While I am learning a lot from others here at the Computer Science site, I must admit that I don't get as much out of some questions and answers since I typically don't understand the theorems to the level necessary. I am currently reading How To Prove It - A Structured Approach which is starting to make the theorems easier to read, but still does not get me to the point of being able to understand the theorems to the point that they add great insight to the question or answer.

So I started to think about the kinds of questions I would ask related to the theorems and realized that they can be broken down into two sets; one about theorems in general and one about the specific theorem in the question or answer.

As such I am looking for advice and/or comment on

  1. If I want to drill down into details to understand a theorem presented, should I ask a new question at the site or ask a question in a comment of the question or answer presenting the theorem?

    Example: Answer: Is it possible to always construct a hamiltonian path on a tournament graph by sorting?

    Sorry I can't post the LaTeX markup because it doesn't work in meta.

    What does a -> v0 -> ... -> vN -> b mean?

    It appears that you are redefining the way of ordering the vertices, but I still don't understand how the vertices can be ordered. Latter you state that greater than or equal is not valid for ordering which gets back to what does this mean?

  2. If I want to ask a question about understanding theorems in general, should there be a new Stack Exchange site for theorems and people who want to know more about writing and understating theorems, or should the question be asked within a specific site?

    Example: Question: Is it possible to always construct a hamiltonian path on a tournament graph by sorting?

    Sorry I can't post the LaTeX markup because it doesn't work in meta.

    There is a period between the "There exist a c that is an element of the vertexes" and "a is less than or equal to c". What does the period mean? I would be expecting either a comma to mean conjuction or or to mean disjunction, but not a period. I don't see how this could be converted to logical statements.

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    $\begingroup$ Can you give an example for both 1. and 2., please? $\endgroup$ – Raphael Jul 30 '12 at 18:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Raphael Done. See edits. If you agree with how I am posing the question, I will post them in the main CS site to see how it goes. Comments welcome. $\endgroup$ – Guy Coder Jul 31 '12 at 1:07
  • $\begingroup$ @GuyCoder: In these cases, you could simply write a comment after each such question or answer and ask for an explanation of the unclear notation. In this case the use of a full stop in the answer and the question is non-standard and asking for a clarification could help other users as well. $\endgroup$ – Jukka Suomela Jul 31 '12 at 10:38
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    $\begingroup$ Regarding your question 2, just replace the full stop (".") with a colon (":") and the notation should be clear. "There is a c in V such that ..." $\endgroup$ – Jukka Suomela Jul 31 '12 at 10:40
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    $\begingroup$ I agree. Questions regarding syntax are best directed at the original poster. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Jul 31 '12 at 16:29
  • $\begingroup$ see also how to prove stuff $\endgroup$ – vzn Sep 5 '12 at 15:28

Regarding 1), I hope that we can deal well with such questions, so go for it! Please create a new question, though. The prerequisite is that you have a clear problem/question; "Please explain theorem X for me, I have no idea!" won't work.

Regarding 2), I am not sure what kind of questions to expect. Depending on the question, I am sure at least one of cs.SE, math.SE or cstheory.SE is appropriate.

Your example questions are purely syntactic in nature. As syntax can vary due to education (level and place) and taste, you should ask such things directly of the poster, that is in the comments.


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