It's well-known that there are tons of amateurs--myself included--who are interested in the P vs. NP problem. There are also many amatuers--myself still included--who have made attempts to resolve the problem.
One problem that I think the TCS community suffers from is a relatively high interested-amateur-to-expert ratio; this leads to experts being inundated with proofs that P != NP, and I've read that they are frustrated and overwhelmed, quite understandably, by this situation. Oded Goldreich has written on this issue, and indicated his own refusal to check proofs.
At the same time, speaking from the point of view of an amateur, I can assert that there are few things more frustrating for non-expert-level TCS enthusiasts of any level of ability than generating a proof that just seems right, but lacking both the ability to find the error in the proof yourself and the ability to talk to anyone who can spot errors in your proof. Recently, R. J. Lipton wrote on the problem of amateurs who try to get taken seriously.
I have a proposal for resolving this problem, and my question is whether or not others think it reasonable, or if there are problems with it.
I think experts should charge a significant but reasonable sum of money (say, 200 - 300 USD) in exchange for agreeing to read proofs in detail and find specific errors in them. This would accomplish three things:
- Amateurs would have a clear way to get their proofs evaluated and taken seriously.
- Experts would be compensated for their time and energy expended.
- There would be a significantly high cost imposed on proof-checking that the number of proofs that amateurs submit would go down dramatically.
Again, my question is whether or not this is a reasonable proposal. Obviously, I have no ability to cause experts to adopt what I suggest; however, I'm hoping that experts will read what I've written and decide that it's reasonable.