I've always wanted math competitions on MSE ever since I've joined. These could be either user-held or officially held, whichever seems better. User-held competitions would run as follows.

A user starts a competition with a specified level, with original problems that he/she writes. People sign up or just jump in, whichever. The user posts the problems at a certain time and submissions go in a particular e-Mail address, since there is no Private messaging system on SE yet. Then, the top-scorer wins. Examples of such tournaments can be found on the Art of Problem Solving website. This might be a nice turnaround on SE. Anybody agree?

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    $\begingroup$ Once a question is posted on Math.SE, anyone can post an answer to it. So, a question meant for competition would have to be locked by a moderator to prevent this. Additional work for moderators aside, this means that the site's main functionality would not be used. The question could just as well be posted on any website that does not have answering and commenting features. E.g., in a blog post with locked comments. $\endgroup$
    – user90090
    Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 19:27
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your comments! On the AoPS website, people can post in-thread but hardly is there any cheating. Even if there is, it's almost immediately removed by moderation. Was this your main concern? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 19:31
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    $\begingroup$ But the AoPS culture and community rules are different. Here, a moderator deleting an on-topic answer would be something out of ordinary. $\endgroup$
    – user90090
    Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 19:46
  • $\begingroup$ True, but it can still be done. Maybe a whole new site altogether for this? Who knows? Just an idea! $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 19:48
  • $\begingroup$ You could always just bounty a good question that you ask and select the best answer. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander Gruber Mod
    Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 23:35
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexanderGruber The idea is resolved, but that's not what I meant anyways. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 23:52
  • $\begingroup$ +1 I like this idea. Not sure how feasible it would be to implement it, but I like the idea nontheless. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 0:15
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! Although, I'm afraid quid's correct. This probably can't be implemented. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 0:55

3 Answers 3


The idea of competitions of this form on this site to me seems completely against the intent of the site, which is to provide answers to questions (that somebody actually has or might have need for).

If one thinks the SE infrastructure is a good fit for some type of math-related competitions one could entertain the idea to post a proposal for a new site at http://area51.stackexchange.com

For a certain type of programming-related competitions there is in fact such an SE-site https://codegolf.stackexchange.com/

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the response! I'll take a look at the given links. :) $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 20:02

This is only marginally related to the topic from the original post, but I thought it is worth pointing out that the tag was created recently. At the moment in contains only one question.

The tag-wiki is empty at the moment. The tag-excerpt is:

For the question that is intended as a challenge problem. Use this tag to invite other users to compete or take part, especially in trying to answer a question that has already known the answer.

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    $\begingroup$ I wasn't sure whether to post a separate question about this tag. (To discuss whether it should be kept.) But I guess posting an answer here is probably enough to make users aware of the new tag. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 7:44
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    $\begingroup$ I have taken the liberty of removing that tag from that question in the hopes of having the tag deleted within 24hrs. It's a pure meta-tag, and shouldn't have been created in the first place. $\endgroup$
    – user642796
    Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 8:47
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    $\begingroup$ @Arthur Fischer: I have removed it one more time from math.stackexchange.com/q/1006127/630 , and left a comment pointing at this thread. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 17:30
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    $\begingroup$ Mr. Martin Sleziak But WHY??? I have a privilege for doing so. Lots of questions on Math SE can be covered by using this tag. I think it is about time we have this tag on Math SE. Just please don't delete the tag. It's really helpful. $$$$ Mr. @ArthurFischer and Prof. Carl Mummert Why don't you guys just leave me alone? Please don't bother my posts again. They're all legit. I didn't do something wrong here $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 17:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Anastasiya-Romanova: Part of the SE model is that any post can be edited by others to better fit the standard of the site. As this very thread indicates, the community is largely feel that your "challenge problems" do not really fit the philosophy of the site, regardless of whether you create a tag for them. (And your tag is of the kind strongly discouraged.) $\endgroup$
    – user642796
    Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 5:50

I only noticed this post later and previously made a new question http://meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/13855/are-small-competitions-allowed where the comments there were quite the opposite of the answer here.

  • I do think competitions should be allowed

But very restricted:

  • the questioner must provide the bounty.
  • the question needs to be very specific
  • the question should be marked competition
  • answers should be in public (just as normal questions)
  • more than one answer per participant is allowed

  • the rules of the competition should be clearly stated , what answer will win, references to books, methods and the like. (maybe we should make a template for this)

  • the question should be for an alternative answer, a more beautiful answer or someting like that.

  • the questioner must provide an answer to beat
    • as example of an answer
    • to show that the question is for an ((better) alternative answer and that the questioner already knows an answer

That are so the conditions I came up with when I started my competition at **Ended Competition:** What is the shortest proof of $\exists x \forall y (D(x) \to D(y)) $?


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