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    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2012 edited

    This is the meta thread of the question "New grand projects in contemporary mathematics"

    Since it is not very visible let me mention that it was already closed and then reopened. For details on who vote what see the revision list of the question

    My opinion, in brief, is that this question is either going to be argumentative or irrelevant. Personally, I consider most existing answers as off-topic and/or of poor quality. [Added Jan 2nd: it is still quite mixed IMO, but at least meanwhile there seems to be a reasonable number of reasonable answers.]

    The arguments put forward in the comments are somewhat the 'usual' do not imped subjective disucssions calls. I have no great interest to debunk the comments one by one but still some remarks:

    First it is in my opinion not true that most people on this site are professional mathematicians (for example, there are plenty of students on the site), second there is a difference between discussing something subjetive somewhere (even in public, though most of the mentioned examples even refer to typically non-public things making the argument even weaker) and here on MO, third in most democratic communities there are, say, speed-limits on roads that are enforced without this being generally perceived as undemocratic, oppressive, dictatorial, or whatever.


    I'm no prophet and have absolutely zero ability to tell its fate. But it seems to me the only argumentative or too discussion-y posts so far in said thread are of the "This is gonna be too subjective/argumentative." vs. "No. It's not." type.

    I don't think a good democratic society will ticket a driver for speeding when police cars are the only speeding ones. It's necessary to have rules. It's bad to throw citizens in jail before they break them on the ground that they look suspicious.

    I don't think you should blame OP for the quality of answers either unless the question is asked egregiously poorly. You can downvote, edit or delete the poor answers if they're that bad. You may also improve the question the way you think will invite better answers. But closing a thread because those who answered are incompetent doesn't sound like a terribly good idea to me.

    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2012

    These analogies only go that far, but it is perfectly reasonable in various contexts and common to imped activities that are potentially harmful before any harm was done, for example stopping a speeding driver before they caused an accident.

    It was clear from the start the question will be argumentative or produce merely yet-another-list. This is built-in in the question.

    I'm not very happy with the wording of the question, and the title and all caps are terrible, but yesterday there were some very good answers, which pointed me to topics or references I did not know of. That seems good to me.
    • CommentAuthorarsmath
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2012
    My reaction is the same as Andres'. When I first read the question, it didn't look promising, but several of the answers had detailed information or links to stuff I was only vaguely aware of.
    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2012

    @Andres Caicedo and arsmath; Fine that you liked some of the answers. But, it should be noted that this is not what OP was really after; as meanwhile clearly documented by the all-caps-edit. If somebody wants to do a casual general list of new or recently more visible/active subjects perhpas this is entertaining for the end of the year. But this was/is not the question.



    I understand that preventive actions are needed in many situations. However, if memory serves, your comment regarding the question being argumentative and excessively subjective was before other members started answering, which I feel that some may find unfair to the questioner.

    With that being said, I can see why two other posters in this thread think the title and the question itself could be worded better. I respect your informed opinion as well, and more important, should trust experienced members' views more. From your very firm wording, it appears that you firmly and very strongly believe that the thread is of little value or harmful to Mathoverflow. Reading your comments in the thread in question and the two previous posts here, I assume that your belief is becoming stronger as members including me contribute, or rather, fail to contribute by providing mostly poor or inappropriate posts, which I can partially agree with in that at least one post, my own post, is rather poor.

    Therefore, I would like to retract my optimistic view on how much the question will positively contribute, and shall remain neutral regarding the issue.

    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2012

    @Yuichiro Fujiwara: On the one hand, you say it is unfair if I judge the question based on its answers, on the other hand you say it is unfair if I judge the question before answers are given (in particular, independently of the answers). It is not easy to be fair in your eyes.

    Now, you seem to agree and several others as well that the question is not worded so well. So, this is already a good reason for closing it. But unfortunately many people seem to fail to understand what closing means in the first place.

    If there is a significant problem, it is closed. Then it could be discussed and improved. And then possibly reopened. This is in fact how things should work. Unfotunately, people in favour of certain questions almost always fail to follow this procedure, and simply just get upset or vote to reopen just so. [Slightly OT: This is a bit of a recurring theme I find exceedingly frustrating; an extreme case was the ABC spectacle: those that voted to close initially were somehow 'bad people'; but then all of a sudden everbody seemed more happy when the question was edited and clarified. And, in later discussion it was even forgotten that the current form was not even the form that was originally closed. So much for 'fairness' in these matters.]

    ps. I think your post (in its edited form, in particular) is really at the top-end of the contributions (as I expressed on main before your preceeding comment already) in this question. If everybody had put as much effort in as you I might quite likely be less annoyed by the question.



    Thank you for your compliment. That eased my worry.

    To clarify my opinion, as I said earlier, I think that it is unfair to judge the quality of a question by the answers they receive unless the poor answers are clearly due to the quality of the question, which I did not think applied to this case. I also think that it is unfair to claim that a question "must" invite argumentative posts and excessively subjective discussions when there is no such comment has been posted yet, although this does not apply if the question is obviously suffering from serious problems, which you seem to believe is the case. I did not feel that the question was poor to such an extent, although I recognize the subjective and potentially inflammatory nature, apparently to a lesser degree than you do. Hence, I expressed my impression about unfairness. However, I respect your opinion and came to trust your experience more than my subjective instinct. For this reason, I remain neutral on this matter.

    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2012

    @Yuichiro Fujimara: what I said is "this is too subjective and possibly argumentative", no "must" there regarding argumentative it said possibly. It is kind of you that you trust my experience. Yet, it is also always good to have new people voicing their opinions around. Since, perhaps, if one is too long on the site one gets a bit 'paranoid' over time. In that sense, I will now leave for this year; according to MO time, of course ;-) [Having recently read your preferences regarding this, I tried to use a vertical emoticon, but then got confused and worried I would pick one that would not fit, so it is horizontal in the end, sorry.]



    Obviously I missed the important word "possibly" there. And your first post here did say "in brief" when you said the thread was going to be either argumentative or irrelevant. I am terribly sorry about that.

    I will now leave for this year

    (O_O) Nooooo!

    according to MO time

    Oh, I see... Meanie! (>.<)


    *tilt head* Ow!