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Ok, I know these types of questions have been asked many times before. But, my question is slightly different. I am not a math genius. I am learning from my mistake. I may have completely misunderstood a problem and give a wrong attempt, but that's how people learn, by making mistakes. And, I think math geniuses here to show what we are doing wrong and help us do those problems in a correct manner. But, would you downvote someone's question just because he/she doesn't know the correct way to approach it? I don't think that's the good thing to do, don't you?(Pardon my English)

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    $\begingroup$ What's your question, precisely? $\endgroup$ – Pedro Tamaroff Mar 2 '15 at 2:47
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    $\begingroup$ My question is: would you downvote someone's post for not giving a correct attempt? Why downvote a post when you see the user clearly don't know the correct way to approach a problem? $\endgroup$ – Jellyfish Mar 2 '15 at 3:22
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    $\begingroup$ I would downvote a question if it showed no effort at all by the person posting it (beyond that necessary to type it in) and if in addition the person posting it was unresponsive to comments over the course of 24 hours. In the case of a poster with over 300 points, make that 24 minutes. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Mar 2 '15 at 4:32
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    $\begingroup$ The question is, or so I assume, based on the premise that one of your recent question was down-voted because the attempt was wrong. Do you have any specific reason to assume this was the reason. It might be you got down-voted because you edited 5 times. It might be somebody down-voted because they just hate algebra. There are many possible motivations, some more reasonable than others. Beyond the playful tone, let me stress that I actually think that you were not down-voted because the attempt was wrong, but for some other reason, eg, editing that at one point you included a photo. $\endgroup$ – quid Mar 2 '15 at 13:16
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    $\begingroup$ "Doesn't know the correct way to approach it", if you knew the correct way to approach the question why would you ask it in the first place. It's not a question anymore... $\endgroup$ – The Artist Mar 3 '15 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ @The Artist What's your point? $\endgroup$ – Jellyfish Mar 3 '15 at 22:50
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    $\begingroup$ I routinely upvote questions that show some sort of attempt to solve the problem, even when the attempt is quite wrong-headed. $\endgroup$ – Brian M. Scott Mar 14 '15 at 21:42
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No, I would not downvote a question for mathematical errors. It makes no sense to do so, given that a compelling reason we ask for people to show effort is so that answerers can have a better idea of where the question asker is going wrong - and if the question includes the point where things go wrong, that's lets answers be really precise.

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I agree with what Meelo wrote, but notice that showing an incorrect attempt isn't the same thing as not showing a correct attempt.

What? Here's the point. New users (or at least those with no apparent history of participation) will often post a Question that contains a problem statement that might appear in a textbook or in a homework assignment, followed by a summary claim that they:

(a) Tried everything but it didn't work;

(b) Have no idea how to approach such a problem; or

(c) Are under a lot of time pressure to find an answer.

In such cases it might well be said the user "is not showing a correct attempt". It will appear to many Readers on the Math.SE site that the only "attempt" being made is to get someone else to do their work for them.

Here are some things that will help to avoid the appearance of "dumping" on the Math.SE community:

(1) Provide evidence, possibly in the form of definitions, that the terms being used are understood, not simply the result of copying from an assignment.

(2) Mention related problems for which a solution is known, especially the specific obstacle that one encountered in trying to apply a similar method for current problem.

(3) Briefly refer to the topic/chapter heading for which the assignment was given.

We often refer to such information as providing "context". They are more useful in figuring out underlying misunderstandings and putting users on the right track than you might expect.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sorry I didn't mean to say showing an incorrect attempt. But, rather what I did as an attempt was incorrect. And, I received downvote for that. And, I couldn't refer to the chapter,since that was a homework problem, and my instructor writes out his problem. $\endgroup$ – Jellyfish Mar 2 '15 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ Showing an incorrect attempt is a good thing, far better than not showing a correct attempt, as it gives the Reader something concrete to assist you with. By topic/chapter heading I meant a brief remark like, "We just started rings in my undergraduate abstract algebra class...", as this gives an idea of your background for the problem. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Mar 2 '15 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, I'll remember this next time I ask a question. $\endgroup$ – Jellyfish Mar 2 '15 at 17:04
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It seems quid got it right

The question is, or so I assume, based on the premise that one of your recent question was down-voted because the attempt was wrong. Do you have any specific reason to assume this was the reason. It might be you got down-voted because you edited 5 times. It might be somebody down-voted because they just hate algebra. There are many possible motivations, some more reasonable then others.

The point is that you might have been downvoted for various reasons, and one cannot know for sure what the reasons was. At any rate, I would recommend two things

  1. Do not take votes too personally. Sometimes voting here is random and puzzling. You should eventually get used to it.
  2. If you're getting a constant wave of downvotes which you think might be spiteful or malicious, contact the mod team.
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  • $\begingroup$ I constantly edit my question to show what I am doing, and/or fix any types of mistakes that maybe present. $\endgroup$ – Jellyfish Mar 2 '15 at 16:45

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