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    The user named "Luke" posts a lot of questions that look close to homework problems to my eyes, mostly of the point-set topology variety.

    His questions are typically answered quickly, sometimes with comments to the affect of my sentence above. He's been posting questions of this variety for several years now, so it's hard to imagine these are actually homework problems but they're certainly not research questions.

    I thought I'd mention this quirky trend.

    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2013

    I first ignored this since I do not know much anything about topology, however I now stumbled over it on main, so: my general stance on this would be to insist on motivation being provided. (The frequent lack of which is IMO in general the main source of most controversy related to mathematical questions.)

    • CommentAuthorSam Nead
    • CommentTimeFeb 24th 2013
    Perhaps an autodidact. The level looks high enough, to my eyes.
    • CommentAuthoraFischer
    • CommentTimeFeb 24th 2013
    I just want to remark that from questions on math.SE it appears that this user is working though Alas, Junqueira, van Mill, Tkachuk, Wilson, "On the extent of star countable spaces", Central European Journal of Mathematics 9, pp 603-615 (MR2784032), with particular interest in the open question of whether (strongly) monotonically monolithic star countable spaces are Lindelof? (See the following math.SE question:".)

    I have to agree with quid that some motivation for these questions would be much preferred.
    • CommentAuthorYemon Choi
    • CommentTimeFeb 24th 2013

    Assuming this is the same user as it would seem that some of these are homework of some sort, although perhaps not part of a formal assignment

    • CommentAuthorYemon Choi
    • CommentTimeFeb 25th 2013 edited

    OK, the continued refusal to be candid about motivation and context, and the lack of indication of any growth in learning, are starting to get on my wick. If it doesn't contravene the "letter of the law" on MO, it seems to go against the spirit. I am not sure I'd be OK having someone with this attitude as a future colleague.

    See this question on MSE

    followed soon afterwards by

    this question on MO

    • CommentAuthoreisworth
    • CommentTimeFeb 25th 2013
    I guess I'm a little sympathetic as I had to learn a lot of general topology "on the street" and things that seem simple in hindsight aren't necessarily apparent the first time through. He is certainly trying to read research papers so I don't think we're talking homework, but usually someone trying to read this stuff has enough background that the elementary things don't trip you up.
    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2013

    I did not flag it, but personally I find this comment

    @Yemon Choi: You are not very welcome. It seems that you only can do this, what other could you do?

    made by OP on the question mentioned by Yemon Choi considerably worse than various other things considered as offensive by some around here (I do not mean my recent problem, or at least not mainly).

    (The point why this is a lot worse IMO is that it questions the mathematical competence, as opposed to creating some issues on secondary levels.)

    • CommentAuthoreisworth
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2013
    I tried to direct him to the "ask a topologist" message board at York. That's probably a better forum for these sorts of questions.
    • CommentAuthorYemon Choi
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2013 edited

    @quid: since English is evidently not the first language of "Luke"/"Paul", I chose to read that comment more charitably as

    You are not very welcoming. It seems you only do this [complaining], do you have any other [constructive comments or answers] '?

    I don't see myself as in the wrong here, but I'd stop short of saying the comment was offensive. The long term behaviour, on the other hand, really does offend my sensibilities, as it does not evince any growth in understanding, merely someone calling the plumber every time he or she wants to turn the radiator up or down.


    More of the same. These would be fairly fussy homework problems if that's what they are.

    • CommentAuthorquid
    • CommentTimeMar 6th 2013

    The last question before the current one might (or might not) shed some light on the motivation.

    • CommentAuthoreisworth
    • CommentTimeMar 8th 2013
    Many of Luke's questions over the last couple of years have to do with work of Arhangelskii and Buzyakova; I've recognized a lot of things from Arhangelskii's seminars in the last years before he retired (he was a colleague of mine for several years). They may be terribly written questions about advanced topics that have easy answers, but they aren't homework. I get the picture of someone trying to learn basic set theory and moderately advanced general topology in isolation. This isn't too far-fetched: I don't know where Luke is posting from, but a lot of this goes on in the developing world, where general topology is much more popular than in the US.
    • CommentAuthorWill Jagy
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2013