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50

Personally, I don't think the question is sexist towards women, or that the edit is sexist towards men. With that said, the fact that I'm not offended by it doesn't invalidate the feelings of the people who are. They have a right to feel that way. There are good points on either side. But it doesn't matter. The edit itself is a matter of taste, and ...


48

Intuition is extremely important in mathematics and not always explicitly taught in math courses. As a working mathematician, I need "hard" knowledge to prove and define things in detail, but "soft" knowledge is an indispensable guide that steers my work. We would lose much if we were to ban intuitive questions here. It's not easy to apply the same standards ...


45

Just a few comments on this. Asking questions about mathematics is precisely the purpose of this site. It does not matter whether the questions come from the book you are studying or from elsewhere. What does matter is that you put an effort into your question and that you do not ask too many questions at once. I definitely prefer when the OP mentions the ...


43

Math.SE cannot afford to be a place for everything math(s)-related: that way lie endless ‘proofs’ of the Goldbach conjecture, ‘demonstrations’ that Cantor was wrong-wrong-wrongity-wrong and $\Bbb R$ is really countable, and questions about the best diet for doing non-commutative algebra. I’ve no doubt that for some users Math.SE is first and foremost a ...


43

I appreciate people taking the time to show how a problem can be solved using a computer (I have done it myself several times) and, honestly, I do not see why they should be deprived of the little symbolic recognition that a few rep points mean; it is often not a trivial task to coerce a computer to do what one wants. Not everyone knows how to do this, quite ...


36

There are two issues at play, here. This post deals with the way the post was edited, rather than the end state of the post. The Editor is an SE Representative Regardless of whether or not Jaydles was acting in an official manner, he represents StackExchange. As such, his action reflects on SE whether he intended it or not. This has a large intimidation ...


35

I haven't been here long, and I rarely follow meta. That said, I am surprised and dismayed by what I perceive to be very open hostility among several prominent users here, over something that I consider to be not particularly significant--"contributions" to a site. No single user, no matter how high their reputation or extensive their contribution to MSE, ...


34

Your answer is fine. I have no idea why it was downvoted so much. Even if the original person asking the question does not know about Cauchy sequences (we have no way to tell), it is OK for some answers to address more advanced viewpoints. And, surely, the most direct way to show that $\sum_{k \in \mathbb{N}} 1/k$ diverges is to verify that the sequence of ...


34

It is not allowed to make deals about mutual voting, definitely not explicitly and not even implicitly. This would be considered as a voting-ring. Even to just vote on many of a user's post because you might find the user is a friendly person brings you quickly on very thin ice. Such behavior can lead quickly to reversal of votes and even to suspensions.


32

Apologies for the length of this post, but as one of the organizers of an external contest (the entrance quiz for the Canada/USA Mathcamp summer program) I want to add a bit of information to this discussion. Back in February, we were alerted by a math.SE user that someone had posted five of our entrance quiz questions to math.SE. The deadline was still a ...


30

I propose that we just be more sincere and direct about the reason for closure; why wouldn't we introduce 'not enough/too little research effort shown - please check whether you have included your own work'? Since this is basically what most people are trying to say when voting for closure in such cases, I think this (or any formulation similar to this one) ...


30

Tim Gowers has a series of blog posts on this topic and related topics. In one, he says: Let me introduce a notion of fake difficulty. Every pure maths supervisor at Cambridge has had conversations like this: Supervisee: I found this question rather difficult. Supervisor: Well, what were your thoughts? Supervisee: Erm … I don’t know really, I just looked at ...


30

You can try to flag a post by that user for moderator attention. At present (and likely far into the future) there is no way to flag a user profile. But be aware that users have quite free reign on their user profiles. Sure, pornographic material, racist epithets, and other truly offensive material (e.g., there was a recent spate of avatars with Nazi ...


28

Let's delete the post. I didn't see the original question, but it looks like it was about an incorrect computation of $0.657_8$ in decimal. Future readers are unlikely to benfit from such a highly localized question.


28

If you actually, truly and honestly believe that there was an abuse of moderator power, the appropriate thing to do would be to contact the SE staff using the contact us link found in the footer of every page of math.se and meta.math.se. Site moderators do not have access to messages sent to the SE team in this way. I believe you can also email them at team@...


26

Posting this as an answer to test how widespread my beliefs/definitions are :-) My creed (largely those of a loyal disciple of Jacobson's BA I-II): A ring is not necessarily commutative. The multiplication of a ring is associative. A ring has a multiplicative neutral element (often denoted by $1$). The lesser structures are rngs. A homomorphism of rings ...


25

I was going to just comment. Then, as writing a comment, it turned into two, then three...feeling a bit more courageous even as I typed, until it evolved into an answer. I found the edit to be both humorous and gratifying. No, I'm not the one who voted to close, nor did I find the original offensive. But I found it gratifying that on at least one occasion, ...


25

Your Comment contained a link to an older Question. Although this Question was not the final target chosen by voting to close-as-duplicate, someone may have voted to consider that target the duplicate, or the system may have identified that link as a duplicate of the target that was eventually chosen. What is known is that when a vote to close-as-...


23

Now might be a good time to provide information that I do not think even the other moderators have. Some time ago I was contacted by David Savitt, who helps run Canada/USA Mathcamp, about an account that was posting questions from their entrance examination. More recently I was again contacted by David Savitt about several other accounts that he believed to ...


23

There's no written policy (until now, I guess), and each mod has his or her quirks (so the discussion below is guaranteed to apply only if the handling moderator is yours truly). While you asked about "not constructive", let me be more ambitious and answer in the greatest generality. Before saying anything else, let me first say this: Moderation on each ...


23

The question you mentioned should be closed. The argument given for closing it is arguably prone to cause confusion and dissent though. In our guidelines How to ask a good question. it is mentioned that some context should be provided. Some consider lack of context as a reason to close. There is a community specific close reason for just this: Missing ...


22

If we get information that a question is from an in-progress online contest, I think we should make every effort to ensure that the question is not answered on MSE before the deadline. Prompt closing seems like a good idea, possibly with reopening after the deadline has passed. Or else a warning sign that is difficult to miss. Edit: I would prefer closing ...


21

Recommending a book to someone that one has not read oneself without explicitly declaring so makes no sense to me. If you think it's reasonable to start reading a book because someone recommended it to you, why don't you think it's reasonable to recommend a book because someone recommended it to you? When you tell people things, do you generally make a ...


21

I find these questions about intuition to be extremely valuable. A perfect example of an intuitive explanation appears on p. 553 of Terence Tao's book Analysis II: Intuitively, one can think of the several variable chain rule as follows. Let $x$ be close to $x_0$. Then Newton's approximation asserts that $$ f(x) - f(x_0) \approx f'(x_0)(x - x_0) $$ ...


20

Though I do not do so often in writing, when speaking, I curse often and with great enthusiasm. (I also rarely type ain't, y'all, fixing, or reckon, because doing so feels weird.) I encourage anyone who doesn't think that cursing can be as precise and versatile a form of expression as the rest of the English language to read more modern fiction. I see ...


19

I would propose the following policy: Treat questions of the first kind as if they were asked in a more general form and answer them in the spirit of "teaching how to fish". This would entail that similar questions about different numbers count as duplicates. Close questions of the second kind as "too localized", since the main objection to them, as far as ...


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