This question is inspired by the success and more importantly, the democratizing affect of the polymath projects and Mathoverflow. I put the idea in my NSF proposals a few times, but the panels don't seem to like it these days. So this year, instead of asking the government for help, I will appeal to my fellow MO readers! (-:

So, my dream is to build up a website where people who like to think about, say, commutative algebra and related questions, can gather, propose and work on different research questions, from undergraduate level all the way up. So, anyone can start a thread about some question/project they like to do, and people can discuss, develop and hopefully produce research-level results. Or, if you want to set up a MRC type summer school but don't want to bother applying for it. Or, if you want to study a paper but don't want to do it alone.

Other features may include:

  • Links to good survey articles/freely available text/insightful MO anwers/blog posts on various topics.

  • Articles on the history of the area.

  • News on interesting connections to related areas.

I think such a resource would be quite useful and as mentioned above, make math more democratic. For instance, it is important for young people to take part in research as soon as they can, but if you come from a small school or a poor country, opportunity for such experience might be non-existent. Even for more senior researchers, funding/invitation to conferences are increasingly difficult to obtain and depend sometimes on who you are friendly with.

So my questions are:

Question 1: Do you know of any such attempt in any area (mathematics or other)?

Question 2: Do you have any technical advice on where to host the website, what new (hopefully cheaply available) software to help making it, potential funding partners? Any experience to share, or potential problems you can foresee?

PS: I was away from MO for a while, where is the community wiki button now?

PPS: if you are interested in such a project for commutative algebra, let me know in the comments or email.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You can probably start a WordPress site version for free. In my opinion, you will need a core group of supporters to run it before you decide on a final software platform. I would ask Andrew Stacey for details if I were to start such an effort. Gerhard "Thankful For Your Considering This" Paseman, 2018.11.22. $\endgroup$ – Gerhard Paseman Nov 22 '18 at 18:38
  • $\begingroup$ Of course, we need enthusiastic knowledgeable people. But I think they can be found. $\endgroup$ – Hailong Dao Nov 22 '18 at 18:41
  • $\begingroup$ @GerhardPaseman: what is a good way to implement these features on a Wordpress site? Are the ones used for polymath projects free? $\endgroup$ – Hailong Dao Nov 22 '18 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ I'm unfamiliar with the pricing structure of WordPress, and there are other free platform possibilities. For Polymath style wiki, I would have a single administrator login whose password I would share with a trusted group. I would enable comments and have a few logins with article post privileges (or a single author login that is shared). Most importantly, I would have a what-to-do and what-not-to-do list to protect you (the party responsible for content). Disclaimer: my experience in these things is ten years or more out of date. Gerhard "My Skills Are Much Older" Paseman, 2018.11.22. $\endgroup$ – Gerhard Paseman Nov 22 '18 at 19:08
  • $\begingroup$ Also, I suggest WordPress as a prototype option. When you start it, be prepared to archive it and move to a more suitable platform that may allow for more graphics/file-sharing possibilities at your price point. Further, my opinion is that anyone who pays money or time to participate is more invested in seeing it be successful than those who lurk. It might sound radical, but if the lead group is seen putting in time and money and putting out a quality product, the participants might pony up something. Gerhard "If It Is High Quality" Paseman, 2018.11.22. $\endgroup$ – Gerhard Paseman Nov 22 '18 at 19:12

There's a dispersive PDE wiki:


Also Tricki: http://www.tricki.org/

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, I did not know about the PDE wiki. A bit different from what I have in mind, but very useful. $\endgroup$ – Hailong Dao Nov 23 '18 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ Of course I should have also mentioned nLab, ncatlab.org which might be closer to your interests. $\endgroup$ – none Nov 24 '18 at 20:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.