A properly-tagged, significant, and seemingly relevant post--Structure for an introductory course on cryptography?--has been locked as something of historical significance with the explanation that "...it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site."

Then why do we have a pedagogy tag?

What does this website do? Doesn't it make sense that people should be able to ask about how to teach cryptography on a website that de facto teaches cryptography?


1 Answer 1


Note that pedagogy is about teaching cryptography, not so much learning it. You are however referencing questions of starting cryptographers that want to be tutored, so let me answer that question instead.

There are many issues with most of the questions that ask about introductions to cryptography:

  1. It is basically a broad request for references. As nobody is going to teach it in an answer, we basically are going to list (online) resources. And that's off topic on our site and many others. However, we've removed that particular close reason from our site - that was however because it precluded us to point out a particular resource such as test vectors etc.. It generated many false positives and was considered by many to be not that constructive, especially compared to other close reasons.

  2. It is a very broad question. As you've already indicated yourself in the latest question about the subject, cryptography is a broad subject. You could be wanting to learn it from a mathematical standpoint, learning about the algorithms themselves. Or as a developer or architect. Or as a security officer. Or maybe you want to perform attacks on the ciphers, or analyze them. Generally these kind of questions do not distinguish between use cases. The "too broad" close reason is the reason you would choose if a generic request for resources is made.

  3. The answers will almost by definition be opinionated. Everybody has his own idea how crypto should be thought. In that sense there may also not be a right answer, just one that the person asking the question possibly agrees with. Certainly you can discuss this particular topic endlessly, but we're not a discussion site.

This website is a Q/A site, where we answer specific questions about cryptography. Of course, by answering those questions people are learning things; most things are learned outside of any class room. This is not a tutorial site; if we were we would be offering tutorials.


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