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  1. #16
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    Re: For All Math Experts Here

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkFL View Post
    I've been around, I just haven't been around at the right time to catch any questions before they've already gotten replies. A couple of days ago, Jason apparently pulled the plug on the site without a word to anyone, and he isn't responding to emails either. I'm not sure what happened.
    Over the last four or so months I think that I have noticed a sea-change in four of these sites. A decrease in usage and particularly a dramatic decrease in the quality of questions. I don't know which site was Jason's, but I really would like to know if this is just my imagination and if not then what reason(s) for the sudden change. In a private note it was suggested to me that WolframAlpha has contributed to whatever slowdown there may be. Any thoughts are welcomed.
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  2. #17
    MHF Contributor MarkFL's Avatar
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    Re: For All Math Experts Here

    Quote Originally Posted by Plato View Post
    Over the last four or so months I think that I have noticed a sea-change in four of these sites. A decrease in usage and particularly a dramatic decrease in the quality of questions. I don't know which site was Jason's, but I really would like to know if this is just my imagination and if not then what reason(s) for the sudden change. In a private note it was suggested to me that WolframAlpha has contributed to whatever slowdown there may be. Any thoughts are welcomed.
    I first got involved in online math help communities in 2010, which is late compared to many of you. But, back then, I was involved with just one site (MMF) and there were so many questions being posted I couldn't keep up with them all. Students were posting questions, and replying to the feedback. They generally were quick to learn to use LaTeX too.

    Fast forward to now, and I am involved with 4 math help sites, and the sum total of the activity on those 4 sites is easy to completely keep up with. It seems many people register, post their question with no work shown and no effort to present their question well, and never post again. Even when help is provided, they never return to acknowledge it, or even look at it.

    It makes me wonder if they wait around for 3 minutes, and if no reply is forthcoming, they simply leave and move on elsewhere looking for an immediate reply. I don't know what has happened really...whether there are facebook groups spoonfeeding students or what. I know some of the younger members of my family rarely venture beyond their social media apps. They have no idea how to use a forum, and have no desire to learn.

    One thing I think that hinders some of the older math help sites is we are still running vBulletin 4.x, which is not mobile friendly. But, Jason's site was running XenForo which offers a truly responsive environment, and it had virtually zero activity. FMH is in the process of switching to XF as we speak, and being an already long standing and established site, perhaps that will make a difference. I spent a great amount of time adding custom features to MHB and while these efforts were highly applauded by my fellow staff, they didn't seem to boost our activity at all.

    I help moderate TAZ (theadminzone) and it is generally agreed by forum admins in all niches that we are all generally enjoying a decline in activity. Mobile usage and social media has changed the online landscape in a way that is very detrimental to forums.
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  3. #18
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    Re: For All Math Experts Here

    Who d'heck is Jason?
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  4. #19
    MHF Contributor MarkFL's Avatar
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    Re: For All Math Experts Here

    Quote Originally Posted by DenisB View Post
    Who d'heck is Jason?
    He is someone who approached me at TAZ about a year ago, saying he was interested in starting a new math help site, using XenForo as the platform. He knew from my posting there that I am involved with such sites, and I agreed to help because I was interested in learning more about XenForo. harpazo was a member there. The site never really took off, and a few days ago Jason apparently pulled the plug on it. I found out when I went to log on and got a "this account has been suspended" error message. It's not the first time someone has done this to me.
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  5. #20
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    Re: For All Math Experts Here

    Huh?! I'm gonna find him and throw a hockey puck at him...
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  6. #21
    MHF Contributor MarkFL's Avatar
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    Re: For All Math Experts Here

    Quote Originally Posted by DenisB View Post
    Huh?! I'm gonna find him and throw a hockey puck at him...
    I'd like to hock a puckey at him.
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  7. #22
    Super Member harpazo's Avatar
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    Re: For All Math Experts Here

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkFL View Post
    I've been around, I just haven't been around at the right time to catch any questions before they've already gotten replies. A couple of days ago, Jason apparently pulled the plug on the site without a word to anyone, and he isn't responding to emails either. I'm not sure what happened.
    I had a hunch that Jason's site was going no where. A site cannot survive without tutors and students. It is not right to expect you to answer every question posted. At least here, there are many tutors and math experts like yourself to lend a helping hand.

    I gave him great advice in terms of advertising for the site but he did not listen to the voice of reason. Perhaps, you can start a math site. I would participate on a daily basis.

    After my self-study of algebra, I will need you to safely guide me through calculus 1. I got nothing else to do. No family, no wife, my son ended all contact in the summer of 2016 without providing a reason and life gets harder everyday. Why not do math?

    I am looking forward to calculus 1. However, I am not too happy about the epsilon/delta definition of a limit. In fact, most students get lost in terms of the formal definition of a limit and then go on to do well in calculus 1. How well did you understand the formal definition of a limit when you were first exposed to this concept?
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  8. #23
    MHF Contributor MarkFL's Avatar
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    Re: For All Math Experts Here

    Quote Originally Posted by harpazo View Post
    ...In fact, most students get lost in terms of the formal definition of a limit and then go on to do well in calculus 1. How well did you understand the formal definition of a limit when you were first exposed to this concept?
    When I took Calc I, my professor skipped over that section, as it was marked as optional, and he said our time could be better spent on other things. He did encourage those of us who wished to check it out to do so, and several of us did and got together to discuss and explore it. I found it to be somewhat tedious, but I could appreciate that it puts the concept of the limit on much more rigorous terms. In my opinion, you do not need to understand it to succeed in elementary calculus.
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  9. #24
    Super Member harpazo's Avatar
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    Re: For All Math Experts Here

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkFL View Post
    He is someone who approached me at TAZ about a year ago, saying he was interested in starting a new math help site, using XenForo as the platform. He knew from my posting there that I am involved with such sites, and I agreed to help because I was interested in learning more about XenForo. harpazo was a member there. The site never really took off, and a few days ago Jason apparently pulled the plug on it. I found out when I went to log on and got a "this account has been suspended" error message. It's not the first time someone has done this to me.
    I disagree with Jason. I was kicked out of the site because he disliked my sincerity as a person.
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  10. #25
    Super Member harpazo's Avatar
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    Re: For All Math Experts Here

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkFL View Post
    When I took Calc I, my professor skipped over that section, as it was marked as optional, and he said our time could be better spent on other things. He did encourage those of us who wished to check it out to do so, and several of us did and got together to discuss and explore it. I found it to be somewhat tedious, but I could appreciate that it puts the concept of the limit on much more rigorous terms. In my opinion, you do not need to understand it to succeed in elementary calculus.
    Are you saying that the formal definition of a limit is needed for advanced calculus?
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  11. #26
    Super Member harpazo's Avatar
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    Re: For All Math Experts Here

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkFL View Post
    When I took Calc I, my professor skipped over that section, as it was marked as optional, and he said our time could be better spent on other things. He did encourage those of us who wished to check it out to do so, and several of us did and got together to discuss and explore it. I found it to be somewhat tedious, but I could appreciate that it puts the concept of the limit on much more rigorous terms. In my opinion, you do not need to understand it to succeed in elementary calculus.
    I also want to skip this topic, especially since I am not a student. I look forward to learning about finding limits algebraically and by looking at a graph.
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  12. #27
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    Re: For All Math Experts Here

    Quote Originally Posted by topsquark View Post
    We don't have an actual mission statement or anything, but we are here to help people (not just students) learn Math.


    Sometimes we do. Sometimes we don't. I'm not going to (and never will) try to force a teaching method that the members here have to follow. However one of the best teaching methods is the "Socratic method" where you never just give an answer but ask leading questions. Most of the Helpers here work this way.


    I hold a Master's degree in Quantum Field Theory. I've run across quite a bit of Math while working on it and I like to keep my hand in the teaching field.


    I was a TA for a few courses and I have taught both at the College and High School levels in both Physics and Math.


    Thank you. I agree, we do have quite a bit of talent here and I'm pleased to be part of this community. (I volunteer on a number of sites but I'm "home" here.) For myself I tried working with Tutor.com but when you are a paid teacher you have to teach the material their way, not your own. And besides, the best teachers/tutors really teach just because they love doing it. I think we get a better quality helper by volunteering our time rather than getting paid for it.

    -Dan
    What is tutor.com?
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    Re: For All Math Experts Here

    Quote Originally Posted by Plato View Post
    Over the last four or so months I think that I have noticed a sea-change in four of these sites. A decrease in usage and particularly a dramatic decrease in the quality of questions. I don't know which site was Jason's, but I really would like to know if this is just my imagination and if not then what reason(s) for the sudden change. In a private note it was suggested to me that WolframAlpha has contributed to whatever slowdown there may be. Any thoughts are welcomed.
    Are my questions not quality questions?
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  14. #29
    Forum Admin topsquark's Avatar
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    Re: For All Math Experts Here

    Quote Originally Posted by harpazo View Post
    What is tutor.com?
    It's a paid tutoring site. I think they get most of their money from schools who pay for the service (and then students can use it without having to pay anything.) You can also pay for the service for yourself. It's a decent site, I just had a problem with their forcing me to teach in a specific fashion. (And they didn't like me sending students to MHF when I didn't have enough time to fully help the student. We were allotted 20 minutes, tops.)

    Check it out at some point. But two points: 1) I think we have just as good, or better, tutors here and 2) we're free!

    -Dan
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  15. #30
    Super Member harpazo's Avatar
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    Re: For All Math Experts Here

    Quote Originally Posted by topsquark View Post
    It's a paid tutoring site. I think they get most of their money from schools who pay for the service (and then students can use it without having to pay anything.) You can also pay for the service for yourself. It's a decent site, I just had a problem with their forcing me to teach in a specific fashion. (And they didn't like me sending students to MHF when I didn't have enough time to fully help the student. We were allotted 20 minutes, tops.)

    Check it out at some point. But two points: 1) I think we have just as good, or better, tutors here and 2) we're free!

    -Dan
    If I do not get kicked out of the MHF, I plan to be here as long as I possibly can in terms of learning math that I have forgotten and/or never had money to pay for. I may join tutor.com as a math tutor for grades 3 to 8 as a part-time job.
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