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    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2010 edited

    Soon after I joined, my question about various theories of noncommutative geometry was unfairly closed, and my cries of protest were unheard. I still feel bad about this question being closed. And I do not hope to succeed to change the mind of the mods.

    But today I noticed that questions can be re-opened with 5 votes from 3000+ rep users, and that I can in fact vote to re-open my closed questions. It needs 4 more votes however, and here I request the users with 3000+ rep to help me out.

    And thus, Sirs and Madames, I rest my petition.

    Edit: I note that there are not so many 3000+ users who might appreciate the question, and I am not sure of the success of such a petition. Therefore, if someone with a lower rep reads this question and feels sympathetic, please remember this question on the day s/she reaches 3000+ and remember to put his/her vote.


    I agree that your question should be reopened, and if i had any reputation I would vote to do so. Why your question is deemed a bad fit for the MO format but many similar questions are considered perfectly fine is beyond me. On the front page one can for instance find this question

    Surely it is similar to yours, not content wise but the "structure" of it. I.e. you both know something is interesting and know a couple of examples of it and ask others for more.

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2010 edited

    Yes, another question of mine was also closed on the same day, and I in fact received a temp ban... This is arbitrary .. I was being unnecessarily and unreasonably harassed. This is totalitarian dictatorship; nothing else.

    To be fair, I should add that in those days it was not just the mods. The community attitude itself was hostile.

    To mods and admin: It is true that this site exists because of you and your long hours of hard work daily. . And it is appreciated. However you should give us a little space and not make arbit decisions.

    See, this is the problem with being rude. Some people have the memory of an elephant.. At the moment I dismissed it as customary rudeness to a newcomer. I won't stand for that kind of nonsense anymore. This question should be re-opened now.


    I noticed that there were no more answers beyond mine and the question is a big vague so I think you should really improve it a bit by including more backround. I guess those were the reasons why Anton closed it.

    It would be some conflict of interest were I to vote to reopen, but if there's a person knowledgeable in noncommutative geometry and willing to write an answer with less than 3k rep, and no-one objects, I can cast the vote on that person's behalf.

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2010 edited

    @Ilya. I think question is fine as it stands.

    How can you ask a vague question like "Why are there no abelian varieties over Z", whose proof will be several hundred pages at least I think, and then tell me that this question is junk?

    How can there be more answers beyond yours, if it was closed so quickly?

    For instance, the question linked in response by somebody, as a similar one, was on "taking hartshorne's book and doing everything noncommutatively, how much will work". I personally didn't like that question. Such types are allowed, but more sensible ones like mine are not?

    I do not understand. And I will not understand anytime soon. I think this is just discrimination and favoritism towards personally known users or users with more reputation, and harassing newcomers unnecessarily.

    I have clearly written the point of this thread. It is not to convince the people who closed this question, or people who agreed with this closing, that this question should be re-opened. I think such attempts are futile, based on my experiences(in life, not in MO) so far. Mathematical or personal tastes are really personal and it is not good to impose one's views on others through arguments, peer pressure or coercion.

    You are a nice person, so you want to help me out if I can change your point of view. However this was not what I had in mind. My hope is to re-open it in a democratic way with enough votes from other reputed users. I am willing to wait until that happens. I had been as precise as I could be and asked the question for more information. It is a totally legit question. I think it is a futile exercise to change someone's mind if he is already convinced that this question is junk. It is just a matter of taste. Maybe I am a junk person. But I am interested in hearing answers to this junk question of mine. My interest has not gone down by Anton's and your assertions that this question is junk. If the question is junk, I am also junk. No doubt about that. Feel free to tell me. I won't take it personally and if more people feel so I will willingly leave MO.


    How can you ask a vague question like "Why are there no abelian varieties over Z", whose proof will be several hundred pages at least I think, and then tell me that this question is junk?

    I can't :) Obviously, I don't think the question is junk, since I replied to it. In fact, while I said I may be able to understand the reasons why Anton closed the question, I didn't say I agree with those reasons. Nor did I say that I disagree: I simply would prefer some other people to join the topic and hear their opinion.

    Whether community accepts your question as it is or not, the following observation still stands: including more background information is likely to lead to better, more satisfying answers. Therefore, my advice, which is a bit orthogonal to closing/reopening the question, is, again, to be more detailed.

    I also noticed that the question is CW now — I wonder if that's part of your original post or Anton's edit?

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2010 edited

    CW-ing was done by myself. It was CW when I asked it.

    @Ilya. As I said twice earlier in this thread, my intention is not to put peer-pressure on poor Anton and stress him out.

    All I am asking is for 3000+ rep users to vote in my favor. I understand that you do not respond positively to my request to support my petition. Ok, fine. Let me hope that there are others.

    The best is, the mods should stay out of this and watch. If enough people feel that this question was unjustifiably closed, then let it get re-opened. This should be fair enough.

    @Ilya, a clarification: The length of the proof of "there are no abelian varities over Z" is unclear to me. But I would imagine it would take at least a hundred pages, starting from scratch.


    I understand that you do not respond positively to my request to support my petition.

    It's a bit more correct to describe me as the person who recused himself from the question because of the conflict of interest (not that we have any formal rules for those...)

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2010 edited

    @Ilya. Respond positively means(since you are 3000+) vote to re-open it. You are not doing it because of "conflict of interest", or whatever, and it means you are not responding positively.

    But, for the 57th time, I would find it stressful to try to change anybody's opinion. If somebody is sympathetic and 3000+, please vote me up, otherwise just leave this matter alone. It is not fair to have to fight so much for getting answer to one question. That is simply too much effort and nonsensical.

    Better would be, I would ask it again connecting through a proxy, in a different name. I think now the situation is a bit softer and it would get answered.

    So I know how to get it answered here itself. None of this is actually needed for me. The point is to get it done without trickery, or confrontation.


    I would ask it again connecting through a proxy, in a different name.

    Whatever the merits of asking the question again, it would be more efficient to ask it from your 1500+ rep account. I'm not aware of any hostility against you personally, though I do think sometimes we are too hostile to questions of certain type.

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2010 edited

    @Harry. How many times have I written in this thread that it is not my intention to change anybody's opinion?

    I found it very stressful in almost every thread to deal with you, for instance. That is why I am saying. I do not want to attempt to change anyone's viewpoint.

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2010

    @Ilya. No, it would have got answered had I asked posing as a different person. Now with this question for re-opening some personal feelings will be attached.

    Why are you guys arguing with me? I told you, I am not willing to fight to change anybody's opinionated views. Vote + for me, or leave it.

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2010

    @Harry. I again do not wish to argue with you. I remarked that you are not the easiest person to deal with.

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2010

    @Harry. Point taken. Henceforth I will be silent.


    This is totalitarian dictatorship; nothing else.


    I do not understand. And I will not understand anytime soon. I think this is just discrimination and favoritism towards personally known users or users with more reputation, and harassing newcomers unnecessarily.

    Anweshi, I don't know if you know this, but the other moderators and I are standing right here next to you. If anybody is being hostile, it's you. As you might remember, I emailed you personally on your first day on MO to explain what the problems with your questions were. Then I left comments on the questions I closed trying to explain as clearly as possible why I closed them. When you said that you didn't understand some of my reasons, I explained them again quite patiently by email and directed you to the relevant threads on meta. After I put that much effort into seeing your point of view and communicating with you, I hope you can understand why I'm a bit peeved that you've decided to ignore my objections to your post and declare that I'm harassing you.

    That aside (as much as I can put it aside), let me explain again why I closed the question. Broad questions have a place on MO so long as they have a well-defined and fairly focused goal. Sometimes big lists of things are fine, but it should be clear what is being asked for and why. You question asks for a big list of theories. You don't motivate your interest in noncommutative geometry or explain your background; you don't give any indication that you've put any effort into your question; and you didn't give any indication about what you want an answer to contain that isn't already in the Wikipedia page, the n-Lab page, or otherwise immediately available upon searching Google for noncommutative geometry.

    Instead of responding to these objections, you've just declared that the "question is fine as it stands" and said that I'm a jerk.

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2010 edited

    @Anton. Yes I might be appearing hostile now. However at that time I got the feeling that it would be futile to change your point of view.

    Yes you were really nice with me, for that instance and at other instances. And nobody ever bothered me for the one month afterwards. I am very thankful for that. I found this great atmosphere in MO to be totally stimulating and benefited a lot. In addition to what you have written here, there is one more thing which is not mentioned. I wrote to you asking for your TeX sources(before you edited your answer to Gil Kalai's question about note-taking), and you did not know me at all, still you very kindly made them available, and that also was very useful to me. Thanks for that also and I acknowledge everything you have done in a very friendly way.

    But you closed my question. And about the merit of the question, we have a disagreement. Yes, I have implied in a way that you are a jerk and I apologize for this. But I am still not asking you to re-open it. If 4 other users with high rep thinks it is a fine question, let it be re-opened. Btw, I noticed that somebody already gave one vote. Thanks to you, whoever you are. So if 3 more goes, it will re-open. I am just trying to make use of a democratic way in this website. I hope this is fair.

    I had asked vague questions later. . But surprisingly nothing happened to them. In fact I asked one question together with a vote of my own to close it. Even then nothing happened. And many worse questions were promoted like anything. So obviously my question recieved special attention from the administrator himself, because I appeared to be a troublesome newcomer when it was posted. So I feel, now I am not a newcomer, I must try to get it re-opened, and I make a try. What is wrong with that? But I also understood correctly that it wouldn't be possible to change your viewpoint, which is verified by your comment above. Also it wouldn't be fair to force you via peer pressure to do something which you feel is not correct. So the remaining way is the democratic way of re-opening with enough votes. I would imagine this is the first time somebody in MO is trying to get a question re-opened in this way, no?


    Anweshi, I don't know if you know this, but the other moderators and I are standing right here next to you.

    I must confess I did not understand this comment.


    Well, the question has been reopened. Lets see how it fares. For the record, I agreed that this question should be reopened, but I think you are not doing yourself any favors with the language and attitude you have shown in this thread. Saying that there is a totalitarian dictatorship on MO and claiming that there is discrimination and favoritism here is in my opinion very wrong and bordering on ridiculous. your original point just gets lost and I, and probably some others, am less inclined to take your other opinions seriously.

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2010

    @Anton. When I originally posted the "totalitarian dicatorship" comment, I had beautified it with some quotes from Lenin, some picture, and also some other jocular stuff. I had not meant it in an entirely serious way. Then I thought I would make it more serious, and then it went to the other direction, too serious and too accusative. Sorry once again.


    I would imagine this is the first time somebody in MO is trying to get a question re-opened in this way, no?

    Nope. Ilya tried to get my question on "walking in the rain" reopened via meta.


    @Anweshi: Your question has been reopened (very nicely done by Pete, I think) and seems to be thriving. Let's just put this behind and move on.

    @Anweshi: First, before you read any of this post, look back at the question. I have rewritten it and also publicly (and truthfully!) mentioned there that I have voted to reopen it. Since I have almost an order of magnitude more rep than you, if your worst fears are true, then my plea will be taken almost an order of magnitude more seriously, which will be sufficient to get the question reopened.

    Now, back to your message. I see a trend among people who are not getting the treatment that they want (or, perhaps, deserve; I have some sympathy for that perspective, and I think you know that I make it a priority to treat people with respect on MO): they respond by complaining and threatening to leave. I don't think this is the most mature reaction to mistreatment on MO. Moreover, as it becomes more of a cliche, the intensity of the natural reaction -- "Wait, we're sorry! Please don't go; what a loss that would be for us." -- will probably be diminished, up to a point where it may lose sympathy, rather than engendering it.

    As a personal statement, I am especially tired of hearing "political" complaints and analogies about MO management. I honestly find the claim that "This is a totalitarian dictatorship; nothing else" literally ridiculous -- i.e., worthy of ridicule. And that's as an American. Were I, say, Chinese or Czech or Russian, I might actually find it offensive. MO is an internet site that anyone can enter or leave at any time. Maybe Anton closes some questions that I think he shouldn't. I am not reminded of Joseph Stalin; not even a little bit.

    MO is also a group of people -- something between a club and a professional society. Here's a newsflash -- many clubs and most professional societies do not value the opinions of their newest members as much as those of their veteran members, especially those veteran members who have been shown over time to be insightful in their decisions and stalwart in their support of the group. When you join the faculty of a mathematics department, you may get to vote immediately at faculty meetings. Your vote will count the same as the vote of anyone else. But when/if you speak up before the vote, you may well find that in fact people are giving your opinions less weight than those of others, in rough proportion to how long those others have been there and what their prior achievements/opinions/gaffes have been.

    I also think that pointing out other questions which were not closed and you think were not good -- "How is this worse than...?" -- is not the best strategy. (On wikipedia, this sort of argument is expressly deprecated: OTHERSTUFFEXISTS. It seemed weird to me at first, but in the long run I agree with that.) You should be trying to figure out how to improve your own question -- or convince others that it's good -- not arguing that it's not as bad as some other question. (I agree that the question about abelian schemes is not that great. If you want to know why the proof of a theorem is true, read the proof of that theorem! If you have a question about the proof, ask about that. But by the way, the proof takes 24 pages, not hundreds.)
    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2010

    @Anton. I imagine that you re-opened my question now(or was it opened with 3 more votes?) If you re-opened it, it was apparently after apparently getting peeved off my remarks. This was exactly what I wanted to avoid. i.e., you doing something you really din't want to, out of external pressure. I had hoped to avoid this, but it seems I failed.

    @Gretar. Thanks for your initial support and I am sorry to hear that you are not feeling so good my approach now.

    @Pete. Thanks for your response. For the record, I have no particular animosity to communists. I rather borrow their terminology from time to time.

    Fontaine's paper may be 24 pages.. But I was imagining that for a person who just knows what is an abelian scheme, then it might need some background also which may take up more pages. I never looked at the paper(because it is in French), so I am not sure.

    I must confess that I was lured by the magical attraction of the game of reputation-hunting. I had very much wanted to be anonymous, but I have become a loudmouth now, even using terminology like totalitarian and all against the admin. So I am starting to think of leaving this ID and starting all over once again here in some other name. It should give me a fresher start. Maybe after a little while of thought I will actually do it. If I do go through with it, I apologize to everyone for lurking here anonymously when you are all using your real name. But I will try to continue to be here itself and be part of the discussions, if you don't mind. Being a fresher would teach me to be more sensible.

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2010 edited

    @Harry. LOL at the suggestion of username. The mods can't tell me apart from other users who use the same department connection. If I am paranoid, I can route through some proxy. And I do not particularly mind the mods coming to know that I just took another avatar. I asked Anton about this in our private communication when I was banned, and he had assured privacy to me. I do not really need to disbelieve him; I think he will stick to his word. And in any case I am not doing any wrong things here, at least not in my understanding.


    Some of us who enjoy reading your posts would be disappointed if you switched users without us knowing who your new avatar is.
    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2010


    Glad to hear that someone might be enjoying reading me.

    If you like me now you will perhaps like me again. In any case this change might be for the good. So far I haven't posted a single question anywhere near the subject area of my thesis and I asked only generalities here. It is high time that I do some work dropping this attitude of playing violin while Rome burns(borrowing Yemon Choi's phrase), and do something focussed, for a change.

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2010


    For the record, I disagreed with your edits in some aspects; so I added some comments. Since you rolled back, the question is not exactly what I had in mind. For instance see Bischof's comments. In any case, I do not have energy to pursue this any more.


    As Pete said, arguing that other questions should be closed (and aren't) is not an argument that your question should be reopened. It's like trying to prove a theorem by first proving that ZF is inconsistent. As Emerson said, "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." You have to provide a better argument in favor of your question.

    I have yet to hear what was wrong with my reasons for closing the question. Ilya suggested he could see where I was coming from, Harry agreed with them, Pete edited the question to partially address them, and to me it looks like Anweshi is just ignoring them.

    @Anweshi: you cannot simply ignore me and tell me to ignore you. If nothing else, you should at least realize that I can still vote to close the question (and I think I would do so if my vote weren't immediately binding). More importantly, I don't like being part of a community where the members feel like the shouldn't even bother reasoning with each other, and I don't intend to let MO become such a community without a fight. In this thread, you've pretty much explicitly said that you aren't interested in discussing the merits of the question.

    If you want to reopen the question (or change anything else on MO), let's talk about it. That's what meta is here for. I am absolutely open to the possibility of changing my mind, and I hope you are too. Even if we still disagree at the end of it, we'll both have learned something. I'm happy to leave a question open if I can see that there's a good argument for it, even if I don't agree with that argument. Right now, I don't see the argument and it seems like you refuse to present one because you're "not interested in changing anybody's opinion."

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2010

    @Anton. Since you are the person who closed it, you have something in mind for doing that. If I deal with you, I have to deal with the objections in your mind. On the other hand if I deal with people who are fresh to the situation, their mind is unencumbered and I have a better chance. That is what I did. It is kind of selfish, but better suited to the objective of getting the matter done.

    I realize your dilemma of your decisions being binding. The solution would be to have two accounts for you, one as Admin and one as Anton. Like, you login as root in UNIX, everytime you want to do some system task. I however do not know whether you can move your questions, reputation etc., to a new user. Maybe this is something you can think of. Thus you will be able to exercise both functions, as a mortal, and as a God, without mixing the two.



    I remember this idea coming up, and I remember us deciding against it. I honestly forget why in the moment. Personally, I'm seriously considering giving up my powers and becoming a mere mortal.


    @bwebster But then, you'll get beaten up by a trucker -- and once General Zod threatens a reign of destruction you will have no choice but to take your powers up again ;)

    @Anweshi: I didn't roll back. I incorporated your questions and comments into the body of the text as best as I understood them, and invited you to make further edits (it is, after all, a CW post). I was just commenting on the visual style of the post. Another solution is simply to edit the question in the technical MO sense but place all of one's comments at the end. That would make it easy to read.

    I must say that after all this, your response "I do not have the energy to pursue this any more" is disappointing to me.

    @Anton: Anweshi's suggestion that there should be a way for moderators to vote to close echoes a recent thought of mine. After reading the laments that there is only one moderator who is typically awake in the 7-10am ET range, I considered mentioning that I might be persuaded to take up moderation duties. (This is not coy language; some persuasion might in fact be required.) Then I realized that in becoming a moderator I would lose my ability to vote to close. Moderators cannot vote to close: they can just unilaterally close. That's not the same thing at all! Not a good trade-off, in my opinion.

    Maintaining separate accounts is too much hassle, and it doesn't make any sense. As a regular user acquires reputation, she gains certain moderation powers, and she can use those powers in the course of using the site normally. It would be silly for a moderator to have to log out and log in as another user any time he sees something that requires moderator abilities. It would be confusing to everybody else too, since you would just have to learn that this user is also that moderator. Several months ago, I requested on meta.SE that admins/mods have the ability to vote to close a question as though they were regular users. It is currently [status-declined], but I encourage people to vote for it anyway. The SE team may change their minds once they have time to work on features that aren't core aspects of the product.

    @Anweshi: There should be no distinction between arguing for the merits of the question to me and arguing for the merits of the question to somebody else (who you feel you have a better chance of convincing). Either way, you should address the criticisms. It is indefensible in my eyes that you're asking to put an issue to a vote while explicitly dodging any rational discussion of that issue.

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2010 edited

    @bwebster, @pete. My suggestion was directly motivated by the example of the root user in UNIX, as I have mentioned. I think it is good practice in systems design. Maybe each moderator should have a "mod" account and a "normal" account.

    I am a hardcore free software and open source proponent, since 2002 which is when I first got Debian copies, and the only serious betrayal personally by me is the recent dependence on google chrome. In this connection, I strongly suggest that once open source equivalents of Stack Exchange comes out, the mathematical community should move to one such, even if it means fewer options. For the moment, it looks impossible; but in future the open source software might become stabler.

    The biggest problem you mods and admin are going to face in near future will be the exponential increase in the size of the MO community, though it might appear slow now. See this strip of abstruse goose for instance!! You five might have to delegate some of the tasks.

    I would however be free of all such worries in any case. I can simply shed my username like a snake sheds its skin, and appear in another avatar and keep using MO without caring about what is happening in higher echelons.


    @Anweshi My recollection is that quite a few of those things are mentioned in the nLab, but I may have taken away the wrong impression. In my view the question was still borderline since it is actually several demands packaged into one. If you had written a question that said: "I looked on the nLab and there was something about quasi-derived widgets, but the entry gave no information about the history or who uses these in current research; could someone shed some light?" then perhaps the question would have been better received.

    My own answer/contribution on that thread is in my view unsatisfactory, because I didn't know what to give and what would be helpful. Again, a question like "I have read a survey article by Connes where he says NCG is motivated by this and this. Would people agree, or were there other specific motivations?" would admit a more focused, and better, answer. Just my opinion.

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2010 edited

    @Harry. Total crap? I had said earlier I do not want to argue with a difficult person like you. I have deleted my polemic comments which I didn't want to make, but were forced out of me. I see that this avatar in MO is no more good for me. I am quitting hereby(but will hang around in some other way). Please feel to close this question without any objection from me.


    I have no interest in being anything like the Pope. I don't think I'm being dogmatic. My opinions are informed by previous reasonable discussions (e.g. this one) and are subject to change if I see a good argument for changing them.

    Anyway, I do feel like Anweshi and I are finally engaging a little bit, so I'm going to jump on the opportunity.

    @Anweshi: You're right that I was unmoved by your pleas to reopen the question, but that's because you had completely ignored the comment I left when I closed the question. I even sent you a detailed explanation of my reasoning in an email, which included a link to a relevant meta.MO discussion in case you wanted to review the arguments more carefully. Essentially, you said, "come on, just reopen the question; there might be interesting answers". Potentially having interesting answers has never been a sufficient reason not to close a question. To quote a bit of Andrew Stacey's comment on another thread,

    My issue with this question (and with so many like it) is that it is impossible to judge what would be a suitable answer for this question. Someone could spend ages crafting a fantastic answer that would completely go over the head of the original questioner. MO is for asking questions and getting answers to those questions. It is a place for dialogues, not for monologues.

    (btw, I highly recommend reading the rest of Andrew's comment too.)

    The rational behind the "dogma" that questions shouldn't ask for encyclopedic answers is that such questions are very easy to ask and very hard to answer satisfactorily. This is not to say that questions about broad topics cannot be asked on MO; it just means that you have to provide more information about where you're coming from, where you're trying to get, and you have to demonstrate that you've put in some effort. Editing the question to include these things not only demonstrates that you're actually interested in getting an answer rather than just having a chat, it also makes it possible to give a focused, satisfactory answer (c.f. Yemon's comment above).


    @Harry re discussions:, though it might not work so well for those questions.

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2010 edited

    @Anton. A few days back I had made a personal resolution to keep quiet on meta unless it is really needed for my purposes. In an impulsive moment I wanted to get my old question re-opened. Here you are asking me to comment on your general policy for closing questions. You are compelling me to get outside the objectives I had in mind.

    Yes, it is a good policy of yours to disallow encyclopedic type questions. However I do not think that it applies to my question. I didn't ask anybody to write an encyclopedia article. I just asked what are the theories. It is easy to answer it. For instance, in a forum meant for highschoolers, one can easily ask, "What are the branches of mathematics", and, "Algebra, Geometry, Analysis, Number Theory", would be a perfectly acceptable answer. What is wrong here?

    In any case, I must really beg off. I must really shed this ID. I was here for too long and accumulated too much garbage. I have explained to you in my emails that I shy away from arguments. It is fun to have my questions answered in MO. But it is not fun to have to fight with the admin himself to get them posted and answered, even if the admin is very nice in the process. It is like daily having to meet the headmaster, when you are a school kid. Even if the headmaster is really nice, getting yourself into such a situation is not a good idea.


    Yes, let's just go back to asking and answering questions. I think this will be relevant to all participants in this topic, especially when you take into account that every minute spent discussing questions is one less minute spent asking/answering questions.

    I was here for too long and accumulated too much garbage.

    I guess it's your right, but I think you underestimate how much 99% of people just don't care who you — or me, or anyone else, — are and what you did to whom, or what somebody else said to you, and in what manner.


    @Anweshi: Relax. I'm not trying to fight with you, and I don't have any kind of personal grudge against you. Talking to me isn't supposed to be a form of punishment. I'm just trying to discuss the issue you brought up, and you can expect me to react in the same way no matter what your name or ID is.

    Yes, it is a good policy of yours to disallow encyclopedic type questions. However I do not think that it applies to my question. I didn't ask anybody to write an encyclopedia article. I just asked what are the theories. It is easy to answer it. For instance, in a forum meant for highschoolers, one can easily ask, "What are the branches of mathematics", and, "Algebra, Geometry, Analysis, Number Theory", would be a perfectly acceptable answer. What is wrong here?

    I think that's a pretty good analogue for your question. I think that when most people read that question, they really see "What are the branches of mathematics? Tell me something about each of them." (and your noncommutative geometry explicitly asked about motivation) Though providing the list you gave does answer the question in some technical sense, I hope you agree that the answer is pretty unsatisfying. If somebody asked you this question and you really wanted to give them a good answer, it would be very hard. You wouldn't know where to begin. How much background can you assume? What is the asker looking to accomplish? It looks very much like an encyclopedic question to me.

    But perhaps I misunderstood you and you really did just want a list of names of theories so that you could go learn about them. I actually think that could be a fine question, but you'd have to make it absolutely clear that's what you're looking for, so you might ask "What are the branches of mathematics? Just tell me what terms to search for; I can use Google myself." Then it's clear what constitutes an answer, so the person answering doesn't end up with the same feeling of dissatisfaction.

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2010

    @Anton. You are playing extremely unfair with me. You are putting Harry in front of you when you ask me to deal with you. The only way I know how to deal with him is to surrender or avoid. But if I apply the same to you, you get peeved and accuse me of 'crushing the spirit of discussion and friendly atmosphere', etc.. That said, if you really want to close it, you can.



    I really can't figure out what that last post is supposed to mean. You think Anton and Harry are somehow colluding and playing good cop/bad cop with you? I can assure you that is not the case. The longer you continue in this "Anton is being so unfair to me" vein the less seriously I (and I suspect most of the other people reading) are going to take you. You've been extremely insulting to him in this thread, and he's kept up a level of patience and desire for dialogue that I don't think I could have maintained. You and Anton had a reasonable difference of opinion about whether your question was appropriate; when other members of the site reopened your question, he was completely respectful of that fact. Why can't you just accept that?

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2010 edited


    Ok, first things first. Yes, I admit that I had been insulting to Anton. I had sort of agreed to this earlier also. Let us not rake it up again. The question got re-opened. I was going to leave it at that. Then it seemed Anton was feeling bad that I was not addressing his objections. So I tried to address them.

    No, I don't think Anton and Harry are colluding. Far from it. As far as I understand Harry, he is not of the colluding type of person. However I was not in the frame of mind to answer each of his objections, which was a reflex developed in MO over the time as a tactic for dealing with him. So I had stopped speaking. Then, Anton comes and voices his feelings, and I feel obliged to address them. Now here Harry butts in when I try to speak with Anton and I find it distracting.

    So I took a potshot at Harry by accusing Anton of "playing unfair with me by putting Harry in front". Of course, I didn't mean that. I just wanted to avoid interruptions. However I cannot tell directly to Harry to stop speaking without infringing on his rights, can I? So I tried an alternate and (to my mind) jocular way.

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2010 edited

    Now the reply to Anton.


    Ok, so I try another tack. Noncommutative geometry is a subject having its place among other disciplines in mathematics. That subject needs to be promoted in MO as well. But not everyone is knowledgeable in it. So it is a good way to encourage questions in it. Now if you insist on precise questions like, "a problem with lemma 3.1 about KK-theory of C*-algebras a paper of Connes or Moscovici", it is not going to be understandable for people outside the subject. Of course, here I do not mean a question exactly like that, but asking for some technical insight to the methods of the authors. A soft question like mine would be more suited for attracting non-experts in the subject.

    Of course, you can redirect this type of intro questions in noncommutative geometry to n-Lab. But then there will be a discrimination of sort against this subject. There is no nLab entry for number theoretic questions(as far as I know), here I mean for example a question on improving the error term in the prime number theorem. So number theory will be promoted in MO, relatively to NCG, which will be relegated to the n-cafe, nLab etc.. MO should not do that, ideally speaking. NCG is also pure and abstract mathematics, and is a subject of 20th or 21st century.

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2010

    @Everyone. I am tired of arguing about this just one question. I do not care anymore whether it stays open or closed. I am quitting this discussion here. Feel free to do whatever you like.


    Sorry I disappeared from this discussion for a bit; I felt like I should sleep on it. I see that the comment that made me decide to sleep on it has since been deleted.

    @Everyone: Though I respect the fact that the question has been reopened, I still don't see why it should be open, which is quite frustrating. When people vote to close or reopen a question, they're usually pretty good about indicating why they're doing it (either in a comment or on meta), but as far as I can tell, that didn't happen in this case. Let's try to do better in the future.

    @Anweshi: I appreciate that you've started defending the merits of your question a bit, though you don't seem eager to continue. If you're ever worried about responding to me publicly because you might be bullied by others, please email me. If I can understand where you're coming from, I'll even do my best to represent your argument here on meta. Perhaps you're right that we've dug ourselves in too far to have a dispassionate discussion about this particular question. I'm happy to let the issue die, but next time let's shoot for a reasonable discussion. For what it's worth, I'll respond to the last comment you directed at me.

    I realize that not all areas of mathematics are equally represented on MO, and I absolutely believe in encouraging questions in under-represented areas. As I said at the end of a previous comment, I see no reason MO can't have broad or introductory questions, but I think it's actually harmful to have questions where an expert's first response is probably, "Gosh, where do I start?" It seems to me that you could have made the question much better (easier to know what constitutes an answer) without compromising its breadth or understandability by making the following changes:

    • Say something about where you're coming from and what you're looking to accomplish. This makes it much easier for an expert to know what she can assume and when she's given you a complete answer. Nobody can add this information for you, and it would take no more than a few minutes for you to include it.
    • Indicate that you've tried to answer your question. You might say that you've searched Google, read the Wikipedia/nLab pages, and/or looked at survey articles on the arXiv, and say something about why those expositions are lacking. Why do they not completely answer your question? Not only does it make it easier to answer the question when you include this information, it also demonstrates that you're not being lazy. Lot's of people have put a lot of time into writing expository text on noncommutative geometry, and it looks like you're asking MO users to repeat that effort. Indeed, a few of the answers to your question simply referred you to the nLab page or to an expository article on the arXiv.

    If you made these changes, I think it would be a great question, and I would vote to reopen, but you've insisted on not adding this useful information, and there's no way anybody else can add it for you.


    Anton- +1

    As one of the people who voted to reopen the question, let me say that I was mostly guided by curiosity about what sort of answers would show up, and a general doubt about whether closing is really the best way to deal with questions with the defects you describe above. I think closing is more likely to promote defensiveness and a sense of the "elitism" complained about in another thread. As you pointed out to me about excessive flagging, I think it risks creating an atmosphere of hostility by setting up the moderators/closing users as the antagonist of the OP (look at the Ian Durham thread for a particularly antagonistic example). I think it might be better to deal with such questions by not answering them, and pointing out the user that I might if they were more specific. Of course, we could discuss it a bit :)

    • CommentAuthorAnweshi
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2010 edited

    @Anton. If you so wish, you can close this question without any objections from me. I have got what I wanted from Bischof's answer. I understand your agony in not being fully satisfied. However I would much prefer if I can leave the discussion about the merits/unmerits of the question. As I said I do not mind if it is being closed, since I got what I wanted.

    On the other hand, if the comment that made you sleep on it was my deleted comment, then I would be happy to discuss it via email. Searching for Anweshi in gmail should show you my email asking you for Live TeXing help, and you can reply to it to contact me. There is nothing wrong with that comment per se, and I do not think MO is in general a bullying place. However I do not want to leave such a comment as the one I deleted in a public forum, because it is not of the usual kind I make in public.

    This is of course if you have something so say on it. But I would feel guilty of wasting your valuable time if you give too much attention to it.

    @bwebster. Thanks for re-opening it. Same to Pete L. Clark.