test" question (emphasis added). robjohn notes that "teaching math" is not listed in ...
dfeuer's user avatar
  • 9,049
32 votes
0 answers
1k views

Has the culture of acceptable questions on SE changed over time?

I am relatively new to SE, but I have noticed something quite peculiar. I often am reading lots of old questions (years old) and encounter many that are very short, show very little self-attempt, and ...
Clyde Kertzer's user avatar
31 votes
5 answers
2k views

What is the proper way to handle homework questions?

I feel that this topic is important enough to deserve its own page, rather than having bits and pieces be scattered across many answers and comments. It is inevitable that many students will come to ...
Larry Wang's user avatar
  • 9,443
31 votes
1 answer
2k views

Are "please check my proof" type of questions proper?

I am investigating a somewhat obscure area of number theory. Can I post a proposition and a complete proof and ask people to check it?
ThomasMcLeod's user avatar
30 votes
2 answers
752 views

Are questions caused by typographical errors in a textbook on-topic?

Recently someone asked a question about an argument in a textbook which (s)he did not understand. Some people quickly noticed that the confusion was just caused by a typographical error in the book, ...
Martin R's user avatar
  • 112k
30 votes
3 answers
1k views

Do we actually "welcome questions about: • Software that mathematicians use"?

On the FAQ it says: "We welcome questions about: • Software that mathematicians use". However, when I went to post a question about maple, I found this: About maple For questions involving the ...
Douglas B. Staple's user avatar
30 votes
4 answers
973 views

Is the site being too lenient in helping people with homework?

Most questions which are actually exercises and considered homework on other sites are closed within a short span of time, but since this site requires people to show their work so that they are ...
RE60K's user avatar
  • 17.7k
30 votes
2 answers
1k views

Asking "Where did my math go wrong" questions

Let's say a Math Exchange inquirer posts: 1) A homework problem (with book citation) 2) The inquirer's workings towards an (ultimately incorrect) final answer 3) The textbook's answer 4) And ...
baverso's user avatar
  • 401
30 votes
4 answers
1k views

Is arithmetic mathematics and can we answer questions about it?

Yesterday, I answered this question (later deleted, see below for the text) and was a little surprised when the question was closed. A user in the comments stated, "This is not mathematics. It is ...
N. Bar's user avatar
  • 1,600
30 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is it ok to ask about the correctness of preprints of crank friendly topics?

Motivated by this question here: https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/43051/collatz-finally-solved There seems to be a divided opinion (see comments) among users of math.se regarding the "on-...
Aryabhata's user avatar
  • 82k
29 votes
4 answers
2k views

Does "mathematics at all levels" include the level of those who harbor typical confusions held by most laypersons?

is all math beyond arithmetic just advanced arithmetic? A person suffering from the usual laypersons' extreme confusions about the nature of mathematics posted the question linked above. Might I be ...
Michael Hardy's user avatar
29 votes
2 answers
1k views

About demanding work from askers

I only found out about MSE around the end of my degree, so I didn't get to ask that many questions. However, had I known about it earlier, I could see myself wanting to ask questions, having thought ...
Git Gud's user avatar
  • 31.3k
29 votes
1 answer
779 views

Are questions about mathematical language, writing, and terminology on topic here?

I just came across the question "Does "another" mean "another" in mathematics?". This question is asking about how the word "another" is used in mathematical writing. Someone ...
Tanner Swett's user avatar
  • 10.1k
28 votes
4 answers
1k views

Is simple mathematics for learners allowed here?

Are users encouraged to ask simple math questions in this forum as well? Most of the questions here seem advanced for a math learner.
user12345's user avatar
  • 589
27 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why close old questions with accepted answers using the "no context" reason?

Recently, I have noticed there is an increasing number of closings (or at least, close votes) on questions like this one. That is, archaic questions with accepted answers, which do not match the "...
Lord_Farin's user avatar
  • 17.7k
27 votes
1 answer
1k views

"Help me find a paper"-type questions

Recently, this question was closed as "not being about maths". I think that this closure is worthy of further discussion. Basically, I believe that finding papers (especially old ones, or ...
user1729's user avatar
  • 30.9k
27 votes
1 answer
1k views

Asking competitive exam questions (to which I have solutions)

I have several books of standard exercises that were asked in competitive exams in France (typically, ENS/Polytechnique), from my earlier years. In particular, a lot of them are quite interesting, ...
Clement C.'s user avatar
  • 67.2k
26 votes
1 answer
1k views

Can I post questions to fill in the gaps in a textbook I'm reading from?

I am currently reading Galois Theory on my own from Patrick Morandi's Field and Galois Theory. There are many statements in the textbook that I do not find to be obvious, which is to be expected from ...
user avatar
26 votes
1 answer
1k views

What's on-topic and off-topic, really?

This post is made in response to this thread, which asked for the error in a purported proof of the Riemann Hypothesis. After an upvote/downvote war (the downvotes have currently narrowly won), it was ...
Joshua P. Swanson's user avatar
26 votes
1 answer
652 views

Is the 'sister' question on topic?

I suspect we've all seen My sister absolutely refuses to learn math by now - it's lodged at the top of the Stack Exchange hot questions list, it's been tweeted, it's got 27k views and hundreds of ...
AakashM's user avatar
  • 574
26 votes
1 answer
583 views

What is the right place (on stackexchange) to ask questions concerning mathematical writing?

As a student working on my first academic publication, I have a ton of questions specifically about writing about math. For example: When should I state the full theorem rather than just its name ...
Alice Schwarze's user avatar
25 votes
3 answers
1k views

Are intuition-based questions off-topic?

I was perusing the "Close Questions" queue just now and noticed a common theme. It seems like a large number of questions involve gaining intuition about some result; most of them use the word "...
Michael Seifert's user avatar
25 votes
3 answers
871 views

Would it be allowed to post a question as an exercise for students?

So I'm a math teacher and would like my students to get comfortable with this community and to get familiar with this resource. To this end I've daydreamed about assigning them a problem, then posting ...
nitsua60's user avatar
  • 137
25 votes
1 answer
743 views

Getting Help With Calculations From A Paper: Acceptable Or No?

There is a math. ecology paper that I am interested in using in my own project but the math that is used in the paper is outside of my knowledge base. So ideally I was hoping to post the paper and the ...
GrayLiterature's user avatar
25 votes
2 answers
723 views

Is a question about "Best books/papers on X" appropriate?

I’ve recently become interested in rational right triangles — especially the relationship between their geometric and algebraic properties and possible applications to the solutions of Diophantine ...
Kieren MacMillan's user avatar
25 votes
2 answers
668 views

What is the appropriate way to post conjectures on Math.SE

My hobby is to seach for closed forms of integrals that cannot be evaluated by modern CAS like Maple or Mathematica. Sometimes I can intuitively find the right way to transform the integral and can ...
Vladimir Reshetnikov's user avatar
25 votes
3 answers
974 views

What should we do with poorly posed questions?

This is regarding Bill Dubuques post. After reading the discussion, I agree that the community should be more welcoming and friendlier. I personally am not sure what to do when someone asks poorly ...
Eric Naslund's user avatar
24 votes
2 answers
841 views

A recent flood of poorly asked questions

I don't know why, but it seems that there has been a spate of poorly asked questions as of late--many of which seem to be directly lifted from homework. Here are a bunch of examples. These are ...
Akhil Mathew's user avatar
  • 31.2k
24 votes
3 answers
2k views

Centralized solutions to textbook problems considered harmful?

Recently I've been toying with the idea of going through Crandall and Pomerance's Prime Numbers: A Computational Perspective cover-to-cover, to the best of my ability. However, it's a very difficult ...
Douglas B. Staple's user avatar
24 votes
2 answers
709 views

Will this series of questions about the mathematics behind various MoMath exhibits be alright?

The National Museum of Mathematics, known as MoMath, has a wonderful collection of mathematical exhibits at their museum in midtown Manhattan, and I would recommend anyone to visit. The museum is ...
JDH's user avatar
  • 44k

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