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What to do when I do not get any response.

  1. Jun 2, 2012 #1
    Hello. I am really very fond of PF. It is a fantastic forum and I am very glad that there is help available for people who sincerely wish to learn. I have a small quiry.

    I sometimes post a question and I do not get a response. I am seriously trying to cover Halmos's Naive Set Theory and I get struck at times. I just cannot proceed further without clarification. I completely understand that PF is not like a classroom where the professor is obligated to answer all the questions of the student. It is really more of educational charity; however, I want to do everything I can to get my doubts cleared. The question is the following.

    Is there anything I can do to get the wise people on this forum to help me out? For example I have posted a question on functions and its inverses. I haven't heard from anyone yet. Also, I had posted one on commutativity and associativity of sets and I got a response after I personally requested one of the members to help me out and also after I reposted the question which I now understand is illegal.

    Please suggest me ways to get people to help me out when I ask questions. I'd greatly appreciate your feedback.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 2, 2012 #2
  4. Jun 2, 2012 #3
    If I knew the answer, I would post some questions! :)
  5. Jun 2, 2012 #4
    Hi ilhan8. I did not understand.
  6. Jun 3, 2012 #5
    I have some experience in this matter:

    1. Never bump. It's cheezy in my opinion (no offense to Micromass).

    2. Try and ask the question as clearly, compactly, and and beautifully as possiible. Use perfect latex, good grammar, and be clear, concise and to the point. Skip lines between paragraphs to make it easier to read.

    3. Avoid at all cost ambiguity. If I got a DE, state it clearly with clear explanation of variables and constants. Leave no room for uncertainity regarding what you're actually asking.

    4. If they still don't reply, just take it and move on. The act of researching the problem yourself can help you learn to become a better researcher for the day that will inevitably come if you continue in your field when you encounter a problem that absolutely no one in the entire world can help you: a new idea.
  7. Jun 3, 2012 #6


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    The only thing you can do (that doesn't involve spending lots of money on a tutor) is to make sure that we have all the information we need to answer your question. I often see posts that make me think "I might be able to answer that if I knew the definition of that term", or something very similar to that. In those cases, I almost always just ignore the post. You might think that only a person who already knows the definition would be able to answer anyway, but that's certainly not the case.

    I also often see posts that I can't even make sense of. In those cases, I sometimes ask for a clarification, but I never spend any significant time trying to guess what the poster meant.

    If you're asking about something you read in a book, try to find it at Google Books and link directly to the relevant page. If that's not possible, post an exact quote of the problem or paragraph that concerns you.

    Use LaTeX when ASCII formulas are hard to read.

    Always include some of your own thoughts about the problem. This makes it much easier to figure out what it is you need explained. I often see posts about homework problems where the student is asked to prove a statement that involves some mathematical term...and the student hasn't even tried to use the definition of the term. In those cases, there's not much we can do other than to say "use the definition".
  8. Jun 3, 2012 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    2017 Award

    Some facts:

    • Number of threads you started (besides this one and your double-post): 4
    • Number of threads with replies: 4
    • Average number of replies: 10.2
    • Longest wait time for a reply: 16 h 49 m
    • Average wait time for a reply: 5h 45 m
    • Number of threads you've participated in to help others: 0
  9. Jun 3, 2012 #8
    Hi Jack, Fredrik, Thanks for your input. I will try to be more clear about my doubts from now on and I will not repost or bump it up in case no one replies. There are few people who have been helping me consistently and I might just request them to take a look at it.

    Vanadium. Thanks for pointing the stats. The only reason why I have not helped others is simply because I am not a mathematician. I am an engineer by profession. I am trying to become one but since I am a novice, I just feel that it may not be right to attempt answering other people's questions and end up with the embarrassment of being pointed out that I made a mistake in answering it. I will definitely be on the answering panel once I start to feel confident that I am a mathematician.
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