If there a group G acting on a variety V. The action is algebraic. What is the definition of algebrogeometric quotient of this action?
I hope you can give a very basic explanation.
Thanks.
If there a group G acting on a variety V. The action is algebraic. What is the definition of algebrogeometric quotient of this action? I hope you can give a very basic explanation. Thanks. 


It is certainly possible to give the definition of a quotient of a variety by an algebraic group without mentioning algebraic stacks or spaces. There are two distinctly different situations here, depending on whether the group is finite (and discrete) or a general algebraic group. In the finite case things are a lot easier. Then you could take as your definition of a quotient that on an affine scheme given as the spectrum of a ring R, the quotient is the spectrum of the ring of invariants $R^G$. (This is not a good definition, but you could.) For general schemes you can try to glue together open affines to define a quotient globally, but this will not always produce a scheme (roughly speaking, you might have to identify too many points). When the original scheme is quasiprojective, this gluing procedure will give you a scheme (folklore), and in general it will always produce an algebraic space (Deligne). In the more general case of algebraic groups one needs to be more careful and start distinguishing between different definitions of quotients, and start keeping track of whether your group is geometrically reductive or linearly reductive or neither. The quotient definition given by James Borger is called the categorical quotient. It is unfortunately not well behaved in the category of schemes. (Example: let $\mathbb{C}^\ast$ act on $\mathbb{C}^2$ by scaling. Then a categorical quotient exists in the category of schemes (!), however it is a single point.) The basic problem is that most properties that one wants from a quotient, like "the preimage of a point in X/G is a single Gorbit in X" will not hold unless one imposes extra conditions on top of the categorical one. More well behaved notions are in particular good quotient and geometric quotient, but beware that there is here a morass of different definitions of quotients which can be more or less nice (there are things called weak quotients and semigeometric quotients and probably more that I don't know, and these can be modified by adjectives like "uniform" or "universal" or "categorical", and there are nontrivial combinations of these properties like "good geometric" so these notions of quotients are not linearly ordered). There are also some differences in the literature between how these properties are defined. The point that makes finite groups so much easier is that for a finite group all these types of quotient will coincide anyway. Just as an example let me give the definition of a geometric quotient $\pi : X \to X/G$:
(Quoted from GIT) The most important work in this area is the slightly intimidating GIT (Geometric Invariant Theory) by David Mumford. The main construction of the book shows that when the group is reductive and acts linearly on a projective variety $X$, there are canonically defined open dense subsets traditionally denotes $X^s$ and $X^{ss}$ such that the $X^s$ has a geometric quotient and $X^{ss}$ has a good quotient which is projective. When X is not projective one has to work with so called Llinear actions where L is a line bundle on X. This reduces to the case X projective by taking $L = O(1)$. GIT is written like a textbook so in principle you can start reading on page one, but there are friendlier introductions out there. I like Dolgachev's Lectures on Invariant Theory. 


The are several possible meanings. Which one it is would surely depend on the context. The straightup meaning is the one that works in any category. If $G$ acts on $X$ then a quotient is a universal object $X/G$ with a $G$equivariant map $X\to X/G$, where $X/G$ has the trivial $G$ action. Here, 'universal' means that if $Y$ is any other such object, then there is a unique map $X/G\to Y$ commuting with the two maps from $X$. Then $X/G$ is unique up to unique isomorphism. Unfortunately, if you're working in the category of schemes, such quotients sometimes don't exist. If you work in the slightly larger category of algebraic spaces (IMHO 'schemes done right'), they are more likely to exist, and there are even nice theorems (M Artin) to this effect. (There are also some notsonice theorems about scheme quotients in SGA 3.) You can also work in some big ambient topos, such as the category of sheaves of sets on the category of affine schemes, equipped with your favorite Grothendieck topology. In this big category, quotients always exist, and they have all the nice formal properties you could ask for (i.e. they are universal and effective, in the language of category theory). As Steven Landsburg points out, you can also ask for the quotient in the stacktheoretic sense. There are also various kinds of quotients that come up in geometric invariant theory, which are important if you're interested in projective algebraic geometry, but I'm embarrassed to admit that I never got to the bottom of what's going on there. Finally, there might even be a theory of quotients in Weil's foundations for algebraic geometry, which I hear that some people working in algebraic groups still use. 


You are looking for the theory of stacks. The Wikipedia article will get you started. Or see the article by Tomas, which is quite readable (if you have the right background). See especially example 2.33 in that paper. 

