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    • CommentAuthortrustgod
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2012

    I was forcibly kicked out of MO for many months with the cause that I don't have enough basics, but I now have read some substantial amount of information and looking forward to enter MO back, you can see the way my questions transformed here. So the problem is that some of my questions go unanswered even though I allotted a bounty . So in that case could you permit me to post the same question here ? .

    Can we fix a protocol like :

    1) That question should be having more than n-votes. 2) That question should not ask basic things. 3) That question should be properly edited.

    You can see an instance here ,its in fact a good question that benefits many graduates. As per my search there was not a singly expository article that explained that question. So I wanted to ask here, so that the experts might respond.

    Thank you.

    • CommentAuthorAndy Putman
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2012 edited
    The holes in your knowledge will take years to correct, not months, and I can't imagine them being filled without formal education. You've been told this before. After you've gotten into a mathematics graduate program and progressed past the early stages of that program, then you can consider petitioning to post here again. Until then, it's just not going to happen.
    • CommentAuthorYemon Choi
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2012

    There is also the matter of deceit.

    If I remeber correctly you were banned for many reasons. Including creating a fake account and lying, harassing experts who didn't dedicate themselves to your questions, complaining that mathemaics is just a conspiracy to complicate things, touching feet of people that have expressed not to be touched that way,....

    @Andy: I don't have much of an opinion on how to handle trustgod/Iyengar, but I find your comment rather unpleasant: it seems to suggest a rather narrow view of the world. Maybe trustgod, like most people in the world, doesn't have the economic wherewithal to do a PhD. If he asked sensible and interesting questions on MO, that wouldn't matter a bit. It's intellectual content we care about here, not institutions and certificates.

    Now, we might all agree that trustgod has not asked sensible and interesting questions in the past, and is showing no signs of doing so in the near future. That's beside the point. What I object to is telling someone to go away until they've passed a certain culturally specific test. ("Qualifying exams" makes it even worse; I for one associate "qualifying exams" exclusively with North America.) I know you're not actually saying "don't come back until you've got an American education", but I find it uncomfortably close.

    @Tom Leinster : I'm saying "Come back once you have a graduate-level university education". I'll remove the words "qualifying exams" to make it less America-centric. However, there are a vanishingly small number of people who don't have a graduate-level university education in mathematics who should be posting on MO. It is abundantly clear from his previous questions that Iyengar is not one of those people. It may be unfair in the sense that he doesn't have the opportunity to do so for financial or other reasons; however, there is nothing we can do about that.

    Iyengar, aside of the points remarked by other people there is the point that this is not the first time I have seen you say that the questions you ask are "very good" and "would benefit many".

    You should stop making these claims about your own questions and start letting others making them.

    I have to chime in here. +1 to Tom Leinster's post. Had I stopped reading after Andy Putman's post, I, as a stranger, would have shied away from contributing in this site any further, as it appeared to be a bad publicity for mathematics (thanks for the correction though @Andy). The reason simply being it would seem like bullying a hapless, chap from India who is not privy to any education like the developed countries, who further may not have the handle on English as first langauge(not to mention netiquette), but at the end "he" would come out to be the victim here, while the professors with reputation at stake turn out to be snobbish, Ivory Tower bullies (which may not be the case as there are contrasting views like Tom).

    My point being we do not want to dissuade a person just for lack of "formal" education or degrees and as Tom said we should care more for the content as opposed to the container trying to contain forcefully someone for contaminating a website - which Iyengar has done.

    Sometimes the best way to avoid giving attention is not to give it in the first place.
    • CommentAuthorgrp
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2012 edited
    I think it is important to (within reason) allow access to and participation in MathOverflow to anyone of like minded interests and acceptable behaviours, without regard for thei cultural, socioeconomic, or formal educational background. This does not mean preschool students should be welcomed into the forum, but if they can post intelligently on topics like enumerating certain combinatorial designs or considering which algebraic structures to use to study quantum fiekd theory, or subjects at a level appropriate to this forum, I see no reason to bar such precocity.

    I think it is important to (within reason) deny access to or at least participation in MathOverflow to anyone who provides substantial interference in the activites of those with like minded interests and acceptable behaviours who are involved in maintaining the quality of the content of this forum, regardless of the offender's cultural, socioeconomic, or formal educational background. I think it unlikely, but if someone who made substantial contributions to the content of this forum such as Greg Kuperberg or Tim Gowers or Joseph O'Rourke started behaving as the original poster did, I would call for their suspension from the forum after some time. (I might cut Joseph some more slack than the others, but not much.)

    Each point is important; they should receive equal emphasis in my view, and each supports the idea that there is little room for unacceptable behaviour when the goal is to provide a good quality forum for many. Other suggestions have been posted to help the original poster work with the community. As long as he continues to disregard the major points brought up with the suggestions, he will continue to remain unwelcome at both MathOverflow and at We can ask Andy to change his wording, but his main point should remain unchanged as well as be acknowledged.

    Gerhard Paseman, 2012.04.24
    Certainly I think that anyone with the requisite knowledge is welcome here, though I'm pretty skeptical that there are that many people out there without some kind of university education who have that knowledge. It may clash with the usual democratic tendencies of the internet and be unfair towards those who have not had the opportunities I have had, but that kind of elitism is, I think, the cold hard truth. I can't change it.

    My comment was directed specifically at Iyengar, who has repeatedly disappeared for a short time and then returned claiming that he has read some stuff and thus is ready to post here. This is, frankly, crazy, and I want to emphasize to him that acquiring this knowledge takes years of effort and work. It may be unfair, but the only way he could do it would be to somehow attend a university. If he doesn't get this through his head, then this unpleasantness will just keep repeating itself.

    To add much on Andy's last post I think that the following link is a very good read and everything there said on programming can be applied to mathematics as well:

    Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years

    • CommentAuthorHenry Cohn
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2012

    Iyengar, I've just looked over the questions you've posted in 2012 at, and I didn't see anything I'd recommend moving to mathoverflow. I don't mean to be discouraging, but it really takes a lot of time and effort to reach the research frontier. Andy's comments above may have sounded harsh, but I think he's right about the difficulty and timeframe, so it's not worth worrying every few months about whether it's time to return to MO.

    The question that made me happiest was the one about the leading digits of powers of 2. It wouldn't be appropriate for MO since it's not a research question (this phenomenon is well known among mathematicians), and it turned out to be essentially a duplicate of a previous MSE question. However, it shows that you are grappling with interesting ideas and trying to formulate and prove what you observe. This is great - it's exactly what you should be doing. I remember when I first thought about this problem: I found it exciting and I learned a lot from it. You'll learn more and develop faster as a mathematician if you focus on problems like this, rather than questions about Tamagawa numbers or complex multiplication. There's really no point in trying to learn advanced topics before you've mastered the basics, since it just isn't feasible. At best you'll end up with a superficial, impressionistic understanding of advanced topics, which won't give you a strong foundation to build on.

    I think this is also part of why you aren't getting some of the answers you seek. It's not just because the questions sometimes deal with exotic topics, but also because they come across as an endless string of questions about mathematics, rather than real mathematical questions. The questions people are most excited to answer are generally insightful: they show evidence of effort and understanding, which has led the questioner to isolate some key issue. Your Tamagawa number question doesn't read that way to me. You say "I already know the algebraic version of Tamagawa numbers", but the question doesn't show much sign of understanding it. You then ask for a geometric or intuitive explanation. That's a reasonable thing to hope for, and it's not intrinsically a bad question, but it comes across as a lazy question: you want to understand Tamagawa numbers, so you are asking somebody to explain them to you in a more elementary way than the references you have available. There's not a lot of motivation to answer the question when there's no evidence that you are prepared to understand a reasonable answer.

    You're right that Tamagawa numbers are themselves a perfectly suitable topic for MO, but questions like this just aren't fruitful or worthwhile. The reason you can't find an exposition at your current level of background is because you don't yet know or understand enough for this topic. I hope this doesn't come across as offensive. You seem smart, enthusiastic, and dedicated. I see no reason to doubt you'll eventually be able to understand all these things if you take the right approach, but there are many more fundamental topics you need to master first, and it will take years to do so. I worry that rather than spending those years learning the basics, you'll spend them trying unsuccessfully to start with advanced topics, before you eventually become too frustrated and lose interest. That would be a sad outcome.

    Instead, I hope you start actively playing with and exploring undergraduate mathematics, so you can master these ideas and start on the road to becoming a research mathematician. MSE is a wonderful environment for that.

    • CommentAuthortrustgod
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2012

    @Tom Leinster : I completely agree with your view sir, but see the world is like that, not everyone is brusque , there are only a quite a few people like you who are really helpful. I don't have any opportunities to go further and not even sophisticated libraries. If I had had such facilities then I would not rely much on MO and Math.SE for help, and I would be like other students just taking the help of lecturers and doing the things myself. I lack all those things. That is why I need to depend on these web-sites for help.

    @ Andy Putman : You always said to pursue a formal education and come back, is that the criteria or a protocol a person should have to learn mathematics, not necessarily. If you think so you are not a mathematician. Mathematics derives its beauty from its universality and can be learnt from the nature. I need to have some intuition to go further and then I can read myself. So from the past I have been violently facing the blows from you kind of people. But think once, is there any graduate student who is so interested like me ?. Or other wise be honest in imagining this : will you read the same amount of mathematics at my age without having all these sophisticated facilities ? , without a help of professor ? . SEE Andy its easy to say and teach philosophies to others, but coming to your own situation they don't apply . Haven't you learnt from lecturers ? , are you a mathematician since from the moment you are born ? . NO !! , many professors might have helped you in understanding the concepts and encouraging you, and its because of them you are in a position to comment and discourage someone like me. You have learnt everything from professors , and that's what I miss. If I had had any persons to guide me here, then why would I have kept silent and keep on facing the violent blows by repeatedly asking questions at MO and Math.SE. " If you can't make it simple, it means that you don't understand it first, any good mathematician should be able to simplify a complex concept to an extent that even kid can understand. There will be a way to teach even TAMAGAWA numbers to a kid, but the point is that you dont know how to do it, and simply you have hidden under the cover saying that I need to study and learn" . I have learnt all basics , remember that . And don't you know this basic point that questions are answered only based upon the quality and content and not by the background knowledge of the OP. Any way talking with you is a mere waste of time and I don't want to do it any further. I even have my own ways of ignoring your comments, and I never care them.

    @Henry Cohn : Sir, I am in debt with your advice, thanks a lot sir. I have been trying to make my basics concrete and trying to learn all these things, but the point is that I don't have proper environment to pursue mathematics. I can't blame others for that, and its my fate . I will surely follow your advice sir.

    And its after the people like you and others ( Tom Leinster, Pete.L.Clark ) I understood that even in this world there are some people like you who are having a kind heart to encourage people who wanted to learn mathematics, I am happy with that at-least. I am satisfied that , its because of people like you the rains are falling in right time and earth is protected from calamities. If everyone in this world is selfish and discouraging others then it will be the dead -end of this earth. I already expected that I will be banned as soon as I post the questions, but some day or the other I will prove who I am.

    But for all people who have commented about my basics, this point applies, how do you think that I know nothing ? . If so then give me a problem or a question to test my knowledge and then pass comments ok ? .

    Iyengar, as long as you cannot do it yourself, you have no authority to write things like "If you can't make it simple, it means that you don't understand it first, any good mathematician should be able to simplify a complex concept to an extent that even kid can understand." It's just absurd and shows that you still have an unrealistic view of mathematics. Your opinion is based on beliefs tht are not grownded in any facts whatsoever. And do you really think insulting established MO members like Andy Putman will make people want you here?

    As for the lack of library access, the sites and might help you in that regard.

    I'm not sure if it was mentioned, but please cut back on the drama. Phrases like "facing the violent blows" are annoying and usually make me belittle the writer for trying to feel like an epic hero struggling against all odds. Yes, I understand that you feel like an epic hero struggling against all odds to learn mathematics - but you must start keeping this feeling to yourself, or to private chats with friends. Not for this site, not for m.SE, not for any other site whose aim is mathematics. Same goes for "in debt" which has the sound of drama in the air (again).

    Secondly, I am a bit offended by your claim that your passion and dedication are unmatched for in the academic level. This sort of approach to mathematics is probably a perquisite for grad school in places like Israel where being a mathematician is not a likely source of income, and most of my classmates are people who live mathematics in its very essence.

    Lastly, there is not always intuition. It can take years of meddling with the technical details before you acquire the correct intuition. Of course that whatever I will tell you, you will continue to believe whatever you believe right now. I just hope that in several years, if you managed to master something by then, you will return to these words everyone is telling you and realize that it took you several years of work to develop the intuitions properly.

    • CommentAuthorMariano
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2012

    The shameless bully in me suggests that this thread is on the verge of repeating various parts of the several threads we have already devoted to trustgod. Maybe it is time to close this one?

    • CommentAuthorAngelo
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2012
    Déjà vu all over again.
    +1 to Michael, Mariano and Angelo. I believe this thread contains almost no new information (apart from Tom's comment, which is *generally* very useful, however way too generous in the situation under discussion) and can be safely put to rest.
    • CommentAuthorHarry Gindi
    • CommentTimeApr 26th 2012 edited

    The shameless bully in me suggests that this thread is on the verge of repeating various parts of the several threads we have already devoted to trustgod. Maybe it is time to close this one?


    Also, let us not forget the trustgod-like-guy who actually had a math Ph.D. (with the initials I.D.). The problem with trustgod is that he is annoying and knows nothing about math, not that he doesn't have a degree =).


    I think it's time to close this thread.

    • CommentAuthorHenry Cohn
    • CommentTimeApr 26th 2012

    One thing this thread shows is that it could be worth clarifying what permanent suspension means. If it really means "go away and never return to MO or ask about returning," then that should be stated explicitly. If it means "go away for a long time, and then maybe we'll reconsider," then it will be much more workable with a clear timeframe, so there isn't a discussion every few months. For example, the moderators might say something like "Please stop using MO and meta.MO for N years. At the end of those N years, you can e-mail us to ask us to reconsider, based on evidence such as productive contributions to sites such as MSE, or other accomplishments/credentials. However, we make no promises regarding our decision. Please do not get in touch before N years have passed." How large N should be would depend on the circumstances.


    +1 Henry. Especially the bit about evidence. Must be relevant evidence though.