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12:09 AM
"Gotcha-style?" I'd be happy to be crystal clear, if you prefer? A perusal of amWhy's 4000+ answers will find plenty of PSQs. Why are these tolerated?
 
@MarkMcClure You know very well that the standards of the site evolved. This looks like a bad faith question. Furthermore, there is also nothing wrong with a user changing their views over time. It is actually quite common and even desirable.
If you want to vote to close a particular question there is nothing that stops you. Targeting a specific user (also indirectly via actions against questions they answered) is not allowed though and grounds for suspension.
There is even not all that much wrong with a user in general being against a certain type of question and still occasionally deviating themselves. Also this is frequent.
 
12:28 AM
@quid It seems that some users has been targeted and have tons of questions being deleted (like this user). I thought as long as it is voted according to the quality then it is acceptable?
 
@JohnMa that's an oversimplification. Over-concentration of voting activity on a particular users contribution is a red flag. Votes should be spread out. It is a bad idea to go through a profile and to vote a lot (goes for all votes, good or bad). Of course there is some room for this to a limited extent, but in general this is not a good idea.
I wrote about this on meta a while ago.
 
@quid The CRUDE folks frequently delete questions from long ago. In fact, I deliberately picked a question (or post, I guess) from the same time frame that this CRUDE post references.
@quid The statement about targeting users is unfounded. There is nothing wrong with following a user that you like or dislike, as long as your votes are based on the merit of the individual posts. The folks here in CRUDE frequently point out specific users.
 
@MarkMcClure if it is too much, it is not tolerated. We do take action against this. It is not tolerated. You are free to think it should be tolerated but it is not.
@MarkMcClure so what?
Do you know how many deleted answers the users that delete have themselves?
 
12:47 AM
@quid 42?
@quid Perhaps, but targeting of users happens in plain daylight in this room daily.
 
@MarkMcClure I take this as an admission that you had not thought this through.
 
@quid Uh, no. But I really don't care to argue anymore. If you use your super-powers and find that I've targeted a user, then suspend away. I don't think you will and, in that sense, I think your statement was unfounded.
 
@MarkMcClure as said it is a matter of degree. But there were cases where some user was somewhat shielded of in principle legitimate community moderation since the volume seemed to high.
@MarkMcClure please check to what I replied. That's the other thread of the conversation.
What you do no appear to have thought through is that you actually have no idea how many of some users' answers (who vote to delete a lot) may have also been deleted.
 
For what it's worth, I am also of the opinion that targeting of users happens in an uncomfortable way here. It can be a matter of degree (I personally think that the "degree" here is not proper, but that can be my opinion), but, nonetheless, targetting of users is not one of the things that are under the room's description, and it is frequently treated as something which is on-topic as a quality control of sorts.
I've adressed this earlier here in this comment.
 
1:02 AM
It should be noted, @AloizioMacedo, that the discussion up until your most recent comment was about users being brought to the attention of this room in order to downvote / close /delete a large number of questions from a single user---this happens from time to time, and is something that makes me slightly uncomfortable (though, generally speaking, the quality of questions posted by such users justifies the suggestion that such a user's questions be examined).
In contrast, you have cited a particular instance where a user was vandalizing the site, and I complained about the actions of that user in a specific context.
 
I did not suggest (nor have I ever suggested) that this user be targeted or singled out for special attention
@MikePierce No PDE problem is ever fun. Particularly when Tao doesn't send me instructions until 12 hours before class, and expects me to come up with lecture materials on the fly.
 
@XanderHenderson Yes, my comment was in mixed context with respect to this discussion, sorry about that. It had the content which I wanted to convey as a general opinion I had, but it was in a context which was rather particular.
I was not attempting to recall that particular case, just the content of the message as an isolated one about targeting of users.
The type of targeting I am talking about happens in shapes of the form "keep an eye out for (...)" and similar expressions which I can't recall right now.
This is not what you did in that context of my linked message, and I'm sorry if I implied that in any way. It was not my intention.
 
@MikePierce Why would you want to delete that wonderful gem of a question?!
You're such a jerk!
 
1:08 AM
Yep. I'm cranky when I'm procrastinating
 
Heh
right... W and K just walked in the door---dinner time!
 
@XanderHenderson there's no time for dinner. The site must be purged of unsuitable questions :P
 
@XanderHenderson RE: "though, generally speaking, the quality of questions posted by such users justifies the suggestion that such a user's questions be examined". If that is the case, I believe the appropriate course of action (at least in terms of what this room is supposed to be, according to its description) would be to link the questions themselves. To "keep an eye", "watch out" or whatever the expression is not only targeting, but also tracking. It seems very inappropriate.
 
1:51 AM
Obviously, @AloizioMacedo, we have differing opinions. I am a little uncomfortable with the idea of targeting specific users, but in the instances where I have seen particular user profiles discussed here, it is almost always in the context of a significant number of poor quality questions.
I'm not sure what would be gained by linking to each question individually.
For example, do you honestly believe that this: "(1) (2) (3)"
is significantly better (or worse, or different) from this: "This user has posted several very low quality questions."
Moreover, do you honestly believe that any of those three questions is worth preserving?
 
What would be gained is a respectful treatment (to the 'miscreant') which is also in accordance to the description of the room and which has higher chance of being unbiased. Practically speaking, you are right, it would be more "effective" to link users with a remarkable amount of low-quality content if our sole purpose would be to get rid of low-quality questions.
But I believe that fairness is more important than effectiveness when we are judging human content.
 
2:07 AM
So, basically, it is better to pretend that we don't know that a sequence of questions are all coming from a single user?
Hey, guys... this string of totally unrelated questions, which are completely not at all connected in any way, are all of low quality. wink wink
 
So, yes, I believe that the first method is significantly better than the second.
Regarding the last question, I don't believe those questions are worth preserving.
 
If it is disrespectful to point out the Ĺ“uvre of a particular user (and, again, we seem to disagree on this), it strikes me as doubly disrespectful to pretend that something else is going on. It compounds the offense.
 
@XanderHenderson @Did @amWhy: And this on the same thread is just as bad!
@XanderHenderson This question is linked as a duplicate from some other questions, so I'm unstarring it as there is nothing else we can do.
 
It is not about pretending. It is about sticking firmly to judging questions and answers, not users. If for anything, for a matter of principle. But also for a matter of consistency. I think that your concern is that it may eventually be artificial to do that. This is a possibility, but one which I think is minor.
 
@user21820 Yeah, I've been toying with the idea of creating a new question with the hopes of merging a bunch of things into one, but it is going to be a while before I have the energy to put that together.
Thanks for unpinning it.
This question has somehow garnered two reopen votes, despite the fact that it is basically the same as every other "Why don't complex powers work right?" that has ever been asked. :\
This HNQ is actually pretty good, but could use some help with TeX. I don't have the patience to type $\phi$ and $\vartheta$ over and over again---does anyone else feel up to the challenge?
 
2:23 AM
@XanderHenderson From the comments, it seems that people may be reopening due to the fact that, strictly speaking, the question is not a duplicate of the one that was linked.
 
@AloizioMacedo I think that several of us feel that one of the roles of CRUDE is to clean up the site by removing questions that are of low quality. It is not about "judging users," but about efficiently pointing out content that is not suitable for the site. If a user whose profile was mentioned here ever complained about being "targeted", I am sure that nearly everyone here would do what they could to help that user improve their questions.
Indeed, I will often try to help new users who are mentioned here, which is one of the roles that this room can serve, i.e. bringing newbies to the attention of people who might be able to help mentor them a little.
Or at least nudge them in the right direction.
I should also point out that there are several times that users have been pointed out here where I have gone out of my way to find and upvote their good contributions, which is something that wouldn't happen if a sequence of low-quality questions and/or answers were posted.
 
2:39 AM
@XanderHenderson The same user asked about this on MathOverflow. The original question was deleted, but here is his complaint on meta: offtopic question.
 
2:56 AM
@AloizioMacedo @AloizioMacedo: I don't think you two disagree as much in practice as you do in theory. Let's start with the facts. (1) Some users repeatedly post PSQs even after being told multiple times how to ask good questions, and it is very tiring to link to a laundry list of PSQs that they produce. (2) Some users post junk that totally would not have been posted if they had acted on the advice given to them on their numerous prior posts along the same lines. This is a waste of everyone's time.
@AloizioMacedo So although a question should not be judged based on the user's prior history, that does not imply that we should not take it into account. There have been many cases dealt with here where users post nearly identical copies of their questions, or questions along the same line as previously, rather than improving their original question. We can't know that without knowing a bit of their history.
To give a real-world analogy, suppose you are a calculus teacher and a student asks you "How to compute d((x^2+1)^x)/dx?" and you give a sketch of the steps for how to do it in general. Then the student goes away and the next day comes again and asks you "How to compute d((3x+4)^(5x^2))/dx?", as if the student didn't bother to actually learn what you taught the previous day, and just wanted to get his homework done to get his grades.
@XanderHenderson Actually it is okay to not use TeX if the post is easily readable without it. It would have been better to use TeX so that the mathematical formulae use the same font for the same symbol as the question (which was obviously copy-pasted), but it's not a big deal.
 
3:12 AM
@user21820 I agree that contextualization of a user may be relevant in very specific cases, but I like to tread that path very carefully (see this, for instance). My point is that contextualization is different from surveillance, and should be "used" very sparsely. For instance, in this last analogy you gave, I wouldn't tell a fellow teacher to "watch out for student X".
To elaborate in your analysis, if I were part of a group correcting a large amount of tests where each one in the group makes the correction of three out of twelve questions, say, I would never tell a fellow teacher to "watch out for student X" if they gave very low-quality answers in the three I evaluated. And I would find it very inappropriate. (even if it were 33 out of 66 instead of 3 out of 12, or any number for that matter)
Because my job is to evaluate their answers, as the purpose of this room is to evaluate questions and answers.
 
@AloizioMacedo You're conflating the issue here with a totally unrelated issue. We are not grading Math SE questions for credit. We are judging whether they fit the site.
 
Yes, I realize that the analogy has flaws (I couldn't manage to make one which fit perfectly)
 
Let me just say that I don't 'track' PSQ factories the way you might suppose some of us do. And I claim it is impossible. There are simply too many.
@AloizioMacedo The purpose of this room was never stated to be to evaluate questions and answers. It was simply about the actions stated in the description. It was originally set up for the purposes we have been using it for, though it fell into disuse at some point. (For example in its early history someone suggested using the starboard to keep track of jobs that needed to be done later.)
The reason a couple of us started using this room again was to provide a public record and to allow us to discuss when we disagreed with one another.
The original purposes of this room is also why SmokeDetector was made to post here. Notice that one function of SD is to link to new posts made by blacklisted users, which is indeed an example of using a user's prior history to flag new posts for scrutiny.
 
It may be impossible to get all of them, but there are indeed attempts to track. I sincerely don't want to link messages to that effect because this might create unnecessary tension, and I think the discussion is constructive at the moment.
Sorry, when I say "evaluate", disregard the specific verb. The important part is the objects of that verb: questions and answers. I think the most appropriate verb would be "consider", or something to that effect.
 
@AloizioMacedo I'm aware of the kind of messages you are referring to, and even right now one posted by me is on the starboard:
Apr 19 at 13:14, by user21820
This nut posted this and this, which are utterly useless.
Do you have a problem with this?
 
3:23 AM
Yes. Looking back at it now, you don't?
 
No. It is an accurate assessment that is necessary to deal with such junk. Remember when we discussed homeopathy? That is on the evil end of the spectrum of junk. One needs to accurately identify and call out junk to motivate others to help to clean them up.
2
 
I thought that SD operated by looking for red flags in questions and answers (things like "please help" or something of the sort). You are saying it actively tracks users?
 
@AloizioMacedo Yes it does. Search for "blacklisted".
@AloizioMacedo I'm fine if you wanted to mean "consider" or "take a look at". It is perfectly fine to do that without looking at the user's other posts. And most of the time, that's what we do because it's a waste of time to do more. But it is more accurate to judge the intent of a post if we also look at prior posts from the user. This is just a fact.
I don't necessarily speak for other users active here, but I personally care mostly about intent, not about appearance.
@AloizioMacedo: To support my viewpoint concerning cranks, notice that this post is highly valued by the Math SE community:
30
Q: Spotting crankery

EugeneUnderwood Dudley published a book called mathematical cranks that talks about faux proofs throughout history. While it seems to be mostly for entertainment than anything else, I feel it has become more relevant in modern mathematics. Especially with the advent of arXiv, you can obtain research pa...

 
@user21820 This last point is a good one you touch. I do believe that we should deal with junk (particularly in the "real" world, for obvious reasons). But as much as a part of me would like people who do what you linked to rot in whatever bad place for even personal reasons, I don't want that the channels responsible for judging that person, as a society, to conflate their duty. Because not always things are as crystal clear.
For instance, we know of egregious cases of judges personally inputing their biased conceptions about the (alleged) past of a certain criminal in a given judgement, giving rise to dubious trials.
 
@AloizioMacedo Hmm I agree it's a delicate balance, and I grant that many people are not necessarily impartial enough to be justified in making such judgement (about intention especially), but I try to have solid logical reasons for my judgements, and will hear out anyone who has logical disagreement.
 
3:38 AM
Nobody tell Smokey about this question; he'll get excited.
 
@AloizioMacedo: Remember that when I say "I" I am speaking only for myself. I think your concern is valid but has to be addressed separately for each person. Note also that even if I judge a user to post rubbish, I judge the intention of each post as accurately as I can, and I do not at all assume that every post by a crank is worthless.
 
I believe that, as you said, we want the same things in the end. This is good, I think. What we search for is a balance on how to get to that objective, which is also a good thing I guess. There is a quote from a Brazilian poet which says that "unanimity is always stupid". So I think we are in a good spot : ).
 
Similarly for PSQ factories, I often upvote every good post that they make while I downvote some of their bad posts.
@AloizioMacedo Definitely. I like the fact that we can have this discussion, and I understand your concerns. =)
@XanderHenderson Maybe SD got updated after your earlier comment about Fagnano?
 
4:13 AM
@MarkMcClure "Jointly agreed" was simply my choice of phrase, possibly euphemistic, for a compromise that won the most support in meta :-)
 
4:36 AM
Such as these: A, B, C, D.
 
 
4 hours later…
8:12 AM
[ SmokeDetector | MS ] Bad keyword in answer, bad keyword in link text in answer, pattern-matching website in answer, potentially bad keyword in answer: Is self study of proof-based mathematics difficult? by RaulHardy on math.SE
 
 
5 hours later…
 
2 hours later…
3:36 PM
@user21820 A needs one more delete vote; the others are now gone.
 
 
3 hours later…
6:46 PM
So goblin complains today, about comments deleted two years ago? Cannot we establish an MSE statute of limitations after which one can no longer post to meta to whine about actions taken one or two years prior to a users sudden motivation to complain?
 
7:11 PM
math.stackexchange.com/questions/328718/… @amWhy @XanderHenderson @did @user21820
 
8:09 PM
@ZacharySelk Surprised to see @AlexanderGruber answer the PSQ. But then again, maybe I shouldn't be surprised. :(
 
 
2 hours later…
9:57 PM
77
Q: How do people who study really abstract mathematics "imagine" or understand the concepts they are studying or being taught?

MaxThis question is probably to the actual people who study such mathematics, rather than any "third-party". I haven't studied any such mathematics, but I can imagine that some (probably most of it) of it is quite (or very) abstracted from the world we live in. For instance, any concept in more tha...

The post I just linked to above, currrently has 4 delete votes. From my experience, the most delete votes needed to delete a post has been six. (Forgive me it you've already encountered the need for "way more than that". But I see absolutely no merits to the posted question, and certainly not currently. But the substance of the question "I haven't studied any such mathematics, but I can imagine that some (probably most of it) of it is quite (or very) abstracted from the world we live in. For instance, any concept in more than 3 dimensions or simply general
Sorry, I quote from the text. What is unquoted is my voice.
Short question: Do you agree that we can dispense with a rather ill-defined question, linked above?
Hi, @XanderHenderson I hope I'm not too terribly confusing in my point about the linked question above? Any feedback?
 
10:16 PM
@amWhy Which question? What? I'm confused...
@amWhy I agree that this question is not appropriate for the site (too much personal opinion, no clear idea about what the question really is, overly broad, etc)
and, near as I can tell, you haven't said anything about this question (which is the one linked by your ping)
 
@XanderHenderson I'm talking about this question, and one of the answers was the basis for a meta question today.
It came up on meta, here.
@XanderHenderson ? I don't quite understand the confusion. No biggy. My ping to you was self created, addressing the linked post above. Perhaps Ive made a major error I am not aware of.
See the indented question, 77 upvotes, question in blue font, the entire post from me, including the question surrounded in blue, last sentence "Hi XanderHenderson ... linked post being the one within that blue block?
My ping to you is not linked to anything you wrote. I saw you here. So I addressed you. Major apologies. I did not link to this, except just this moment right this minute, the post you said was linked to my ping to you.
 
10:47 PM
When I hover over your ping, it highlights a comment I made earlier, about a different question; it appears that you are responding to that, but perhaps that is just chat being silly?
At any rate, @amWhy the question with 77 upvotes is, in my opinion not that great
 
@XanderHenderson No problem.... I'm sorry for whatever I did that was confusing. Not a big deal, the post I include above.
 
The confusion seems to stem from the fact that if you don't reply to a specific comment when pinging someone, it assumes that you are replying to whatever the last thing that person said was.
And since the last thing I said was regarding a particular question, chat though that's what you were replying to.
It all makes sense now!
At any rate, your comments regarding that question are quite clear
 

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