There is, I believe, a great resource for mathematicians called MathOverflow. I have never made much use of it. I am not quite sure why, but I think it is because of the competitive aspect: give a good answer, earn points. More and more as I get older, I do mathematics because I enjoy it, and tell people about it because I enjoy that too.

So, with a little unease, I note here that this blog has been voted number 50 in the Feedspot top 100 mathematics blogs:

Click on the icon to see the full list.

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About Peter Cameron

I count all the things that need to be counted.

Congratulations!

I haven’t got into that site either and I have no idea why I don’t feel comfortable there. It may be as simple as I never find a thread I feel like I could say something really good on.

Congratulations Peter,

Very well deserved acknowledgement of your contributions. You shouldn’t feel uncomfortable announcing the award. Those of us who know you, know that you are not actively seeking such recognitions. The existence of such recognitions are important though. (Next task for myself: Check all those math blogs in the top 100.)

I haven’t really got involved in MathOverflow either. I don’t like the badges system either, but this is not the main reason for not contributing there. I am involved in a Greek mathematics forum to which I feel my presence there can make a more significant difference than in MathOverflow which already has lots of experts in any area of mathematics that you can think of.

Congratulations❢

And a few incidental thoughts …

So many modes of mathematical thought,

So many are learned, so few are taught.

There are streams that flow beneath the sea,

There are waves that crash upon the strand,

Lateral thoughts that spread and meander —

Who knows what springs run under the sand?

There are many modes of mathematical thought. The way I see it they all play their part. We have the byways of lateral thinking. We have that “laser-like focus on one topic”. At MathOverFlow they prefer the latter to the exclusion of the lateral. Their logo paints a picture of overflow but they color mostly inside the box.

Congratulations, Professor Cameron!

Congratulations!

My take on MathOverflow is simply: ignore the points and badges, just as you ignore adverts on other websites. It’s good for finding interesting material, especially the idea behind some result, it’s nice on occasion to help other people, and it’s not too full of nonsense. I don’t think the points and badges stuff help anything, but I don’t think they hurt either.