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The description is

This tag should be used when you have a proposed solution to a problem and have specific concerns or doubts about the validity of that solution. A question with this tag should include an explanation for why the argument presented is not convincing enough. Further discussion on using this tag can be found in the Mathematics Meta questions (1) and (2).

Most questions with this tag do not satisfy this requirement, but have the spirit "Here is my proof, tell me if it is correct."

At the moment there are 21,369 questions with this tag. The total number of questions is 1,640,902, thus 1.3 % of all questions use the tag.

A recent example is Show that there is no homeomorphism $f:\mathbb{R}^2\setminus\mathbb{S}^1\rightarrow \mathbb{R}^2\setminus\mathbb{S}^1$ such that $f(0, 0) = (2, 0)$. A comment states legitimately

https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/solution-verification: "For posts looking for feedback or verification of a proposed solution. "Is my proof correct?" is too broad or missing context. Instead, the question must identify precisely which step in the proof is in doubt, and why so."

Writing such a commment requires an individual action of a user. I think it would be more efficient to extend the "close" function by an additional community-specific reason

  • Does not meet the requirements of the tag "solution-verification"

I understand that we should not inflationize the list of community-specific reasons, but I want to initiate a discussion.

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    $\begingroup$ this question seems relevant. $\endgroup$
    – lulu
    Mar 25 at 11:35
  • $\begingroup$ There are only a small number of slots into which we can put a custom community close reason. Which of the current reasons would you propose to remove? $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Mar 25 at 12:36
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    $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson They are probably not too keen, but on some sites SE increased number of custom close reasons above the default. For example, Stack Overflow or Ask Ubuntu. $\endgroup$ Mar 25 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ @XanderHenderson If removal is necessary, then I suggest "Missing context or other details" . It is very similar to "Needs details or clarity". $\endgroup$
    – Paul Frost
    Mar 25 at 17:44
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    $\begingroup$ @PaulFrost I actually am opposed to that idea, since the "Missing Context" gives links to meta questions which should be helpful. It is a strictly more useful close reason than the default "needs details or clarity". I would really like to replace "needs clarity" with "needs context", but that cannot be done. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Mar 25 at 17:54
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    $\begingroup$ I can't see voting to close a question, just because it's improperly tagged. If some user posts a question about equations of straight lines and tags it linear-algebra when it should be algebra-precalculus, you just retag it, or ask the user to retag it, you don't vote to close it. Same with solution-verification, or any other misused tag. $\endgroup$ Mar 26 at 2:27
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    $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson, the problem is not that those questions are mis-tagged. Those questions are just as problematic without the tag. The problem is that those questions violate the rules regarding what questions are and aren't suitable here. $\endgroup$
    – D.W.
    Mar 26 at 17:17
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    $\begingroup$ @D.W., that may be how you see it, but it's not how OP sees it. OP wants to close questions, and I quote, because Does not meet the requirements of the tag "solution-verification" That's what OP wants to do, and that's what I object to. If a question isn't suitable for the site, vote to close it as not being suitable for the site. If a question is suitable for the site, but doesn't meet the requirements of its tag, re-tag it. $\endgroup$ Mar 26 at 22:59
  • $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson, the current policy of the site is that such questions are not suitable here: math.meta.stackexchange.com/q/4597/14578, math.meta.stackexchange.com/q/35663/14578. They are not suitable no matter what tags they contain. No one is proposing to close the question because it is improperly tagged -- they are closing the question because it violates the site expectations. You are free to disagree with or object to the guidelines stated in those meta questions, but those are the expectations of the site as things currently stand. Tags are a distraction. $\endgroup$
    – D.W.
    Mar 27 at 2:26
  • $\begingroup$ @D.W., "No one is proposing to close the question because it is improperly tagged...." That's exactly what OP is proposing to do. OP is proposing to close a question because, and I quote again, it Does not meet the requirements of the tag "solution-verification" You wouldn't close a question, just because it is improperly tagged, and I wouldn't vote to close a question just because it is improperly tagged, but OP explicitly and expressly would do exactly that. If "tags are a distraction", it is OP who is being distracted, not me. $\endgroup$ Mar 27 at 3:05
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    $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson, Such questions do not meet the expectations of the site. Even if the tag wiki didn't exist, the meta questions I linked to would still establish expectations that questions are expected to follow; so "is my solution correct?" questions would not be appropriate here. The tag wiki is not the authoritative source of policy -- it is just documenting guidelines that have already been established on meta. You could delete the tag wiki and those questions would still be unsuitable. The original poster might be conflating the two, but this issue goes beyond just improper tagging. $\endgroup$
    – D.W.
    Mar 27 at 4:19
  • $\begingroup$ @D.W., you want to close "is my solution correct?" questions and tell users they contravene established expectations. I want to close "is my solution correct?" questions and tell users they contravene established expectations. OP wants to close "is my solution correct?" questions and tell users they don't meet the requirements of the solution-verification tag. Your argument is not with me; our argument is with OP. But I'm the only one telling OP that the proposal in this question is dreadful. Come on – join me! $\endgroup$ Mar 27 at 6:33
  • $\begingroup$ @D.W., when I posted the above, I didn't notice the answer you posted. Well done! $\endgroup$ Mar 27 at 11:08

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I think your proposal is well-motivated, and I appreciate your bringing it up for discussion, but ultimately I'm unsure about your proposal. I agree with you that there is a problem, but I'm unsure about your proposed solution.

I'm concerned about whether we can add another custom site-specific close reasons -- that we might have already filled all of the slots for custom close reasons. I do not think any of the existing close reasons should be removed to make room for this new close reason.

On the other hand, I have recently learned that there might be a possibility of adding a new close reason without deleting any existing one -- in which case I'd withdraw my objection.


In the absence of a new close reason, I suggest carrying on with existing policy and practice. I don't believe any changes to policy are needed. It is already well-established that questions of the form "Here is my proof, is it correct?" are not suitable here. Those guidelines have already been established and documented on Meta at Best way of asking "check my proof" questions and Don't close solution verification as dupe, instead remove questions with the tag of [solution-verification] appearing in search, and I think the pre-existing guidelines are spot-on.

So what to do, if you encounter such a question? If you think such a question is problematic, I would recommend voting to close as 'too broad'. Questions that ask you to verify an entire solution/proof are asking "too much" and do not fit the format that Stack Exchange sites were designed for. There is no need for a custom close reason -- you can already vote to close those questions, if you consider them unsuitable. Those guidelines often haven't been enforced, but they remain "on the books", and you remain free to use your 'vote to close' privileges on such questions.

(I expect that this answer may be downvoted by those who do not support the existing guidelines. For folks who disagree with the existing guidelines, I would highlight that you always have the option to propose a change to site policy/guidelines by posting on Meta with a proposed change and building support for your preferred policy.)

(To proactively address a possible objection, I would not suggest that you vote to close such questions on the grounds that they are improperly tagged. Rather, if you decide they should be closed, I would suggest you close them on the grounds that they do not comply with the site guidelines established on Meta, or that the question is too broad to be a good fit for this site's format. Don't close because of tags, but it's fine to close because of this site's policies or Stack Exchange rules.)

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  • $\begingroup$ I am not really sure this is actually true: "there is a limit on the number of custom site-specific close reasons". At least on some sites SE increased the number of custom close reasons. (In a comment under the question I mentioned Stack Overflow and Ask Ubuntu as examples. There is also this FAQ post How do moderators make changes to the site-specific closed question reasons? - it says the following: "A few sites do get a regular influx of off-topic questions in a larger number of distinct categories; if you find this to be the case on your site, post ... $\endgroup$ Mar 27 at 9:18
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    $\begingroup$ ... a feature-request on your meta site with examples of questions that would benefit from a predefined community-specific close reason option - we'll verify the need for this and work with you to make more reasons available." (At the same time I understand that math.SE would need to have a really good reason to persuade SE that an additional custom close reason is actually needed.) $\endgroup$ Mar 27 at 9:18
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak, Oh wow. I was not aware that there was any possibility to increase the number of custom close reasons. If that is an option, then I withdraw my answer and would be open to supporting such a proposal. Maybe it would make sense to post a new post on Meta (informed by this discussion) proposing adding an additional close reason, with links to evidence that this is possible, and proposing specific text for that close reason (based on discussion here)? Or maybe we first need some discussion to agree on the text of that custom close reason? $\endgroup$
    – D.W.
    Mar 27 at 23:01
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak, I apologize for not seeing your comment earlier. Do you think it would be best for me to delete my answer? $\endgroup$
    – D.W.
    Mar 28 at 0:33
  • $\begingroup$ I think there are reasonable objections against the proposed close reason even as a new additional custom close reason. So I don't think that your answer has to be deleted. (Naturally it's up to you - as it is your answer. It all depends on what you consider the best course of action.) But if the answer stays, you could just mention that an additional custom close reason cannot be added by moderators - one would need help from the SE staff. $\endgroup$ Mar 28 at 1:29

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