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Question Link: A determinant expression

Can someone please tell me how is this a "Good Question"?
I was reviewing close votes while I came across this. This was an audit which I voted to close. But the site said otherwise. Can someone please clarify why it ain't supposed to be "Off Topic"?

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    $\begingroup$ It looks like an interesting question to me. I didn't think about it for long, but I don't see a way of answering it right away. I'm actually surprised by that formula. It would not occur to me to vote to close that. This is not a "somebody-do-my-homework" question (which is what the off-topic-> missing context closure reason is IMHO targeting). $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Oct 20 '17 at 11:38
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    $\begingroup$ An instance of the gray zone: an interesting question (the interplay between interpolation problems and linear algebra gives that many things can be written as ratios of determinants by Cramer's rule) but a PSQ nonetheless.They are divisive, they always have been. $\endgroup$ – Jack D'Aurizio Oct 20 '17 at 11:38
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    $\begingroup$ My approach to determining "missing context" includes perusal of Comments by the OP for evidence of engagement with the meaning of the Question. In this case the Comments on the Question indicate the OP made the effort to verify a number of cases, an attempt to use induction, and an observation about the general form of the sought expression. So it passes my "de minimus" requirement for context, i.e. I think the OP understands what they are asking. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Oct 20 '17 at 12:16
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    $\begingroup$ I think the system considered it a good question because it had 7 upvotes and 0 downvotes (among other conditions). $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Oct 20 '17 at 13:04
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    $\begingroup$ While interesting, the question on main would still benefit from some context. In that regard, what truly distinguishes that particular main question from the many questions on on main that are closed due to lack of context. I don't see any context whatsoever and it's level of specificity leads me to suspect that it's a HW question. $\endgroup$ – Mark McClure Oct 20 '17 at 19:16
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    $\begingroup$ @MarkMcClure: It is a benefit, and I've added the context supplied by the OP in a Comment to the body of the Question, almost verbatim. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Oct 20 '17 at 21:29
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    $\begingroup$ @JyrkiLahtonen: I've definitely seen similar homework questions. $\endgroup$ – Hurkyl Oct 20 '17 at 22:03
  • $\begingroup$ I believe you @Hurkyl. So we learned that there are differences of opinion, and that we apply the criteria subjectively. Why am I not surprised :-) $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Oct 20 '17 at 22:16
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    $\begingroup$ Plainly, and answering straightforwardly, No: it is not a good question, given what we read here on meta from a former mod. It is "off-topic: lacks context" such as lacking demonstration of what was tried, where specifically are the asker is stuck, why is this question important to this asker, where did this asker encounter the question. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Oct 20 '17 at 23:13
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    $\begingroup$ The same standards and expectations are not reserved only for "low-level questions", but questions, period. That means lower-level questions, medium-level questios, and higher level questions. Those who close or downvote only lower-level questions (elitist-based decisions), are hypocrites. This site is not, must I remind some users, it is not MO. This site welcomes all levels of math questions, and ought not to have one strict standard for perceived low-level questions, and another rather lenient standard for the rest. Let's stop pretending we're MO. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Oct 20 '17 at 23:24
  • $\begingroup$ To make a distinction separating what to expect of intro questions, vs. more advanced question, in terms of whether they are closed or not, assumes one knows, without any subjectivity, which are in and which are out. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Oct 20 '17 at 23:29
  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately, audits are based on user's upvotes, downvotes, right or wrong, so you never failed the audit here, rather the audit failed you. It has now received a downvote (or more), so it will likely never again be used as an "exemplar" question modeling a "good question that should stay open." $\endgroup$ – amWhy Oct 20 '17 at 23:34
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy, all. Judging from the comments it seems to me that my views on this are not really aligned with a significant fraction of users. So I need to recalibrate (for the purposes of moderating the site). I will prepare an answer with a view of getting feedback to do that better. But, it will have to wait as I have a vector calculus course in need of terminal care. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Oct 21 '17 at 10:16
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy Indeed i do agree that all questions should be treated equally, but everyone has difference idea of "context". To me, I will close questions which are very standard, and the technique to solve that problem are very likely to be covered in class. So the outcome is that I am more likely to close lower level questions. I don't think that is a "elitist based decision", whatever that means. $\endgroup$ – user99914 Oct 22 '17 at 0:29
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    $\begingroup$ And IMO MO has a more lenient standard not because they are more elite, but because they have much less questions. $\endgroup$ – user99914 Oct 22 '17 at 0:30
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I, personally, wouldn't bat an eye if people cast close votes on this question.


I've heard people complain about a double standard with respect to close votes, along the lines of "easy questions aren't welcome here".

I think the linked question is an example of what's actually going on to prompt these complaints: that people are less likely to hold "interesting" questions to the standard.

I don't know what to make of the situation.

(in particular, I don't advocate closing this question nor do I advocate leaving it open)

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    $\begingroup$ I think that's the sad truth, @Jyrki $\endgroup$ – amWhy Oct 20 '17 at 23:47
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    $\begingroup$ I guess I'm content with whatever the community does here. I won't interfere. But, IMHO one of the primary goals of the site is to generate "interesting" content. So if it seems to me that the question is one of the first of its kind my instincts tell me to be more forgiving. This is in sharp contrast to the umpteenth question about the same integration by parts or a variant of zillion similar questions about modular arithmetic. The question won't add anything new to the site, and I am inclined to look for any excuse to close it. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Oct 21 '17 at 8:54

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