I don't know if this is a problem, I just wanted to listen to more points of view, we seem to get a lot of combinatorics problems that are really similar, problems like this one Seat 5 men and 4 women in a row such that the women occupy even places. We also have a ton of problems that are solved directly by stars and bars(I asked one of these myself), how do you feel about this, should we be closing more of these questions? On the bright side I think they are low hanging fruit which can be answered by lots of people.

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    $\begingroup$ We need to use the search bar more often, and think of this site as an archive instead of only a Q&A site. Step zero before asking a question should be looking for duplicates, always. $\endgroup$ – Pedro Tamaroff Jan 6 '15 at 9:48
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    $\begingroup$ Also step zero before answering, perhaps. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Jan 6 '15 at 15:09

We have a list of abstract duplicates and I believe that the boy/girl men/women spouses-sit-apart type questions should be added to this list.

Feel free to write one up using the questions/answers in that list as templates.


I picked one of the many alternating seating question variants:

and added it to our Meta thread listing abstract duplicates under Combinatorics. It is related to "necklace" type problems that were already represented there, but of course people (unlike beads) are ordinarily considered distinct individuals. This happens to be a circular-seating variant, unlike the "in a row" question-type called out in the OP, so I make mention of those variants in my edits to the given Question.

I further picked a stars-and-bars question to include in the same Combinatorics section of the abstract duplicates:

It has become conventional to edit such Questions to identify that they have been modified to serve as abstract duplicates, and I have done so here.


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