[A few minutes later...]

Maths.SE: Closed: Puzzles are not allowed.

Puzzling.SE: Closed: Maths problems are not allowed.

How do we resolve this sort of "paradox"?

  • $\begingroup$ There is sport to catching fun mathematics puzzles before they are closed. Only recently have I begun to appreciate that, even after they are closed, at least they are not deleted. $\endgroup$
    – humn
    Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 0:29

3 Answers 3


Different sites have differing quality standards. A question can be a bad fit for multiple sites, even when an oversimplification of quality standards would lead to an apparent paradox.

Not all questions have a home on Stack Exchange.

  • $\begingroup$ If a question isn't allowed on either SE site, then where should it be asked? On some other site than SE entirely? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 23:21
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @TheBitByte It probably shouldn't be asked at all. Again, not all questions have a home on Stack Exchange. $\endgroup$
    – user20
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 23:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Do you think making some mathsproblems.SE is a solution? I don't think it is, and neither is throwing good questions out of the whole of SE. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 23:25
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @TheBitByte If a question doesn't fit on Stack Exchange, it may still be a good question, but it's not a good question for SE. Again, such questions may be good, but they should be asked somewhere else entirely (unless the category is a good fit for a new site via Area 51). It's hard to continue the discussion on a hypothetical, though. $\endgroup$
    – user20
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 23:27
  • $\begingroup$ What if the rules need to be modified, not the question? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 23:30
  • $\begingroup$ @TheBitByte Then that's a discussion that should take place on the site for which the rules need to be changed, with concrete examples of particularly high quality questions that are currently off-topic, and detailed, thorough discussion. I can't keep going on a hypothetical, though. $\endgroup$
    – user20
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 23:32
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @TheBitByte: Then they aren't examples, are they? They've been discussed on meta and it has been decided that they're on topic. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi Mod
    Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 2:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi Yes, they were re-opened after discussion. I want the maths problem close reason to be narrowed down a bit in order to avoid future situations like these examples. Not avoid them completely, of course meta is there if you want to discuss something, but just make the close reason a bit more objective. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 2:30
  • $\begingroup$ @TheBitByte: We have talked about this already. Please do not make multiple meta threads for the same purpose. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi Mod
    Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 2:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi Okay, you talked about this, and what was the conclusion? A math puzzle must "not require that the solvers have advanced mathematical knowledge" - that part was removed. "be more than plain calculation" What exactly counts as "plain calculation" has not been defined. "not require heavy calculation" [...] same thing, how much calculation exactly becomes "heavy" has not been defined. "require some insight that makes the problem easier to solve" This one feels a bit too much subjective $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 2:36
  • $\begingroup$ There might always be some subjectivity in close reasons in general, but strict and clear criteria for their usage must be defined. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 2:36

Green is not blue. Neither is it yellow. It's just green. The fact that it is not blue does not require that it be yellow, nor vice versa.

Sometimes there are shades of green that are hard to separate from shades of blue or of yellow, and that's when we have a discussion about what we mostly see it as.

You are basing your argument on a false dichotomy, when in fact there are (at least) three options, and (at least) one of them is that the question is off-topic for both sites.

Sometimes it's hard to tell whether something is too mathy for PSE or too puzzly for MSE, and consensus is developed. Often, that consensus is on one or the other, and occasionally both, but also quote often it is neither.

  • $\begingroup$ Yes, consensus, and the math puzzle problem needs more consensus, and more strict criteria for what is a maths problem and what isn't, hence why I posted this on meta. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 17:44

That's not a paradox. It depends on the question itself. Ideally, only one of the two close reasons given will apply to any particular question. If not, you can just bring it up on one of the meta sites and we'll talk to the Math.SE mods about which site it would be allowed on.

Actually, we find ourselves more often allowing questions on both sites - several questions are cross-site duplicates. I don't think I've ever seen any case where the same question was closed on both sites for opposite reasons.


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