This question here is asking whether there exists an example of researcher meeting particular criteria, in particular having solved a relevant open problem in the last 30 years and having initally been mistaken for a crank. There are lots of answers obviously not meeting the criteria (eg Galois definitely lived more than 30 years ago).

While I'd consider the 30 years to be a bit restrictive (50 years would be better, imho), overall the strict criteria seem essentially to make this question meaningful. As such, can we do something about all those answers not meeting them? A moderator deleting them all might be the most expedient way of handling this, but would also be somewhat heavy-handed.

  • 15
    This is a clear example of why certain questions are not really suitable for this site. Jan 17, 2022 at 23:08
  • 6
    Yeah, I think this question should be closed, but it has no close votes from the community and has been left open now long enough to attract many answers, so I'd feel hesitant to use a moderator's unilateral close vote.
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Jan 18, 2022 at 3:58
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    The question has hit the Hot Network Questions list a few hours after you posted this.
    – Mast
    Jan 18, 2022 at 17:07
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    The 30 years restriction may have been 50 or 70 years; I just wanted to make sure "crank" and "affiliation" are meaningful. It is quite clear that this question is not only suitable for this site, but highly engaging and relevant, and not least within the clear scope, and having very precise criteria.
    – Dilworth
    Jan 26, 2022 at 17:47
  • Very good meta question, thank you. That link, is probably a good example of an off-topic shopping question. Just use SE tools and raise a closure flag to bring it up to the consideration of the community.
    – enthu
    Jan 30, 2022 at 23:47

4 Answers 4


can we do something about all those answers not meeting [the criteria]?

Just click on that button with a triangle pointing down. That's the Stack Exchange way.

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    And leave a comment pointing out how the answer falls short.
    – J W
    Jan 18, 2022 at 16:18
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    @JW But the problem with always leaving comments is there’s almost always some immature person who has to comment back on why your comment and/or downvote is wrong and then you have to resist getting into some whole back and forth that just gets moved to chat. I’m kind of joking but I’m not at all joking. Jan 20, 2022 at 1:05
  • @ToddWilcox I am posting this to complain that the moderators have not removed your comment. This is a problem because it prevents people from unwittingly reposting it and creating a duplicate back-and-forth. Jan 27, 2022 at 0:41
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    @ToddWilcox The possibility to upvote comments usually takes care of sorting this out. Jan 27, 2022 at 10:47

The question is a distraction, perhaps, but a pleasant distraction. If it gives the users (and those providing early answers are frequent users) a bit of room to stretch their mental muscles then it does little harm. And it informs the rest of us about an interesting topic. Too rigid adherence to the rules can make the place dull. Leave it be, please. Keep calm and carry on.


I think this kind of misses the point, for several reasons:

  • It's impractical to prove that an example doesn't exist.
  • Given that it's impractical to prove that an example doesn't exist, unless an example meeting all criteria is available, the next-best answer is an example that meets some of the criteria, i.e. partial answers.
  • It's probable the OP will be interested in partial answers, since they are after all the next-best available answer.

Ultimately it's for the OP to decide if the answers are helpful. If they don't object, then others shouldn't either.

  • I would count the last paragraph in the question as an explicit objection to partial answers by the OP. Jan 19, 2022 at 8:00
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    Very often the asker never returns, so I do not consider this a practical answer. Jan 19, 2022 at 13:33

This question violates the spirit of the ban on "shopping questions" as defined in https://academia.meta.stackexchange.com/a/3658/13240

  • So why did you not vote to close it? Jan 19, 2022 at 7:52
  • @FedericoPoloni Good question. I did vote for your answer. Jan 19, 2022 at 13:32

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