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I've noticed an increase in questions where the OP claims to have been detached from mathematics for a long time and provides zero effort in their question, here is an example. How should our community handle such questions in terms of upholding the standards of the site? Are there specific guidelines or approaches we should consider in these cases to maintain the quality of the content on our site?

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    $\begingroup$ I'm afraid I don't see how this particular subclass of questions needs to have guidelines that are any different or more specific than any other questions of questionable quality. (Unlike, say, ChatGPT answers, which are completely different beasts from other answers.) Can you give example(s) where the general rules are insufficient? $\endgroup$
    – JonathanZ
    Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 1:56
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    $\begingroup$ The guideline is that "I haven't done anything in a long time / I forgot what I did earlier" isn't enough to claim that you can't do anything now, given the number of things that can be done. For example, I am surprised the author wrote $\frac{e^{3x}}{x}e^{2x}$ without realizing that was in fact $\frac{e^{5x}}{x}$. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 6:07

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I would vote to close. "I've been away from mathematics" may provide some context, but the obvious follow-up question is "then why do you need to solve this problem now? In what context did it arise? Why are you expected to solve it? What do you actually remember?" If none of these are addressed, then the question lacks sufficient context.

The example you point to also has another problem: it asks two separate questions in the same post. Asking for a guide to review calculus for someone who has been away for a while is a stand-alone question (and one that requires providing context about what parts of calculus they need now and why, as the appropriateness of the source will depend on the intended use).

So I would comment and ask for that context, and absent that context simply vote to close, just like with any other "Here's a problem I don't know how to do, please do it for me" question. Doesn't matter why one posts such a question with no context, the only thing that matters is that it was posted.

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    $\begingroup$ Note to mention the fact that it is a duplicate: math.stackexchange.com/q/251795 . Approach0 is down right now, so that is the first Google result. I would put good money on there being at least another half-dozen copies of that question running around. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 4:05
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I'd recommend closing without downvoting.

Downvoting should be reserved to only those who repeat bad behavior's after repeated attempts at recourse.

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    $\begingroup$ I do try to use the down vote for "this is not useful" (which I could swear used to be the hover text for the downvote button, but isn't popping up for me now). Now, a Q (or A) that is currently not useful might have potential to be turned into a useful one, so I have to make a judgement call if I should go ahead and down vote right now. And in that case I definitely factor in what you've mentioned - Q's from people who have persistently refused to fix bad ones are more likely to get my immediate down vote. But I do try to judge the question, not the user who posted it. $\endgroup$
    – JonathanZ
    Commented Nov 14, 2023 at 17:35
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    $\begingroup$ on an answer I agree with Jonathan's sentiment, that it can be used for "this is wrong" or "this is not relevant, nor useful nor interesting". For questions I would reserve it for questions in bad faith. Example "plz do my homework for me" and "I have proven the riemann hypothesis you are all idiots for not understanding my elementary argument!" etc... $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 19, 2023 at 16:32
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Before downvoting or voting to close we probably should write out something like: "hey you your question is bad because of X you need to do Y to fix it. this is being downvoted/closed until Y happens and then we can re-open/reconsider it. It's just simply how this website works don't take it personally, we all have had to learn these rules the hard way :)"

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I'm not a major member of this community but it seems that people here love downvoting without even considering the post. This site was made to help people, so why are we so quick to shut them down? Maybe instead of closing the post or downvoting them, why not point them in the right direction, help them instead of just closing the post which benefits no one.

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    $\begingroup$ I feel that the site should give priority to helping people. However, the majority view seems to be that the priority should be creating a repository of well crafted questions and answers. Your response is inconsistent with the majority view. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 16, 2023 at 0:28
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    $\begingroup$ "the priority should be creating a repository of well crafted questions and answers" - yes, that is exactly the purpose of the site, it is not surprising that most people want it to do what it literally exists for. We are not here to Help™ people, except as a direct effect of the creation of a credible high-quality Q&A repository. $\endgroup$
    – Nij
    Commented Nov 16, 2023 at 8:04

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