« first day (467 days earlier)      last day (361 days later) » 

3:32 AM
@ArtOfCode: If you don't mind then can I have a private chat with you?
 
@user170039 in your inbox
 
@ArtOfCode Can't access.
Now I can.
 
Can now :P
 
 
3 hours later…
6:13 AM
@BillDubuque (responding to the query of the role played by egos). Most people here, professionals and amateurs alike, want to show off on occasion. I think that showing off falls under the umbrella of "motivated by ego". At least that's what I had in mind.
But, I agree with you in that the extreme gamification, including rep points, makes many matters worse. I have never been hiding my dissatisfaction with A) calculus and other low level homework automatons gaining prominence in the weekly leagues, and B) research level mathematicians (the likes of Matt Emerton and David Speyer) not getting the recognition they deserve.
@gimusi (in response to the query what to do with questions like this. Come again? That is one of the most common themes in the study of limits (exponential growth wins polynomial growth, polynomial (or any fractional power) growth wins logaritmic growth). Not very interesting for the purposes of developing calculus, but is all over the place in analytic number theory and comparisons in algorithmic complexity.
Just this week we had this thread with links to earlier incarnations.
All: I'm admittedly extremely fed up by the fact that 99 per cent of the questions here are about the bottom 0.01 per cent of math. Ideally I would like all of the 0.2 per cent of math I know to be somewhat proportionally covered (I know, the 0.2% figure is an optimistic view of my prowess :-)
3
 
6:31 AM
@JyrkiLahtonen The links in both your previous messages are exactly the same: math.stackexchange.com/q/3033684/11619 . Is that on purpose?
 
But, for the purposes of building a wiki, as promoted by the founder of SE, overexposure to that 0.01 per cent is a problem.
I know, I know. That 0.01 per cent is all the math 99.9% of the population will ever see, but we should build the site for the enthusiasts.
@MartinSleziak I screwed up that link. @gimusi referref to this and I intended to refer to this.
 
6:48 AM
@BillDubuque I like to think that you, too, would include Gerry Myerson to the ranks of professional mathematicians.
But, you are right in that some introspection is called for when discussing the motivations of various users. My reason for not answering repetitive questions in calculus and elementary number theory is that I consider those questions to be beneath me. Certainly a self-image/ego thing! This is problem for the purposes of formulating site policies when coupled with the desire to keep those users who can only do calculus in their "proper place within the pecking order".
Pecking order maintenance is not necessary, nor very desirable, in math.se, but it is very human to be influenced by such considerations. After all, appreciation by peers is a strong motivator (related to the gamification). Overabundance of low level material is a problem because it allows those who know less a misproportional share of the frontpage real estate, and makes it more difficult to your true peers to find your posts @BillDubuque, and to vote them.
But, of course, it is all relative. We are all dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. But even dwarfs can be annoyed by ants.
In the formative years of math.se everything I said above was clear to most of the participants, and there was no need to spell it out. Nowadays, I'm no longer sure all the prolific posters are aware of this.
3
I'm bringing it up now because some would ideally like Math.SE to contain all math, equally presented. Compromises were made earlier to make the site more inclusive. But, those who want to allow everything, seem to use the existing compromise as a point of reference, and want their weight pull it into a direction they find more desirable. I wanted to make sure that they know that the current unsteady equilibrium around the context requirements and such already is a compromise,
2
with the inclusionist point-of-view having been taken into account.
 
 
1 hour later…
8:26 AM
@JyrkiLahtonen @BillDubuque Tha gamification, I think, is not only in the Rep but also in closure deleting etc, more in general is in the role all of us take here. For the Rep I've already express my thought. If it is the root of evil we should seriously change somethingon that and find a different way to recogniize the contribution o the site.
@JyrkiLahtonen My main point here is that we need to improve the way users can find duplicates by themselves befor ask a question. It is a crucial point to gain a better quaity for questions. We should work on that and not by suddenly closure and deletions.
@JyrkiLahtonen The purposes of building a wiki repository of good answers to all possible questions is a good idea and it would be useful to everyone. We simply need to find a way to estract the good/useful material from the ocean of all answers a questions. Honestly, I don't think that your current strategy to close/delete all material you don't like is a good one to increase "quality" of the site.
 
 
5 hours later…
1:32 PM
@BillDubuque I'm trying to make the site more welcoming for new users. I support closure of substandard questions but I think there's insufficient respect for the policy of making the site welcoming to new users. I don't know your feelings on this but one activity I'm keeping an eye on at the moment is what I perceive to be overly-rapid deletion of closed questions. The effect of this is to place closed questions beyond the juristiction of the wider (lower rep) community.
As a higher-rep user I was wondering what your feelings on this are and whether you might be interested in getting involved here: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/86992/welcome-to-mse to help new users through the process of making their questions acceptable.
 
 
2 hours later…
3:20 PM
@JyrkiLahtonen Could you please give some examples of said "showing off". How could that possibly be when most of the questions here (or sci.math) are undergrad level (or below) so rather trivial to anyone who has mastered the field (and taught it at length). I don't duubt that this may motivate some who have yet to master topics (e.g. students) but I find it hard to believe that anyone
(esp. experienced mathematicians) would think that "showing off" plays any significant role for teachers who have been teaching for decades or more. I don't recall ever having that opinion of said prolific sci.math contributors who migrated here (including you).
 
3:40 PM
@JyrkiLahtonen This is the heart of the matter. As is clear from many of your prior rants, you are deeply bothered by "low level homework automatons gaining prominence in the weekly leagues". But why? Does SE rep really play some role in your mathematical self-esteem?
That bothers me only because such cherry picking greatly inrceases duplication, and leads to many poor answers. So I (and others) have to waste our time searching for dupes and/or posting better answers that are likely minor variants of older answers that are hard to locate by the highly inadequate search tools. But it doesn't bother me that some cherry picker has higher SE rep. Everyone here knows who they cherry pickers are.
@JyrkiLahtonen That "99 per cent of the questions here are about the bottom 0.01 per cent of math" is because this is a general level math site. It's purpose is to mathematically serve the entire world - not only those who are studying pure mathematics. The latter already have good access to math knowledge. The former do not. Hence this site.
 
4:01 PM
@JyrkiLahtonen Why consider elementary questions "beneath you" if you could provide much richer answers than others (esp. "automatons"). I answer lower-level questions because I think it is a great opportunity to motivate students to continue their mathematical studies. There are large gaps between elementary and advanced textbooks and we can help to fill them here. Purge the gamification drugs from your mind and you'll be a much happier teacher.
@JyrkiLahtonen I don't contribute answers in the hope that my "true peers to find your posts and to vote them". Rather, I hope that readers learning the topic vote (and comment) on them so that I can obtain some useful feedback on where pedagogical difficulties lie, etc. This is the only useful role that votes play for me. And even there they are so imprecise to be of little value.
@JyrkiLahtonen Au contraire, since it genesis (charter) this site has always been extremely inclusive - math for everybody. It was only later that some factions tried to force it to be less inclusive. Most of those folks seem to have a very poor understanding of the crucial role that this site plays in educating the entire world - not only the pure mathematical world.
I've lost count of the number of students who didn't have access to good schools, books, papers, teachers, etc. who have benefited immensely from knowledge gained in general level math forums. Some of these students will no doubt use that knowledge to help make the world a much better place. That is perhaps the primary purpose of a general level math site. If you destroy that capability then you are doing a great disservice to the mathematical world.
Please show some introspection - look past worthless local things like "SE rep" and focus on truly worthwhile matters such as the global impact that this site has on educating the worldwide mathematical community - esp, those who are not so privileged to have access to good educational materials.
 
4:40 PM
If you succeed in inhibiting those "automatons" is that worth the cost of possibly also inhibiting many who could have been sparked to study math - possibly someone who could have been a future Fields medalist or leading scientist who applied mathematics to solve major problems in other fields?
 
5:04 PM
@user334732 I am entirely willing to concede that questions are sometimes deleted with too much alacrity. I try not to delete questions that are less than a week old (though I am not perfect in that regard). However, I don't think that closure should be slowed down. Closure (or putting on hold) is a way of telling a user that their question does not meet the site standards. It is not a hostile action.
Perhaps the single best thing that we could do to be "more welcoming" is to help new users understand that MSE is not like other parts of the internet, and that closure is not meant to be hostile. It is only meant to give the asker time to improve their question.
 
5:18 PM
@XanderHenderson agreed. and I also agree your suggestion to make it clear closure isn't hostile is a great idea.
 
@BillDubuque I would argue that someone with the intelligence, grit, and dedication to conduct the work worthy of a Fields or Nobel is not going to be the kind of person posting precalculus or calculus PSQs. The kind of person who is going to be a future prize winner is the kind of person who is willing to put in the effort and do the work themselves.
2
And even if they did get stuck on some routine exercise, I would expect a future Fields medalist to be able to explain the problem they are having.
I would also expect that someone capable of doing the work to earn a Nobel would understand that closure is not a hostile act, and would work to improve their work (I believe that the current buzzword is that they would exemplify a "growth mindset" and see closure not as an unrecoverable failure, but as an opportunity to improve).
2
That being said, I don't find the "But you might be discouraging a future prize winner!" to be a useful argument. Statistically speaking, nobody wins those awards. The target audience here is not the future shining stars (though if they obtain value from MSE, more power to them). The audience here is the hard working, diligent student/learner of average intelligence.
3
 
@gimusi Or at least many more questions should be ``closed as duplicate'' rather than for missing context. (I think this type of closure sends a message that the OP won't receive as hostile). Has there been any talk of making some meta posts about making common duplicate targets easy to find? Something like the Abstract Duplicates post but bigger? A MathSE Table of Contents. :)
 
@MikePierce Hm, I will blatantly self-advertise the Lists of questions part in the proposed FAQ: How to search on this site?
 
@Xander Your argument would be wrong then. I know many fine mathematicians who started out interested in other fields and simply wanted to get past math as a requirement. Only when they were exposed to the beauty of math by good teachers did they decide to consider it more seriously.
PS you seem to be missing the context of the overall argument. For that you need to start reading from the beginning - not jumping in at then end.
 
5:34 PM
@BillDubuque Please don't presume that because I did not reply to every bit of your wall of text that I did not read it.
 
@BillDubuque I quote that one!
 
@XanderHenderson The discussion goes back much further than the "wall" - and you remsrks make it clear you are missing the gist
 
@BillDubuque I also quote that one! The educational scope! What is more important than that!
@BillDubuque That's an extremely important point!
 
@BillDubuque Please, continue to be condescending. This is a great way of having a conversation. Since you did not actually reply to any of the content of my comments, I'll assume that our discussion is over. Have a good day.
 
@XanderHenderson The fact of the matter is that you will need to start at the beginning to understand the discussion. I see nothing "condascending" about that.
 
5:40 PM
@BillDubuque Have a great day!
 
@MikePierce If you are interested, you can also take a look there at Welcome to MSE
 
@XanderHenderson You too!
 
@MikePierce You on campus?
 
@XanderHenderson Nope, not until later today for proctoring. You proctoring tonight?
 
@MikePierce Not tonight. Tomorrow.
 
5:48 PM
@BillDubuque @JyrkiLahtonen I'm really convinced that educational purpose and more quality and also wiki repository can walk together in a same direction. We only need to work for that and not to fight on that.
 
@MartinSleziak I quite like the idea of a Catalog of Standard Questions/Exercises, but that doesn't seem to be very popular. :/ Or thorough. I mean, it's very thorough on a very small number of topics. Who wanted to move that Catalog offsite? (who was the OP of the catalog post?)
@XanderHenderson I will tomorrow night too. My students said they were sad when I wasn't at the first midterm ...
 
@MikePierce I believe it was the user with many names. BTW also the "organizer posts" are mentioned there, but it seems that there are only a few of them.
Probably NormalHuman was one of the usernames they (probably he) used for a longer period (on one of their accounts).
 
Yeah, right. I think I'm mostly concerned about how to organize the "Organizer Posts." Each it's own post on MathSE? Each a post on Meta? One giant post? Just make the Abstract Duplicates post bigger? Etc.
 
To be honest, at the moment the number of them is small enough to be in one answer. If there is larger number of them, then it's time to think about a different solution or about categorizing them. (At the moment, there is almost nothing to organize.)
 
Wouldn't it be a good idea to create the posts and organize/categorize them initially? So then there's not complicated clean up later if/when such lists of questions get big? "If you build it, they will come" :P
@Infinitus I like your profile pic ;)
 
6:05 PM
@MikePierce I am not sure about that. At the moment you would get a list with many empty categories - which to me seems more discouraging than encouraging.
But in any case, if you think it is a useful undertaking, feel free to start something along the lines. (Personally, when I have a bit of spare time, I'll probably try to create a new "organizer" post before suggesting something new to do with them.)
 
 
4 hours later…
10:09 PM
@BillDubuque some seem to enjoy to comment on the answers of others pointing out all kinds of perceived shortcomings, simplifications, additional material, etc. This can come over as trying to show off. (Yes, misconception, I know.)
 
 
1 hour later…
11:10 PM
@quid Is it your position that anyone who posts comments about simplifications, generalizations, analogies, related topics, etc. must be "showing off"? This is an essential part of teaching. If it is "showing off" anything it is the beauty of mathematics.
 
@BillDubuque no not anyone and not always. But one can observe certain patterns and then one might draw conclusions. These of course could be totally wrong.
 
@quid You could of course ask those posting said comments, rather than make guesses that might be way off the mark.
 

« first day (467 days earlier)      last day (361 days later) »