This thread is used to record significant events in the life of Math.StackExchange. (There are also anniversary posts written from personal perspectives of contributing users.)

Where this idea comes from. Long ago, on a distant website, a user asked "What's the story behind MathOverflow?". Mariano Suárez-Alvarez replied: This is the canonical question that should be asked on the meta site! Anton Geraschenko wrote an informative answer, and other users added details. It seems that nobody asked such a canonical question here yet.

What should be recorded. Creation of the site (proposed, beta tested, graduated). Technological innovations like TeX support and chat. Chronology of moderators. Base-10 milestones ($10^k$ users, $10^k$ questions, etc). Probably something else that I can't think of now. But nothing subjective or potentially inflammatory.

How could it be useful? Newcomers to the site will have a way to satisfy natural curiosity. Wikipedia editors (and journalists, if they still exist) will have a convenient source of information about Math.SE (I'm sure there will be an article about Math.SE eventually; there is one about MathOverflow, and Math.SE reaches more people). Users reading old meta threads will be able to interpret them properly, knowing that a certain post was written when its author was/was not a moderator. Former moderators will have their work formally recognized.

Great idea..... –  draks ... Dec 30 '12 at 13:50
"Jabrumaril 2013" or "Jabrumaril xxxx"? :-) –  Tim Dec 30 '12 at 15:22
Should there also be some notes of questions and answers which hit high milestones, and users whose contribution hits high levels? –  Mark Bennet Jan 2 '13 at 21:44
@MarkBennet Sure, record-setting questions and answers would be a good way to measure the widening reach of the site, if there is an objective measure (number of views?) to back up their inclusion. (By the way, I agree with Noah Snyder that the Batman equation was a success story of Math.SE). I'm less sure about putting spotlight on particular users when it's not clear that they would like it. This is why I reworded the entry on Arturo's 100K to make it more about the site. –  user53153 Jan 2 '13 at 22:01
@MarkBennet In any case, the answer below is a comminuty wiki, it's not owned by Marvis or myself. You should feel free to add to it. –  user53153 Jan 2 '13 at 22:07
I think we can remove the mo example...? Maybe we a link to the corresponding thread would be do... –  draks ... Jan 20 '13 at 11:58
Should we include meta data as well? –  draks ... Jan 21 '13 at 10:17
@draks... I don't see a convincing reason to include meta in history. Pretty much all of its content (except faq) could disappear overnight without anyone losing anything of value. –  user53153 Jan 21 '13 at 23:25
We'll lose the History post! –  draks ... Jan 22 '13 at 8:18
The Maths Overflow post is located here, now. –  dimensio1n0 Nov 12 '13 at 3:17

1 Answer 1

History of Mathematics.StackExchange


June 2010: Math.SE was proposed on Area 51 by Dan Dumitru.

July 2010: Math.SE enters the beta phase. The first question was Different kinds of infinities? At least 60 users actively participated in the private beta (July 20-27). The most active users during the public beta phase (July 27-October 25) are listed here.

August 2010: $1000^{\rm th}$ user joined.

October 2010: The site graduates from beta and gets its own design.

November 2010: First "Great Answer" badge awarded to Qiaochu Yuan for Mathematical difference between white and black notes in a piano.

December 2010: First "Great Question" badge awarded to user Chris for Why can you turn clothing right-side-out?

January 2011: $10000^{\rm th}$ answer posted.

April 2011: $10000^{\rm th}$ question posted.

August 2011: $10000^{\rm th}$ user joined. Is this Batman equation for real? becomes the first question with $100000$ views.

October 2011: First paper accepted for publication (also here), based on a collaborative effort between math.SE users Listing, Peter Taylor, J.M., and Mike Spivey on Listing's question - $n$th derivative of $e^{1/x}$. Paper published in the February 2013 issue of Mathematics Magazine.

December 2011: $\TeX$ support for chat is introduced by robjohn.

January 2012: Math.SE becomes the first SE 2.0 site with a 100K user (Arturo Magidin), excluding StackOverflow.

August 2012: $100000^{\rm th}$ answer posted.

January 2013: $100000^{\rm th}$ question posted.

February 2013: The tag becomes the first tag to reach $10000$ questions.

March 2013 was the first month with over $10000$ questions asked.

July 2013: The site becomes third on SE in the number of questions; first time an SE 2.0 site overtook a member of the original trilogy (ServerFault).

October 2013: André Nicolas is the first user to reach 200K reputation.

November 2013: The site becomes second on SE in the number of questions, trailing only StackOverflow.

January 2014: $100000^{\rm th}$ user joined.

June 2014: The Official Math.SE Blog launched.


August 2010 - December 2010: Pro tempore moderators Katie Banks, Larry Wang, KennyTM, and Isaac (through mid-November).

December 2010 - February 2011: First elected moderators Robin Chapman, Willie Wong, and Qiaochu Yuan.

February 2011 - April 2011: Willie Wong, Qiaochu Yuan, and a 2010 runner-up Akhil Mathew.

April 2011 - June 2011: Willie Wong and Qiaochu Yuan.

June 2011 - May 2012: Willie Wong, Qiaochu Yuan, and 2011 electees Zev Chonoles and Mariano Suárez-Alvarez.

May 2012 - August 2012: Zev Chonoles, Mariano Suárez-Alvarez, Willie Wong, Qiaochu Yuan, and 2012 electees Bill Dubuque and Eric Naslund.

August 2012 - December 2012: Zev Chonoles, Bill Dubuque, Eric Naslund, Mariano Suárez-Alvarez, Willie Wong, Qiaochu Yuan, and 2012 runner-ups mixedmath and robjohn.

December 2012 - May 2013: Zev Chonoles, Eric Naslund, Mariano Suárez-Alvarez, Willie Wong, Qiaochu Yuan, mixedmath and robjohn.

May 2013 - present: Alex Becker, Arthur Fischer, Michael Greinecker, Alexander Gruber, Mariano Suárez-Alvarez, Willie Wong, mixedmath and robjohn.

I have written this answer, with whatever little information I know and am aware of. I joined this site only in November $2010$. Hence, there might be some mistakes/error etc. Feel free to update this answer if I have got some facts wrong or have missed some important events. –  user17762 Dec 30 '12 at 19:51
I changed the format of the moderation history as to avoid anything potentially inflammatory. Also, I'm trying to find a Data.SE query for reaching $10^k$ users / answers / questions, but so far in vain... –  user53153 Dec 30 '12 at 20:42
The Q&A milestones are based on the query Questions and Answers per Month. –  user53153 Dec 31 '12 at 3:52
I don't want to make the edits without someone confirming it, but I'm pretty sure the first moderation period started in August (not July) and did not include Akhil (or maybe included him later); I also quit in November (wasn't a mod through December), so perhaps that should be broken out. –  Isaac Dec 31 '12 at 7:51
@Isaac Feel free to make those changes. You are probably the oldest member of this site and hence you are most likely to be right! –  user17762 Dec 31 '12 at 7:57
I made the corrections suggested by @Isaac. Also added milestones for the number of users –  user53153 Jan 1 '13 at 1:41
Should anyone care, I think that this question was the $10000$-th to bear the (homework) tag. –  Brian M. Scott Feb 7 '13 at 0:03
@BrianM.Scott Though this is a somewhat fuzzy concept, since some questions may exist in a superposition of deleted and undeleted states. –  user53153 Feb 25 '13 at 18:09
Anyone knows what does the icon of MSE mean? I saw Feynman wearing the a shirt with MSE icon on it in a CS lecture: –  Shuhao Cao May 22 '13 at 20:41
@ShuhaoCao –  ˈjuː.zɚ79365 May 26 '13 at 4:04
Should we care that we have 2500 meta questions? –  draks ... Jun 1 '13 at 13:37
A minor point: "A total of 60 users actively participated in the private beta": I can think of 1 user who was active then but does not appear in that list, because the account was later deleted. It seems we only know from that list how many of the private-beta-active accounts still exist. –  Jonas Meyer Jul 1 '13 at 2:36
@JonasMeyer I changed the statement to "At least 60 users". Feel free to edit in a better wording... Among the top (public) beta users, I see three whose accounts no longer exist: Chandru1, muad, and 97832123. In particular, Chandru1 held the top stop on the "most active" list of public beta users. I don't know if any of the three participated in private beta. –  ˈjuː.zɚ79365 Jul 1 '13 at 3:18
@ˈjuː.zɚ79365: Looks good to me. Thank you. One of the three you mention was the one I had in mind in my previous comment. One of them I am pretty sure didn't join until public beta, and for the other I don't know. –  Jonas Meyer Jul 1 '13 at 3:26
History of MO. –  Andres Caicedo Aug 31 '13 at 15:44

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