# Close vs Open war on a question

I recently posted this question. It was closed, reopened and now closed again.

I don't understand what the problem with the question is. Other than silently closing, no one wishes to give criticism of the latest state of the question. I am quite confused. Could someone explain what the problem with it is?

Remark: Seems so for similar unknown reasons, this other question I put on convergence will be closed.

Seems I've aggrevated some people to go on a downvote spree on all my newest questions. Stop, please.

• I voted to close the original version of the question because it was a vague statement, without a precise meaning. For instance, you simply wrote $\forall\varepsilon$, instead of, say, $\forall\varepsilon>0$. Commented Aug 7 at 12:07
• Previous meta mention of this question at math.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/34447/… Commented Aug 7 at 12:32
• I agree with the initial closure (and even commented about missing detail), but i honestly do not understand why it was closed again after you added the missing details to the question. To me it seems like a perfectly fine question related to a common error in $\varepsilon-\delta$ proofs.
– jd27
Commented Aug 8 at 18:12
• I just looked at your post. I must admit that have no idea what your question is even now. I think there is confusion with $x$ and $x_0$ and why should every function be continuous at any point $x_0$... Were you missing some sort of modifier in "every function" such as 'continuous'?
– Mike
Commented Aug 9 at 18:57
• I also am confused by the MathSE posted question that you have linked to. Excerpting : "...Now, apparently any function well defined at $x_o$ is supposed to satisfy this." : Really? The definition seems to be that of continuity at a specific value in the domain. Why does a function have to be continuous at a specific value just because the function is well defined at that value. Consider (for example) $~f(x) = 1 ~: ~x ~$ is rational, and $~f(x) = 0 ~: ~x ~$ is irrational. This function $~f(x)~$ is well defined, but is nowhere continuous. Commented Aug 9 at 20:22

The closure reason already provides feedback. It says:

Please provide additional context, which ideally explains why the question is relevant to you and our community. Some forms of context include: background and motivation, relevant definitions, source, possible strategies, your current progress, why the question is interesting or important, etc.

Our purpose is to build an archive of knowledge that will be useful to others. This site is a platform designed to help people collaborate towards that goal. That means we're looking for questions that identify a problem or question that many people are likely to have, and set up the problem statement clearly and in a form that contributes towards the overall goal. Think of it like writing a bunch of encyclopedia articles, but instead of it being organized by topics, it is organized by questions that many people might have. Some questions are beneficial towards that purpose, and others less so. We're not a helpdesk to help just one person.

It is not clear to me what you are asking. The post writes "we have:" and lists a displayed equation, but it's not clear what your question is. The only question is see is "How would I go about proving that?", but it's not clear what the "that" is. It's not obvious whether the displayed equation is something we're supposed to assume, or something we're asked to prove. Make it easy for readers to tell what your question is. Don't force them to try to guess or infer what you are asking.

To decode your question and understand the context, we have to click the link and review what is happening in that other question. That's not in line with the purpose of Stack Exchange. Each question should be a standalone question that provides all necessary context. It is the responsibility of the person writing the question to figure out how to cleanly formulate a well-defined, standalone question and to provide all necessary context in the question.

On Math.SE, we have additional requirements. We require you to provide context to explain why the question is relevant and useful to others. If you review the link provided in the closure notice (https://math.meta.stackexchange.com/a/9960/), you should find more explanations on how you can improve the question.

More broadly: I wonder if you might be using Math.SE in a way it was not intended for. I am not sure what your level of mathematical knowledge might be, but if you are having trouble understanding that $$\forall \exists$$ statement, my suspicion is that the root cause might be that you might not be solid in your proficiency with logical quantifiers yet. If so, when you encounter a mathematical expression with logical quantifiers that you are having difficulty with, the best solution is likely to be to spend some more time with textbooks and practice problems to gain a better understanding of logical quantifiers. If instead you take the approach of asking a question on Math.SE any time you encounter a mathematical expression you don't understand, you might have a not-so-positive experience (or confusing experience) some of the time. Math.SE is not intended as a tutoring service or helpdesk to explain a particular expression to you -- the purpose of questions here is to enable people to identify common problems that many people have, document them, and collaborate with others to document the solutions, so that many people can benefit.

So it's possible that, even more important than the problems with the question, the broader problem might with be the approach to using Math.SE and learning mathematics. Only you will know whether this sounds relevant to you. If it doesn't sound like it aligns with your personal situation, then I hope you'll disregard the comments that don't seem applicable.

Finally, I should mention that this is my view, but it is not the view of everyone who participates here. Some subscribe to the "archive of knowledge" mission statement, some are perfectly happy being a "help desk", and some see Math.SE as being a mix of the two. This might explain why you might receive seemingly inconsistent responses -- different people have different views about your question (and at different times, your question might be reviewed by different people), so you might receive a range of responses.

• If you want to build an archive of knowledge that will be useful to others, then you don't want to muddy the question with "I tried various X, Y and Z" unless it actually solves the question. It should not be a requirement that the context points fingers to here and there particularly when it is obvious this is a natural question in mathematics. Commented Aug 10 at 7:34
• @Snared, Absolutely, I'm sympathetic in principle. Of all of the forms of context, "what I've tried" leaves me with the most mixed feelings. I'm less convinced that this particular question is an instance of a natural question that many others will have. It seems to me like the real issue for the poster is learning about the meaning of quantifiers, and their particular question is an instance of that general concept. In any case, I hope my other suggestions about how to improve the question will be useful to the poster.
– D.W.
Commented Aug 10 at 7:55