This is a call for brainstorming for ideas on how to best make questions from math contests meet our quality requirements, outlined in many places, but How to ask a good question is the most commonly used reference. I am particularly interested in what type of context could/should be added to a contest question.
The goal is to help
- the asker (= OP), who may be a new user, as well as
- a curator = anyone who wants to save a question they like from attracting negative attention.
Of course, some of you may think that adding context to any question is unnecessary, but I am assuming that the policy will stay in something close to the presently enforced form, and want to cater for that.
Why I think contest math questions require extra pieces of advice?
You may think that contest questions don't need any special treatment, after all the rule should be the same for all questions. That's fine, of course. If we get good material here, you may still want to peruse them.
I think the policy on PSQs is mostly targetting homework questions. At least it's safe to say that homework questions form the largest group of material failing to make the grade. The tips
- avoid "no clue" questions,
- include your work,
- where the question comes from
are commonly used. But these are, in my opinion, a bit problematic when applied to contest questions. Let me elaborate:
- Even a relatively talented asker may be truly clueless when facing a well designed contest question. This is because that is often exactly the goal of whoever designed the question! This is in sharp contrast to homework assignments.
- For the same reason it may be impossible for the asker to show their own efforts. The first hurdle of getting anything done with a contest question is often the highest.
- A contest question absolutely should identify itself as such, including its source, if only to comply with our policy on questions from on-going contests. But otherwise it may be difficult to explain "where the question comes from" in the sense that a contest question does not always come with a clearly defined topic or tag – unlike a homework question from a given chapter of some textbook.
I'm feeling lucky today
If we get enough good material here, I will just link this thread to the How to ask thread. If we get too much material, I guess I need to volunteer to compile a summary, and add it as an answer there :-)