This question is about the policy for general contest problems, NOT ongoing contest problems.


I noticed today that this question is being closed and again, for reasons I cannot understand. I would like to know in detail why the question is closed - what does "non-constructive" mean?

  1. If it is because the question is too localized/ad-hoc/without motivation, I would argue that the same happens for many modern contest problems. Are all such problems going to be closed? Also, it seems to me that many computational calculus problems are no better motivated than a problem like this. (e.g. whether a random series converges, or how to compute a random integral, or whether a sequence is monotone) So this does not seem to be a sound reason to me.

  2. If it is because the OP did not show enough effort, as commented by user45878 in the second post, then I wonder what level of effort is sufficient. While it is reasonable to say that OP did not show enough of his work in either posts, olympiad problems are often tricky enough that if you don't get the idea, you are nowhere close to solve it at all and it could be difficult to get any partial progress. Even though the question is labelled as homework, it seems harsh to demand the same effort level shown compared to a standard college homework problem.

It would be immensely helpful if others can shed light on this, especially users who closed the mentioned questions themselves.

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I believe the problem with this question was with the user who asked it, not the question per se. (I'm adding this comment just to make the implication in Will Jagy's answer explicit.) –  Potato Feb 25 '13 at 7:06
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Again, don't take too literally the "reason" for closing. It has to be chosen from a very sort list, so it may be only an approximation to the reason. –  GEdgar Feb 25 '13 at 14:08
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Worse yet, it was deleted after someone voted to reopen it; I consider that highly improper. –  Brian M. Scott Feb 25 '13 at 18:37
    
@Potato, GEdgar, thanks for the tip. Usually questions I'm interested in are not closed, so I took the reason for closing pretty literally. –  user27126 Feb 25 '13 at 23:25
    
@BrianM.Scott, the second question is reopened and is still there. The first one might have been deleted because it's a duplicate now even if it's reopened, but I'm not sure. –  user27126 Feb 25 '13 at 23:26
    
@WillJagy, thanks for your (now deleted) answer by the way. At least I know now that people might have closed that question for reasons beyond the question itself. –  user27126 Feb 25 '13 at 23:26
    
In addition to the abuse of deletion powers that @BrianM.Scott mentioned, that post has a close vote followed by a delete vote from the same user (which blocks reopen votes). The close/delete problem is related to, and discussed tangentially in, the recent feature-request thread : meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/10666/… . In general I think the site should strongly discourage (and forbid in the software) the practice of denying to others a resource, such as answering or close/open voting, that one has just used. –  zyx Sep 24 '13 at 19:10

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