-3
$\begingroup$

Title kind of gives away the question, but here we go.

Very recently another meta-thread has appeared "warning" about the possible appearance of questions related to a CodeChef challenge. There have been a number of these posted, and they often lead me asking the following simple question:

Why does the Mathematics Stack Exchange community care about monitoring for such problems?

I am of the opinion that our "Contest Problem" policy should be enforced in quite narrow circumstances. A couple of prime examples would be USAMTS problems and national/international olympiad problems. These are explicitly mathematical contests, the results of which impact the mathematics community. CodeChef challenges, on the other hand, are programming challenges run by a private company.

So please enlighten me as to why we (or perhaps more specifically our moderators who have to verify flags raised on these matters and do the locking-and-deleting-answers thing) should be expending any effort applying the contest question policy to CodeChef-derived questions. Is there a benefit to this site that I am missing?

$\endgroup$
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ You say that you are aware of the Contest Problem policy, but you say it "should be enforced in quite narrow circumstances." You then give (as I interpret it) a couple of organizations for which you think the policy should be enforced, but draw a line at CodeChef challenges. I think we should enforce our policy. If you disagree with the policy itself, it would improve your post to describe proposed changes (or elimination), rather than trying to separately value the policy's enforcement in various circumstances. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Jan 4 at 17:59
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @hardmath Maybe I will start a math contest on my own personal, publicly visible blog (submissions by email only) offering a prize of 1 Ft with an end-date of Feb 29, 2032. Now my contest matches the requirements of the policy to the letter, and so any questions closely related to my contest questions that are asked on Mathematics between now and the end-date would be subject to the contest policy. I think that's ridiculous. What about you? $\endgroup$ – sie es er Jan 4 at 18:27
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @1-3-7-Trimethylxanthine Sure, go ahead! Feel free to send out a meta post and raise some flags - nobody can stop you. But you might just get a bit more credence if you can have it officially recognised, trusted wholly and financially, and there is a widespread concern that your challenge questions are being targeted. $\endgroup$ – TheSimpliFire Jan 4 at 19:37
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @TheSimpliFire What is the governing body that "officially recognises" mathematics contests? $\endgroup$ – sie es er Jan 4 at 20:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ For example, CodeChef is supported and created by the software company Directi. A more trusted organisation has more credibility - that's besides the purpose of this meta post. Note that I did not imply that they had to be officially recognised - I was thinking more of olympiads and entrance exams. $\endgroup$ – TheSimpliFire Jan 4 at 20:09
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @TheSimpliFire But you did say that having a contest "officially recognised" was a possibility. A possibility that, I must admit, I was previously ignorant of. Please provide more information about the process of having a contest "officially recognised". $\endgroup$ – sie es er Jan 4 at 20:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I am less familiar with the precise procedure of a competition/contest attain such recognition as I host none, but if it is, for instance, published from a journal, reviewed by a "good" mathematics website or posted on an institutional one then I would say you would be fine. The details vary from one body to another, of course. $\endgroup$ – TheSimpliFire Jan 4 at 20:24
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @TheSimpliFire But what makes it official? I'm not asking about making a contest prominent or noteworthy or popular. I am inquiring about having a contest officially recognised. Please answer this simple question that I have now asked three times. $\endgroup$ – sie es er Jan 4 at 20:27
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I completely agree that it is unclear to me why the mathematical community should care about CodeChef, especially when it seems that these contests are almost literally neverending; the newest thread has a comment asserting there are 3 a month. In any case, I'm sure the questions resulting from cheating attempts will be terrible. This is a better reason to close and delete them, to my mind. $\endgroup$ – user98602 Jan 4 at 20:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @TheSimpliFire So would the Truth or Consequences, NM City Commission be an example of an "authority or public body" that one could apply to to have a mathematics contest "officially recognised"? And would an "official recognition" from that body carry the same weight to you as being run by Directi? If not, please provide information about the "authorities or public bodies" to which one should apply. $\endgroup$ – sie es er Jan 4 at 21:01
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Your question leads me to ask whether you think "we" should care about the posting of all contest problems, across the board. Or, else, please offer objective criteria that draws a line between mathematically relevant contests worth being concerned about, and those which are not worth being concerned about. Until you can offer an alternative, your post amounts to a sort of whining, only. The purpose of meta.math.se is not merely to be a forum for complaining. If you have a complaint, and you have a suggested alternative, then post the complaint and your suggested alternative. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Jan 4 at 21:53
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Actually, @amWhy, while I quite obviously do not like the idea of this site expending any effort applying the contest policy to questions derived from CodeChef challenges (and similar), my question really is stated above. I would like to know some reasons why this math community deems it worthwhile to apply the contest policy to CodeChef-derived questions. This is an appropriate use of meta. If I included some personal opinions (that you apparently mistook as "complaining"), it is because I didn't want to post a one sentence question. Some might call it "context". $\endgroup$ – sie es er Jan 4 at 22:38
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Could you answer my question with respect to how you'd prefer math.se handle cheating of any/all sources. Which contests and questions originating from them that are posted during an open context, if any, do you believe this site, when made aware of them, for the sake of users that care, users on this site should consider becoming familiar with the questions in the contest, and which you do not care about (acknowledging others on this site may care, but arguing this site shouldn't care)? And what distinguishes what this site should be concerned with, if any, from that which this site... $\endgroup$ – Namaste Jan 4 at 22:59
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ ...should not be concerned with. What are your reasons for supporting site policy with respect to some contests (if any), and your reasons for not supporting site policy with respect to all other mathematical contests? Without making this clear here, in comments, but preferrably in an edit to your question body, your post does not read like a sincere question, but rather, a rhetorical question asked merely to set the stage for your opinion piece, void of any reasoned argument, reading like an editorial. Editorials do not belong on meta. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Jan 4 at 23:04
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @amWhy Somehow I don't think that including a lot more personal opinion will make my post seem less editorial. So that's a hard pass on your suggestion. If and when I post an actual suggestion you will read my full thoughts on this issue. For now this post includes what I want it to include. $\endgroup$ – sie es er Jan 4 at 23:25
9
$\begingroup$

So please enlighten me as to why we (or perhaps more specifically our moderators) should be expending any effort enforcing CodeChef's rules.

All that the contest problem policy requests from moderators in particular is to handle questions from contest problems which are reported by flags. In particular (and I quote the contest problem policy): moderators will not actively patrol for contest questions.

Anyone who is actively patrolling, whether for CodeChef questions or for USAMTS questions, does so because they've decided for whatever reason that they care about making sure that such questions are dealt with. This is as it should be:

  1. The part of the job that can be done by anyone (not just by trustworthy people with access to various moderating tools) is, just like everything else on StackExchange;
  2. This serves as another check for whether the contest people are on the lookout for is actually relevant to anyone.

The meta posts about CodeChef questions are a convenience for people who might care about them. (In particular, looking over the questions at the beginning of the month so that you recognize them when you see them is not a big time investment, and I for one care about the CodeChef questions almost entirely that much and not more.)

If you do not care about them, do not patrol for them.

Meta posts exist for CodeChef and not for every other contest because there seems to be in practice a lot of cheating happening for CodeChef and because enough people seem to care. It's unclear whether either or both of these will continue to be true.

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I agree wholeheartedly. The meta question that this question is complaining about, like any other single meta post, does not necessarily commit "all users" to caring about such a contest. I think you are spot on in recognizing the posts about CodeChef questions aid those who might care about them. For those who don't care, there's no harm done in providing information for those who do care. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Jan 4 at 22:03
8
$\begingroup$

There's no harm in drawing more attention on such contests. The meta post you link says that "This contest has attracted attempts to cheat in past months." Those programming challenges are very related to mathematics and therefore it would not be surprising that people may attempt to ask questions on MSE.

The comment given by Alexander Gruber states that "we got swarms of CodeChef questions in October." I would say that the issue is quite significant.

$\endgroup$

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .