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This question was recently locked (I only know because I had a bounty on the question). As Sky's comment points out, this problem is part of a current USAMTS competition (deadline to submit solutions is November 30, I believe). Right now there are two quality answers even though they have been "temporarily deleted."

My question concerns the effectiveness of locking contest questions, particularly when quality answers exist. These answers are still visible to >10k users. Isn't this a problem?

Presumably, >10k users aren't abusing contest rules, but this is only a presumption. It seems odd that answers should still be visible when a question has been locked because it is part of a current contest. Even if the answers were trimmed, the edit history would still be visible. Is there a better way to lock contest questions that have quality answers? Having the answers still visible seems to run against the spirit of why the question was locked in the first place, namely to prevent any unfair advantage in the contest. Is there any way to more effectively lock these types of questions (e.g., only moderators can see deleted answers to contest-locked questions as is the case with deleted comments) or is the system fairly well fixed?

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  • $\begingroup$ One could delete them completely, then they'd be harder to find. Other than that I think there is no way without getting SE involved. (With SE there is a more-or-less standard procedure for removing content that should not be only soft-deleted but I think it will make it hard to restore it.) $\endgroup$ – quid Nov 3 '15 at 22:23
  • $\begingroup$ If we cannot put some amount of trust to people who contributed to math.SE after getting a certain amount of rep points. then we should just close down this site. $\endgroup$ – achille hui Nov 3 '15 at 22:54
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    $\begingroup$ @achillehui Some trust, not much. After all, 10K users do get suspended once in a while. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Nov 3 '15 at 23:16
  • $\begingroup$ I don't understand your focus on "quality answers". It seems to me that any answer at all would be a problem here -- 10k users who want to cheat probably won't care if the answer is of "good quality" or not as long as it's good enough to allow them to cheat. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Nov 4 '15 at 12:12
  • $\begingroup$ @NormalHuman Even moderators get suspended sometimes, and it's hard to think of a reasonable solution (assuming there's an actual problem to be solved) that cannot be circumvented by moderators... $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Nov 4 '15 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Najib There's not really a focus on quality answers--quality answers are more problematic, but the main issue is any useful answer at all (even hints). As you know, there are several garbage answers that exist on this site (most, I think, have been culled out, but some still exist)--they're not the real problem, but the qualitative distinction(s) between answers is not the main problem here. It would make sense for no answer to be visible. That's how it should be, it seems. I only mentioned "quality answers" in this post because it seemed particularly relevant. $\endgroup$ – Daniel W. Farlow Nov 4 '15 at 12:20
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    $\begingroup$ "As you know, there are several garbage answers that exist on this site (most, I think, have been culled out, but some still exist)" I am pretty sure the number of garbage answers is still six-digits. $\endgroup$ – quid Nov 4 '15 at 17:37
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I hope the set of 10K users and the set of USAMTS cheaters are disjoint. Even if they aren't, the intersection has to be smaller than the number of people who saw the answers before they were deleted, or those who get them out of Google cache. Google is very quick to index SE content; a quick check shows that both answers are available from their cache.

Since one needs the question URL to get the answers from the cache, temporarily deleting the question would help somewhat. In its present state, someone searching for the question and finding it locked is likely to get the idea that the cached version might have something more.

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  • $\begingroup$ This makes sense (+1), but I'd like to hear from a mod as well. $\endgroup$ – Daniel W. Farlow Nov 3 '15 at 22:35
  • $\begingroup$ I edited the answer after your comment. (Just to make it clear that your remark refers to the earlier version) $\endgroup$ – user147263 Nov 3 '15 at 22:53

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