I'm very sorry if this is duplication, but I can't find a mention of anything like this anywhere yet. It seems like it might even be a little obvious.

I was thinking about maths. Very often, in learning maths, it's important to start by understanding the more general concept that underpins a theory, and then understand the specifics. Wikipedia and Mathworld are fantastic sites for experts, but I think that a good teacher still has the upper hand - those sites present to be accurate, whereas a teacher can explain in terms that make things easier to understand.

Initially I thought it would be great fun to have mathoverflow.com; you'd be able to ask about a theory or a piece of maths, and other users could post about the way it was explained that helped them finally understand it. The StackOverflow system would work wonderfully well for that; the best and clearest explanations would win out.

Then, of course, why limit it to maths? All academic subjects could benefit from this.

I see the danger that it could turn into a homework question zone, but there's already a strategy to handle that at SO, and it seems to work pretty well.

I think this might prove a really interesting way to help people to learn by sharing understanding across all fields.

I suppose there are two ways of implementing it:

  • StackExchange, supported by a company based on advertising.
  • Hope that SE goes open source, and then pay for hosting with support from a nonprofit, (ala Wikipedia).

Would this be a useful resource, and which option would give users a better end result?


You could add your proposed Overflow site to the list that is being assembled here:

https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4033, "What StackExchange sites do you want to see?".

  • Indeed I already did after TheTXI's answer. I'm not strictly sure I need to delete this question though. Jul 23 '09 at 3:23

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