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Need a mathematics Q&A site

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It's been previously suggested that Codidact should have all math, coding, and software Q&A sites. There is already a catch-all Q&A site for coding/software, so perhaps it's time to get a math site too.

From the linked post:

Mathematicians tend to be on the cutting edge of new internet technologies. We were among the first adopters of Google+ (RIP) and currently have a massive community on SE. We are also among the central driving forces of the Open Access movement in academia, demonstrating a cultural affinity for the ideals behind FOSS and Creative Commons.

Why should this post be closed?

2 comments

Hi @pnuts. I am new here and was unaware of the older post. Thanks for that link. You're right that some of my thoughts about the possibility were not very germaine. So let me edit the post so that this is solely focused on the job of specifically gauging interest in participating in a new math site. ziggurism 10 days ago

@pnuts I don't think getting a minimal quorum of at least "showing interest" if not "committed" users would be that hard. I had thought to solicit for more contributors in places like the m.se and MO chatrooms, r/math, nForum and nCafe, AGITTOC and Category Theory Zulips, and maybe some oldschool email listservs. There are a lot of people fed up with SE. I am drafting a blast message already, but I would seek approval here of the solicitation and the wording of the message first. ziggurism 10 days ago

2 answers

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Right now we don't have a good way of identifying people who would help build a new community, so let's do this: if you are interested in helping to build a math site, please leave a comment describing your level of interest (casual visitor, enthusiast, expert in this subtopic within the site's scope, something else?). I'll edit them into the post later.

Interest expressed so far:

  • I’d be happy to do what I can to launch a community. I’m a 13k rep on m.se an 1k on MO. I might categorize myself as somewhere between enthusiast and expert (my background is in algebraic topology and category theory but for the most part I’ve been more comfortable answering collegiate level questions — ziggurism

  • I would participate casually, both asking and answering (my degree is in math) but not often. — msh210

  • I'd be somewhere in between casual user and enthusiast, tending more towards the former. — user53100

  • I'd be interested in participating as well. — DonielF

  • I'd be interested in participating aswell, however my knowledge is primarily limited to probability and statistics. — Zerotime

  • As I commented on the earlier post, I'd be interested in participating. My main interest is enumerative combinatorics, although since one of my main replacements for SE as a source of intellectual stimulation was ProjectEuler I've also been learning a lot of number theory this year. — Peter Taylor

14 comments

I’d be happy to do what I can to launch a community. I’m a 13k rep on m.se an 1k on MO. I might categorize myself as somewhere between enthusiast and expert (my background is in algebraic topology and category theory but for the most part I’ve been more comfortable answering collegiate level questions ziggurism 11 days ago

The highest profile resignation I saw on M.SE was Henning Makholm, so I was thinking I might email him. Though I don't know him personally. ziggurism 11 days ago

@ziggurism oh wow; I had not seen Henning's profile. It looks like he contributed a ton there and was looking for another place to share, so it seems worth contacting him and letting him know about Codidact. Monica Cellio 11 days ago

OK I have sent Henning an email. ziggurism 11 days ago

@MonicaCellio I think it is not a good idea to ask people how they can contribute to a community before launching its site. People's answers will depend on the features, norms, population, ... of the community. In my opinion, it is better first to launch a test site and then invite or ask people to contribute. By the way, are you able to create a math site the same as Math.SE? MathPhysics 10 days ago

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In my opinion, mathematics and physics are interconnected; I think almost all theoretical physicists are mathematicians and many mathematicians are interested in physics subjects.

Since Codidact is an embryonic Q&A website, I suggest that one community is devoted to both mathematics and physics to attract enough contributors to advance the community. If the community were overcrowded sometime, then it could be split into two separate communities.

However, before launching the new website, the following points should be noted:

  • I know that the main motivation for creating Codidact was some controversy about some meta issues. But, please note that most mathematics or physics experts do not care meta subjects like "Code of Conduct", "Copyright Licenses", ... (There are many mathematicians and physicists using copyright-infringed resources easily and sometimes publicly). They are mainly interested in the quality (features, functionality, design, ...) of a community. Although I have joined Codidact since a few days ago, I have seen some bugs and some basic-features lack (For example, lacking preview feature, comments cannot be voted, flagged, or linked, showing related posts, advanced search options, ...). Comparing Stack Exchange with Codidact, why should a person, whose main motivation is to ask and answer technical posts, prefer Codidact over Stack Exchange? So, I recommend that before launching a new site, please first improve the quality of Codidact.

  • One of the most important things for a person to contribute to a community is the population of the community. Even those people caring meta issues like "Code of Conduct" are not motivated enough to contribute to a community with a very small population. I think putting the link of Codidact on SE profiles or in SE chat rooms is not enough to advertise this new community. It seems that the Codidact community team should find a solution for this issue.


Updated

I cannot really understand how some comments have been implied from my words, so I have to mention the following points:

  • The relation between (theoretical) physics and mathematics is not the same as that of economics (or finance) with mathematics at all. Many ideas in mathematics come from physics and vice versa while only a few (with respect to physics) math tools are used in economics; mathematics helps physics to grow and vice versa. Great theoretical physicist are great mathematicians.

  • I never said that "math is only used for physics". I meant these fields are so close to each other that one community can be devoted (in the beginning, to attract enough contributors) to cover both mathematics and (theoretical) physics subjects. All mathematics questions are welcomed there and no one asking some math involved in biochemistry would be thrown out.

  • I never said that I want to combine mathematics and physics subjects; there would be no combination or mixture. Saying many times, because of the strong similarity between mathematics and theoretical physics content, one place can be dedicated to these fields. I hope it is clear enough that no one wants to combine set theory with Judaism.

  • However, it worth noting that the two points mentioned in my original post should be considered as the main concerns; the other things are marginal.

8 comments

While I agree with your characterizations that "mathematics and physics are interconnected" and "many mathematicians are interested in physics subjects", the same is true if you substitute "physics" with "economics", "finance", and a bunch of other things. While questions with a heavy physics aspect can be welcome on a math site, the two are very different fields and should have separate sites. msh210 7 days ago

Firstly, the relation between physics and mathematics is not the same as that of economics (or finance) with mathematics at all. Many ideas in mathematics come from physics and vice versa while only a few (with respect to physics) math tools are used in economics; mathematics helps physics to grow and vice versa. Great theoretical physicist are great mathematicians. MathPhysics 7 days ago

Secondly, this suggestion was made to attract enough contributors to launch the community. As stated in the post, the community can be split into two separate communities. MathPhysics 7 days ago

Thirdly, I see no contradiction between Codidact's policies and building a community covering two specific subjects; it seems that the community team only want a Q&A community is developed by enough contributors. MathPhysics 7 days ago

A) As a student training to become a chemist I'm insulted at your implication that math is only used for physics. We can get along just fine so long as I stick to physical chemistry, but the second I start talking about the maths of orgo or biochem, any sane physicist would throw me out. DonielF 7 days ago

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