Which playing style do you prefer? Brazilian Jogo Bonito? Italian Catenaccio? Spanish Tiki Taka? Dutch Total Football? or possibly something else?

]]>Inspired by your idea about Polymath project and in combination with the idea behind founding MathOverflow.net, recently I suggested an “Idea Exchange site” for professional mathematicians on Meta.MathOverflow which received a nice feedback by the community.

Fortunately some MO users who are expert in community building found the idea interesting and practically reasonable and so they really want to help establishing such a community beside MathOverflow. It can enrich MathOverflow and add a new dimension to the contribution style of professional mathematicians online.

However due to the difficulty of finding a nice group of network builders, nobody started the project yet and based on some reasons the corresponding post in Meta.MathOverflow is deleted now, but I think the idea has a great potential for being experimented. Thus let me explain it here briefly, hopefully those who may see this post can start such a project.

In a few words it is about the idea of establishing a site which serves as a kind of “never ending online math conference” for public discussing on possible approaches to the long standing open problems and also finding research collaborators, A kind of online simulation for all what happens in a real conference, a place for gathering of prominent mathematicians and young researchers and sharing their half-baked thoughts for finding real solutions for hard open problems.

However travelling around the world to get a physical access to a researcher for discussing the ideas and founding a joint work based on common interests is still a dominating way of doing maths, but it seems a bit old fashioned particularly when we notice that almost all other important aspects of the life have now an online alternative. You can meet people online, talk to them, find partners, buy things, exchange money, watch movies, etc., Why can’t mathematicians solve math problems online together? And why can’t they find their collaborators with a simple discussion online?

Unfortunately the potential of MathOverflow as a Q&A forum is limited for solving important open problems. Its style is not suitable for approaching hard open problems or finding collaborators because the good questions appear randomly and the discussions are not allowed there while most of long standing open problems need long discussions of the experts on their personal thoughts and possible difficulties of the problem. The Idea Exchange site can accumulate all those uncompleted but valuable personal thoughts on a particular open problem and hopefully can generate a complete solution, as you described in your comment.

As the first step people on MathOverflow suggested starting a blog for everybody (including MathOverflow users) to go there and discuss the possible purposes and features of this “Idea Exchange” site. It would be perfect if the first move for building such a site starts from those mathematicians who experienced similar ideas so far. Their great experience can highly improve the discussions on the primary blog and will attract much more attention of the mathematics community.

Best Regards

]]>I really admire your commemoration of the dead colleagues and acquaintances on your blog. Unfortunately this doesn’t happen so frequently nowadays.

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