This is a "manners critique," and might be annoying to some users; however, I think it's important because I feel that from looking at the site, some users are being targeted for lacking the academic credentials of some of the other users.
For example, in this discussion, a user named Craig Feinstein posts a (possibly off-topic) video of a P vs. NP proof. Another user then calls him a "crank."
I would like to strongly urge users to stop calling other users "cranks." The word crank is nearly always considered derogatory. If you type "crank meaning" into Google, you will see both of these meanings (among others):
- an eccentric person, especially one who is obsessed by a particular subject or theory.
- a bad-tempered person.
Referring to someone as either "bad-tempered" or "eccentric" is generally considered rude.
I would like to suggest that users who are seeking to make an observation about another user's interests in mathematics or computer science use the word "enthusiast" instead of "crank." For example, if someone called another user a "P vs. NP enthusiast," this would not be rude or considered bullying. Telling a user that they are a crank is a form of harassment, and I do not believe that it is appropriate for any of these sites.
My question is: Do you agree with my (relatively straightforward) claims above, and that users should stop referring to each other as cranks or other derogatory terms?
Also: Do you have any other suggestions on improving the atmosphere of cstheory to make it welcoming to all appropriate users, including people who are not professional academics?