This question has attracted 4 non-mathematical answers, all of which have now been locked and deleted, and is now protected. I do not like this situation. I would like to either close the question or suspend the spam answerers, or both, but I fear I may be overreacting. What do other people think is appropriate?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Moron has now protected the question, which will probably help. I don't know that suspension will make much of a difference to users who may not intend to spend much time on the website anyway. $\endgroup$ Feb 12, 2011 at 1:14
  • $\begingroup$ why are you locking the answers? That's unusual. $\endgroup$ Feb 12, 2011 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ They were getting undeleted. $\endgroup$ Feb 12, 2011 at 16:49

2 Answers 2


One possibility which strikes me as only slightly too heavy-handed is to edit the question to take out the rather awkward "dating a girl" conceit and rephrasing it purely as a probability question. To do this though one would also have to sieve through the answers and comments and deal with the dating references they contain...which is probably too much.

But as a future policy idea: if a question is given with a "conceit" which seems likely to attract unwanted attention -- e.g. dating, monkeys, the "condom problem" (two men each want to have safe sexual relations with the same two women, but they only have two condoms in total; this is a problem that made the brainteaser circuit when I was in college) -- then is it reasonable to edit the "conceit" out of the problem and leave it as a pure math problem? On the one hand, this smells like censorship. On the other, removing manifestly irrelevant content is probably part of the site's mission statement. What do people think?

  • $\begingroup$ Good idea (for the future). I'm afraid it will be difficult to decide where to draw the line. $\endgroup$
    – Stefan
    Feb 12, 2011 at 10:25

This is exactly what question protection is for, though:


protected by {moderator name} 3 days ago

This question is protected to prevent “thanks”, “me too!”, and spam posts from new users. To answer it, you must have more than 10 reputation.

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    $\begingroup$ Question protection helps, but it doesn't affect the users coming from other SE sites, who start with 100 reputation. 2 of the 4 spam answers are from such users. If you want protection to be useful, increase it to 200 reputation or something. $\endgroup$ Feb 12, 2011 at 16:50
  • $\begingroup$ @qiaochu that's true -- it will not block users with > 10 rep... $\endgroup$ Feb 12, 2011 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ @qia only 2 of the 4 posts were from 101 rep users. And those users really should know better. $\endgroup$ Feb 12, 2011 at 21:24

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