According to this question :-Why is so important if a question is homework? it is not right if you don't show any work in solving or answering you own question and shows academic dishonesty but if the question is more complicated and you cant solve it by using normal means. By meaning "not solvable using normal means" I mean that question is out of the OP's reach and he/she has found it from his/her daily mathematics. Will the same claim be made and would the question still show academic dishonesty?

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    $\begingroup$ The question came from somewhere, didn't it? It didn't form out of the blue in your mind "Hey, just a hunch, but I wonder if all the nontrivial zeros of $\zeta$ are on the critical line..." You had to take steps to get to that question, that question might be part of a bigger problem, maybe you found it in a book, etc. All that can be included to give context. $\endgroup$ Commented May 1, 2015 at 7:41
  • $\begingroup$ what if i have just noticed a combination which leads to a conjecture then?@NajibIdrissi $\endgroup$
    – user210387
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 7:42
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    $\begingroup$ Then you can just say that. "I noticed this combination [details of the combination]. It lead me to this conjecture: [conjecture]. I cannot prove it. [optional: include attempts you made]. Is it true? How can one prove it or disprove it?" $\endgroup$ Commented May 1, 2015 at 7:43
  • $\begingroup$ ok thats the case $\endgroup$
    – user210387
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 7:45

1 Answer 1


A general request made towards askers is to provide context and what this can mean is detailed for example in this meta-answer; it is not only or even mainly about "show your work."

This also applies to conjectures the user came up with, I would even say it is especially important in this case.

It can make a significant difference for how to approach a questions whether:

  • The question is a conjecture of the asker.

  • The question is a conjecture the asker read somewhere (where exactly?).

  • The question is an exercise form a textbook or a contest-problem (which book?).

Thus, one should at least state that the problem one presents is a conjecture one came up with.

Then, one might continue to explain what made one conjecture this fact in the first place, for example it could be: numerical evidence (some details?), or analogy with another problem (which problem?), or heuristics suggest it is true, and so on. If one did already try to solve it in some way one could share this information, too.

Yet again, as a minimum one should say it is a conjecture one came up with.

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    $\begingroup$ Let me just add that it can be desirable to know if it is from a textbook or a contest irrespective of all considerations of honesty. If something is in a book or contest, it should be solvable with a certain set of tools available to the typical reader/contestant. This information alone can make it considerably easier to solve the problem. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 9:08

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