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12:02 AM
@quid This tab with "Featured on Meta" and "Hot Meta post".
 
@user21820 I removed it.
@vitamind I still do not understand what specifically you propose.
 
Is it possible to feature questions, which are thought for new users? I liked two examples.
 
12:22 AM
@vitamind we can feature post, but only for everybody.
In my experience people do not pay much attention to what is featured.
 
@quid Stats on that? Because in my experience, people do pay attention to what is featured. @vitamind is seeking ways to highlight, for new users, the meta FAQ posts that will help them most, and I concur that this would be useful. If you want to kill
the idea, then just say so.
For example, Joe's simplified mathjax tutorial, How to ask a good question: @vitamind and I would like to make these more readily accessible to new users, since currently, Joe's mathjax post is difficult for seasoned users to fine, who are aware of us. Do you have any ideas to facilitate such access? If not, say so. But don't dismiss the idea.
 
 
1 hour later…
1:33 AM
@amWhy new users don't pay attention to that in general. I should have added "new". The idea is half-baked.
New users were shown a page where they had to tick a box about using MathJax etc. It did not help all that much.
In any case "How to ask a good question" is linked in more or less that box on the "ask" page math.stackexchange.com/questions/ask
That box can be modified. If you want something else there that's viable.
But "How to ask" already is shown in such a box. In that sense that's done already. If that is not sufficient I'd be helpful to know what exactly would be the difference.
 
2:18 AM
@user21820 whole team is really sacked at the moment, particularly from eoqs flags that have been piling up. also i'm marked as inactive/away due to my real life work right now so we are kind of short handed. i think we will get to more flags soon.
 
 
8 hours later…
10:33 AM
@TheSimpliFire Here we are again: math.stackexchange.com/q/4209049/42969
 
 
4 hours later…
2:22 PM
The question has been self-deleted but I've flagged for the account.
 
2:36 PM
@quid Thanks!
@AlexanderGruber I see, no problem!
@quid Actually I do have a suggestion. That box does not encourage anyone to click on the links. Firstly, it is too wordy. Secondly, it has too many links. Thirdly, most of it is redundant clutter. The only content of that box should be:
Let me explain why the other points are pointless:
(1) "Is your question about math?" is silly because we are already on Math SE.
(2) "We prefer questions that can be answered, not just discussed." is rarely an issue that causes problems, so no point bringing it up.
(3) "Provide details. Share your research." says the wrong thing and does not encourage clicking on the HTA (the how-to-ask page) link.
(4) "Write an interesting, specific title that summarizes the question." is subsumed by HTA.
(5) "If your question is about this website, ask it on meta instead." is redundant and already stated under "Helpful links" below the box.
 
3:02 PM
@user21820 "First, it is too wordy" to me, this is the central issue. guidelines are good, but they should be supplements to rules, not replacements! To expect every poster to read the full thousands of words in the help center is woefully naïve. Sure, it'd be great if they did so, but c'mon, take a look around the world right now. Make it easier to learn about and follow the rules, not tsk-tsk about the unruly masses
 
@JackGallagher That's why there should be only one link, straight to "how to ask a good question", because if they just try to follow a few of those points there we would get vastly improved questions.
As you said, there's no point linking to the help center because it doesn't help. I actually read through it when I first joined, but it was really pointless.
(I'm the kind of person who reads entire EULAs, so I don't count as a normal user.)
 
3:17 PM
@user21820 fully agreed
 
3:46 PM
@user21820 Regarding (2), this is actually something which comes up with enough frequency that I think I would prefer to leave it as-is. It is the bit of advice which suggests that "Check my proof of RH" is off-topic, wards against crankery, and is relevant for those users who seem to want to use Math SE as a personal blog.
I agree that it isn't as pressing as the problem of PSQs, but the "questions are questions, not invitations to discussion" is something which isn't precisely covered by "How to Ask", so it seems reasonable to leave that advice somewhere it is likely to be skipped over when a new user should be reading the instructions.
As an aside, I am rather pissy right now about a student who spend the entire summer not following directions, and is now angry at me because they failed the class after not following directions.
Though this student did send me one of my favorite comments ever "That's okay, nevermind, don't explain why I failed the class! I'll just take it again next semester from a better instructor!"
Guess who teaches that class this fall?
 
@XanderHenderson Lol. I guess it would be Alex Henderson.
@XanderHenderson If it's really important, it could be stuffed into the how-to-ask page.
My point is to condense that box into a single short instruction, so that the likelihood of clicking is maximized. The more links, the less I feel like clicking any.
 
4:04 PM
@user21820 Perhaps I will write another answer. I might have some real free time the week after next. :\
@user21820 I agree entirely.
 
@user21820 maybe there is also some point in having some information on the page for those that won't follow any link at all.
The "Please read this before asking" runs into the fact that many will assume they know how to ask anyway.
For if they had any doubt they would find instructions.
Plus, it is not as if the thread linked then would be concise.
Frankly, if it were the other way around people would ask for the opposite.
 
@quid Well it's worse with the current version, because everyone thinks they know what "provide details" means, and won't even click. If instead we do not say anything in the box, except the condition to read the link before asking, there is no excuse for anyone who does not read it.
@quid Well, it's not about what people want, but which works better. I predict (but did not prove) that mine works better.
 
@user21820 obviously.
The correct way to discuss such changes and to make such proposal is on meta.
 
4:20 PM
Sure. I leave it to whoever has enough free time to do that.
 
@user21820 well so then that's that.
 
See you!
 
4:50 PM
@XanderHenderson How did the class, overall do, given it was not scheduled with sufficient face time this summer?
 
I had three students (the highest enrollment I had all summer was five; there were four by the end of week 1, and another student withdrew around week four---that was disappointing, as the student was doing very well). The grades ended up being A, B, F.
In my calculus class, there were ultimately only two students, who earned an A and a B (I was kind of disappointed by the second student---they completed almost none of the written assignments, and could easily have earned an A had they bothered to do the work).
Oh, another fun comment from the student who failed: This is a MATH class, not an ENGLISH class! Why do I have to write?!
(Because "writing in the discipline" is a real thing, buck-o).
Another fun comment: next time, I'll take the class from someone who can explain what is going on, rather than say "read the syllabus".
Oh, I love this person.
Fun fact: I bury a question in every syllabus I write. That question is worth 3 points, which is the same as three chapters of homework, or one exam question. Every semester, I get two or three students who ever get those points. What this tells me is that no student ever reads the syllabus. :\
 
@XanderHenderson Hah! Love how you handled "why focus on writing?"
@XanderHenderson Wow! I studied the syllabus thoroughly, and reviewed it many times. I see a parallel on this site, in terms of users who never complete the tour, or go to the help section, or search on site.
 
@amWhy Indeed. People don't read instructions.
The funny thing is, I assigned a writing project about halfway through the term. It is worth 30 points (the same as a typical midterm), 10 for writing, 10 for mathematical correctness, and 10 for technical implementation (the project is to use the method of bisection to approximately factor a degree 5 polynomial---you could do it "by hand" with a calculator, but it goes a lot faster if you use a spreadsheet or programming language).
This student ran to W|A, factored the polynomial, and wrote up a paragraph explaining that they did this, along with a page of scratch work. I have them no points for either mathematical correctness or technical implementation, as they completely failed to follow the directions and answer the question. On the other hand, I gave them 5 points for the writing. The paragraph was cogent enough.
Despite this not being an English class, the student got points for English, and not for anything else.
l'sigh
 
5:06 PM
@XanderHenderson Indeed!
 
Honestly, I would like to have given the student a D, but my options are A, B, C, F, IC, and W.
:\
 
I'd say you did an amazing job teaching the classes, given the lack of face time and all.
 
@amWhy I think I do okay. I have good days and bad days, and I am a big proponent of traditional lecture (which puts me somewhat on the outside of modern thinking). But I try to provide enrichment, and give student multiple paths to success.
 
@Xander I'm looking forward to when the student takes it in the fall, and learns your teaching the fall course, too.
 
For example, I assign final grades on the basis of the number of points earned over a term: e.g. "get 200 points, earn a C; get 240 points, earn a B; get 275 points, earn an A". I then provide opportunities to earn close to 350 points.
@amWhy ME TOO!
 
5:11 PM
@XanderHenderson What is IC and W? Excuse my ignorance.
 
@XanderHenderson That's awesome, which is why it is all the more confusing that users nonetheless, when they fail, blame others, where in truth, they failed to take the extra opportunities to succeed.
@vitamind InComplete, Withdrawal.
 
Why aren't E's and D's possible? Is this generally like that?
 
@vitamind "incomplete" and "withdraw"
@vitamind The American system has never had an E, to my knowledge.
 
@vitamind Never heard of an E
 
I don't know why Ds aren't possible here. I also cannot assign plusses and minuses.
 
5:14 PM
@XanderHenderson Great minds think alike!
 
This is actually a contentious issue here, which we are hoping to rectify in the near future.
I think that one of my committee assignments in the fall is on the Academic Standards committee. That should be fun.
 
But there are F's? I like numbers more, I think more options to grade someone is better. Meaning it makes for me personally more sense to give 5.6 and 5.2 than only using letters or signs (which only represent a 0.5 change).
 
Roughly speaking, an A is meant to convey high honors, a B honors, a C is a "passing grade", a D is a failing grade, and an F conveys that the student made no effort at all.
@vitamind A = 4.0, B = 3.0, C = 2.0, D = 1.0, and F = 0.0.
So there is a numerical scale.
Personally, I don't think that any form of assessment is likely to give you more than four or five categories into which one can place students, so I am pretty happy with a four-point scale and only having integer choices to assign.
Basically, I disagree with the statement that more options is better.
Because I don't think that there is any meaningful difference between a 5.6 and a 5.5.
 
@XanderHenderson I agree. High-schools today, have students exceeding 4.0 due to AP classes, worth 5 grade points. But this is unfair to many school systems, small, or underfinanced, and not able to offer many AP classes.
 
@amWhy Indeed. Which is why the diligent admissions committees read transcripts, and look beyond the number.
But grades from high schools are so inflated already... in the last year, I've had a number of students who got As in high school precalc who can't work with fractions, have no idea what $\sin(\pi)$ is, and can't solve a basic linear equation.
 
5:27 PM
@XanderHenderson Exactly!
 
6:04 PM
@XanderHenderson: I can imagine high schoolers not knowing $\sin(\pi) $ (many are accustomed to degrees and not radians), but issues with fractions and linear equations is somewhat hard to digest.
 
6:38 PM
@ParamanandSingh Conversions between radians and degrees, as well as trigonometry using radian measures, is a standard part of the American precalculus curriculum at every institution I have ever worked or studied at.
It is prerequisite knowledge. :\
In the sense that a student who has really earned an A in precalculus should know it.
 
6:59 PM
@XanderHenderson Indeed, and in fact, the second semester algebra course in many schools in the US, include, at the very least, an intro to Trigonometry: "Algebra II and Trigonometry".
 

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