See this post

It seems to me that this post belongs to a "list" of posts from new users that are quite "suspect".

They iterate the request for help adding details to the question without much sense.

What we can do with them ?



2 Answers 2


This appears to be part of the problem with demanding too much "context" from some questions: they just spout off everything they can think of/find which appears to be related to the question at hand. IMHO, there is probably a reasonable question hidden there (at least something that wouldn't get automatically closed for "lack of context") which wouldn't be drowned in a sea of verbiage.

I'm having trouble determining why the following statement is false (as stated page 154 of Problems in Set Theory, Mathematical Logic and the Theory of Algorithms):

Each recursively enumerable set is the range of an increasing computable function.

I know that a set $A$ is recursive if and only if it is range of an increasing partial recursive function. I also know that the Halting Problem gives an example of a recursively enumerable set which is not recursive.

From this you get a pretty good idea of the grasp on the subject that the user has, but also that there is some effort to try to understand.

Revision 5 of that question is probably the cleanest one, and I have rolled back to this one, while explaining my reasoning for doing this to the OP. You could have done this, too.

As for the OP pestering you in comments: feel free to flag those if you have no interest in answering the question. Apart from that, I guess you could answer the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Ok, thanks a lot. $\endgroup$ Jul 30, 2014 at 10:57
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think issue is not the request for context - it's that the user is not adding the context requested, namely what they have already tried. But the deeper issue that the meta post here is referring to is the appearance that there is user who has been posting many low-quality computability questions recently, under a sequence of usernames. I had flagged this once, but the flag was "declined". I wish from time to time that the moderators were more polite about responding to nontrivial flags (e.g. by email). $\endgroup$ Jul 30, 2014 at 11:36
  • $\begingroup$ @CarlMummert: In this instance, it would have come from a request for context because the question was first closed for... lack of context. An edit was made, which put it into the review queue, but the user didn't appear to be aware of the workings of this queue, and when it wasn't re-opened fast enough, opened a new question with the regurgitated garbage, which was then copied into the first still-closed question. From what I have seen, the vast majority of questions like the one I outlined above would not be closed for lack of context. [cont...] $\endgroup$
    – user642796
    Jul 30, 2014 at 12:43
  • $\begingroup$ [...inued] As for the user at the heart of this, I would rather try to encourage what I perceive as better (not perfect but better) behaviour than continue to fight with new accounts. I have personally spent hours on this particular case this week, not to mention the time of the other moderators and a Community Manager or two. (Since the Community Managers get paid for their service, maybe they don't count.) $\endgroup$
    – user642796
    Jul 30, 2014 at 12:43
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the detailed comment, and for the volunteer time. I'm sure that you could have done other things. @ArthurFischer $\endgroup$ Jul 30, 2014 at 12:59

I think that the main thing we can do is to help the user(s) ask better questions. It seems clear to me that the user(s) don't know what we are looking for with these basic computability questions. The best way to fix that, in my opinion, is to give helpful, specific guidance about what we are looking for.

It also seems to me that the user(s), like many users here, speak English as a second language. Some things may seem unclear because of the language barrier, and so we should give some benefit of the doubt.

There is another difficulty specific to this situation. There has been an appearance over the last few days/weeks of a user using multiple usernames to repost closed questions. Duplicate and reposted questions should be closed, but at the same time we need to ensure the user has information about how to improve the original question.

And, of course, we should not rush to judgment and assume that all the usernames are actually the same user. For example, there could be several students who are all taking the same exam, and who all post on this site.

The moderators can look into some things behind the scenes. In a comment to another answer in this thread, there is a confirmation that they have spent some time on it. For better or worse, the moderation process on this site is quite opaque. This has the benefit that "regular" users (non-moderators) don't have to worry about it, and we can avoid some kinds of drama. The downside to the opaqueness is that "regular" users have little way to tell whether anything is being done, and usually no way to know what was done, if anything.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks Carl for your insight; you perfectly understood what I was alluding to ... without the patience to detail in my post. After my rant, the same question popped up again with a new user. This time I gave it an answer and what increase my (possibly irrational) suspicion is that the answer received no feedback: I'm not speaking in term of reputation, but of "usual" comments asking for more details... assumed the limited knowledge of the topic displayed by the OP (sorry for the rudeness). $\endgroup$ Jul 30, 2014 at 13:48

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