# Are students being adversely affected by cranks or trolls in online math forums?

Does anyone know of any cases of students being adversely affected by cranks or trolls in online math forums (e.g. sci.math)? Are they even a minor problem?

Dan

• I don't know of any particular examples, but I also don't see how this is a problem that is particular to mathematics. There are Cantor cranks, and flat Earthers, and young Earthers, and racists, and all manner of other cranks and trolls on the interwebs. It seems to me that one of the jobs of the secondary instructor is to help students spot those kind of cranks, and work out the flaws in their arguments. ;) – Xander Henderson Dec 4 '17 at 20:05
• Do you have relevant examples that motivated this question? – Benjamin Dickman Dec 4 '17 at 21:32
• Honestly, I think the perpetuation of things like "infinity is just a concept" is a bigger issue. Unless you count that as cranky too. – Hurkyl Dec 4 '17 at 22:19
• Do you mean things like $\displaystyle \sum_{j=1}^{\infty}j=\frac{-1}{12}$? – gamma Dec 5 '17 at 22:27
• What kind of answers are you looking for and why? – Nate Bade Dec 5 '17 at 22:43