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In the help center, there are many links that contain standard information which is the same on all SE sites.

The most personalized link on all sites is "What topics can I ask about here?"

We decide what goes there. As an example, here is math.stackexchange.com's page:

What topics can I ask about here?

Mathematics Stack Exchange is for people studying mathematics at any level and professionals in related fields. We welcome questions about:

Understanding mathematical concepts and theorems Hints on mathematical problems (but please read our FAQ about homework questions) History and development of mathematics Solving mathematical puzzles Software that mathematicians use Before you ask, however, maybe you want to peruse our list of common math questions?

There are certain subjects that, while still being on-topic here, you can get better response on our sister sites:

  • Research-level mathematics — Math Overflow
  • Research level algorithm design, complexity theory, etc — Theoretical Computer Science - Stack Exchange
  • Algorithm implementation/design, computer simulation and modelling, etc — Stack Overflow
  • Other computer science topics — Computer Science - Stack Exchange
  • Statistical analysis — Statistical Analysis - Stack Exchange
  • Numerical analysis and scientific computing — Computational Science - Stack Exchange
  • The use of the software package Mathematica — Mathematica - Stack Exchange

And some kinds of questions are considered off-topic:

  • Physics, engineering and financial questions — it is fine to ask the mathematical model and techniques, but concepts of the field would be off-topic. You should instead ask those questions at other Stack Exchange sites such as:
    • Physics - Stack Exchange
    • Electrical Engineering - Stack Exchange
    • Quantitative Finance - Stack Exchange
  • Typesetting equations — you can read our guideline for writing equations on this site, or visit TeX, LaTeX and Friends for questions about TeX
  • Numerology
  • Questions about the site itself — please ask on meta instead

For more help, see "What types of questions should I avoid asking?"

Our interface supports the use of MathJax by using a LaTeX-like syntax after enclosing mathematics expressions in dollar signs $ [put math expression here] $. For a quick tutorial and command reference, please see this FAQ item; see also this Meta discussion for some additional pointers and references. ack Exchange communities are democratically created.

For a less elaborate example, there is academia.se:

This site is for academics of all levels—from aspiring graduate and professional students to senior researchers—as well as anyone in or interested in research-related or research-adjacent fields. If you have a question about...

  • Life as a graduate student, postdoctoral researcher, university professor
  • Transitioning from undergraduate to graduate researcher
  • Inner workings of research departments
  • Requirements and expectations of academicians
  • University-level pedagogy

... then you're in the right place!

To help people answer your question, please recognize that this forum is frequented by academicians from across the globe, from across diverse fields research, and with a wide range of experience, from first-year graduate student to tenured professor. State your question as much context as you can to help ensure that you'll receive a directed, relevant answer.

Can I ask questions about my specific situation?

You should not ask "a question that will help only me," but rather "a question that will help people like me." If your question is so limited as to be useful only to you, consider broadening the scope so others can learn from your question as well. As a general rule, if you're asking about a particular institution, course, or journal, it's likely your question is too limited in scope. Try to extract the fundamental question from the specific problem at hand.

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Update: This is now live, see https://matheducators.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic Sugggestions and additons are still welcome; changing this is simple.


To get the discussion going I post a first draft. Presumably there should be something about math ed research too. Obviously some links should be added; I but I thought for a first draft it will do without the actual links.


What topics can I ask about here?

Mathematics Educators Stack Exchange (MESE) is a question and answer site for those involved in the field of teaching mathematics.

The community welcomes questions on teaching mathematics and the process of learning mathematics at all levels. From questions about helping children to appreciate numbers to suggestions on the advisement of doctoral students conducting original research, a broad spectrum of questions about mathematics education is admissible.

In particular, both questions on research in mathematics education and questions seeking hands-on advice are welcome.

Please note, however, that your question should be about mathematics education as contrasted with one strictly about mathematics. If you are interested in asking a mathematical question instead, that's great; but please do not ask it here. Instead, note that there is a very active community at Mathematics Stack Exchange (MSE) that answers mathematical questions at all levels (provided they are presented well; please see their FAQ for details).

I am a mathematics teacher and have a question related to my teaching, but it is not specific to mathematics. Can I ask this here?

The community welcomes general questions related to teaching provided that they are relevant to teaching mathematics. However, there is also an Academia Stack Exchange for questions about academic life more generally. You may wish to consider if your question fits better there.

I want to do a presentation using LaTeX / Mathematica / Powerpoint etc for my class and have a question related to this. Can I ask this here here?

It depends. If your question is about the pedagogical aspects of using computer presentations (or something of a similar nature) then this is on-topic here. If, however, you are facing a technical problem using the software, then you might consider the TeX Stack Exchange site or the Mathematica Stack Exchange site. Additionally, Powerpoint questions and various other computer related queries can be on-topic on the Stack Exchange site Super User (as always, please see the sites' respective FAQs before asking).

I am not a teacher but I still have a question about teaching or learning mathematics. Can I ask this here?

Absolutely: You are welcome to contribute to the site. There are no formal requirements for asking, answering, or generally participating here. Please note, though, that the site is not for questions solely on mathematics itself, but rather for questions on teaching mathematics and the process of learning mathematics. As stated earlier, mathematics questions may be a better fit on Mathematics Stack Exchange.

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    $\begingroup$ It's a good draft. In the first sentence, why a "site for those involved in teaching mathematics" rather than a "site about teaching mathematics"? $\endgroup$ – user173 Mar 22 '14 at 19:41
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the feedback. For your question: the practical answer is that what I wrote there is what it currently says under matheducators.stackexchange.com/tour (and this was voted on on Area51). Put differently I put there the official "target audience", one could alternatively put the official "on-topic" (it seems however this is not set in a meaningful way at the moment, as it appears to be the name of the site resulting in the tour saying "questions about mathematics educators") or still something else on which we agree. (cont) $\endgroup$ – quid Mar 22 '14 at 19:51
  • $\begingroup$ For your suggestion specifically. I am really in favor of stressing the subject over the individuals, but "about teaching mathematics" is way too unclear. Too many will take this as for teaching mathematics and will post their homework here. This got discussed at length on Area51. If you think this confusion unlikely please check the chat transcript of today, where some were convinced this site is math teachers answering math question (like a tutoring site), until I told them no it is for teachers to ask here about their work and suddenly it was clear. (cont.) $\endgroup$ – quid Mar 22 '14 at 19:57
  • $\begingroup$ If we find a formulation that is equally clear regarding this and on the subject we can take it. If not, I would prefer clarity regarding the keypoint (this is not for math questions) over other considerations. It is however also not very important for me. As said espcially this phrase was effectively copied and is not even really due to me. [Added: A link to the part of chat I mention chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/14427391#14427391 ] $\endgroup$ – quid Mar 22 '14 at 20:00
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    $\begingroup$ Quid, I can accept that the current formulation may be a good way to dispel ambiguity about the purpose of the site. In that case, the other Q&A's you've listed become more important, and I would add to them: "I am not a teacher but I still have an answer to a question here, can I answer?" $\endgroup$ – user173 Mar 23 '14 at 22:28
  • $\begingroup$ @MattF. I see what you mean. Yes this should be made explicit. But perhaps we can combine the question and the answer issue into a general contribution issue. I tried to do so in an edit. $\endgroup$ – quid Mar 23 '14 at 22:39
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    $\begingroup$ Looks good. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – user173 Mar 23 '14 at 22:47
  • $\begingroup$ This does look good. $\endgroup$ – Brian Rushton Mar 23 '14 at 22:56
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for putting this together. It looks great! $\endgroup$ – Jim Belk Mar 24 '14 at 6:47
  • $\begingroup$ I added just one more sentence to mention research and practice oriented question. If there is no opposition to the proposal I will put it into the help-center itself in a day or so. $\endgroup$ – quid Apr 4 '14 at 23:52
  • $\begingroup$ @quid I edited the writing into (something like) Standard American English. If you feel that the edits do not accord adequately with your earlier version, then please roll-back or re-edit. (I hope my alterations are sufficiently innocuous!) $\endgroup$ – Benjamin Dickman Apr 5 '14 at 11:06
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    $\begingroup$ @BenjaminDickman Thank you! I really appreciate you taking the time to improve the text. $\endgroup$ – quid Apr 5 '14 at 12:16

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