Is it standard on math exchange to downvote people who answer the question instead of telling the original poster how to solve it? (In cases where the original poster asked for the answer).

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    $\begingroup$ No. It is not standard (for there is no standard for voting). The risk for receiving such downvotes seems to correlate with factors like: Does the question look like homework? Did the asker specifically ask for advice as opposed to a solution? Chances for negative seems to be higher for questions that can be understood by all and sundry. The probability of such downvotes is small, but you will not get a unanimous answer, if you ask whether it is too high or too low. $\endgroup$ Nov 29, 2014 at 7:35
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    $\begingroup$ math.stackexchange.com/a/1043252 $\endgroup$
    – Did
    Nov 29, 2014 at 13:53
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    $\begingroup$ Related: Are answers that have no explanations useful? $\endgroup$ Nov 30, 2014 at 11:01
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think that the title answering problems is a very good one. (It does not describe well what you want to ask.) When I see such title, I would most probably expect a question about some problems with editing or posting an answer. $\endgroup$ Nov 30, 2014 at 11:03
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    $\begingroup$ There are different levels of "just answering the question", but in this case the answer was very far from the quality of answers that many users here expect. In my mind, this site is supposed to be for mathematics, and mathematics is about justifying answers much more than it is about producing them. $\endgroup$ Nov 30, 2014 at 19:30
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    $\begingroup$ Agreed. I even commented that my answer was a BS answer in my comments. I was the first to answer (before the better answers) and was new and was surprised at the down voting given the wording of the original question. But I guess that's the point of down voting. $\endgroup$ Nov 30, 2014 at 19:31
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    $\begingroup$ @turkeyhundt: that is unfortunate. One thing that continues to be difficult is finding a good way to bring new users up to speed without painful incidents like this. Of course, the fact that there are so many users also means there isn't overall agreement about answers that are uninformative, or about questions that show little effort. So even if some people tell you one thing, other people may come along and do the opposite! Nevertheless, most people figure out a niche where they can answer questions without getting many strange downvotes. $\endgroup$ Nov 30, 2014 at 20:34

1 Answer 1


There is no standard for voting on Mathematics Stack Exchange.

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    $\begingroup$ To add on to this statement, there have been some users who have become somewhat famous on the website for simply posting answers to incredibly obscure and difficult problems. Often times, the problems are integration-oriented but not always. That said, it is not standard operating procedure to simply post answers without some explanation of the general philosophy behind the solution. Some users do not agree with simply posting an answer and will downvote. Personally I just ignore such answers. $\endgroup$ Nov 29, 2014 at 6:35
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    $\begingroup$ I like the irony of this answer not explaining. $\endgroup$ Dec 5, 2014 at 17:05

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