I think that people here is sometimes too keen on closing question deeming them “problem statement questions”.

Here's today example: indications equation $a^x=x+2$

Check the original question, which I report the entire code of

a^x=x+2 has two real solutions.I need to find a values.
A) (1, infinity)
B) (0,1)
C) (1/e , e)
D) (1/(e^e), e^e)
E) (e^(1/e), infinity)
I tried to solve and I did it   but I don't understand some things.
I let a picture below to see.
First, I need to know if there's other way to solve this kind of exercise.I would be happy if I would get some ideas.
Also, from my solution, I don't understand why from that table results just one solution and from the graphic results two solutions.Usually, to see the number of solutions I use this kind of table.
For a>1 f decrease from infinity to -1, then increase from -1 to infinity.I'm really confused.Need some indications here.
Thank you! [how I solved this exercise picture][1]

  [1]: https://i.stack.imgur.com/j1pfb.jpg

It's quite evident after clicking the link that a full (albeit wrong) solution is presented.

After receiving a (now deleted) comment from user The Great Duck, I just added a ! in front of the link (and reorganized the paragraph surrounding it for readability) and got accused of “trying to frame my opinion in a better light”.

I refuse this. The OP provided his/her attempt at a solution, I just made it visible to people who are too much in a hurry of closing without even bothering to check the link.


I got back to the question just to see that user The Great Duck had filed an edit suggestion consisting in removing the image and its link, when the image was there from the beginning. Everybody knows that very low rep users cannot directly add images. I possibly was hasty in not editing the question to add the ! when I answered and apologize to the OP.

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    $\begingroup$ I fully agree with you: this is not a PSQ. $\endgroup$ Dec 30, 2018 at 23:09
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    $\begingroup$ It seems that you are mostly interested in this one particular situation - which means that (specific-question) would be a suitable tag here. (If the linked question serves merely as an example and you want to discuss a more general issue, then probably this needs a better explanation what this question is about.) $\endgroup$ Dec 31, 2018 at 12:32
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Possibly. However, I noticed some hasty closures for “missing context”, when the context was given. This is a prominent example, where who voted for closure didn't take their time to read the whole question. Another very similar is math.stackexchange.com/questions/3057518 which has two close votes ATM. $\endgroup$
    – egreg
    Dec 31, 2018 at 14:04
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    $\begingroup$ I won't consider this a PSQ although I personally don't prefer images of handwritten work. $\endgroup$
    – Paramanand Singh Mod
    Jan 1, 2019 at 3:45
  • $\begingroup$ @egreg The one you linked in the previous comment did quite well in the review queue. $\endgroup$ Jan 1, 2019 at 5:40

2 Answers 2


I think there are two separate issues:

  1. The complaint about your edit is of course unsubstantiated. If you face such a situation, please feel free to flag. (Flagging the post can be preferable to flagging in chat, as chat flags go to all network mods, while post flags stay on the site.) I was in the chat room when the comment was posted but had not (yet) clicked through as I was in another exchange.

  2. The question is not a PSQ in the way I understand it. However, one might still think that it is not "good enough". For example, text should not be posted as images. For a new user this might be a lot to ask, or maybe not. Opinions on this are mixed.

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    $\begingroup$ I think that the OP would have a hard time writing down everything in their attempt, particularly the diagram. Being a “new contributor”, their question should have been considered with more attention than just pushing the close button. $\endgroup$
    – egreg
    Dec 30, 2018 at 23:51
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    $\begingroup$ @egreg I agree that there are worse posts. I also think that the original post was not a good post. A closure is nothing definitive either. I think there is also some value in the cycle playing out. I assume for the asker the situation is a mixed bag. They got an answer, so that's good. They got negative feedback on the post, so they know they should try harder next time. Maybe that's not that bad an outcome. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Dec 31, 2018 at 0:07
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    $\begingroup$ @TheGreatDuck the analogy is quite off. A more correct analogy would be that some on SO is asked to use correct formatting for their code. Anyway, MJ formatting is orthogonal. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Jan 4, 2019 at 13:13

NOTE My answer is an attempt to answer the asker's title question: "What's a PSQ?". A few days later, @HenningMalcolm took it upon himself to edit the title to ask: "Was this question a PSQ?" I believe that edit was inappropriate, after having received at least two answers addressing "what is a PSQ."

To answer your title question: "What's a problem statement question?", a "PSQ" is the acronym of "problem statement question". It includes only questions in which virtually all of the "question" reads like an imperative, typically a transcription of an exercise from a text or a problem sheet.

E.g. "Solve x+y+z = 12, given fee, foo, and fum". Other common imperatives are such a statement, but instead of the command to "Solve", they are commands to "Prove...", or "Evaluate...," or "Simplify...". There might also be the words: "Please help me!" or "I have no clue!" or other such vacuous statements. But that's it: a problem statement as written in a textbook + maybe a vacuous, non-information plea for help. Nothing substantive whatsoever.

Now that I've answered your question: "What's a 'PSQ'?", you need to be careful in your over-generalizations such as "I think that people here is sometimes too keen on closing question deeming them “problem statement questions”."

In the case of the one question you think exemplifies a "problem statement question" (which in fact, is not a problem statement question), note that only one single user labeled it as a "problem statement question." Please don't judge all users who work to weed out the worst of the worse and address "PSQ's" which I've defined here, because one user abused the term.

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    $\begingroup$ I surely don't want to generalize. But you were the second to vote for closing the question for “missing context”. You could have added that you apologize for having being hasty in so judging that question. $\endgroup$
    – egreg
    Dec 31, 2018 at 23:54
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    $\begingroup$ I voted to close the question, yes, for its lack of context, not because it was a PSQ. I agree with quid's answer, that the question was not a PSQ, but it was sub-par, and lacked appropriate context. Hence, my downvote. Please stop overgeneralizing, @egreg. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Jan 4, 2019 at 0:02
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    $\begingroup$ @TheGreatDuck yes you are incorrect. But others are incorrect too, so it is correct that one can see some use it interchangeably. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Jan 4, 2019 at 13:15

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