I'm posting this as an outsider to Crypto.SE. The odd time that I stray over here from Security.SE (where I'm a 10k user) I'm often greeted by all the usual stereotypes of elitist mathematicians.
In particular, this question was in the weekly newsletter, but when I clicked it I was rather shocked to find this comment and this comment which are almost mocking the OP for not being a mathematician (you actually expect the OP to be satisfied with a link to wikipedia/cyclic_permutation_group ?).
To me this question seemed like a great way to put some info out there and clear up a common misconception through a question that's likely to get a lot of Google hits (it's already at almost 1,000 views). Instead a user is greeted with sneer and disdain as the first comment.
So my question to the Crypto.SE community is: is this how you want the rest of the SE network to view Crypto.SE? By not moderating comments like that, you are making a decision...
Since the most offensive comment above was deleted, I'll broaden the scope of this question:
If somebody comes in with a genuine crypto-related question, but very little understanding of mathematics, are they welcome here?
I guess this is a call to
- be a little quicker to flag/moderate dismissive comments (and post an encouraging follow-up comment while waiting for the flag to be dealt with).
- When posting an answer, pay more attention to the knowledge-level that the question was asked at. Many answers on this site are wonderful, others are daunting. Maybe as a rule of thumb for a non-technical OP, post an answer directed at the OP, then a horizontal rule, then delve into group theory and whatever else you feel is "the correct answer".
Another perfect example of this that I just stumbled into: How is injective, inverse, surjective & oneway related to cryptography?
This question received multiple downvotes, and based on @RichieFrame's comment it seems that the OP was mocked for asking it.
…I'm often greeted by all the usual stereotypes of elitist mathematicians…is a bit of a slap in the face for all those not being such stereotypes, elitists, and/or mathematicians – but that might just be me (personal impression/opinion; not speaking as a mod). $\endgroup$