Why are mathematical question posted on Puzzling SE? Is Mathematics SE not good enough?

Here are some examples:

and so on. All those are classical math questions and there is no puzzle.

I will repeat, all these "puzzles" are solved with classical math methods. What is a definition of a (math) puzzle? What will be next, should we post math problems also on Physics SE just because they have a taste of physics, say problems from differential geometry?

  • $\begingroup$ For context, this is a repost of a self-deleted meta-meta question $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Apr 4 '21 at 19:29
  • $\begingroup$ Is there some part of my answer that isn't satisfying to you? I'm in chat if you want a more informal discussion environment. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Apr 6 '21 at 18:02
  • $\begingroup$ Actually there is no point of discussion, your arguments seem to me to vague. And as it seems nobody is really interested in it. $\endgroup$
    – Greedoid
    Apr 6 '21 at 18:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Greedoid What parts of the answer do you think are vague? Does the meta post that bobble linked to not answer your question? (Also just because nobody else is interested doesn't mean we can't have a meaningful discussion about it) $\endgroup$
    – HTM
    Apr 6 '21 at 19:56

Paraphrased, your question appears to be:

Why do people posts their math puzzles here, instead of Mathematics Stack Exchange?

To which I'd answer: Because they can.

These questions are on-topic here, as long as they're math puzzles instead of math problems. We like good math puzzles!

  • Clever or elegant solution, often an "aha" moment
  • Unexpected problem statement.
  • Unexpected or counterintuitive result.

Finding a particularly elegant proof is most definitely a puzzle. As for some other reasons besides "because they can":

  • Perhaps they are only active here, and prefer to contribute to this community
  • Perhaps they want to avoid non-elegant answers by emphasizing that their question is a puzzle
  • Perhaps they want some more front-page visibility. Mathematics is an extremely high-volume site, while on Puzzling questions can linger on the front page for days.

To address "there is no puzzle", question by question.

The first one was solved with an elegant proof, as opposed to blind, robotic use of formulas, or standard methods, etc. Figuring out an elegant path to the solution is a puzzle

The second is actually a perfect example of the puzzle vs problem... problem. The first answer presents an elegant proof, doing things that are non-obvious but lead to a nice conclusion. This is solving the question as a puzzle. The other answer throws several formulas together and then brute-forces with computer tools. This is solving the question as a problem. Which answer is more insightful and interesting to read? The puzzle one, of course.

The third explicitly says "Most elegant solution wins!". Again what to do is non-obvious, and again elegance and a puzzle-minded approach is the goal.

I guarantee you that you can keep searching our archives and finding more math puzzles; if they're not "puzzly" enough to count as puzzles vs problems, feel free to flag them for closure.

True, any of these could be posted on Mathematics. Overlap in scope isn't a problem; people can choose either way to go. It seems these users saw their questions as puzzles and not problems and chose to ask here. That's perfectly fine.

Since you keep editing your question, an update from me.

It seems you're offended or upset in some way by people choosing - choosing of their own free will! - to post their mathematical puzzles here.

You bring up mathematical problems which include physics being posted to Physics SE. This is another example of scope overlap. Physics is perfectly fine with high-level mathematical physics problems, or even just regular-level mathematical physics problems. (Relevant meta post) If there's physics in it, it's probably on-topic for Physics SE. Math.SE is one of the biggest sites here - I think only Stack Overflow is bigger - it can survive losing a small handful of physics questions.

You bring up that "classical math methods" are used to solve mathematical puzzles. That's... sort of the point? These aren't puzzles, the "puzzle" element is figuring out which mathematical methods to apply, and then how to apply them. This is acceptable here.

Scope overlap is fine. When there is scope overlap, it's the user's choice where to post. Which site they choose, and how they choose it, is no-one's business but theirs.

  • $\begingroup$ Note: when this answer was posted, there were only three examples given in the question. I have just noticed that another was edited in. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Apr 6 '21 at 18:01
  • $\begingroup$ Well it is perhaps fine to know where in a flat do you have socks and where do you have spoon. Or you probably don't go to the gas station to buy a pants there. If asking math question is rather strange to ask here if there is a place you could get an answer probably much faster and also of better quality. All this is stupid. I will start posting all my math questions here and everytime will say it is a puzzle. $\endgroup$
    – Greedoid
    Apr 16 '21 at 21:20
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I covered some reasons why people may choose to post their mathematical puzzles here instead of Math.SE within my answer. If you post math questions which are problems and not puzzles, no matter how often you say it is a puzzle, it will be closed under our "math problem vs puzzle" custom close reason. I understand that perhaps you think the answers would be better on Math.SE, but as I say at the end of my answer, people may choose to post wherever they want, regardless if you think it is strange or not. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Apr 16 '21 at 21:26
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Greedoid To summarize what bobble said, sometimes math questions get posted here because they are also puzzles. To use your analogy of where to find things in a flat, my closet is a place for clothes that can be hung up, and my dresser is a place for clothes that can be folded. Where then do I find my shirts? I can find them either place, because they can be hung up or folded. The same logic applies here. Where do I find math puzzles? They are both math questions and puzzles, so they can go in either Math SE or PSE. $\endgroup$
    – samm82
    Apr 16 '21 at 21:35

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