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This is not surprising at all, considering the importance of the book for algebraic number theory and classfield theory. We all who were interested in the subject, worshipped the book at some point of time.
I suggest that you even make a page for this book in your homepage, and make a page for errata, so that there is no duplication of work in reporting errata.
Of course, the MO page will do fine as the errata page, if MO moderators are ok with the idea. The merit of the project is unquestionable. The only sticking point is how much may be highlighted within MO. This page might keep returning to the front with each editing/reporting, and some people might find it irritating!
It depends on the MO crowd and the moderators. As for myself, I am totally excited at the possibility to have a "clean" Cassels-Frohlich in hand.
@Buzzard. MO becoming an erratum repository may be not within the stated guidelines. However Cassels and Frochlich has a special place among books. It is a bible in a certain subject, and given the number of authors and age of the book, it is hard to organize an erratum in a normal way. One can hope that there are no other books occupying the same curiously important place as C-F does.
I compare your effort to the much larger effort by French mathematicians(but started by Edixhoven) to typeset the SGA. That had a webpage for each volume and lots of people were involved. However here the work put in by each person is infinitely less, only an understanding of the book is needed to contribute errors. No huge typesetting task is involved. For a person who did work through the book, the effort involved in making a contribution is exactly the same as that of typing a short answer to a familiar question MO, one which he already knows the answer to. If there are enough algebraic number theorists in MO, the errata will build up quickly. Also anyone who wants to check can straight come here and have a verification.
I say, let the MO moderators speak. It is their headache to control this or any similar future threads, after all. If they are ok with it, why not go ahead? On the other hand it is not good to force them to accept something which they really don't want to. They may face similar problems in future too and it may snowball out of control.
I note that if the forum were only for algebraic number theory, then this question wouldn't even have surfaced. Not a single person would have ever dreamed of closing the thread. The issue here is that this forum is for all topics in mathematics and others may not appreciate so much attention on one particular book. The overall view of the populace might depend on the number of algebraic number theory enthusiasts here. I myself strongly vote for letting the thread stay.
There were many opinions by different people about what questions are allows and many people suggested guidelines. I think your post is within all guidelines that FAQ ever contained; it may not be within what some vocal members suggested on meta, but that makes them misguided, not you.
I must say I don't see anything "special" about C-F compared to Hartshorne, Mumford, Silverman, or other classical well-read texts other than the (rather technical) fact that this is more a collection of essays than a single book. So I'd be fine with seeing errata to other books. The usual guidelines apply though: a person should be "actively working on a problem", so I would object to a person asking 10 questions about the books he/she just happens to have.
For the question, though, I would select a slightly different form: a question + single community wiki answer.
@Buzzard. The youth of today needs the erratum. It is not that they should contribute it. However working groups of grad students in algebraic number theory such as the group of your students, would be capable of contributing more compared to isolated grad students like me with other subjects to do as well.
@Ilya. I suggest that you spend some time with this book. Then you will see what is special with it. But, what are the guidelines as stated, and what are the twists made by the vocal people in meta? Could you please explain? It might help me out..
"guidelines as stated" are what is currently in the FAQ. "community opinion" would be, I guess, more authoritative, but harder to formalize. "twists made by vocal people in meta" are personal opinions that matter if they are close to community opinion, and should be politely ignored if they significantly deviate (but if in doubt, err on the side of not disturbing people and ask on meta).
That was my personal opinion :)
I certainly don't think that it fits the template for what kinds of questions should normally be on MO, but it worked well. I think one very important factor was the organizational effort Kevin put into the problem. Crowd-sourcing doesn't work well from the ground up; some particular person (or small group of people) has to bring a project to a point where it's useful to others, and then the people who find it useful will improve it while using it. Within a few hours of posting the question, he'd posted lots of errata. If he hadn't, I think the question would have been a flop, upvotes and specialness of C-F notwithstanding. I assume the early upvotes were largely based on the assumption that Kevin wouldn't post such a question lightly, not just on the fanciful hope that somebody would come along with a long list if there was enough demand in the form of votes.
If somebody posted "It'd be good to collect errata from Hartshorne, but I only know this one," I think it would be a poor thread unless somebody else picked up the ball and turned the thread into an actually useful reference by posting lots of errata. Having somebody post one every now and then wouldn't work because nobody would use a list with only 3 errata as a reference, so the list would be buried in obscurity. Nobody would ever tell a colleague, "you should really check out this list of 3 errata online." A crowd-sourced project that nobody ever has much reason to look at will fail.
I agree with Ilya that a single answer, sorted by page number, is clearly the way to go. It makes the post much more usable. I assume Kevin posted them as separate answers because they were coming from different sources and he wanted to get them up as soon as possible. But it would be really nice if somebody edited everything into a single post. Merging the posts one at a time, with edit comments like "added Eric Bach's errata," will make it easy to determine the source of each erratum through the revision history.
A brand new user (SpecR) just opened a new errata question, on Principles of Algebraic Geometry. I just wanted to give everyone a heads up on this.
I encouraged him, via the comments, to get in touch. I think that without the enormous effort Kevin Buzzard put into his question, it would have been a flop. I'd like to ascertain what's going to happen here.
+1 Harry. I hope this wiki takes off.
An 'errata' tag would not hurt.
@Harry. Was your comment "I mean, if you'd feel more comfortable, I'm sure the guys over at nLab would be willing to make something similar." directed at me? If so I don't follow.
@Harry. Ok that makes more sense ;)
Another Errata question was opened today. http://mathoverflow.net/questions/42241/errata-for-atiyah-macdonald
Was there ever a decision about whether such questions are suitable for MO? And if yes, what should be the guidelines?
In a possibly somewhat similar spirit a new question:
It's not quite the same idea it seems. In any case, it seemed a sufficiently uncommon type of question to make me wonder whether it is or is not on-topic. I knew there were some similar things, searched around a bit and found this thread.
Or perhaps I even misunderstand the intent, of that new question.
ADDED: question was edited by Francois Dorais. Now gone.
Hi, I posted the question. When I posted the question I had thought that since errata questions seemed to be well received and consistently voted highly, they had become part of the MO landscape.
I came here to post a defense of my question with this in mind, but in doing so I realized that the question could be posed in a way that's both more focused and less provocative. Normally I would edit the question to reflect this, but the url/question title uses the e-word and will therefore always be a little more provocative than is needed or wanted. So I deleted it. I'll ask the revised question some time later.
If you edit the title, the url will change too. Actually, the last part of the url is completely irrelevant, e.g., http://mathoverflow.net/questions/74437/CENSORED-and-corrections-to-the-eichler-lefschetz-eichler-selberg-trace-formula links to your deleted question.
A fresh start is better anyways.