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Suppose user A posts a math problem and his answer to it. He then asks if his/her solution is right. Now user B posts, as an answer to A, that the answer is correct.

I have been told that user B is not allowed to do that. Instead user B must post his answer as a comment. That seems a bit wrong to me. Is it?

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    $\begingroup$ Presumably sparked by comments on this question of the OP. $\endgroup$ May 3 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ @BillDubuque You are correct. $\endgroup$
    – Bob
    May 3 at 21:20
  • $\begingroup$ I think using this site as a checking machine is a good idea. It is the exact opposite if the case where a user posts a question and does not make any attempt to solve it. If you ask me, I think that is exactly what we do not want. $\endgroup$
    – Bob
    May 3 at 21:23
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    $\begingroup$ This site is mainly for specific questions and specific answers. It's not meant to be a proof-checking site. I'm guilty of this, but asking if a solution is correct and someone answering "yes" is not very specific. If you had doubts about your solution, then some part of your solution must have made you think so. $\endgroup$ May 3 at 21:53
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    $\begingroup$ Saying "Yes, this is correct" doesn't mean much. If the asker made a creative error, perhaps that error ensnared the commenter as well. At times, someone here might be able to supply an alternative proof...that has real value when it happens. Otherwise, the point is a bit unclear. $\endgroup$
    – lulu
    May 3 at 22:20
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    $\begingroup$ One way to handle this situation is to post the question as a question, and then your solution as an answer (when you post the question, there's an option for you to indicate that you will be posting an answer). This way, others can comment on your answer, pointing out any shortcomings; also, other users can post their own, different answers. $\endgroup$ May 3 at 23:34
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    $\begingroup$ There is a FAQ post related to this: How to answer proof-verification questions? Several of the linked questions are discussing similar issues. $\endgroup$ May 4 at 2:28
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    $\begingroup$ "Yes, it is correct" is false without context. For example, if this were an exam question, the three orthogonality equations are written without an attached reason. Also, how the values of $A,B,C$ are derived, and what the values of $x_0,y_0,z_0$ and $A,B,C$ represent in that particular equation are all missing. That's basically the reason why this "lacks context" : because, in the grand scheme of things, it is unclear for what purpose you need this answered, in how much detail you need it answered, etc. $\endgroup$ May 4 at 9:16
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    $\begingroup$ Another reason we don't want these types of solution-verification questions is that they are mainly beneficial to the asker, not to future visitors. $\endgroup$
    – bobeyt6
    May 4 at 20:31
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    $\begingroup$ @bobeyt6 If somebody posts a problem and a correct solution related to the XYZ topic in math, then that gives a future visitor an example problem he can see related to the XYZ topic. $\endgroup$
    – Bob
    May 5 at 11:50
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    $\begingroup$ @Bob ... and prevents them from seeing what could be a better post related to XYZ topic as well. Attempts on SV questions are from users testing their confidence. QA pairs are answered by users far more confident that their material is correct. Such answers can be cited from standard, verified sources as well. That makes those answers more important for someone looking for a canonical reference answer. That's not to say that we don't want such questions, but there is an argument when people say that it interferes with organization. $\endgroup$ May 8 at 2:38
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    $\begingroup$ In my opinion, I don't think it's wrong to post "it's fine" as an answer, but that's because wrong is a very strong word. I'd go with insufficient : an answer saying only that much is complete only in the event that the answer has good notation, attempts to minimize its calculations and display efficiency at each step and is mathematically correct and exhaustive (i.e. any loose statements are referenced). How many answers are so right? That's not even considering the presentation of the proof : how it looks in print and if it can be presented better. $\endgroup$ May 8 at 3:56

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