In a letter to the GAP-forum Keith Dennis asked a more or less
theoretical question about commutators for which a group theory
program might at best provide some evidence. In a second letter I will
give a little partial information towards his question, but Keith
Dennis also asked first of all, if the GAP-forum might at all be the
right place for his question, and if not, if there is another place
for such a question, and if not, if there should be one. I want to
comment on these questions here.
I think the GAP-forum is primarily for discussion of GAP and its use.
So a question, if some problem can be tackled with GAP, certainly
belongs into it as much as technical questions about its use, or bug
reports. In fact concrete questions have often enough been the
incentive for new algorithmic ideas and even implementations and I
certainly welcome if these are done in GAP.
As a recent example showed even a purely theoretical question on the
meaning of a passage in the literature found a quick answer in the
forum and since the number of letters to the forum is not that
overwhelming yet, I think there is no reason to introduce firm
restrictions on the topics to be discussed yet although I ask to keep
the main objective of the forum in mind.
As to Keith Dennis' question I certainly like to see it in the forum,
since it might trigger thoughts how to provide further evidence.
I do not know of an electronic forum for the discussion of
group-theoretical questions. The Kourovka notebook from Novosibirsk,
which by the way now is also distributed in English, certainly
demonstrates the usefulness of a medium in which questions and
problems can be made public. To set up something like that via e-mail
might be a nice idea, but it will then need somebody who does some
careful editing and bookkeeping of the progress of the problems, as is
done with the Kourovka Notebook, since problems may remain open much
longer than it takes e.g. to answer questions about GAP. We certainly
do have no intention (nor manpower) to start such an enterprise.