I was thinking, since most of the people here believe that this site shouldn't answer trivial math questions, or questions that no effort was made to solve them, maybe we should restrict the age of the people who sign up here.

I recently ran into a couple of question of elementary school level(!). Such questions got downvoted immidietaly off course but I answered one of them. We got criticized for it, I said that this asker is probably either really noobie that doesn't understand or simply a child. Therefore, maybe we should, if not be more tolerant to trivial (in our point of view) math questions, restrict the age of the "sign-upers".

I'll be glad to discuss on this subject. this is my second post here so I apologize in advance if any rules were violated by me.

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    $\begingroup$ Personally, I am of the opinion that questions of any level are on topic here, providing the poster makes a reasonable effort to indicate what they tried and where they got stuck. The impression I have is that most users share at least the first half of this opinion as well, so I'm not sure I believe your claim that "most people believe that this site shouldn't answer trivial math questions" - maybe I've misjudged though. I don't see many basic questions under the tags I follow. $\endgroup$
    – mdp
    Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 13:16
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    $\begingroup$ Regardless of any discussion on the desirability of such an age limitation, there is no real way of enforcing it. So I'd say: don't bother. $\endgroup$
    – Lord_Farin
    Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 13:32
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    $\begingroup$ Low quality $\neq$ low math level $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 13:33
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    $\begingroup$ I would much rather explain how to solve the equation 3x+3=6, than "Show that every locally compact Banach space finite dimensiona. I need the answer really quick!!!" $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 13:46
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    $\begingroup$ @MattPressland I agree as well, but most people don't, believe me I've seen some downvotes with no explaination to the asker, insults, etc. Lord_Farin, you really cannot fully enforce that, but it does give a small block, The.Chaz, I know, but I'm speaking about both. Low quality askers as well deserve both help and worthy explaination about how to ask questions here in the future $\endgroup$
    – DanielY
    Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 13:49
  • $\begingroup$ @DanielY I'm not denying that these things (unfortunately) happen, but I don't think that this is the opinion of most of the users - although as I said, I could be wrong. Either way, my (badly made) point was supposed to be that in my opinion we shouldn't do anything to reduce the number of low-level questions. There are plenty of low-quality questions at undergraduate level, so I don't think an age limit is the way to go. $\endgroup$
    – mdp
    Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 13:57
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    $\begingroup$ @DanielY Having found (I think) the question you were talking about, it looks to me like people are objecting to you responding to what appears to be a verbatim homework-type question with an answer that doesn't leave anything for the OP to do - this doesn't have anything to do with the level of the question. In this case (although I didn't downvote), I think the phrase "this answer is not useful", which is the description for the downvote button, does apply, because there is a high risk of the OP using your answer without understanding it, and thus not learning anything. $\endgroup$
    – mdp
    Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 14:04
  • $\begingroup$ Clearly I was one of those who downvoted the answer in question (if you will). The OP hasn't been seen since, and - I speculate - probably will have zero positive contribution to this site. There are clearly philosophical differences that will not be sorted out in any amount of meta-ing, but I will continue to downvote such unhelpful spoonfeeding at every chance. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 16:54
  • $\begingroup$ I don't like how this question has been crushed! It seems that the OP has a point - he answered an elementary-level question and was criticised for it. Indeed, yesterday there were some elementary questions on prime numbers which attracted lots of down votes. Even if it is not "most of the users", there are users who seem to dislike elementary level questions. That said, I have had a quick look through the OPs answers and cannot find any recent answers which have been badly received... $\endgroup$
    – user1729
    Commented Oct 26, 2013 at 13:14

1 Answer 1


Entirely orthogonal to your motivation, there is already an age restriction for the use of StackExchange websites. If you visit the Terms of Service, it states

Subscriber certifies to Stack Exchange that Subscriber is an individual (i.e., not a corporate entity) at least 13 years of age.

This is largely due to the US Children's Online Privacy Act. Now, in practice, how well this policy is enforced is debatable.

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    $\begingroup$ I'll just add that this MSO post has a bit more information on the subject. $\endgroup$
    – user642796
    Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 15:06

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