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There is a fair amount of discussion about contests at the moment, in the context of active problems being posted to the site for answers and needing to be closed.

Bearing in mind that

(a) contest problems are often both challenging and interesting and might well be of interest to users of the site; and

(b) there are so many contests out there that no-one can police them all

(c) the general philosophy of the site "open" rather than "closed" ie good mathematical content is welcome

might it help if there a deliberate part of the site where promoters of contests could post details, and users could locate active contests if they were interested.

I know it is not the main business of the site, but at the moment there are a few ad hoc notices, and that will not work well at any scale. There would have to be some careful thought as to whether this could be done without requiring heavy moderator attention.

It might then be possible to ban users who post advertised questions, for example, as acting contrary to site policy.

There may be other suggestions out there. It seemed to me that reading the discussions about closing questions or soft deleting answers, it might at least be worth thinking if there were other ways of responding which might enhance the utility and mathematical content of the site.

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    $\begingroup$ There is an existing policy regarding locking of posts that are drawn from "active contests". Your Question would be of greater weight if you referenced that policy and related your suggestion ("to ban users who post advertised questions, for example"?) to it. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Dec 9 '18 at 0:47
  • $\begingroup$ @hardmath One of the reasons I didn't link the previous discussions and policies was that - I think - I am wanting to suggest something different. A lot of previous discussion has about managing content - which is the principal way the site works. "To ban users who post advertised questions" might work if there is an official way of "advertising" and there are enough people who look at the adverts to police the related content. Putting the content up proactively gets the content on the site. I wanted to record the suggestion - it may well be inappropriate and rejected. $\endgroup$ – Mark Bennet Dec 10 '18 at 19:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Lord_Farin I've changed the title. I wanted to put up the idea simply to record it - I was in two minds myself as to whether it would conflict with the ethos of the site. $\endgroup$ – Mark Bennet Dec 10 '18 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ It was not my suggestion that you survey all the discussion about contest questions, but rather that you make your suggestion (however tentative) in connection with the existing policy. I'm not sure I'm reading your post as you intended it, but at the mention of "ad hoc notices... that will not work well at any scale" I became concerned that you perceive the present policy to be ad hoc actions. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Dec 10 '18 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ @hardmath I was thinking of the posts up on meta which advertise contests so people can look out for questions and report them - and thinking about encouraging more of that, but curating the information differently. $\endgroup$ – Mark Bennet Dec 10 '18 at 19:59
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkBennet Thanks, it's much clearer npw! $\endgroup$ – Lord_Farin Dec 11 '18 at 15:45

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