I keep noticing problems that are much too difficult to be part of any school class (such as tough olympiad-type solid geometry questions) posted as . The posters do not appear to be looking for limited answers or hints, and in some cases they add bounties to get the problems solved more completely. The OPs sometimes have difficulty in English.

Is it possible that the posters see the tag and think it is an English equivalent of exercise, which does describe the questions? Is there a need for an [exercise] tag? It could apply to a lot of the competition-like questions that are posted.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ How does the average question asked here differ from one for which the exercise tag is appropriate? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 5:34
  • $\begingroup$ If exercise excludes more specific categories such as [homework], [contest-math], research, [recreational-math], puzzles, open ended inquiries, reference requests, and many others, then I think the number would be considerable but not more encompassing than homework. $\endgroup$
    – zyx
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 5:40
  • $\begingroup$ Another possibility is to define exercise as the relative complement of homework and contests. Questions with the same general features as homework and contest problems (it is from a book or contest or class, it uses the imperative, it has a narrowly defined proof or calculation as the target) but is not actually homework or from a known contest. $\endgroup$
    – zyx
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 6:08
  • $\begingroup$ To some extent, this is similar to the suggestion to create (tutorial) tag, see this post. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 6:18
  • $\begingroup$ To me they look very different. Exercise would be a label to classify the type of question, but (tutorial) was intended as a way to modify the type of answers received. Right now there are a lot of contest-like problems that clearly belong to the contest/exercise/problem-solving universe but are not [homework] or [contest-math], and recreational/puzzle tags do not fit. $\endgroup$
    – zyx
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 6:25
  • $\begingroup$ @zyx Thanks for clarification, I should have read your post more carefully. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 7:52
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    $\begingroup$ It is also possible that the posters are trying to cheat on some entrance exam, and would rather label it "homework" than "ongoing-competition". $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 9:13
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    $\begingroup$ @Gerry, I don't know of entrance exams that take multiple days to solve and have problems of such difficulty. For example, one of them boiled down to facts about the 3-dimensional analogue of the Euler line of a triangle. I'd love to know what institution puts those on the entrance exam. An [ongoing] tag would be useful, indeed. It is objective and might solve some of the agitas about contests and exams/homework without the use of meta threads and moderators. $\endgroup$
    – zyx
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ I didn't have that problem in mind. I still don't have that problem in mind, since you didn't link to it in the original question nor in your comment, and I don't remember seeing it. What I had in mind was questions that have turned out to be from ongoing competitions, and from applications to enter summer programs for high school students or undergrads. We have had quite a few of those, they can be olympiad-difficult (if not as difficult as the one you refer to), the applications can take multiple days to complete, and the posters don't tag them for what they are. Continued... $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 22:40
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    $\begingroup$ ... Maybe the questions I'm writing about aren't the ones you are asking us to handle, in which case, my apologies for taking this detour. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 22:41
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed, I am not talking about those, and they seem to be orthogonal to the difference between (homework) and a possible (exercise) tag. Somebody who posts a contest problem under the second tag might draw closer scrutiny than under the homework tag, since the readership would likely be more contest-aware, and if some of the more contest-like "homework" switched to an (exercises) tag, actual contests posted as homework would stand out more. $\endgroup$
    – zyx
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 23:11
  • $\begingroup$ I did my highschool in eastern Europe and we had often hard solid geometry questions as homework... And it was not rare that those problems came from former olympiads... $\endgroup$
    – N. S.
    Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 5:26
  • $\begingroup$ I'm aware of (for example) special high schools in E.Europe, former USSR, China, and other places. I don't think the level or number of problems can be explained by that. $\endgroup$
    – zyx
    Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 5:58


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