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94

No you are not required to follow up in comments. At the same time I feel it is not unexpected and rather normal that an asker tries to engage somebody that answered in case something is open. I feel it is strange to get upset about this, doubly so given the sketchy nature of your answer. If you do not want to further engage, say so clearly and neutrally ...


86

Provide Context Context matters. A question can sometimes be answered in one sentence when the discussion is between two experts familiar with each other's background, while the same question may take many paragraphs of detailed computation when being shown to an undergraduate student. By providing a context you help the potential responders to your ...


86

There are occasions when the use of l'Hopital is circular. E.g., when using l'H on $$\lim_{x\to0}{\sin x\over x}$$ you have to differentiate $\sin x$, but to differentiate $\sin x$, you have to evaluate $\lim_{x\to0}{\sin x\over x}$.


51

No, I don't think this is appropriate. Users can opt to receive emails when their questions are answered or commented on, so this could really only be interpreted as a request to receive an answer by email in lieu of an answer here, which is not acceptable as it excludes other users.


49

A good title The title of a question is the first thing people see. Like headings in newspapers, book, song and album titles, their importance is not to be underestimated -- the presence of a good, descriptive title for your question often greatly improves the exposure (and hence the amount and quality of answers) it gets. To ensure maximal descriptiveness ...


43

How can I choose the preferred website to put my questions? I once read something along the lines "If you have to ask whether to ask on MO or math.se, likely you should ask it on math.se." I think this is a good rule of thumb. What if someone writes his or her question down on the not preferable website? If you post on MO and they think it is ...


41

Personally, I'm against any calculus technique that can be applied without (much) thinking. These days calculus (in North America, at least) is taught in a way that people can get high grades without having the slightest idea of what a derivative or an integral is. In most classes I teach I ask what an integral is, and very rarely do I get satisfactory ...


37

Taken straight from the tour of this website: "Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields." Personally, I think that is how it should stay. (That doesn't mean we can't have a quality standard on questions though, but this is tangential to your question.) Maybe the ...


37

TL;DR: the longer, the better. Based on the current data, longer questions tend to get a higher ratio of upvotes than shorter questions. There is not enough data to determine an 'optimal' question length. Full version I constructed a SEDE query which lets you play a bit with the interval length, and the maximum considered length. Feel free to fork it to ...


35

It is quite important that questions contain enough stand-alone context to be answerable with the text alone. Therefore, I would strongly discourage questions where critical or important context is .. off-site at another hyperlink, which can go dark or become unavailable at any time in an image file that is not searchable or easily parseable as text It is ...


35

Mathematical typesetting using MathJax Mathematics.SE uses the emulation engine MathJax for providing $\TeX$-like mathematical typesetting. This means that you can use mathematical notation in your questions in a visually appealing way. How can I use MathJax? Basic information: This gives a quick start for people familiar with the $\TeX$-family of markup ...


35

I know what you mean, and I never could understand the sometimes outward hostility directed toward these individuals. I got the feeling that these folks were simply interested in challenging integrals, sums, what-have-you and they occasionally generated very intense discussions. I see a lot less of that lately and I think we are missing out a little by not ...


33

Tagging Tags are a way to help us organize posts on this website. People also use them to locate the questions they will find the most interesting. Thus, good tagging helps to attract the best potential answerers to your question. How do you select the best tags for your question Tags are about content. Tags (except "meta" tags, see below) are supposed to ...


32

Avoid "no clue" questions Too many questions begin or end with "I don't even know how to begin with this problem". While this may be true (you may genuinely have no idea how to approach the problem), it is still not a valid reason to limit your post to the statement of the problem without any mention of your own thoughts. Such questions will most of the ...


29

Formatting and writing This is not some random internet forum. We strive for well-composed questions and answers of lasting value -- so keep in mind that your question can be of interest to others as well. Posing a well-formatted question Use proper English to the best of your ability The use of proper spelling, grammar and punctuation makes your ...


29

I do agree that sometimes higher reputation users are given greater leeway than lower reputation users. This is not just true with questions, but also "answers". This is unfortunate, but also somewhat understandable. If you have achieved, say, 10K reputation on the site, you have likely been active for a considerable amount of time, and have contributed a ...


27

Context is everything. When one of my students asks me "How can I solve question 1", I know what they are asking, I know what they were taught and what tools they have accessible to solving the question, and I may or may not recognize them personally and be able to size up their ability to approach the problem or their difficulties in doing so. When ...


27

You're not; your account triggered a warning for a ban that is no longer in effect (it has been superseded by rolling rate limits) - the ban itself was turned off but not the warning. There's another ban and another warning to go with it that are still in play, but you're far from qualifying for either. We're discussing how to best disable the obsolete ...


26

Yes, I think this is both reasonable on general grounds and will help to ameliorate some "site flooding" issues we are currently experiencing. Are the exact numbers of 6 per day and 50 per month negotiable, or is it an on/off situation? To me 6 questions per day sounds quite reasonable, but 50 per month is small in comparison. It seems to allow users to ...


26

In general, it is considered poor practice to change a question drastically enough after an answer has been given. The person could have spent quite some time writing up a good answer, and if an edit invalidates it, that effort can be wasted. In this case, the effort clearly would not have been wasted - it would have helped you overcome part of your problem -...


26

Let's call a spade a spade and admit that "show your work"/"what have you tried?" in the context of this site are primarily intended to be a less accusatory way to say "no, we will not do your homework for you". It is, of course, true enough that showing some work will also help answerers tailor their answers to the particular lack of understanding that the ...


25

I answer questions on math.se for several reasons. In roughly decreasing order of priority: To help researchers with problems they run into (especially those from fields outside pure math, whose mathematical problems have a chance of being at the level I can understand!) To teach the general public and curious independent learner. To help students who are ...


25

The registration requirement had a big impact on the issues related to users losing access to their unregistered account (points 3,4,5 in the feature request). It is now a rare exception that a user needs to be told about merging their accounts. Before the change it was a common occurrence that a user posted a question from an unregistered account, later ...


25

I have on occasion re-asked someone's deleted question, trying to ask it in such a way as to engage with the criticisms levelled at the deleted version, and being sure to state explicitly that I was re-asking a deleted question, and linking to that deleted question. So, I think it's OK to do it.


25

YES. Posting a question from elsewhere${}^1$ without reference could be considered plagiarism. While not illegal, it is considered to be very bad in academics. ${}^1$In particular, posting your homework problem without reference.


23

Disclaimer: I hadn't seen your question before following the link in this meta question. I'm basing this answer on the first revision of the question. The title is the title, not the first sentence of the body. The question appeared to start (and still does) with a parenthentical sentence which is lacking context, and that's a bad first impression. This is ...


22

In some circumstances questions like "How do I do X without Y" are genuinely intellectual exercises in working without powertools, but in other circumstances they seem more like "I have an aversion to thinking about Y so let's just do it another way." My impression is that the first group is by far the bigger group in general, but for l'Hopital's rule ...


21

If you're worried that the context you want to provide is too long and might bore people away before they get to your actual question, you can use the following style: Concise introduction to the setting of the problem The question Motivation: Multiple paragraphs of lengthy explanation that lead eventually to the question


21

Post a new one. There's no reason to remove the accepted answer; that's just unfair.


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible