MMB Guidelines / FAQ / Charter

This document describes the purpose, operating policy, and FAQ for MMB.

Scope of Discussions and Purpose

MMB is for general math discussions *...This includes math you do for fun/enrichment in your spare time, math you do for work/job, and math required for school or a class you are taking.

MMB is for all levels of math *...This includes math commonly done in grade school to math done by professional mathematicians.

Topic/language appropriateness *...Topics and tone not relevant to a math discussion board are not condoned. Though it might get ignored for a time, it is not appreciated and could get you "removed from the set of all people who exist on MMB". Some off-topic discussion is accepted, in order to promote a more friendly environment, as long as it is not distracting to others.

Participating on MMB

Asking questions *...In order for us to best assist you, we need to know more about you:

It may also be that your question has already been answered, and you can find it on the Internet by doing some searching. Other good resources include Dr. Math FAQ and Wikipedia.

Asking homework questions *...You're welcome to post homework questions. See the suggestions above.

Will you do my homework for me? *...Someone might, but more likely not entirely because there's little satisfaction in that. Many of us would much rather give you deeper insights into the problems you are having so that you will have the tools to solve not just those problems but other problems you may have in the future (see proverb). If you want us to help you fail in life, then consider that not only are you being a jerk(Webster: 4 a: an annoyingly stupid or foolish person b: an unlikable person; especially : one who is cruel, rude, or small-minded)), but we are not going to save you from yourself.

Posting multiple times *...Do not post a question here that you have also posted on another discussion site. You may do so if you receive no satisfactory answer after some time, but you are expected to include a link here to the other post. This is considerate (avoids us repeating work) and allows us to more adequately address the deficiencies in the previous responses. Moreover, those who visit multiple message boards often recognize and object to duplicate postings, which makes it less likely those questions are responded to.

Responding to questions*...Many times a poster has not asked a question well, or in a way you would like, and may even need help framing the question. Please be considerate. You may point them to the "Asking questions" suggestions above or probe them constructively with additional questions without antagonism or **SHOUTING**. Try to think of ways that will help the questioner understand and gain insight into the underlying problem.

Staying on topic*...A discussion thread should not degrade too far from the topic and purpose of its original posting. If needed, start a new discussion thread.

Editing posts *...You may edit your own posts for a short time after posting (about 24 hours), such as to make corrections. Editing can be done only from the same Internet connection where the original post was made.

Writing math notation and using the site *...See Thread 24473 for math notation instructions. See [[manual]] for an older manual.

Your Name and Address

Posting under a single name*...Choose a name and stick with it. Using multiple names violates the social framework, and it is in no one's interest. For example, it makes it more difficult for responders to effectively frame helpful answers to your questions (see "Asking Questions" above), so it wastes time. The software and the moderators have tools to recognize use of multiple names and do not take kindly to it.

Choice of name*...Children should use a nickname or first name only (but avoid full names online). Real names are otherwise welcome (e.g. full name or first name), but you may use some moniker if you are more comfortable with that. Note that what you say here may persist forever, so don't tarnish your good name. Common names should be further qualified in some manner to prevent confusion.

Login*...Mostly, we don't have logins. There are reasons for this; for example, it provides a certain level of convenience, and a number of the perceived advantages of logins do not exist (e.g. consider multiple login accounts). There are some checks in the software to guard against abuse of names. For the most part, this has worked successfully for +10 years and is not without precedent.

E-mail address *...To have responses sent to your e-mail, use the e-mail feature instead of publicly including your e-mail in the message itself (avoids chance of spam). All correspondence should in general be kept on the board since mathematical discussions between two people are often useful to others.


MMB is privately owned and operated by volunteers*...We are not affiliated with any institution, nor is anyone paid, nor do we endorse what is said here. We are just people who like math. MMB has been operational since 1998 and is hosted by

Moderators*...There are moderators that help out with the administration of the board, largely to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Technical questions*...on this site can be addressed preferably to the Development subject area (for quickest response) or to .

"Getting removed from the set of all people who exist on MMB"*...For minor to moderate infractions you may get temporarily "removed from the set of all people who exist on MMB", either automatically by the software triggers or by manual intervention. This could last several weeks/months. In rare cases it may be permanent. You were kindly given the privilege to participate on MMB, but in being a "bad person" it was necessary for that privilege to be taken away. You can still find redemption, but it will need to be found on another discussion site.

Search engines*...MMB is not normally indexed by search engines. This is intended to allow more open discussions and less fear that your mistakes will persist forever searchable by everyone (though they still may persist forever).

About Math and Math Learning

I hate math*...We don't have to like everything, and some of us will use math much less than others in life. It's less arguable that math has been tremendously useful in the hands of those who know how to apply it, and you can't apply it, and sometimes won't know when to, until you know it. You may wish to see Ask Dr. Math: FAQ: Why Study Math?

I am bad at math*...We need to start somewhere, and typically that is with mastering the fundamentals and gaining confidence there. Without mastery of the fundamentals (e.g. fractions), you will trip up on more advanced topics (e.g. algebra) that build upon these. Luckily, MMB is a place you can spend time outside of a classroom setting to ask questions and discuss in more depth the questions you are having at any level.

I am stupid, I don't know anything, I can't do it, others are smarter*...Just stop that, please. Not only can it become self-fulfilling, but others don't appreciate whining.

I discovered something new. I'm brilliant*...Possibly, though most likely someone has already discovered and many more have rediscovered it. At least you have learned to derive things on your own, and we could point you to related problems or references to other ways of approaching the problem.

What is math?*...It's difficult to say precisely, but see Wikipedia:Mathematics.