I'm a prospective PhD student who has had little to non-existent experience in formal/theoretical research. As an engineering student, the workflow I am used to is to test an experiment, then to debug to see what works and what does not and explore workarounds, if needed.
I've been browsing Math Overflow recently, interested in it being a site for "professional mathematicians." I myself am interested in doing work with provable guarantees in wireless communications using techniques from optimization and information theory.
Unlike Math Overflow, I would expect that you get to interact with less people in person. My question is: how close/different is the Q&A interaction in Math Overflow compared to in-person interactions with a theoretically-oriented research group?