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Can we create a community user?

+ 5 like - 1 dislike

Questions such as this:


should belong to a generic user,  so no rep. The answers should be similar, perhaps they should be merged into one, owned by the same user, so no one gets rep.

This is in lieu of community wiki, if we can do that, even better.

asked Apr 11, 2014 in Feature Request by Ron Maimon (7,535 points) [ no revision ]
recategorized Apr 11, 2014 by dimension10

No, they have some similar in spirit posts (which are of gneral interest for the community) on MathOverflow and they had some on TP.SE, so I disagree with them being any problem here as they always claim on Wikipedia ...

I will not accept a nonsense crap question like this at +84. It's not appropriate. It should be at +0, and the answers at +0. The votes should not give anyone rep, it's a nonsense way to get rep.

3 Answers

+ 4 like - 0 dislike

Ron raises a good point under my previous answer, so I decided to post another answer. 

Maybe we should have a separate category, called "Community Wiki", and the same procedures that polarkernel did to zero meta reputation could be used on this subcategory too. We could use the category description to describe that this is for resources, and references, and other recommendations, on all of the topics allowed in Q&A.

Then, it will take less than an hour for us to recategorise the existing questions, and all new posts on these will go into this category too. 

I initially thought of this a while back, but I didn't understand the argument for zeroing the reputation for CW, anyway. 

Other uses of CW allowed by the StackExchange software, e.g. posting others' comments as an answer, can be done through the Comment2Answer plug-in, and even if another user decides to post others' comments as an answer, the author of the post can be changed by polarkernel's plugin Correct User.    

answered Apr 12, 2014 by dimension10 (1,950 points) [ no revision ]

Could the downvoter explain what they had a problem with? Do they generally disagree with Ron's statement that the "community-wiki"-style questions should not contribute to reputation? Or do they specifically disagree with my proposal of making them a separate category?  

Sorry I meant to downvote your the other answer where you disagreed zeroing the rep. Corrected

+ 2 like - 0 dislike

Although I wouldn't say the linked post is not appropriate for our site, but getting +84*5 reputation for such question is not appropriate.

I agree with Yvan Velenik's comment that it is generally the case that easier question and answers get more upvotes than hard and esoteric ones, well, simply because more people can understand the easy ones. In fact I have to say this is a reponsible attitude: only up/downvote the ones you understand.

To some degree I don't care too much about slight imbalances, but +84 is really scary.

answered Apr 12, 2014 by Jia Yiyang (2,465 points) [ no revision ]
+ 1 like - 2 dislike

There already exist some bots, like SchrodingersCatVoter, which could be used for such a purpose.  

But there will be many such posts; it will be a huge burden on the mods to continuously merge the posts, and change their author.  

Also, many such posts will often contain personal opinions, which do involve effort.  

Such posts do contribute to the site, so their authors deserve the reputation.  

Also, how will we keep a record of who-posted-what. ?  

answered Apr 11, 2014 by dimension10 (1,950 points) [ no revision ]
Most voted comments show all comments

It does degrade the site somewhat, every cheap way of getting rep is a strike against the real effort of answering meaty questions. For example, on mathoverflow, I solved a real unsolved problem there, a reasonably hard one (can the double-dual of this space be equal to itself in the absence of choice --- link: http://mathoverflow.net/questions/49351/does-the-fact-that-this-vector-space-is-not-isomorphic-to-its-double-dual-requir ), it was unsolved for a while, the question was at around +30, my method was completely original. I got "+6" from this, a big shot logician extended my answer a little (and cleaned up the method) and got "+8", while some person who writes "read this book" gets +100. It's completely lopsided, and it is a disincentive. I was really dejected at getting so few votes for so much original thinking, I essentially stopped posting after that. I don't mind if these silly questions are community wiki, but it's really annoying to have them get rep, because these are cheap vote-getters, because people need these answers, and they are much easier than answering a tough question with something original.

I don't know what you have to be worried about. It is good to have disagreements, it makes for debate and progress. I am not dogmatic, and the reviews will make everything better.

That's not Ron's point, I think. Rather, all the (trivial!) answers to the question mentioned in the OP have much more votes than substantially harder answers on harder questions. Also, it is easy to find highly upvoted questions/answers involving minimal amount of work from their authors... All this is really a drawback of the SE-like voting mechanisms...

I linked the right post, but 2 people upvoted it since I linked, bumping my answer to +8.

For example, the very good answer detailing the comparatively trivial construction of uncountably many linearly independent vectors in vector spaces without a countable basis is here: http://mathoverflow.net/questions/23202/explicit-big-linearly-independent-sets , I did that for the special case of interest in the first sentence of my post. It is a relatively straightforward construction which is found in very old literature, no original thinking required, anyone who knows some basic stuff can easily do it, but this makes it easy to check, and the answer gathers this old information in a nice way, and it is a nice answer. So it is at +70! +70 for something unoriginal that anyone can do by thinking a minute.

By contrast, for a hard problem that was unsolved for six months, you get +6 (before complaining here, please don't upvote it now, you are unmaking my point). The solution to this problem was not an immediate consequence of existing theorems. it was unsolved for most of the period of MO operation, despite the presence of logicians familiar with Solovay's model and Shelah's. It was the fourth most upvoted question without upvoted answer on MO when I started thinking about it, that's why I thought about it, and it required two original ideas for me to solve--- the general method of superposing Gaussian picks to make new Gaussian picks, this convinced me of the answer, and then, to prove the answer, a method of selecting un nonprincipal ultrafilter from a nonzero values of the action of a nonzero linear map on an infinite vector space. Neither idea was super hard, but together they solved the problem.

It took Andreas Blass, who is a really top-notch expert in this stuff, a week to figure out how to do it in a clean way in Shelah models. My answer was tough for nonexperts to understand and verify because it was working in measurable universes, so unlike in familiar axiom-of-choice universes, measure theory tells you nontrivial things about set existence, and the arguments do not look persuasive to people who aren't comfortable with what it means to have a measurable set-theoretic universe (this set of people doesn't include Blass, of course). That answer was at +0 or +1 before Blass looked at it. Finally, Blass posted his answer a week later, and bam, my answer shot up to +6, his answer went to +8, an there it stayed for years and years. The problem was now completely solved, still, nobody got any significant credit for it.

That's what happens to people who solve hard problems, they are anti-rewarded. This is why I proposed originality voting on reviews, and why I would like to make sure that stuff that is original can be transferred to reviews when it is original enough to produce research level results (the MO answer I gave is not quite deep enough to produce new logic results by itself, because Solovay models are old, but a reconstruction of measure theory in Solovay universe would be interesting research, and I could do that relatively straightforwardly). This is the only way to ensure that research-level contributions are properly rewarded as compared to expository contributions, which are always more popular and less difficult or important.

Submitting original answers into the Reviews section is a nice idea.

Urs Schreiber nicely annonced PhysicsOverflow too


and I am sure those readers would likt this too.


I didn't say my answer deserves upvotes, it was extremely ad-hoc, I just did whatever to get the answer, I didn't clean it up, I didn't find the most elegant solution, I just did whatever. But it solved the problem! That means it should somehow be recognized as being the first to solve the problem, and this is what originality voting is for.

I had several ideas for how to fix this on an open site, it is the main problem in voting on stackexchange type sites, it is the main disincentive against high-level academic writing on these sites. One idea I considered was that the first real solution to a highly upvoted unsolved problem gets as much rep as the problem has upvotes. But then again, there could be a relatively trivial error in the solution which does not take much effort to fix, so that the first full solution to the problem is not the one which presented the main idea.

So the way I figured to do this is using originality. The idea is that you upvote the originality of the post, and have an automatic mechanism of ensuring that original posts get cited and upvoted properly when posts referencing them get upvoted. This is like a method of academic citation, but where reputation goes through the citations to cited works.

On this site, I proposed originality voting for the review section (without automatic hard-citation reputation transfer), and it might work. This is good enough to encourage hard thinking, because if a problem is really hard to solve, the problem can move to reviews along with the answer, and then it can be voted on properly, with originality, and the original stuff gets more reputation.

But I think that there are refinements possible, like hard-citations, meaning that you can make past-links which transfer reputation to earlier things from later things which positively cite them, and also negative citations, where you transfer negative reputation from a later paper to something it cites negatively. This is a more involved scheme which others here didn't like, but it can be implemented passively, even before people come here to vote, using the patterns of citation in the literature. The passive stuff can always be overruled by humans, of course, and I still think it's a good idea.

Any mechanism of voting you implement needs to be sensitive to originality in order to encourage real academic contributions. This is important.

But regarding "upvotes then downvotes after criticism", this is nothing to write home about, sometimes people find a mistake. Nearly all the comments you make sound insincere, and it is absurd to try to do social black magic, it is simply wasting people's time. This kind of nonsense doesn't work on a site without human politics, which is what we have so far, and hopefully for the indefinite future.

To avoid human politics is easy--- simply focus on technical contributions only, and ignore social nonsense.

Most recent comments show all comments

@physicsnewbie:  Everyone here knows what they are talking about! Your attemts at social manipulation are transparent, please, cut that shit out, it's really annoying and its the reason your comments get downvotes.

That question is FINE, the problem is that it is unanswerable, not that it is gibberish, because the action is a perfect derivative, so that there is no theory. This is a common confusion people have, thinking that a "topological theory" is a theory where the action is topologically invariant. That's not so, because a topologically invariant action leads to a nonsense path integral. A topological theory is a theory where the analog of correlation functions are invariant to coordinate changes which preserve the topological structure of the insertion-like objects, the canonical example is Witten's 2+1 d Chern-Simons theory. These are gravitational-like, they are invariant under coordinate change, after path integrating, except without integrating over metrics. The action itself is not obviously invariant under coordinate changes, it's not a topological invariant before path integrating.

My complaint was that the question was taking this non-fact for granted, that a topological theory has a topologically invariant action, then, given this misunderstanding, it naturally and understandably took a topological invariant and tried to use it as an action ( a topological invariant whose formal expression resembles the Chern Simons action). It made a simple error in transcribing this action in 1d, not the OP's fault, the correct transcription is obviously nonsense as an action, and OP assumed it should make sense, so found a wrong expression for it.

The question further assumed that a Schwarz style TFT meant something other than what it means, and it was a mass of legitimate, sincere, understandable confusions, which should be answered and clarified, not ignored.

The issue was that it was next to impossible for me personally to answer, not that it was a bad question. It deserves more than its three upvotes, it's a great question, if only because it makes you think precisely about what it means to have a TFT and why genuine topological invariants don't make good actions.

The real problem with that question is that I butchered it by editing, and this was wrong. I should have left it as it was, and answered the question by explaining why the assumptions behind the questions are incorrect. I was trying to take the easy path and answer the question by editing the phrasing to remove the hidden assumption, but this is not possible without OP's cooperation, and I shouldn't have done that unilaterally. It was a terrible mistake, I won't do it anymore, it is important to respect the questions as they are.

I do stupid things all the time. People here pointedly disagree people when they say stupid things, and thankfully, they upvoted the question and got pissed off at my inappropriate comments and edits.

@ron I feel like you, Dilaton and Dimension10 are ganging up on me, just because I'm concerned about the way this site is run: "Your attemts at social manipulation are transparent, please, cut that shit out, it's really annoying and its the reason your comments get downvotes."

Thanks for the rest of the reply.

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