On occasion, there are posts related to math contests and olympiads on math.se, and there is a contests tag well. I was thinking recently about whether it would be appropriate for there to be a StackExchange community for math contests, in addition to the existing general math.se community - just like there are separate communities for puzzling and math education. Here are a few reasons:

  1. There could be tags for the country and year of origin of problems, which would make specific problems easier to categorize and find through the search function. I don't know whether there is a convenient way of integrating such tags into the math.se tags.
  2. Problems from math contests seem to be different from the other kinds of problems that we see on math.se, where more theoretical ideas show up, anywhere from high school through graduate school. Contest problems tend to require more ad hoc methods.
  3. A natural community (or many) already exists for students and adults who engage in math contests, so it only makes sense to transport it online.
  4. It would be easier to catch cheating on contests if such posts made their way to a math contests stackexchange because the post would be more visible to a community of people who are familiar with current problems.

One argument against this idea is that an online community already exists for math contestants on the AoPS website. Quite a few years ago, I used to be a moderator for a number of their forums and had access to their Moderator's Lounge. When they were asking for updates on features, someone proposed adopting a system more similar to StackExchange where people directly answer a question or not. A popular response to the proposal was that AoPS prefers to have more of a more forgiving discussion-based format where people can reserve the right to be wrong, whereas StackExchange prefers users to provide solid hints/answers in the full responses. Given the difference in attitudes, I think a StackExchange for math contests is a relevant idea.

Any thoughts? Please discuss.

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ I'm not really the target audience for the main proposal you've made, but I'll note that point #4 doesn't seem valid. Though it would help people who use websites like this out of misunderstanding contest rules, nothing would stop cheaters from still trying to post on math.se. $\endgroup$
    – JonathanZ
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 14:31
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Somehow a related one here $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 16:17
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ I've upvoted your post because it addresses a slightly more general topic I've been concerned by. There are "problems" which might not be wholly about "learning mathematics" but where learning mathematics is expected to be an essential element. The Q&A format of Math.SE and its good reputation make it attractive for Readers looking for definitive information. That said, new SE sites that aim to take on slightly varied missions from those well-served by existing sites have not (in my experience) been much of a success. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 16:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Personally i like mse for what it is!.The mix of questions that pop up in the site gives an opportunity for a wide variety of readers and audience to appreciate learn and share.(i mean person who specializes in say calculus may end up answering a contest question which may not happen if there is a seperate community as the person simply may not join).However you first point is something that can be maybe integrated in the existing site $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ This would be best addressed on Meta Stack Exchange, only after searching for information on how to propose a new site. This is off topic on math.meta.se, because new site proposals are beyond the purview of math.se. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 22:00
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ @amWhy this is not as much a formal proposal as it is a discussion to determine how the community members of math.se feel about this possibility, as this would be the community most affected by such an implementation. $\endgroup$
    – Favst
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 22:05
  • $\begingroup$ @hardmath You don't seem to note the more obvious: The means to propose a new site in completely independent of math.meta.se. And I only suggested the OP here search for questions on meta that ask for guidance for creating yet another site. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 22:56
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Favst but you haven't made that clear in your question here. You merely argue in support of why a new site should exist. You have your mind made up, and add on at the very end, only four words: "Any thoughts? Please discuss." Wrt Arctic Char's comment, this has been tried, and after months of trying to get up and running, the idea was rejected by an CM, and never even made it to beta. I suggest you learn more from that link. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 22:57
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ @amWhy: You seem to be saying that discussion of a new math-related site is off-topic here. But there are Questions here on meta math.se tagged area51, and I'd say this discussion is on-topic. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 23:02
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @hardmath I think you miss the point that such a proposal was already undertaken by SimpliFire and failed, because math.se accommodates contest problems and challenging problems, provided the contest is not currently active, and ideally where the asker doesn't post a problem statement with no context. And take your "say": can we expect proposals on math.se to make a site devoted only to algebra, or to analysis, or to number-theory, or to discrete math, or to even more narrow fields in math. How about a site for middle school math, and freshman/sophmore highshcool math, and junior ... $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 23:05
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ ...senior high school math, as well as a site for early undergrad math, and a separate site for upper undergrad math, and yet an entirely independent site for only grad students in doctoral programs. And lets not leave out those who currently ask financial math questions here, shouldn't they have their own site? and inequality aficionados have their independent site, and recreational math folks should have their own site ... and on and on, and on. Play it forward, before you make such claims. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 23:12
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ @amWhy: I do recall Simplifire's proposal at Area51, and I recall also discussions like the hypothetical ones you describe. Those were good discussions to have. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 23:17
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @amWhy There is no need to taking "play it forward" to such an extreme end. It's not a matter of a single site versus uncountably many. There is a happy medium in between. Puzzling.se exists as does math education and mathoverflow for research math. Through experimentation, the ideal middle ground can be found. $\endgroup$
    – Favst
    Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 1:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It might be worth something if you could force the questioners to include exp[licit sources, so that anyone could check. However, that does not often happen here; one time I kept pushing a guy who said a friend gave him the problem; I said there was no friend. Turned out that this was for a university entrance examination of a genuine friend. $\endgroup$
    – Will Jagy
    Commented Dec 6, 2020 at 16:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @amWhy while there are substantial similarities between that other proposal by SimpliFire and this one, they are really not the same. The main difference, I think, is that the former involves questions made up by the asker where the solution is already known, and the question is being posted to challenge others to solve it (similar to the Puzzling format). This proposal is just asking for the normal questions involving contest math that may be ordinarily seen on this site, and transferring it to a separate one. $\endgroup$
    – YiFan Tey
    Commented Dec 11, 2020 at 2:08


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .