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    • CommentAuthortrustgod
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2011
    I had this flash in my mind while I was asking a question in Math.SE, I thought that some of the answers posted by the users especially the answers posted by Prof.Matthew Emerton and Prof.Pete.L.Clark, Prof.David Speyer, Prof.Kevin Buzzard, Prof.Mark sapir, Prof.Todd Trimble and many more to name.. are so influential and magnificent that they helped thousands of students and served as a light-houses for those who look for an intuition into a complex topic, so there is a dire need to turn them as nice expository papers for the sake of students ( which I explain later ) .

    So I was intending to ask the question on MO instead of Math.SE as "J.M." has already posted a reference to the same issue I asked, which was previously asked by some other OP ( which is just similar to it, but not exact ), but I didn't have any intention to make the Meta redundant by posting the same question, so I would like to share my views and ideas, users and other persons kindly respond.

    My main intention was to collect a set of interested people who are experts in LaTeX, and do like this :

    1)First the people ( People here refers to the ones who come out voluntarily, they should have knowledge in judging the quality of answers, I mean a good-mathematical background ( not like my background ) ) should assemble at a Meta thread and start collecting fantastic answers of questions posted, and keep a voting system impartially . The answer that has got the highest votes must be selected

    2) Then a PDF file must be prepared with a reference to the MO Question ( which will not only contribute for implanting knowledge but also serve as a means of advertising MO, as everyone who reads those articles surely know about MO then ! ) and that file should be kept in their respective home-pages.

    3) The most important or major doubts that one encounter can be grouped together under the PDF file with name "FAQ of Number-Theory " and we can use as a reference at last of the respective subject articles, ( like the end of the Number theory book/Number theory lecture article /Abstract Algebra book or any other book, so that people who read the PDF lecture file reads the FAQ of the subject at last and understands the major concepts and doubts and as answers are also present at the next to them it would be so handy to use ) .

    J.M. has already pointed to something called "Stack Printer" which is this one ( ) , It doesn't serve the complete purpose, It just gives the scope for printing , but I always think that a PDF file would be much useful to keep, as we can read it offline too, and also we can't print all articles .

    So I am ready to extend any sort help but I didn't take initiative as I neither don't have a Web-page nor a online space, and I know that if I take initiative I am sure to face comment-wars which I don't want to happen, so I stopped as I know a proverb that "Blind man should never lead people" ( Not that I am blind literally )

    So if you think its good I have still plans with me, but I am surely desiring to see those magnificent answers turn into well-formatted TeX

    P.S: if you think that its a long process, the best thing one can do is to add a new interactive feature to that "Stack Printer" asking a user to choose the options, and options will be "Download as PDF, Print Document etc.. "

    Thanks a lot.
    yours truly,

    I think it would take a little more than a script. First of all, we've got a lot of messy interferences between Markdown and LaTeX here, so any script would have to take notice of these and also of the various hacks people use to work around them (e. g., \\ instead of \). Second, some posts have newcommand declarations, which might conflict across different posts. Third, the war on overfull hboxes still hasn't been reasonably automated to my knowledge (I'd like to be proven wrong on this). Fourth, some high-voted posts make reference to some lower-voted posts or even to other questions; all of this would have to be taken into account. Fifth, we should let the authors of the posts make some edits (typo fixes, clarifications etc.) before we PDF them - usually, MO posts are not written with the intention to be final or perfect.


    For what it's worth, I don't see the point of such a project. We all know that comparing the number of upvotes on answers left on different questions is rather spurious. If people find particular MO answers or questions, illuminating, they can save copies, print copies, or even transcribe copies.

    Moreover, not all that glitters is gold.

    I agree with Yemon. The mere existence of MO is a suitable enough archive for these answers. In particular, the added benefit is that they can continuously be updated/corrected/expanded. Any "compilation" into book form would destroy that feature. I can see some publisher wanting to release a new version every few years. It's just great the way it is now.
    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2011

    In principle I think this is a very nice idea. Whether various practical problems can be overcome, I do not know. I might say more later.


    Instead of just copying posts into a TeX file with only minor changes, I think a better idea could be to choose some questions and let relevant people (relevant as in "relevant to the question", not the "influential" of the OP) to write small expository notes containing, but not limited to, these questions and their answers. This would create some surplus value if done well. Unfortunately, it also creates surplus work, and I am not particularly optimistic about whether we can convince enough people to do that work.

    • CommentAuthorEmerton
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2011 edited

    I am one of the people mentioned in the first post of this thread, and I'll use this as an excuse to point out that I link to several of my MO posts from my web-page.

    This seems to be one way to usefully collate MO posts.

    • CommentAuthortrustgod
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2011
    @Emerton : Sir I saw your web-page previously and noticed the same links, but they would not serve the purpose for the ones who read offline, and even all are not accessible to internet all times, so imagine how beautiful it would be in turning them into PDF files so that everyone can download them too and read them offline

    [I've deleted a bunch of posts from this thread, as they were off topic and the thread was getting pretty degenerate. Since I did this fairly quickly, it's possible that I deleted something that contributed in some way. The original can be found here and reposted.]

    • CommentAuthorKConrad
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2011
    Matt: On your home page you have the misspelled words dicussion and Eicler.

    While I think there is value in curating a reading list, I don't see the value in recruiting people to typeset it. If nothing else, the project will be undermined by the fact that not everybody has the same interests. Even individuals are interested in different things at different times. This means that it's going to be hard to beat the approach of simply browsing the site and collecting personal favorites. If you're looking for some inspiration, you can look at what your MO heroes have favorited in their MO profile page.

    If all that is desired is to generate pdfs readable offline, then you can simply print the page. MO has print-specific css, so it should come out looking reasonable. If you have requests for changes in the print css, let me know.

    Instead of just copying posts into a TeX file with only minor changes, I think a better idea could be to choose some questions and let relevant people (relevant as in "relevant to the question", not the "influential" of the OP) to write small expository notes containing, but not limited to, these questions and their answers. This would create some surplus value if done well. Unfortunately, it also creates surplus work, and I am not particularly optimistic about whether we can convince enough people to do that work.

    Some people post questions or answers that fill this role. Instead of only asking or answering the question, they provide a tour of the topic. When they don't, it's not likely that somebody else will. Then again, it's not too uncommon to see answers starting "To expand on XXXXX's excellent answer, ..."

    • CommentAuthortrustgod
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2011 edited
    @Anton Geraschenko : Your advice is nice sir , But what is your opinion of him unnecessarily using the slang sir?

    @Yemon choi : Gnothi seaton ? , Huh I know pretty well every-body becomes a philosopher to judge others , but one will not respond in the same way when same situation happens to them , but do you think you stay silent if you heard some one saying the same word to you ?
    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2011

    Iyengar, some people already expressed that the formulation of Darij was not alright, and I agree. It also got removed (either by himself or a moderator). Personally, in general I also cannot quite understand why your style of expressing yourself is such an issue for some. But neither can I fully understand why you insist on it. However, in Darij's defense, while it is a bit difficult to see behind the formulation, what he actually said is perhaps not so offensive. Perhaps try to read it like this:

    I understand we come from quite different cultures and therefore I assume what you write is a normal form of expressing great respect. However, for me this is a unusual way of writing. This makes it difficult to focus on the quite interesting content of your present post. Thus I would like to ask you to be a bit less respectful in the future, I can assure you still nobody here will find you disrespectful.

    • CommentAuthortrustgod
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2011 edited
    @Quid : thanks a lot ! , I never know your good name too in order to thank you, but your email Id would be useful to me in discussing about my topics and also begging you for help in some issues (mathematical related issues ) , could do give me that if you don't mind ?
    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2011

    Iyengar: I am glad you found my comment helpful. While this is quite an unusual thing on this site, I, in general and for various reasons, want to strictly separate my activity on MO from my other activities. Thus, I ony communicate with the MO-community via the main site and this meta site, but not via email or using my real name.

    • CommentAuthortrustgod
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2011 edited
    @quid : But do you mind telling your email ID ? , If so I remain silent , just asked on a personal basis . But if you dont want to reveal it here can you mail me sir ?
    In case anyone else was puzzled by a remark a few comments up, Wikipedia says,

    *Gnothi seauton may refer to:

    *Gnothi seauton, an ancient Greek aphorism (Greek: γνῶθι σεαυτόν), which means "know thyself" in English

    *"Gnothi Seauton", the second episode of the American television series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

    *See also

    *Gnothi Seauton: Know Yourself, a 1734 poetry book by John Arbuthnot and others

    Having never watched Sarah Connor, the reference is lost on me.
    • CommentAuthortrustgod
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2011 edited
    @Gerry Myerson : you forget to add the exact meaning it conveys , it is used in this situation "the proverb is applied to those whose boasts exceed what they are,and that "know thyself" is a warning to pay no attention to the opinion of the multitude"
    • CommentAuthortrustgod
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2011 edited

    @Emerton : Sir I must not create this issue every time I post the question, but can you figure out and tell me what is the reason behind my questions going unanswered in Math.SE ?

    1) Should I wait for some more time ?

    2) Should I improve my formatting and english ?

    see this question once sir. Thank you.

    • CommentAuthorEmerton
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2011

    Dear Iyengar,

    I just wrote out a sketch of an answer to your question. The reason your questions generally go unanswered is the following: your questions about Iwasawa theory, or about the Tate conjecture, are the kinds of questions that might be raised and answered in an advanced graduate class, or a research paper or monograph. To answer them in any kind of reasonable way, the answerer would need to have substantial expertise in number theory and arithmetic geometry. There are very few people active on MSE with this level of expertise (maybe just two or three), and perhaps not many more who are active on MO.

    It takes time to gather one's thoughts and answer such a question, and among the participants in MSE or MO who could answer such questions, which as I've said is already only a handful, the number who are willing to take the time to answer them is even smaller, since people are busy.

    Finally, there is the question of what good it does to answer such a question: if my Ph.D. students were to ask such a question, I would probably not answer it (at least not in any more detail than I have answered your questions on MSE), but rather direct them to appropriate background reading (Silverman's book on elliptic curves, Mazur's paper on Iwasawa theory of abelian varieties, the article about the Tate conjectures in the Motives volumes, etc.). With sufficient background, they could then read Tate's original Bourbaki seminar on BSD and the Tate conjecture, and get the answer to the question themselves. If their background is not sufficient to read Tate's article, then it's not clear to me that giving a very detailed explanation will help.

    As for myself, I am also busy, and will be cutting back my participation on MO and MSE, so I'm afraid I may not be able to answer many more of your questions, at least in the near future.



    • CommentAuthortrustgod
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2011 edited

    @Emerton : Sir, thanks a lot for wasting your time in formatting and explaining in the most understandable way.

    But think once sir, Don't I feel bad for disturbing everyone to answer each question thereby wasting your valuable time ? , but I have no other option sir, I improved a lot after seeking your advises, I am reading all these things in a computer in the internet cafe, and I am 21 years old but read a lot of things privately.

    I can neither join in an university as its unsophisticated place and I need to support my family too by doing a Job, so neither I don't know a professor who can answer all these questions in the surroundings, your students are too lucky to have a good guide, but I have no other choice except to depend on Math.SE for my doubts. And there is no good library, the library we have here, has only news papers, school grade mathematics, formula banks and some literature in languages, so I am travelling to long places and copying some hundred pages manually into paper by seeing books, and preparing them at house. And also journals are very costly online. ( I shouldn't tell all my problems to you, but have to tell as you need to understand my intention behind disturbing everyone ) .

    so thats why I am disturbing you sir, and even the professors in our area at maximum know only basic calculus not more than that, and even many of the people don't know what is a computer here ! , so I cant find any one who can really help me out.

    But sincerely I am asking you to give me any useful suggestion what I can do now. But never in my life I forget the help done by you and others.

    Yours truly, Iyengar.

    • CommentAuthortrustgod
    • CommentTimeDec 8th 2011

    I understood today that everybody boycotted me both in MO, and Math.SE . My questions, my comments everything goes unanswered, even though it hurts me a lot, I don't know whether its my mistake or is everyone want to quit commenting on my posts. Ok I stop bothering you all, I fight with my circumstances as long as I can, as I understood that we need to struggle a lot, as said "No pains, No gains". I understood that telling about my circumstances and difficulties other things make me still a "joker" in a circus and doesn't really helps me out in getting any help. So I understood that I need to get on with my problems.

    Thank you all