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I am an undergraduate student from Brazil. I am not a mathematician yet because I've never published an article. I am very close to starting my master's degree and would like to have a personal page to talk about the areas I'm interested in — General Topology and Algebraic Topology — and post the lists of exercises and LaTeX solutions that I typed. I am afraid of seeming arrogant and pretentious because I am not even in my doctorate.

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    ‘I'm afraid of seeming arrogant and pretentious.’ Who do you think would find a personal web page pretentious? Sep 18, 2023 at 2:13
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    How would they even know about your website if you do not actively advertise it to them? I don't think that university staff makes it a habit to find out if their students have personal websites.
    – Sursula
    Sep 18, 2023 at 6:46
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    One comment "...post the lists of exercises..." Those lists may be subject to copyright.
    – GEdgar
    Sep 18, 2023 at 15:38
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    If your personal page is arrogant and pretentious, it will come off as arrogant and pretentious. Otherwise it will come off as "this person wanted to have a personal website so they could be googled" which is a fairly normal thing to do, even if it's not the majority choice for college students. Make sure not to create a resource for cheaters to lift answers to homework problems. Sep 18, 2023 at 16:44
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    Next time you're afraid of looking arrogant and pretentious because you have one page, think of all the people who have a linkedin page plus a facebook page plus a github page plus whatever else.
    – Stef
    Sep 18, 2023 at 21:23

7 Answers 7

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Yes, it is fine, but if you intend to maintain it into the future, keep it professional in all respects.

It isn't likely to be found by many people, however, unless you also make it useful in some way. That is, useful to mathematicians in your case. Book reviews might work, or alternate problems/exercises in your field.

But stay away from things like solutions to book exercises, which might be used by others to cheat in courses. And pop-culture lessens the professional nature of the site.

IIRC, some universities provide web space for students, so it isn't unheard of. Those might disappear at graduation, however.

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    "stay away from things like solutions to book exercises, which might be used by others to cheat" Other people cheating is irrelevant to the operator of the website. People might also use Wikipedia or Google to cheat, but nobody opposes their existence. Sep 19, 2023 at 2:34
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    To take a more optimistic view, solutions to exercises might also be used by others to learn!
    – einar
    Sep 19, 2023 at 6:49
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    "And pop culture lessens the professional nature of the site" - I'm not really keen on this perception. Your site is your own and it's as much a reflection of your personality as it is your professionalism. xkcd what if? is a great example of being able to demonstrate scientific proficiency in a humanised context. Something like that would be a great way to demonstrate soft skills. Of course, it does depend on whether this is a page on the actual university site or a personal project
    – roganjosh
    Sep 19, 2023 at 10:04
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    @TrangOul There's a difference, which is not relevant to this situation. Cheating is solely the responsibility of the cheater and their co-conspirators. Public information is not a conspiracy. Sep 19, 2023 at 11:01
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    I self study and it would be really good to have book solutions that I could use. I don't always have the opportunity to pay for a course and I would definitely like to study things on my own before I take a course. Math always seems impenetrable because math texts have less wording and few worked examples. Sep 19, 2023 at 13:17
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I had a webpage as a grad student where I had a lot of tutorials on how to use the various tools that we used in circuits classes. I also had some of my lectures, and tools. It got about 100k hits a year by the time I left, and then it went away a year later. It wasn't until it went away that I found out how much it was used as a resource. The Internet is actually written in pencil.

I would suggest having a github or something similar as it's free (currently) and free of the requirements of the department. This will let you keep the work long after you are finished with school and it can follow you when you change affiliations.

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    +1 for this comment The Internet is actually written in pencil. Good advice for many things, not just this question. Sep 18, 2023 at 19:48
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    The internet is written in pencil ... a part from what is written with your real name. That is going to bother you forever.
    – EarlGrey
    Sep 19, 2023 at 7:00
  • Sorry for your loss. You learnt the hard way why back-ups are so important....
    – Trang Oul
    Sep 19, 2023 at 10:23
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It used to even be expected. When I started university in 2001 every student got allocated some space for a homepage on the university servers. That might vary by country, and be less popular post social-networking, but it's completely normal.

For Computer Science students graduating, having a personal Github page with most of you major projects is almost a must, currently.

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    (+1) It used to even be expected. I've been wondering about this since the present question was asked and reading the comments and answers. I thought maybe this was perhaps a country/culture-specific issue (indeed, several high school students I taught even as long ago as the late 1990s had personal web pages), but after seeing your answer I'm now wondering whether this is something that was more common a couple of decades ago, but less so now with the rise of facebook and other social media outlets. Sep 19, 2023 at 8:12
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I have learned some very difficult mathematics from blog posts written by some (admittedly, genius) mathematicians when they were in early years of college or even still in high school. So having a web page with your personal thoughts on mathematics should not shed any negative light in you.

But if you are afraid of coming off as arrogant, then don't be arrogant! Having something along the lines of "Hey, I am a second-year student, and here I will teach all of you how you should think about mirror symmetry" is something that could only be justified by immense knowledge of mathematics, while "Hey, I am a second-year student, I am interested in mirror symmetry and this is my understanding so far" sounds completely fine, even if the actual content following this line turns out to be completely wrong.

As others have suggested, you should probably stay away from posting exercise solutions. Even though there is precedent for that too, you really should consult with a senior colleague before doing so. The most important thing to consider is whether the result of the exercise is useful on its own (there are books in which critical results of the subject are hidden away in the exercises), or is the point of the exercise is for a student to practice doing something.

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You should have a web page listing your name, the university where you study, and a way to contact you. If your name is common, you might add something else that would help identify you. No matter what you do in your future career, this is a helpful thing to have.

Including any math in your site is not particularly important. Anyone searching for your page will be looking for your contact information.

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    Is such a site supposed to serve only as a business card?
    – Trang Oul
    Sep 19, 2023 at 10:26
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No it's not. From what you describe, it looks like you want to have a web page like it was in the good old days of the Internet of Ideas (also called Internet 1.0 ... T&C apply, these names are made up by me).

If you have an apple and you share it with me, we both have half an apple. If you have an idea and you share it with me, we both have an idea.

If your page is pretentious, it will look like pretentious. If your page is full of claims like "I will demonstrate Fermat's theorem", it will look like it is a crank page If your page is full of exercises and their solutions in Latex ... it may be interesting both for you and for who will find it.

I do not have an opinion on the general issue with cheaters and future versions of ChatGPT using it, you may reflect on this aspect.

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Yes, it's fine. Moreover, this will help you to showcase your accomplishments get more opportunities in each step of your life. Just gradually add it over time. In addition, if you add blog section and put stuff there, you will be able to improve your English, your writing skills, shich is helpful in both, in academia and in industry; moreover, in life.

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