I know the "off-topic" close reason tends to spark debate, but I had to speak up when I came across this question.
I don't understand why this problem was marked as "off-topic," or why it was downvoted so heavily. Someone commented "What have you tried? Where did you get stuck? Don't just ask us to do your homework for you." These sentences summarize the reasons that questions tend to be marked for "off-topic;" my beef with this comment is that it is more appropriate for a rudimentary, follow-a-bunch-of-steps calculus problem, rather than a problem with no obvious starting point.
As many of us know, there are times in mathematics when we're truly stumped; our attempts have lead no where and we don't have a good idea of what to do next. In this case, the question "Where did you get stuck" has very little meaning. Oftentimes, we get stuck at the beginning of the problem. I guess, my question is ultimately:
What should be done when a poster genuinely has no idea what to do? Are questions of the form uniformly bad?
I believe that the answer to the latter part is a resounding no, but I don't know what to be done in general; I am, however, fairly certain that heavy downvoting and closing the problem isn't always the best approach.
Finally, the user later edited the problem saying that it isn't a homework problem; looking back at the problem, I see no reason why anyone would think this is a homework problem at all, yet---to reiterate---the first comment states "Don't just ask us to do your homework for you." Why is this a conclusion that is so frequently jumped to?