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In a recent question on MathOverflow, the original poster was asking for advice on selling her father's old math books. A similar question was previously asked on MathOverflow on December 2009. The older question is currently open, but the newer question was very quickly put on hold. So it seems that questions like these are currently off-topic at MathOverflow. Would questions like these be on-topic at Mathematics Educators?

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Interesting question.. my first thought is no, because there is no reason to believe math educators would be better-equipped to answer questions about math book values than anyone else.

It's awkward to say "it is off-topic here, and I don't have a stackexchange site in mind where it is on-topic." This seems to be the correct answer to me, regardless of the fact that it is awkward to say.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 - There are many SE sites that are similar in general topic, such as economics, to an exiting site, say Money. The Economics stack didn't make it, but those questions are still off topic at money.se. Unfortunately, every question doesn't always have a good place to pose a question. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 17:03
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It does, however, seem okay (to me -- do others feel differently?) to post a question like:

I am interested in researching the development of mathematical textbooks over the past century; I am especially curious as to how certain English-language mathematical expositions have evolved. I will provide concrete examples of the sort of texts I have in mind below. But first, my question.

Question: What are some sites or places that you can recommend (online or offline) for me to either read or purchase said materials? (In particular, "antique" mathematical texts?)

Examples. Book 1, Book 2, Book 3...

Tag it with reference-request and something historical.

In this way, the relevant information might be elicited; anyway, rather than making up a fake back-story, I would just include an additional, more general request for where to find such books. I think this sort of information could be of interest to researchers of mathematics education.

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  • $\begingroup$ FWIW: MathOverflow has a pretty well-received post on where to buy good chalk: mathoverflow.net/q/26267 I think that the key is to frame the question (which needs to be site-relevant) as having a where to obtain X component, rather than just indicating where to sell X. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 5:14
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with the answer and upvoted it a while ago, but regarding the comment one should mention for balance that at least a couple of similar question got closed (one on whiteboardmarkers for example). In my mind one reason for the success and relative ontopicness of that question is that it is really two questions, namely: which chalk is used at RIMS, and where to buy it. I really think the first one "made" the question. Had the Q just asked where to buy Hagoromo Fulltouch chalk I doubt it would have been that successful. $\endgroup$
    – quid
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 16:13
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks @quid - good point. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 16:56

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