Are we required to give answer that we can solve or write by hand? Because there are many software out there that we can use to solve a fairly complicated problem, which may not be available to the asker. And thus what may seem straightforward to me, may not be as straightforward for the OP.

Also, how important is that we keep our answers that maximizes or appeals to intuition?

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think there are any specific rules, but voters have their preferences. If somebody posts answers consisting of CAS output only, they deserve the downvotes they get. I don't think I'm the only voter who prefers answers that do without. And there's a full spectrum in-between. $\endgroup$ Mar 21 '18 at 15:30
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    $\begingroup$ If I used a CAS for number crunching to arrive at my answer I usually say so (unless it is obvious to all and sundry). That approach seems to be ok to most. May be you can do something similar? $\endgroup$ Mar 21 '18 at 15:34
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    $\begingroup$ I see no problem with providing answers that are aided by software, but I imagine that instances when those answers are actually the best answers are rare. In general, if it can be done by hand, it should be (modulo, as @JyrkiLahtonen points out, for number crunching that is inessential to understanding the overall structure of the answer). $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Mar 21 '18 at 17:56
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    $\begingroup$ My opinion is that software output has its place and can be very useful for some questions, but without further explanation, the place for it is in the comments. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander Gruber Mod
    Mar 25 '18 at 8:12

The general guidance here is, "answer the question posed by the OP, but also leave something of value here for the site." What does that mean? Well, if the OP asks for a result, e.g., "What is the value of this integral?", then it is theoretically legit to answer with output from a CAS or Wolfram Alpha. Such an answer may be useful to the OP.

That said, is such an answer useful to the site? No, never. That's right: never. Anyone whose brain hasn't lost oxygen in the past 10 minutes can provide such an answer. That is, unless the OP is asking specifically for such an answer - and usually in such a case, the OP really is asking a question about software, not math, and as such has no place here.

In contrast, what this site needs are people who can clearly provide insight into methods by which such answers are discovered. There is nothing like summarizing steps painstakingly derived using pencil and paper for an answer here. By all means, defer to the OP as to the way (s)he is seeking to do the problem. But in the absence of such a specified technique, do out the problem in the way you are best equipped to explain. Someone here will appreciate it.


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