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12:00 AM
@quid DId you participate in sci.math?
@quid Did you participate in sci.math?
 
@BillDubuque I don't think it'd be constructive to enumerate such incidents. Maybe I have already said too much.
 
@quid You can give generic examples without using names. Otherwise I have no way to judge if you are misunderstanding - as above.
 
@BillDubuque passively.
 
@quid What does that mean? Let's be specific. Please explain how you think I may have gotten some ego boost from sci.math (or from here).
 
@BillDubuque I read it on webpages that archived the messages.
 
12:05 AM
@quid Huh? Did you ever use usenet newsgroups? Probably the only users who got an ego boost from them are cranks.
 
@BillDubuque no but I read some things that were written there on archival webpages (I think it was called Physicsforum).
There were all kinds of hilarious stories.
Never imagined how much virtual ink could be spilled about the classical proof of the infinitude of primes.
Of course there was also more interesting stuff than that.
Anyway, I won't tell you how I think you got a boost of your ego out of some activity. That be a bit inappropriate and also useless as you'd anyway just deny it.
2
 
@quid I was a heavy user of sci.math and I don't recall any discussion of such matters of ego (about the users I mentioned).
 
@BillDubuque I am not sure how this is relevant.
 
@quid So you really think that you know better than I whether or not sci.math boosted my ego? Really?
 
@BillDubuque no, as I said:
1 min ago, by quid
Anyway, I won't tell you how I think you got a boost of your ego out of some activity. That be a bit inappropriate and also useless as you'd anyway just deny it.
 
12:12 AM
please calm down, guys :-)
 
And as I said earlier I don't think it'd be useful to continue this. But you insisted. But I have to leave now anyway. Have a nice Sunday evening. Until next time!
 
@quid Actually I think it is highly relevant because your replies highlight many of the problems at the heart of these matters. Namely, some users are greatly misjudging the motivations of other prolific contributors. It is highly presumptuous of you to think that you have the knowledge necessary to make such complicated judgments on motivations for contributions. Ego plays no role whatsoever in my motivations to do volunteer teaching and I think this is true for most all professionals
 
It's ultimately irrelevant.
I really have to leave now. See you!
 
cya
 
@close-deleteautomaton actually i'd disliked that question for a long time, so no harm done.
 
12:19 AM
@quid I strongly disagree. As I argued above, ego is greatly intertwined in these matters. If you don't acknowledge that then there is no hope of solving these problems.
 
i'll be the first to point out that things used to be different, though, both for us long-time users and for the site in general. the culture was different then and so were we.
2
 
true dat^
 
@BillDubuque yes, I agree with the fact that it is relevant. I even said it is more relevant than you said so, since after all I saw it's relevance where you do not believe it is. What is irrelevant is what somebody believes about somebodies motivations specifically.
Boost ones ego. Sheer altruism. Where is the line exactly? That's a tricky question.
 
@close-deleteautomaton i disagree the other question you flagged (of mine) was a PSQ, though. I am not of the opinion that simply asking a question as a question implies a lack of context.
 
12:32 AM
@quid But it is relevant because it affects how we treat each other here, how we make policy decisions, etc. Honestly I am shocked that a long-time user like you would think that ego plays any role in motivating contributions by professionals. I'd really like to understand better how you came to believe this.
 
@AlexanderGruber well, if you take as definition of PSQ the phrase you get when unabbreviating, it seems to be.
(Whether or not it "lacks context" is indeed a different question)
 
@MikeMiller that is true.
 
@quid Does ego play any role in motivating your contributions here?
 
(On the other hand best practices by anyone who actually cares would just be to vote to close instead of leaving a comment on a long-abandoned thread.)
Last sentence is stated too objectively. What I mean is that I would prefer people to just silently close and delete any old questions of mine they perceived as bad than a rather short comment to make a point.
I'd rather receive comments informing me when something is wrong, as I can then either fix it or delete it if it's not worth the time. But if they don't like the question, eh, go ahead and throw your close votes at it.
 
parenthetical suggestion---->(could you @AlexanderGruber, as a moderator in a chatroom, please try and find an avatar without a drawn sword on it? :-)
 
12:44 AM
@user2646 oh, that's just one of those chalkboard pointer things.
 
lol
yesterday, by user 2646
has anybody heard from Daniel Fischer?
 
 
3 hours later…
4:02 AM
@user2646 mods can't discuss this due to privacy policy
@user2646 this is a bit off topic for this room which is for meta discussion about math.SE in particular (not just math) -- you may want to discuss in the general math room
 
4:27 AM
I will just say that IMHO it seems clear that ego plays a role. Here as well as at sci.math (sans rep) back in the day.
2
 
 
3 hours later…
7:32 AM
@BillDubuque I am shocked that you seem convinced it would not.
 
 
2 hours later…
9:49 AM
Regarding ego boost - some aspects of gamification are built into the site design on purpose. Personally, when I see that my answer was upvoted, my question got some number of views, I got some new badge, I look at number of my edits, etc.; often I consider this as an indication that I did something which is possibly useful.
It's probably the same in real life - if you see that your students understand some topic, if you see that many students visited your website, if you see that your paper is cited by somebody else or on Wikipedia, etc., it's a kind of feedback which might indicate that you've done something useful.
You can call this ego boost - which seems to have negative connotation. On the other hand, it also reinforces useful behavior, so from this viewpoint it might be something good.
Regarding reputation - I think that the site like this cannot work without at least some site maintenance, moderation and janitorial work by community. But to do some task it is good if user has some experience with the site. Reputation is used exactly for that purpose: math.stackexchange.com/help/privileges
I can imagine somebody trying to get a bit more reputation for example if they want to help with reviewing suggested edits and they are close to the threshold. Similarly for other tasks. Once somebody has access to all tools, additional reputation basically changes nothing from this viewpoint.
@gimusi Of course you can try to search yourself - it's probably better than relying on others.
I did not find a suggestion to outright eliminate reputation, which seems along the lines of what you hinted at.
I vaguely remember some talk about hiding reputation. I was able to find this post: Why is user reputation publicly available? The questions linked there seem to be related to this discussion.
Perhaps this discussion is somewhat related to recent messages about reputation in this room: The problem with extrinsic motivation.
If somebody has time, you can go through frequent and highly voted questions in reputation tag to see whether you find something which could be interesting in relation to recent discussions in this room.
 
10:37 AM
And since it was discussed to which extent reputation is motivation for users around here, it's perhaps worth noticing that many users are willing to do stuff which is useful for the site in general - but it does not bring any reputation.
 
11:03 AM
@MartinSleziak Totally agree with you on that!
@MartinSleziak Of course I've tried but I can't find anything!
Thanks for the references.
@MartinSleziak Indeed that is one of my points. I think I'll elaborate e post for Meta on that.
@JyrkiLahtonen Just to stay on concrete examples, how do you suggest to deal with a OP such that one HERE. The asker looked for a duplicate but can't find anything, I gave a suggestion to use Approach0 without success. I've asked also to improve his question and he did it. Then I decided to give a hint.
I'm at your disposal to discuss about this specific case to better understand your point of view on that. At the moment I can't fully understand your motivations with the suddenly closure and deletion for these kind of questions.
 
11:19 AM
Only now I've noticed that in 3033684 Evaluate the limit $\lim\limits_{x\rightarrow \infty}{\frac{a^x}{x^2}}$ (mention above) I missed that $0<a<1$. So the link which I've given in comment is not really relevant: How to prove that exponential grows faster than polynomial?
FWIW, it seems that the question is still in the close votes review: math.stackexchange.com/review/close/1117963
 
11:38 AM
@MartinSleziak I'm really in doubt how to deal with questions like that, I've the feeling that the asker is totally in good faith and he was asking just for a hint. In those case I can't see best answer than a hint.
 
Well, I've left a few comments - after that I was told by the OP not to be patronizing. So I have at least mentioned possibility of using chat, in case the OP wants to try that with some future questions.
 
 
2 hours later…
1:17 PM
@MartinSleziak I'm sorry for that, I've asked to Ajay Choudhary to apologize with you for that. Unfortunately the climate of hostility consequent to the posting don't help to open a constructive dialogue with the asker. I'm not defending him, he's worng with that, but the way the question is suddenly closed doesn't help.
In my opinion, when a asker seems interested to collaborate and improve his question we should be patient and await a few before completely close the question. I've also given a vote for closure when after some suggestion he didn't proceed with any improvement. But later the asker improved the question a little bit. understand that it is difficult but in my opinion the current criteria used are not useful to make things better.
 
Probably the OP felt that way, because I only left a minor details to fill in. (And most likely it was at the point when they already understood the solution from the posted answers anyway.)
Maybe I should have reacted more calmly too, feel free to delete the comment about apologizing - I don't think it's necessary. (And I hope that at least some parts of the comments I posted might be helpful to the OP.)
@gimusi I have exactly the opposite viewpoint. This is why it is called on hold rather than closed. If the question is put on hold relatively quickly, the OP has stronger motivation to improve it. OTOH if it already has several answer before it is put on hold, it's quite difficult for the OP to improve question - since most of the things they can add are already in the answers that have been posted.
2
The thing which needs to bit emphasized is that if a question is on hold that it the state where it awaits improvement - and if some improvement comes, it might get reopened. We even have a comment template which can be used to explain this: math.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4925/…
Of course, I certainly agree with the sentiment that we should try to be helpful to askers who honestly try to learn and who at least attempt to react on comments and improve the question. Still, in many cases they might get better help in chat. (This specific user already has sufficient reputation to use chat, which is why I mentioned it in a comment.)
 
1:37 PM
@MartinSleziak Thanks for your opinion. I'll take it into consideration. When I want to vote too close sometimes I find that the given options do not correspond to the reason I have in mind to close the OP (that is for example improve the question). The "on hold" state correspond to which one of the given options?
 
AFAICT every closure leads to on hold status. (Maybe duplicate is an exception?) From meta: Two announcements: new “FAQ” and new “closure rules”
> for the first five days after closure, the question will display as [On hold] rather than [Closed]. Functionally it is the same as the previously [closed] questions (no answers can be added etc). After the five days are up, the text will show as [closed].
The five days is the same period during which an edit pushes the question into reopen review queue. (There are some more technical details about how exactly this works.)
 
@MartinSleziak I need to study better all those rules!
But sometimes, if I'm not wrong, I see questions suddenly closed and deleted, how is that possible?
 
Details on how edit pushes into reopen review queue can be found here: Should I avoid minor edit of a question which was put on hold?
@gimusi There are several type of deletions. Automated by roomba - they take quite a long time. There are self-deletions by the OP. And there are manual deletions when some users vote to delete - there are some time limits, but if the question has already rather low score, those limits do not apply to 20k+ users.
Specifically I had in mind this:
> Users with reputation ≥ 10k (more precisely, the moderator-tools privilege; 2k on beta sites) can vote to delete questions that have been closed/put on hold or marked as duplicate for 48 hours.
> Users with reputation ≥ 20k (more precisely, the trusted-user privilege; 4k on beta sites) are not subject to the 48-hour waiting period for deleting closed questions with a score of −3 or lower. They may also vote to delete answers of score −1 or lower
Not too long ago there was somewhat related discussion about this: Is deleting a question while it is still on hold too quick?
I have the impression that users who are most active in CRUDE wait at least a day (or two) before voting to delete.
If somebody wants to see more details on how quickly the posts are deleted, it is possible to get some list of deleted questions in the mods tools and from SEDE - for example this query was mentioned in an answer to this question: Are there some tools to follow deletions on this site?
 
1:55 PM
@MartinSleziak Thanks, I'll take a look. It's really a huge amount of rules! And when rules are too much it is not good. I'm really wondering if it the whole system must be necessarly so complicated or if it could be better change/revise the entire system according to a new architecture.
But that's of course a big big issue and it is not my work of course!
 
Well, in many cases it's unnecessary to remember the rules. If you think that some post should be deleted, you can simply look at the post and if it is eligible for deletion you see there an option to vote to delete.
But it is natural that people who often work with deletions and closures eventually learn about the exact rules as they go
I have mentioned the time limits for deletions mainly because you asked how it is possible that some posts are quickly deleted. As far as I can tell, deletion by other users than the OP is possible only 48 hours after the question - with the exception of 20k+ users on a question with score $\le-3$.
 
@MartinSleziak It requires a huge amount of work and when users act in opposite directions a system like that can't work well for a long time. Someone will hurt soon or later, I'm sure with that.
Useless and wasted work I mean.
That's really a pity!
I'm not so sure I'll complete a second year on MSE.
And I understand why people often choose to leave.
 
I am not sure what to say to that. Yes, it is a problem if some factions of users work against each other. (In some case it might be actually useful, but when it's done too often it might be problematic.) But if there are two different camps and neither of them is willing to make a compromise, that's probably inevitable.
 
There are big misunderstandings between users about the motivation of the site (absolutely not clear) and the motivations of each user (necessarly different one from each other).
 
@gimusi People leave sites such as MSE or MO for many different reasons, only some of them state publicly why they left. So it's better to avoid quick generalizations.
 
2:10 PM
I'm trying indeed to discuss and understand the reasons and motivations different from mine but it is not simple to have a constructive discussion. There are many sappects that I can't get or I don't fully understand.
 
I'll be teaching in some 20 minutes, so I should leave. Have a nice day!
 
What I can observe is that I don't pretend that some other user act how I like, I can give suggestions on that but not impositions, but many users seems to want force me to act as they like. I think that it is really a bad way to search for compromise.
@MartinSleziak See you, bye.
 
2:34 PM
@JyrkiLahtonen Could you please explain better your position against homework questions, notably with reference to the guide lines given in How to ask a homework question?? Thanks
Notably I don't think that homeworks are currently excluded from the possible questions to be asked here. Then what is the problem: the poor quality (I agree we should invite the asker to improve that); the duplication (there will be always duplicates for the simpler questions, we need to find an effective method to deal with that; the war is not a good solution);...what else?
 
3:05 PM
@quid I asked you a number of specific questions about why you believe that eqo plays a role for professionals contributing here but you refused to answer (the claim that you once read something somehwere on a random web page counts as one of the most evasive answers I've ever seen). Yoiu did not even answer the question if ego plays a role for you. As such, I find your claims to be without foundation.
But I think this does explain partly why we have great difficulty understanding each other. You have great misunderstandings about what motivates (most) professional who contribute here. This is perhaps one of the most shocking things I've ever come to realize in the long history of this site.
 
3:25 PM
@JyrkiLahtonen Please explain why you believe that "it is clear that ego plays a role". Note that we are talking about what motivates professional mathematicians to contribute here. I don't dispute that ego plays a role for amateurs.
 
3:44 PM
@MartinSleziak I highly doubt that the mathematical ego of any professional mathematician is affected by SE votes, badges, etc. In fact many are embarrassed to admit to their peers that they spend significant amounts of time here (partly because teaching ability is highly undervalued by the professional mathematical community). Why is it so hard to believe that (most) professionals contribute for completely unselfish reasons?
 
4:12 PM
depends what you mean by completely unselfish
if it means you get absolutely nothing out of it, i.e. there is no "selfish component" whatsoever, then i'd find it hard to believe anyone does that
if you get satisfaction out of having helped someone, that's something for you, right?
 
@BillDubuque I do not consider myself a professional, so I cannot answer that. But what I was trying to say in the messages you're responding to is that many people contribute because they think it is something useful (for the community).
 
@AlexanderGruber I wouldn't consider "satisfaction having helped" as something that boosts one's mathematical ego. My point is that pros who contribute here aren't doing so to help build up confidence in their mathematical (or teaching) abilities. They are long past that point. They would not be so foolish to brag about their SE rep to their peers.
 
@BillDubuque true-- my point is that rep can be used a superficial motivation as a vehicle for altruistic goals in the same way that the reward of helping someone can
maybe one doesn't go around advertising his fake internet points, but he can look at them and get some personal satisfaction
 
@MartinSleziak Yes, of course. But that seems to have little to do with mathematical ego. Rather it has to do with SE ego
 
Can mathematician have also a non-mathematical ego? Isn't ego a complex thing (with both real and imaginary part)?
(A lame attempt to make a pun - but English is not my first language.)
 
4:24 PM
@MartinSleziak Yes there are of course many facets of ego, but the point I was addressing above mainly has to do with some users wrongly guessing that some prolific professional contributors do so for egotistical reasons. When one start devising policies based on such wrong guesses it leads to problems.
 
@MartinSleziak some claim it's an illusion, i hear
 
And, alas, also leads to some of those users leaving (some do not handle such insults well). I have much thicker skin...(for better or worse)
 
4:37 PM
I confess I am greatly puzzled by what leads some to believe that ego plays a big role in this regard. While there are some things that clearly indicate ego plays a role (e.g. being involved in vote farming rings), I am not aware of any such red flags in the cases that I mention above. Could someone please shed some light on the reasons behind these beliefs. Clarifying such misunderstandings may help towards reaching better compromises on meta issues.
 
4:55 PM
@MikeMiller you said best-practice is x rather than to leave a comment. I just up-voted the question, and the answer FWIW, and I would have left a comment in CRUDE pointing out it was a PSQ, except I was on a chat ban. I don't actually object to the question, I quite like it in fact. I was more interested in adding to perspective on the PSQ debate, in particular what it might be like if the boot were on the other foot.
@BillDubuque I would deny its possible to participate here without meing motivated by ego. This takes many forms, some ugly and others not at all, and I have been on the receiving end of all sorts, most frequently from high rep users.
My personal vice is to believe that if I set my mind to it I can achieve something truly outstanding, and to set out to prove it.
 
@close-deleteautomaton Ego plays absolutely no role for me, and likely for most other professional mathematicans.
 
I would love to see some of the views expressed in the room, and posturing, backed up by factual content. Everyone has theories, some are more paranoid than others, some are capable of seeing only the vices of others with no self insight. Let's keep the conversation constructive, and not a whining session, or claims of superiority.
 
@amWhy The only "whining" I see above is in the prior comment.
 
What exactly is the purpose or topic of this conversation?
@BillDubuque I didn't suggest you were whining; I made an observation as to how various comments in this entire thread appear more like a rant session, with some folks trying to keep it down to earth. It wasn't your thread(s) that struck me as whining.
 
@BillDubuque but among the outstanding/professional mathematicians here I have been on the receiving end of ego many times. It takes many forms... from "You challenge me, well I hold power in this domain so now witness me wield it over you". Then there is the kind / benevolent and not toxic at all ego of "you asked for help and I can feel gently virtuous because I gave it for no personal gain".
 
5:07 PM
@close-deleteautomaton Please give a specific example. I don't recall any instances of pros behaving here in a way that clearly shows egotistical motivation.
 
Who hasn't been on the receiving side of someone else's ego conflicts? Let's stick to the topic of the chatroom.
 
@BillDubuque I'm talking generally, I'm not going to single anybody out.
but certainly it was never you
not that I remember anyway
 
@amWhy Please read the entire discussion. I'm talking specifically about math ego, not SE points or other non math stuff.
 
@BillDubuque Then there has been the bruised intellectual ego (cerebral narcissism): "you dared to point out a minor, valid, flaw in my argument, so I now demonstrate my immense mathematical superiority by instantly destroying your question with mathematical WMD drawn from way above your level of competence, and leave it at that and offer no more help.
 
@BillDubuque I have read it all. And I call your bluff. But I don't have hours to spend in this chatroom at the moment, as you may do
 
5:12 PM
But 99% of the time it's not like that.
Some people are more sensitive than others.
 
@close-deleteautomaton Please don't exaggerate. Rather, give specific, concrete example of behavior you interpret in the way you just did.
Again, let's refrain from making this chatroom a rant-session.
 
@close-deleteautomaton I understood precisely what your point was. But my point is that I would like people to treat me as I perhaps am considered to treat others.
 
@MikeMiller I don't follow, what would you have me do?
Not make that "this is a PSQ" comment?
on the question?
 
Oh, nothing now. I did really appreciate your telling me that my answer was wrong.
 
@MikeMiller which answer?
 
5:16 PM
But yes, I would have just acted on that. (Even though I grant you didn't actually want to.)
You commented on one of my answers. It's gone now.
 
@MikeMiller oh ok
 
Something about normal subgroups of $S_4$.
It was a weak hint, where the hint implied I wanted someone to make an argument that was actually false. Which is why it's gone.
 
@MikeMiller tbh I don't remember them all. I clicked on a bunch of PSQ closers, went back a few users and highlighted a few PSQ's
 
Yes, I get that.
 
I do remember a "not an answer" one which I didn't flag, perhaps that was it
@MikeMiller ok I get you now. I think you're saying you stand by your closing of PSQs and your questions (and answers) should be judged by the same rules so as not to be hypocritical?
If so I rather hoped it might elicit a little movement the other way in the sense of "you know what, I can actually understand why people do that and maybe it's not all bad"
 
5:23 PM
@close-deleteautomaton I've never seen anything like that (and I've been on the site since its inception over 8 years ago). Of course even pros are human and do get involved in arguments about topics, but rarely if ever do those have to do with insecurities about mathematical competence.
 
@BillDubuque I'm quite sensitive to it as I don't like to upset people.
 
@close-deleteautomaton Your motivation was transparent, yes.
What I should do is consistently go back and do some QC on my old answers, but I am mostly participating in a rather low level of engagement in all of these shenanigans, since I'm trying to focus on other things with my time - things that don't live on MSE.
And to that end ...
 
5:46 PM
:47985552 There are no "bluffs"
 
6:10 PM
@JyrkiLahtonen Is this the kind of war you are referring to? An user HERE (I think professional in math), claims that "(direct) comparison test" is equivalent to "limit comparison test" for series. What are your thoughts about that? I think it is really a bad way to act.
 
6:58 PM
@MikeMiller understandable. I don't intend to criticise. Modify behaviour perhaps.
@MikeMiller but I never really noticed you were a big close-deleter, you just happened to be there on the day.
 
@close-deleteautomaton There were no hard feelings at all. And indeed I do not know if I would characterize myself that way. I just worded cautiously above (perhaps others would characterize me that way).
I have no idea how an AlexanderGruber ping showed up there. I thought I was replying to your message.
 
7:14 PM
@MartinSleziak I also replied to him on the same topic
 
7:34 PM
Greeting, @quid!
Hoping to steer this room back to "math meta stuff": about Math.SE, and/or about meta.math.se.
 
Hello @amWhy! I agree that part of this discussion is not really constructive. But in that it is about the motivation for participating here, I think it is not entirely off-topic.
 
I agree, @quid. But just because 50% of the chat is on topic, doesn't make 100% of the comments on topic. And with respect to speaking of folks' motivation for participating here, I doubt anyone is an authority to speak of or accuse others of certain motivation; they can certainly speak to their own motivation, but being good at math doesn't mean
...one can read others' minds.
There's just been too much "speculation" which has been touted as "factual reality".
2
 
@BillDubuque some seem to go to great length to establish their perceived superiority of mathematical knowledge. Of course, this could all be just a big misunderstanding on my part and the motivation is strictly the purest most altruistic one, just sharing knowledge. But this is not my perception, and not in line with the form how it is done sometimes. Instead it is what I said. And my perception of the situation is relevant to me.
I am afraid that this is something I am also susceptible of doing sometimes.
 
8:15 PM
@quid I've been here over 8 years (and on sci.math much longer) and I don't recall anyone with professional-level knowledge going "to great length to establish their perceived superiority of mathematical knowledge". But that does often happen with cranks, and with other users who are very insecure of their competence. I think you are greatly misjudging the motivations of others.
 
@BillDubuque I observed what I observed, and I draw my conclusions. Of course, it's not in the least astonishing to me that you deny this, which is why I implied early on that this is set to be pointless exchange.
 
@quid I ask you for the 2nd time, did you ever participate on sci.math? I'm sincerely attempting to understand the basis of your misjudgments, but you have avoided answering so many questions that this is next to impossible.
 
@BillDubuque I answered that.
 
Where?
 
@BillDubuque Why is participation on sci.math the deal-maker/deal-breaker? Why so important to you? You haven't enough information of the far majority of users to be able to judge whether they're professionals or not. From what I hear, anyway, sci.math was pretty dysfunctional.
 
8:23 PM
My initial answer was "passively", which Iclarified to reading the content on page archiving the messages (I suppose you are aware that those exist, google does it now, but it was another site then).
 
@amWhy Because there is much further history available in sci.math - and because this was not a gamified platform it makes it much easier to understand motivations of many of the pros who were prolific contributors there and here.
 
If it helps I can rephrase it as I never participated actively but I read some of the content being produce there. If you want it more specifically I read it somewhat attentively about 15 years ago for a relatively short period of time. A story that stuck with me was one of a pilot or a person traveling a lot showing up uninvited at somebodies workplace to discuss the "famous" two-coins problem.
 
@BillDubuque Ego-feeding needs no fake internet-points to feed it.
 
Then there was of course the Archimedes Plutonium.
 
Enlarged egos need only a platform to try and strut their stuff, and demean other users, to grow their egos.
 
8:29 PM
And I also recall being impressed by the level contributions of some Arturo Magidin. Gerald Edgar was also a name that stuck.
 
@quid Ok, so you did not participate on sci.math, but you browsed some old archives. I don't think that is going to help you understand how sci.math worked, and what motivated folks to comtribute there. The platform is so different from here that you really needed to use it extensively to appreciate the differences.
@quid Yes, I already mentioned Arturo above. gedgar is another old timer. Do you honestly think those pros got an ego boost from posting to sci.math (or here)?
 
Be that as it may @BillDubuque it seems that @JyrkiLahtonen shares my assessment. Let's not get hung up on sci.math. Only that there are no points involved does not mean that somebody might not try to show off or otherwise "win."
 
@quid I particpated there heavily and I never once saw that. You never participated there but are making wild guesses about such. Why do you think that is a logical way to argue?
 
@BillDubuque I mentioned those to lend some credibility to my claim that I read the content.
 
@quid How many minutes (or seconds) did you spend browsing archives? I can't be much given how far off your guesses are.
 
8:33 PM
@BillDubuque maybe you are just not sensitive to this type of behavior. That could explain it.
@BillDubuque minutes? In total. Don't know. Three thousand maybe.
 
@quid Not true. Maybe you weren't around back then, but I have always been a proponent of being nice to new users and users with lower levels of knowledge. I have always been strongly against any sort of bullying, intellectual or otherwise. So I would certainly notice those things.
 
Look, I don't claim to be a sci.math expert, but I followed it somewhat from a distance for a while.
 
@quid How long is "a while"?
 
Is sci.math on topic for the SE chatroom, under the umbrella of mathematics.se, math meta chat, on topic? Please stop the posturing in an effort to establish anything relevant to math.se, meta.mathse.
 
@amWhy Please stop posting nonconstructive comments
 
8:40 PM
@BillDubuque Your comments are off-topic. Get on topic, or leave the chat. Perhaps create your own chatroom "The Golden days of sci.math" or something or other.
 
@amWhy Please refrain from pinging me with any further such nonsense.
 
@BillDubuque it was regular pastime reading during breaks in the office for a couple of months. I computed the 3000 minutes above as 30 minutes over 100 days, which for the block of time is most likely a slight overestimate, but then I spuriously read it at other times too.
 
@quid Thanks for clarifying. It's impossible that you could have understood the motivations of folks from a couple months of passive browsing. I don't know how I can convince you otherwise, but you are most certainly incorrect if you think that ego played a role in motivating these folks. It's sad that there is so much negativity here that people can believe such strange things. Such are the detriments of gamified platforms.
 
8:56 PM
What makes you think ego plays a roll in motivating folks who didn't frequent sci.math? What was so special about sci.math that only devoted regulars of sci.math can claim to have no ego involvement in motivation? And again, Ego needs no fake internet points; only a platform and an opportunity to denigrate other users of that platform.
 
@amWhy I participated heavily there. I knew the regulars like the back of my hand. If this occurred frequently I would have seen it. It didn't. Ego played a large role for cranks, but virtually no role for those who had mastered their subjects. The same is true here.
 
@BillDubuque given that you do not seem to notice it here either, it's a bit moot.
 
@quid Where is the evidence supporting your claim that it plays a role here? Only in your imagination as far as I can see from what you have written above.
@quid I confess this matter really puzzles me. It seems as if some folks search hard and long for some reason to believe that those who contribute more than they do must have nefarious motivations for doing so.
 
@BillDubuque that's of course imprecise.
 
@quid What is "that" which you claim is imprecise. Please be more precise.
 
9:07 PM
@BillDubuque Contributions to this site come in many forms, and provision of answers (particularly to PSQs) do not outweigh user moderation activities, without which, this site would not exist.
 
@amWhy How is that related to the topic at hand?
 
The first thing that is imprecise is that the motivations are "nefarious." There is nothing nefarious about using this site, in reasonable ways, as a distraction, for instance. Some people have a lot of spare time and like math, so they contribute a lot.
 
I am a little confused. Is any one of the people here benefiting from this discussion?
 
@BillDubuque Your objective in this discussion is unclear to me. Your motivations (or anyone's, for that matter) are irrelevant to the day-to-day activities and moderation of content in MSE. The actions and content itself are what matters. If you think you are here to teach, that is good. But that is and should be irrelevant to the system, in no small part because it would be impossible to be measurable.
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Just see the difficulty which you have to establish simple aspects of your motivations among people who you interact for years, for example.
Analysing the motivations of individuals would be relevant if you had the explicit intent of changing something foundational. (For example, purging away reputation from SE.) But that is ultimately unpragmatic wishful thinking.
 
However, when the motivation for giving an answer is mostly "I enjoy doing it" one should own up to it, and not pretend it is somehow a sacrifice for the good of humankind.
Or also just the asker.
 
9:14 PM
@MikeMiller not I!
 
I am a big believer that a conversation nobody is, or is likely to, benefit from is probably not a productive use of time...
 
@quid It appears that you are now moving the goalposts from "ego boosts" to "enjoyment". Does that mean you no longer supporting your stronger claims of egotistical motivation?
Anyway, this appears to be going nowhere. If quid (or anyone else) wants to wrongly believe that old-timer pros are contributing here primarily to boost their ego then that's their prerogative. But it goes to show you how much damage that gamification can due to a community. Such negativity is utterly jaw-dropping. I never imagined that any long-time member of this site (with higher knowledge level) could believe something so strange (and damaging)
 
9:32 PM
@BillDubuque not really. Either way both notions are vague and not necessarily disjoint.
 
I am very sad to learn that some people actually believe these things.
 
Either way, to be clear I do not believe that everybody that contributes a lot is mostly (or at all) motivated by trying to boost their ego.
However, I do believe that this phenomenon exists. Depending on the way how it articulates there is also nothing nefarious about this.
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