When this question: Olympiad problem generalization was first posted, it was immediately met with a number of close vote (or at least that's what I heard). Then a heated discussion ensue about whether it's a correct thing to close the question. Especially when the asker is a newcomer who sounds enthusiastic, have the will to go beyond what was strictly asked for, and state a reasonable nontrivial question (in fact, I am still stuck on certain part); yet within minute the asker was splashed with cold water. A few days ago the question has been closed for good.
I do not understand this. The reason given was that the question is unclear. I find the question very clear. Sure, the asker did not phrase it in precise technical language. But to phrase this question in such language, you would need metric space topology, finite additive content over Euclidean plane, isometry group, and so on. That's not something we would expect from a person who presumably is not an advanced mathematician; and perhaps not even from a mathematician either considering that is quite likely would obscure the question's nature while adding little and is also much longer. Beside, people were able to produce rigorous maths about geometry long before such notion are available. Think about it this way: when you ask a problem (such as how many colours are needed to colour region on a plane), you describe it in easy to understood term (graph colouring), rather than get bogged down with technical details that is ultimately irrelevant (such as whether the boundary of a region is a rectifiable curve or not.
Yes, certain details are also left unspecified (such as what exactly is a "cut"). However, it's just par the course when a problem is being generalized: certain details are bested fill in later, perhaps a formulation that is weaker would be solvable while a slightly stronger version remained intractable for a long time. When Hilbert make his problem list, a lot of question are very unclear, but that does not stop people from working on it. I formulated the cut as a rectifiable curve that is either closed or end on the boundary, while someone else might have formulated it as a piecewise linear curve parallel to axes. Each would be a reasonable answer to the question.
I think closing down the question with the "unclear" reason will send an unmistakenably clear message to anyone who stumble upon the question in the future: mathematics is all about wantonly encoding easily understandable concepts in complicated technical terms until it's completely incomprehensible, and all attempt to generalize a problem would be treated with disdain. That's contrary to the spirit of mathematics.
So please, what do you think about this issue? Why was the question closed? Do you think the standard for "clear" question is unreasonably hidebound?