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    • CommentAuthorHarry Gindi
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2010 edited

    For example, on MO, we are able to change our votes for 1-2 hours after we make them without getting the error message "can't vote unless post is edited blah blah". This is annoying because I've often "used up" all of my votes for the day and have removed votes that I cared less about in order to vote on other posts. With SE2.0, this threshold is lowered to less than 10 minutes (I got the error message at 10 minutes 31 seconds).

    I think we on MO should make a list of things that work differently, negative or positive, on SE2.0 (those of us who have used it a bit). This should be considered if and when we are offered a migration deal.

    Good idea.

    Here's one: on SE2.0 you can edit comments!
    Noah: Only for the 5 minutes after it is posted.

    Noah: Only for the 5 minutes after it is posted.

    Is it just me, or is the migration to SE2.0 looking less and less interesting the more we learn about it?!

    • CommentAuthorKevin Lin
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2010

    Where can I read more about the changes in SE2.0?

    The two things mentioned here so far don't seem so bad to me.

    • CommentAuthorHarry Gindi
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2010 edited

    I guess we should just wait until the public beta of MU, so everyone here can test drive the new interface. There are some things that are nicer, but there are some things that are just irritating.

    Another annoying thing: You can no longer cheat the lower limit on characters by adding a bunch of spaces in between your words (Try it on MO! It's great!).

    A concrete example:

    Nice Job! contains too few characters to be posted as a comment, but Nice Job! is detected as over 15 characters. You cannot, however, pad your comment/answer/question with whitespace on the leading or trailing end, as these spaces are not picked up as legit characters.

    A lot of the things in SE/SE2.0 are hardcoded in, but different communities want different things. Certainly a user with enough reputation can be trusted to leave comments that are only one character long if necessary. Similarly, users with enough reputation should be able to edit comments for longer than five minutes. The community or administrator should be able to decide such things. This is why moving to OSQA would be far more useful than moving to SE2.0.

    OSQA, once the bugs are worked out, seems like it would be a much better fit for MO than SE2.0.

    • CommentAuthorMariano
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2010

    Harry, if latex is supported you can say

    Nice Job! $\mbox{}$

    or something like that :)

    as a side note, Joseph Turian has managed to get latex working on OSQA for the tentative theoryCS site there ( SE 2.0 doesn't appear to support latex yet, which is very puzzling to me.

    @Suresh: Niether OSQA nor SE have latex support. Both and MO simply use jsMath ... all the math is being handled by your browser, not by the server. I think this is a near-optimal way to handle mathematical markup, and it's completely independent of the server side software. So latex support shouldn't be an issue in deciding what platform to use.


    @Harry: Does it recognize a “hard” (no-break) space as white space? If not, you could pad with that on the right.

    @Anton. Good point. the difference of course is that on SE, there's a deafening silence on the meta thread regarding installing jsmath or any kind of latex support :). Noah Snyder commented on this there as well

    **rant about client-side versus server-side deleted**

    Actually, proper mathematics support should be very easy on OSQA since it is written in python. I have the iTeX bindings for python, and by using a couple of other libraries it is possible to do convert iTeX into MathML, SVG, or PNG depending on the capability of the browser. Now that is near-optimal, IMHO.

    It would probably be very easy to do this, if anyone wants it.

    @Andrew I'll forward your comments to Joseph Turian (the proprieter of

    You're welcome to do so, but he already knows what I think.

    Here is a good change: On math.SE, when someone replies to one of my comments using @DavidSpeyer, the little "You've got mail" envelope lights up.
    They've also vastly improved the bounty system, I think. Bounties no longer have anything to do with accepting answers.
    • CommentAuthorCam McLeman
    • CommentTimeSep 2nd 2010 edited
    @David: Wow, neat!

    @David: agreed, this is a great feature. Opinions might be divided on whether the fact that it makes discussions in comments easier is a good thing or not, but in any case it's a great way to respond to follow-up questions.


    Yes, this "smart" notification of comments is the biggest innovation in the new site I've seen. Overall, it's quite similar to what we have here on MO (I recently got my first look at the moderation tools, and they seem to be identical to the MO version).

    One interesting difference which is not so immediately apparent (especially if you don't ask questions; I recently asked my first question on the site): an upvoted answer still conveys +10, but an upvoted question is only +5. That's a big reweighting towards answering versus asking questions, and I think I like it.


    @Pete: also agreed. I think of most of my MO reputation as ill-gotten gains, since much of it is from question votes rather than answer votes. I think my math.SE reputation gives a better indication of my contribution to that community.


    One other feature that I really like. When you're awarded a badge for a question or an answer, you actually get told what question or answer it was!

    Edit: and another, in case anyone is still evaluating the merits of SE 2.0. Sufficiently high-rep users have access to the total up- and down-vote counts of questions and answers, which is strictly more useful than knowing only their difference.

    As I understand it, the blog post promises an easy way to transfer questions to other sites (caveat: I do not know how it works in practice). I think it would be quite useful to be able to transfer questions to Maths.SE and perhaps other SE sites.
    • CommentAuthorWillieWong
    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2010

    Yet another change to the SE2 software that may contradict existing practices here in MO: they've made Community Wiki disappear.

    Wow, that's really bizarre. If we ever merge with 2.0, I guess the best practice when asking a big list question would be to flag your own post for moderation. That would be a royal pain to explain to new users.

    Fortunately, answers can still be made CW so the idea of having a summary answer or a this-seems-on-the-right-lines-can-anyone-help answer is still okay.

    (I shan't be sorry to see big-list questions made harder to ask ...)

    • CommentAuthorMariano
    • CommentTimeOct 21st 2010

    big-list questions were not made harder to ask at all.

    The ony change is that now they will not be asked in CW mode.


    Well, those that know that big-list should be CW will now be a little discouraged since they will (I hope) have to go through the extra step of making sure that a moderator knows about their question and hits it with the wiki hammer. And when someone who doesn't know about this convention posts a big-list question, we mere mortals now flag it for moderator attention rather than posting plaintive "This should be CW!" comments (only to be followed by "What is CW? How do I make it CW? Oh, I didn't see that.").


    I think of most of my MO reputation as ill-gotten gains

    I can't say I agree; at the moment, I think MO running out of good questions is a much more serious concern than running out of good answers. So, while I understand the impulse to see answering as more of a "contribution" than asking, I think it sets up the wrong incentive structure (though arguably, what people choose to vote up creates the wrong incentive structure as well).


    Great. I've got a question I was meaning to ask for a week now, and I guess I'll ask it now.


    If you've been following meta.math.SE for the past few months, it seems like there are more and more reasons not to merge...


    Regarding Ben's comment: I agree.

    I try to click on the Hunger Site pages each day and, presumably by way of encouragement, they have "wise quotes" on their pages. I have a suspicion that the selection of these is a perpetration of that common "all dogs have four legs, my cat has four legs, therefore my dog is a cat" fallacy that we all know and ... know ... from grading homeworks; namely, "Wise sayings are too deep for me to understand, I don't understand this saying, therefore it's wise.". One of the current crop is:

    Children can ask questions that wise men cannot answer.

    Which anyone in the neighbourhood of a kid aged around 6 will respond with, "Tell me something I didn't know!".

    The difficult thing is not to ask a question that no-one can answer - that's trivial. The difficult thing to to ask a question that someone can answer, but that nonetheless is interesting and that you - the questioner- can't answer.

    • CommentAuthorCam McLeman
    • CommentTimeOct 23rd 2010 edited

    @Andrew: Hunger Site?

    I think of most of my MO reputation as ill-gotten gains

    Agree with Ben here -- I have many more "ill-gotten" points from trivial answers which got inappropriate numbers of upvotes than anything involving my questions. In fact, I think it might be the case that every question I've asked has taken me more time and effort than every answer I've given.


    at the moment, I think MO running out of good questions is a much more serious concern than running out of good answers.

    I am not sure about that. The two problems should be strongly related because if the site is to attract good questions then it's by offering a high chance of getting a good answer. My personal experience is: I have asked three questions in the past three weeks. They got between 8 and 23 votes each, so can be considered reasonably good, as judged by the community. But two of them didn't attract any answers at all and one of them received an excellent answer treating a special case. I would also say that Noah Snyder, who was the author of that answer didn't nearly get the votes he deserved. The question was natural and got me 23 votes, while the answer clearly required some thinking on Noah's part and is very pretty, but only received 5 upvotes. So my (very limited) experience is almost opposite to Ben's.



    Alex: I think that Ben was arguing about true value not about votes (not that I wish to imply that your questions had no true value!). For example, I think that for the questions that I've asked, the actual worth of the question is roughly inversely proportional to the number of votes it got. To paraphrase my previous remark, it's really easy to ask a popular question. It's hard to ask a good question.


    Apologies if this came across as I think it might have done. It was in no way my intention to praise my questions. I was just saying that they seem good enough to attract answers (I assume that if people vote up a question, it means that they find it interesting to think about it or they want to know the answer, or maybe just that they appreciate the work put into asking the question), yet there was only one answer. If the questions had not received a few up-votes, I would have put the lack of answers down to a lack of interest. But as things stand, from my point of view, the site also lacks in good answers, not just in good questions.

    I am not saying anything about the true value of questions, since I find it rather hard to evaluate. I am just observing that if a reasonably well-received question doesn't produce an answer, then the site might not be attracting the right people to answer it. This in turn might adversely affect the quality of the questions, because people might begin to think that their questions are unlikely to be answered anyway.

    Again, let me make doubly sure that I am not misunderstood. The last sentence does not apply to me at all. Actually, the one answer I got from Noah already made the question worth asking. I am just speculating on the connection between the problem Ben is pointing out and the "problem" that I as a newcomer have experienced myself.

    Thanks for the kind words, but what happened there is that when there's a long gap between a question and an answer the answer tends to get few votes. C'est la vie. Anyway, now that I missed my last chance to get back onto the front page a month or two ago I don't care at all about rep.

    Andrew: Oh. I found that site, but assumed you were talking about something different since I didn't see a reference to wise quotes. In any case, never mind. :)

    • CommentAuthorbsteinberg
    • CommentTimeMar 12th 2012
    I think gives a good indication as to why the SE2.0 policy of +5 per vote for an asked question and +10 per vote on an answered question is a good idea. For example, this user has nearly 3k from asked questions and yet asks a question that should be clear to any 1st year grad student (and many undergrads).

    First, I don't see why you bring up something over a year old just for that.

    I also disagree about your main point. I think that well formed and interesting questions are equally useful for this site as the answer they may attract. The people who make this community are mostly researchers, and good questions can stimulate and help with the formation of new ideas and new research.

    (in fairness I have to admit that most of my reputation comes from questions just as well)

    There is also the point that on MO reputation doesn't mean too much except perhaps as an indication of "how active you are (were)".

    • CommentAuthorYemon Choi
    • CommentTimeMar 12th 2012

    I am inclined to agree more with Ben than with Asaf here, though perhaps I am just grumpier than usual today.

    I think that well formed and interesting questions are equally useful for this site as the answer they may attract. The people who make this community are mostly researchers, and good questions can stimulate and help with the formation of new ideas and new research.

    I would contend that certain types of question get upvoted out of proportion to their actual worth. Also, "stone soup", as I used to say in the earlier days of MO.


    Yemon, in every voting based system there is going to be some disproportional voting from time to time. This is also a result of people skimming over something and basing their vote on the appeal of the question and the score at time of reading (if I see a question which "looks interesting" and has 6 votes, I'll be quicker to upvote than a question without any previous votes).

    Note that many of the high voted questions are big-lists which are CW so I'm not counting them into the whole reputation argument anyway.

    Secondly, there are many under-voted questions as well. This is again a result of the system's design and will not change if we move to SE 2.0; furthermore the fact reputation is higher on MO is better for those under-voted questions, as they award the asker twice the reputation they would get otherwise!

    • CommentAuthorbsteinberg
    • CommentTimeMar 12th 2012
    I agree good questions are important and my point is minor. It just seemed that since you can open and close questions with 3K it should be hard to get that from asking questions alone. And good questions don't always correlate to votes. But is a minor point sorry to bring it up.