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    Hello all -- I often have questions that would be useful to ask in some web forum read by professional mathematicians, but aren't on topic for MO. For example:

    Where can I buy X prop for my class?

    How can I teach subject Y effectively?

    My students complained that 8-10 hours of calculus homework a week is too much. Are they right?

    Consensus seems to be that such questions don't belong on MO. Can anyone recommend some other web forum where they might be welcomed and get good answers?

    Thank you! -Frank
    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2012

    Some 'not quite' answers:

    1. There is a proposal for a stackexchange site called Academia which in part might serve this purpose. The proposal is not unique to math, but the list of tentative participants includes a considerable fraction of mathematicians.

    2. An outgrowth of a similar discussion almost a year ago was that the people behind mathblogging, in particular Peter Krautzberger, created Planet MathOverflow . This aggreagates blog posts tagged "mathoverflow", "math overflow", "mo" or "planetmo". An idea behind this was to create a way to give more visibilty for blog posts that are allmost but not quite MO questions (like some of yours). So you could start a blog an tag things "planetmo" and see what happens regarding comments. (I have no numbers how much it is read, but Peter reads meta so he might comment; however I have direct and indirect information that at least the tagging with "planetmo" is not yet wide spread, but this could change.)

    3. Also in such discussions some, in particular Andrew Stacey, said that they would help with technial issues regarding setting up a discussion forum you envision if and only if somebody volunteers to moderate it. I got away with the impression that to technically start such a forum would be not complicated for Andrew. So, if say you volunteer to moderate it, chances are this could take off.

    I guess you lose nothing by posting to the news group sci.math and seeing what happens.
    • CommentAuthorMariano
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2012

    A whip makes a great prop for class, is more or less easy to find in the market, and will keep those students quiet...


    Many times, Andrew Stacey (I believe) has proposed that he is willing to create a MOoverflow discussion site, but only if somebody else would commit to moderating and running it. Would you be willing to be the administrator for that site, Frank?


    Yes, I've offered to set this up and the offer still stands.

    On the technical side, I've modified the software that runs the nForum so that I can have multiple forums running on the same code (and with sort-of the same user data) so it takes almost no maintenance from my side to set-up and (technically) maintain such a forum. I have three "live" forums at the moment (the nForum, a forum for John Baez's Azimuth project, and a forum for my students) of which I only "run" two.

    For this, I think I'd want more than one person willing to be moderators, though I'd only need one to be the administrator.

    Hello all, thanks for the comments and for the vote of confidence.

    In my first year on the tenure track, I'm afraid that I don't have the time to commit to moderate a website.
    • CommentAuthorMariano
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2012

    Ay, there's the rub.

    The web forum is waiting for the reasonable, knowledgeable, nice mathematicians who don't have much to do!


    I had never heard a compelling argument for unemployment in mathematics... Great work, Mariano!