I have seen postings on math.stackexchange starting "I found this solution somewhere on the internet to [problem x.y in textbook]" (often without information about where they found it, just a quote). The post might continue in one of these ways:
- Is it correct?
- Why did they use this approach?
- I think these are mistakes. What about these points later on?
Type 1: are they really expecting math.stackexchange users to proofread some random solution that they found? (I don't think this is the same as a typical proof-verification post, since those should be asking about poster's own work.) Type 2: are they expecting users to psychoanalyze the original author? I suppose not, but if they're basically asking, "How do you come up with an idea for how to solve this problem," then that feels like too open-ended a question. Type 3: if they've already found several clear mistakes, why are they putting any faith into the rest of the purported solution?
Are these appropriate types of posts? What are good ways to respond to them while being polite and respectful? Type 2 in particular seems like the sort of question that could be refined and turned into something of higher quality with the right sort of feedback, but I don't know what that feedback should be.
Or do I just try to ignore this type of post and let someone else deal with it?