Parody of a typical comp.theory newsgroup discussion of a typical P vs NP proof, from Suresh Venkatasubramanian’s post A meta-proof:
P: I would like to announce my proof of P=/!=NP. The proof is very short and demonstrates how to solve/not solve SAT in polynomial time. You may find a write up of the proof here.
|– V: I started reading your proof and when you claim ‘foobar’ do you mean ‘foobar’ or ‘phishbang’ ?
|—-P: I meant ‘phishbang’. Thanks for pointing that out. An updated version is here.
|——V: Well if you meant ‘phishbang’ then statement “in this step we assume the feefum” is incorrect.
|——–P: No no, you don’t understand. I can assume feefum because my algorithm has a glemish.
|———–V: It has a glemish ? !! But having a glemish doesn’t imply anything. All algorithms have glemishes !!
|—-V’: Yes, and in fact in the 3rd step of argument 4, your glemish contradicts the first propum.
|–V”: I think you need to understand some basic facts about complicity theory before you can go further. Here is a book to read.
|—-P: My proof is quite clear, and I don’t see why I have to explain it to you if you don’t understand. I have spent a long time on this.
|——V’: Um, this is a famous problem, and there are many false proofs, and so you do have to convince us that the argument using glemishes can actually work.
|——–P: But what is wrong in my proof ? I don’t see any problems with it, and if you can’t point one out, how can you say it is wrong.
|———-V””: I don’t have to read the entire proof: glemished algorithms are well known not to work.
|————V”””: Check out this reference by to see why.
|–P: <answering earlier post>. This is what I mean by a glemish. it is really a flemish, not a glemish, which answers your objection.
|—-P’: Keep up the good work P. I tried publishing my result, and these people savaged my proof without even trying to identify a problem. All great mathematical progress has come from amateurs like us. See this link of all the theorems proved by non-experts.
|——V’: Oh jeez, not P’ again. I thought we had established that your proof was wrong.
|——–P’: no you didn’t: in fact I have a new version that explains the proof in such simple language even dumb&%&%s like you can get it.
|——P: Thanks P’, I understand that there will be resistance from the community since I have proved what they thought to be so hard.
|–V’: P, I’m trying to understand your proof, with the flemishes, and it seems that maybe there is a problem in step 517 with the brouhaha technique.
|—-P: V’, thanks for pointing out that mistake. you are right. Instead of a brouhaha technique I need a slushpit. The details are complicated, so I will fix it and post a corrected version of the proof shortly. Thanks to all those who gave me constructive advice. I am glad that at least some of you have an open mind to accept new ideas.