I am a student and have reached my limit of 50 questions per month. I am poor and can't afford a math teacher and have been using this site to teach me a lot of new things so that I can get better at math. My questions are well received by the community, but I have reached my limit of 50 per month. I don't know what to do. I have questions which I need to ask so as to progress. Could you please explain to me what I can do?

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    $\begingroup$ $50$ questions are enough. I'm also a student but ask only $1$ or $2$ questions in a month. In the meanwhile, take rest and try to solve questions on your own. If it doesn't get solved, then try searching it on internet. $\endgroup$ – Nikhil Kumar Singh Apr 8 at 9:52
  • $\begingroup$ Why did the comments later about a sister sharing an account with you, and who you had been posting questions for... and how even with her having a separate account on your computer, the restriction was still 50 posts per month? $\endgroup$ – amWhy Apr 8 at 19:24
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    $\begingroup$ Where did suggestions in comments go? Also, users should be aware of your subsequent post, the same day of this post, where you suddenly have a sister?? $\endgroup$ – amWhy Apr 8 at 19:27
  • $\begingroup$ I also had a comment removed. Seems a bit odd. $\endgroup$ – Cronus Apr 8 at 21:31
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy I didn't remove them, I don't know where they went $\endgroup$ – Michael Blane Apr 9 at 7:30

I think the answer here is to be more selective in your questions. The site has to protect itself against getting bombed by low-grade questions from any particular user, hence the limit. (I'm not saying your questions are low-grade, I'm just making a case for the limit.) So only post a question if you feel that a good answer would really help you.

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    $\begingroup$ Also, this site is aware that users can develop an over-reliance on this site for solving their work, which ultimately hinders their learning and their sense of competency and independence. In short, allowing users to ask unlimited questions is counterproductive to this site, and to askers themselves. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 27 at 21:23
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy: In general, I would agree with you, but in this case Michael says he does not have a teacher. Having no teacher would certainly leave me with a lot of questions to ask, even if I was being selective. I hope he finds a solution, since it seems that asking lots of questions on this forum is a very poor substitute. $\endgroup$ – Joe Mar 27 at 21:26
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    $\begingroup$ @Joe Math.se is not intended to fully teach topics, lecture, etc. It is a question and answer site. Many users are successful self-studying over a semester break, etc., with support on this site for less than 50 questions a month. Please do not expect this site to replace instructors or professors. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 27 at 21:29
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy: You might not have seen that I edited my comment. I agree that this site is no replacement for instructors or professors. $\endgroup$ – Joe Mar 27 at 21:31
  • $\begingroup$ Then we agree. I'm sorry, I missed your edit. Cheers! $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 27 at 21:35

You need to ask conceptual questions.

Or, to put it another way:

Only ask questions you would ask in a class with dozens of other students.

Your questions are far too specific and narrow to be useful to anyone but yourself. A lot of people do think such questions are always bad for StackExchange. I don't necessarily agree with that, but I do think 50 such questions in a month from 1 user are bad for StackExchange.

You wouldn't raise your hand and suddenly pose a math problem to the teacher and expect them to take up class time to solve it in front of the class for you 50 times in a month (imagine if 30 students did this!); the same thing applies here.

Moreover, in most questions, the specific numbers are not only irrelevant, but also extremely distracting for a reader, and difficult for search engines to find. Imagine yourself Googling for answers to similar questions to your own. What would make yours easy to find? Every irrelevant detail you put in (like "AB = 52cm") makes it harder to find online.

So I would recommend stepping back, and asking conceptual questions.

Try to only ask questions you can put into the form, "How do I ___?"

That means your questions should probably look more like these:

  • How do I find the 3rd side of a triangle given 2 sides and an angle between them?

  • How do I solve a quartic equation?

  • How do I find a sum of fractions with non-rationalized denominators?

Notice there are no numbers here? That's by design.

If you want to provide a numerical example, you can do that in your post, but they should be secondary to your goal. Your focus should be understanding concepts, not getting answers. The numbers should only be relevant if you believe you are following all the correct steps, but your final answer is incorrect. This happens sometimes, but it shouldn't happen frequently.

Please understand that your conclusion here should NOT be "Oh! OK, I'll strip out numbers from all my questions from now on." That is merely a side effect (litmus test) to gauge if you're going in the right direction. Rather, your conclusion needs to be "Oh, OK, I'll try to ask more conceptual questions."

If you do this properly, you should find that you'll need to insert fewer numbers in your questions, and you should also find that it cuts down on how many questions you'll need to ask.

  • $\begingroup$ In most classes, a student isn't expected to ask 50 questions a month of their teacher because there is only 1 teacher, and multiple students in the class. This isn't there case here. $\endgroup$ – user400188 Apr 8 at 0:37
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    $\begingroup$ @user400188: I actually imagine the situation might be worse here, not better (hence my point). Compare the number of "teachers" (i.e. those who answer questions) to "students" (those who ask), I would not at all be surprised if it's worse than 1:30. $\endgroup$ – user541686 Apr 8 at 0:39
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    $\begingroup$ Users of this site aren't required to read or answer questions, they do so of their own free will. Asking additional questions, therefore, does not take up academics valuable time, unless they have a personal problem where they can't rest until they have read most questions. $\endgroup$ – user400188 Apr 8 at 0:55
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    $\begingroup$ @user400188: Sure it does. Humans are answering these questions, not chat bots. Every question you're answering from person A is taking up time you could be spending on person B. Questions aren't "free". $\endgroup$ – user541686 Apr 8 at 0:58
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    $\begingroup$ In your example "You wouldn't raise your hand and suddenly pose a math problem to the teacher and expect them to take up class time to solve it... ", the student asking the question took up the time of the other students, as well as the teacher. The teacher and the other students may have preferred to use the time in another way. This does not apply to S.E. where potential answerers can choose to ignore questions. The only time taken up is by the people who choose to read or answer the questions, in which case they had the time and the will to do so. $\endgroup$ – user400188 Apr 8 at 1:08
  • $\begingroup$ @user400188: OK. $\endgroup$ – user541686 Apr 8 at 1:09
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    $\begingroup$ @user400188 regarding you last comment: that's simply not true. People need to read the question to decide whether it interests them, if it does, perhaps five users take time to answer the question well, and if the question is poor and receives a close vote, a flag, many other users need to spend time reviewing the flags/close votes, etc. Multiply every user coming here per month times 50 questions... $\endgroup$ – amWhy Apr 8 at 20:06
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    $\begingroup$ @400188 Please think more carefully before demonstrating you have not thought the matter through, before opening your mouth. Time for follow up question from asker below answer, questions from users seeking clarification from asker,.. Answering questions well is far more time consuming that the time it takes time for users to enter cash in a vending machine to get a candy bar. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Apr 8 at 20:09
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy I think you misinterpreted my comment. I did not state that answering, reading, or reviewing a question was not a time consuming process. I was explaining that it was a voluntary process. $\endgroup$ – user400188 Apr 9 at 1:19

It has been said in the comments, but there is a chat (with no limit on the number of questions asked): https://chat.stackexchange.com/?tab=site&host=math.stackexchange.com

Here is a List of chatrooms.

What you should not do:

  • Asking different questions in one post.
  • Using multiple accounts.

OP, I did a search. Most of your questions are about Math Olympiad problems I gather, is this right?

The best way to learn math is to do your best to work though the problem yourself, and THEN ask for help after you have given it a good effort. If it seems that you are not able to get any of the questions, then this may be a sign that you need to go back to mastering the basic subject matter. Or work on an easier set of questions.

The way we train the mind is a lot like training the body. You get stronger by successfully lifting weights that are challenging but not impossible. We do NOT get stronger by trying to move a load that we have almost no chance of moving. At least not so much. Reading the solutions of math problems helps a bit, but not as much as solving the math problems yourself even if the math problems you solve yourself are a bit easier.

Which leads me to my next question: What resources do you have for learning math right now? I see you said you don't have a teacher, but are you able to access textbooks either print-copy on paper or online?

In any event, 50 questions a month comes to 3 questions every 2 days. In practice it is even more than that if you take days off from mathematics. Either way, it is quite a generous allotment of questions and really, it is not to your benefit to be asking so many questions so often. You'd be better off sitting with the exercise yourself a bit longer before you come on here to ask for a hint or answer. I've chewed on interesting math problems for upwards of 3 or 4 days! Both here and now, and when I was younger. I think this, someone focusing on a problem for a day or two, is not uncommon here and is probably the best way to get better at maths. If you are finding yourself asking that many questions here, it is probably a sign that you are taking on too many exercises at once, you'd be much better served to pick fewer and then focus on each one for a good day or so before you reach out to the forum.


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