Are check my work question discouraged on this site?

So here are two basically the same question with one asking to answer the problem and other to what went wrong with my approach.

What is wrong with this solution of find the least value of $ \sec^6 x +\csc^6 x + \sec^6 x\csc^6 x$

Find the least value of $ \sec^6 x +\csc^6 x + \sec^6 x\csc^6 x$

The check my work question has a total score 2 with around 3 down votes and was also closed as duplicate (later reopened on request) while answer the problem question has a total score 5 with 0-1 down votes. Clearly check my work question are discouraged on this site or may be I just asked a bad question?

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    $\begingroup$ You can find some past discussions on this if you look at the post tagged (solution-verification) or (proof-verification) on meta. In this case, do you want to discuss the general issue (and the linked posts serve just as examples) or are you more interested to hear from other users why they think these two specific posts have been received in this way? (If it is the latter, you should add (specific-question) tag - it makes the purpose of your question more clear.) $\endgroup$ May 16, 2019 at 5:09
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    $\begingroup$ "check my work" is not the same thing as "what went wrong". In the former, the user doesn't know whether the work is right or wrong. In the latter, the user knows the work is wrong, but doesn't know where the mistake is. $\endgroup$ May 16, 2019 at 9:43
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    $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson one is the subset of the other. If I ask you to CHECK what went wrong with my work I still want you to check it. $\endgroup$
    – user541396
    May 16, 2019 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ @user541396 Here is a relatively recent discussion from the past year that you might want to take a look at. People are definitely more comfortable with allowing "what's going wrong here" as compared to "check my work", so there is something to be said for differentiating. Acting as a pre-grading service is tangibly different from explaining a mistake. $\endgroup$
    – rschwieb
    May 16, 2019 at 16:50
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think it would be right to say that they are actively discouraged. But I think many users don't do solution-verification. (I typically don't answer verification answers. If they didn't need moderation, I probably would rarely read them). I also think that many users are happy to answer any reasonable question that they feel capable of answering, as long as it's a well-written question. $\endgroup$
    – davidlowryduda Mod
    May 16, 2019 at 18:27
  • $\begingroup$ @davidlowryduda not answering a question is different thing and down voting / not up voting is a different thing. Which is clearly the case here. $\endgroup$
    – user541396
    May 16, 2019 at 20:03
  • $\begingroup$ What's interesting is that no one bother to comment on the question itself why it was bad or how it can be improved. Everyone choose to down vote instead. I wonder how helpful downvote button is. $\endgroup$
    – user541396
    May 17, 2019 at 13:15

1 Answer 1


I didn't vote on either of these questions, nor had I seen them until I saw this question. However, I can give my feedback and suggest possible reasons why the what went wrong question was received more poorly. I'll ignore the more general question of whether what went wrong questions are poorly received on this site, since I lack data, and this question is tagged with the specific-question tag.

I'll refer to the questions by their timing to be more clear. The what went wrong question was the latter of the two.

The first question.

I don't have much to say about this one. It looks like a good question to me. The earlier question, asking for a solution, is brief, to the point, well formatted, and contains, what is for me, sufficient context (what you tried).

The second question.

The latter question has a couple apparent problems that likely resulted in its poor reception.

Firstly, it is poorly formatted and difficult to read. It fails to properly use centered equations to separate the equations from the text and make them more legible. It's also missing punctuation (most noticeably a couple of periods), both in its first version and the current version, which also makes it harder to read.

As for the content itself, the question is only in the title, not in the body of the question, where it's supposed to be. This is also problematic, since this is likely what led users to believe that this second question was a duplicate of your earlier question (for which it was closed as such, before being reopened). People being under the impression that your question was a duplicate would certainly explain a perceived poor reception.

Side note

Given the problems with your second question, I don't believe that there's evidence here that what went wrong questions are poorly received on this site.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm afraid we'll have to delete this answer, since you left out an apostrophe "where its supposed to be". $\endgroup$ May 16, 2019 at 22:13
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    $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson Lol, good catch XP Typos do happen, and I do hope I don't come across too harshly on that point. My point was less that typos are unforgivable, and more that they affect the readability of a post and the impression that people have of a post. Therefore they're worth pointing out when addressing why a question might've been poorly received. $\endgroup$
    – jgon
    May 16, 2019 at 22:19
  • $\begingroup$ How do I separate equation from the text ? I did edit my question though. $\endgroup$
    – user541396
    May 16, 2019 at 22:35
  • $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson sorry, we will have to delete this comment. You missed a comma just after "afraid". Just messing around. ; P $\endgroup$
    – user541396
    May 16, 2019 at 22:40
  • $\begingroup$ @user541396 to put equations on their own lines use double dollar signs. I.e. $$...math here...$$ $\endgroup$
    – jgon
    May 16, 2019 at 22:42

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