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Today I asked Airline tickets puzzle strategy, which has been closed now. The reasons I received were:

  1. I was alleged to be cheating

    In response to that I would like to cite where I took this question from. As you can observe, this question was asked in the 2011 exam, which is about a decade ago, and there is no decent explanation available anywhere, so my motive was to have a healthy discussion about it.

  2. Secondly I am told that this is a mathematical puzzle, but I feel this is more of strategy, logical reasoning question, the tags for which I have already put up in my question. There is only some addition/subtraction involved, which in my opinion doesn't qualify to be asked under puzzle tag in Maths SE.

  3. It's not just that I have simply put up the question and asked for the answer. I have tried to be specific on what I want to ask and also provided the info of what I was thinking while solving this problem

  4. I really don't understand how this puzzle is of no use. In fact I would like to point here that if one carefully reads this, it resembles a problem faced in reality.

  5. I respect the decisions of mods always and have abided by the rules, but I am not at all satisfied with their reasons for closing this question.

I would ask the authorities to look into this matter and guide me to a resolution.

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    $\begingroup$ Re: 1) I'm not sure you have a strong standing for that. The front page of the linked PDF file mentioned "All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, or stored in any retrieval system of any nature without the permission of cracku.in, application for which shall be made to [email protected]". Unless you have asked and got their permission to reproduce the content on this site, you just violated their notice... $\endgroup$
    – Andrew T.
    Dec 16, 2021 at 16:12
  • $\begingroup$ @AndrewT. I guess you didn't understand me, if you clearly read my message I have stated that this question arrived in an exam and "there are a lot of answers being floated on internet, without proper explanation", I understand that I have not written the bolded part in this post , but if you open the link of the question I have stated this reason. Cracku has just given the answer to the question, they are not the question setters, and if at all you have any room for doubt you can copy the initials of the question and google it up to see it by yourself $\endgroup$
    – Fin27
    Dec 16, 2021 at 18:34
  • $\begingroup$ @AndrewT. here you go, time4education.com/originalometpapers/XAT2011/…, cracku.in/…, questionbanker.com/mdiscuss.php?qid=209277&type=2 fundamakers.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/…, learningroots.in/cat-and-omet/… This question is literally everywhere on the Internet, because the Institute which conducts this exam makes the questions public so that the future aspirants get to gauge the level of difficulty, pattern of the exam $\endgroup$
    – Fin27
    Dec 16, 2021 at 19:03
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    $\begingroup$ "Other people break the rules" is not an excuse for breaking rules $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Dec 16, 2021 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ No one is breaking the rules, the institute which conducts the exam allows the questions to go to public, its just like any other exam be it IMO, Putnam and what else, maybe every institute organizing the exam should call all the channels/ forums illegal. $\endgroup$
    – Fin27
    Dec 16, 2021 at 21:17
  • $\begingroup$ and I am sorry to the community for doing such "sin" of posting a question, I wish not to justify any more to anybody, rather if someone wants to comment can rather let me know if there is any SE platform where I can ask this question, Thanks and Peace out ! $\endgroup$
    – Fin27
    Dec 16, 2021 at 21:19
  • $\begingroup$ Have you applied to the email for permission to share part of the publication? Because if not, you're in violation of the front-page policy of that document saying you can't "reproduce" any "part of this publication" $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Dec 16, 2021 at 22:37

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PSE gets an annoyingly large number of questions from people who are very clearly trying to cheat on aptitude tests. It is possible that I was too hasty in guessing that this was one of them. But consider the warning signs:

  • The question was very obviously taken pretty directly from some sort of examination or aptitude test.

    • These are usually (and I think this one is no exception) very uninteresting as puzzles. No one is going to have any fun answering this question. Nor is it of any practical use. The only reason anyone would be trying to answer it is for the sake of one of these tests. (Not necessarily trying to cheat; it might be trying to prepare honestly for taking such tests in the future. But PSE isn't an aptitude test preparation service any more than it's an aptitude test cheating service.)
  • The question was posted with no indication at all of its origin.

The fact that the question is old (which I confess I didn't check) is no guarantee of honest intentions, though; surely questions like this get reused sometimes.

However: I concede that I was only guessing that you were trying to cheat on an aptitude test. I may have guessed wrong.

There were, I'm afraid, other reasons for closing the question. (The process of closing requires us to specify just one.)

  • It was posted without any indication of where it came from. As already mentioned, you're not allowed to do that here: creators of puzzles (even bad ones) deserve credit for their work. Of course, that can be fixed by editing the question to say exactly where it's from.
  • It is also official policy here that we don't allow puzzles whose creators have asked them not to be shared. It seems unlikely that the source you cited is actually the original source of the puzzle, but the text bobble quoted indicates that they, at least, specifically instruct readers not to post their material elsewhere.
  • It's really not a puzzle in any useful sense, so far as I can tell. I can't summon up the patience to read its wall of text in full detail, but it looks as if either (1) if you go through and parse all the details one of the options is demonstrably better than the others (in which case it's basically mathematics, just very boring mathematics, and would be closed as being a mathematics problem rather than a puzzle) or else (2) you're being asked to exercise your judgement about something like "would I rather have £100 or an airline ticket whose nominal value is £200 but for a trip I might not actually want to take?" (in which case it's just not a puzzle and would be closed as "opinion-based").

So, if I were to reopen the question as "maybe not a mathematical problem after all", my next action would be to close it again as "a puzzle you found elsewhere without proper citation of its source".

If you edited into it the link given in this question, then (aside from my concern that that's clearly not the actual origin of the question) I might reopen it since it would then be properly attributed -- but I would then immediately have to close it again as "a puzzle whose creator has asked for it not to be shared".

If you got permission from the relevant people to post it here, then maybe it would be necessary to figure out the intended solution and whether it's actually a matter of calculation or judgement; and then we would immediately have to close it again either as "mathematical problem not puzzle" (after all) or "opinion-based".

What I don't see is any plausible way that it remains open. It just isn't the sort of thing PSE is for.

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  • $\begingroup$ Ok, let me clarify the points you mentioned:- 1) No source mentioned :- I mentioned it is from an MBA Entrance exam - XAT 2011 2) The PDF which I said from where I copied the question has its rights on the solutions which it provides and not on the questions obviously, because its just a random institution trying to come up with answers , this question is all around the internet, as I have given links to support my claim in reply to Andrew's comments, you may check for your satisfaction $\endgroup$
    – Fin27
    Dec 16, 2021 at 18:46
  • $\begingroup$ Link1:-handakafunda.com/… Link2:-learningroots.in/cat-and-omet/… Link3:-gpl4you.com/… Link 4:-kitabee.in/media/upload/pdf/… $\endgroup$
    – Fin27
    Dec 16, 2021 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ Link5:-kitabee.in/media/upload/pdf/…, Link6- books.google.co.in/…, Link 8-time4education.com/originalometpapers/XAT2011/… $\endgroup$
    – Fin27
    Dec 16, 2021 at 18:49
  • $\begingroup$ you may google about this exam or check its past year papers which are available on the internet and there is no way by any chance a question is ever being copied, I don't know why you still have a hunch about the cheating thing $\endgroup$
    – Fin27
    Dec 16, 2021 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ opinion based really ? I think either you didn't give enough time to read the question or just think due to the long data its useless, but it is actually solvable at you get an answer according to the question provided, no institute would conduct such a coveted entrance exam by giving opinion-based questions to select candidates $\endgroup$
    – Fin27
    Dec 16, 2021 at 18:56
  • $\begingroup$ sorry to say but still if you want to stick upon your opinion, I respect that, and stand by your decision. So no worries sooner or later that would motivate me to find the answer by myself. Peace out and thanks for giving your valuable time to entertain my query $\endgroup$
    – Fin27
    Dec 16, 2021 at 18:58
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    $\begingroup$ What I said is that either this comes down to "work out exactly what the offers are, and do whatever arithmetic you need to do to compare them" -- in which case it's a mathematical problem, or maybe actually just an English-comprehension problem -- or it doesn't and you're having to make some sort of judgement call, in which case it's "opinion-based". The former seems more likely, of course, but since I haven't taken the time to go through it carefully I thought it worth clarifying that it's unsuitable for PSE either way. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan Mod
    Dec 16, 2021 at 20:24
  • $\begingroup$ Is there any forum, or SE platform then where I can ask this or not ? $\endgroup$
    – Fin27
    Dec 16, 2021 at 21:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Fin27 not really, I guess, since as a mathematical problem the goal doesn't seem to be well-defined mathematically, which is also your source of confusion (and seems to be the reason why you posted it here in the first place). The question doesn't define what is "best". If it asks you to pick "the cheapest option for this trip", then it might be one, if it asks you to pick "the cheapest option overall assuming I will make future trips", it might be another. Since the question doesn't specify, and it's an aptitude test, it's most likely intended for answers to discuss the options. ... $\endgroup$
    – justhalf
    Dec 17, 2021 at 5:26
  • $\begingroup$ ... and it will be used to see how apt you are in seeing that there are multiple "best" trip options, depending on unsaid requirements and criteria. Which in that case this question doesn't have objective answer. Hence, opinion-based, which unfortunately has no place in any SE network (even Interpersonal SE requires some level of objectivity). I would say Quora would fit this better, but I don't have confidence you will get good answers there. $\endgroup$
    – justhalf
    Dec 17, 2021 at 5:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Fin27 The general site for questions "Where can I ask X on the Stack Exchange network?" is Meta Stack Exchange, with the site-identification tag. However I really wouldn't recommend it for this case, it's just not really going to fit anywhere on the network and you might get downvotes from people disliking the question you want to ask. $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Dec 17, 2021 at 5:51
  • $\begingroup$ I'm pretty sure the intention isn't for answers to discuss the options, because I'm pretty sure this is a multiple-choice question. I haven't tried to slog through the presumably-deliberately-muddy text, but my guess is that it will turn out that one option is definitely best because the others turn out not to be usable in this specific case, or impose restrictions that the definitely-best one doesn't, or something of the sort. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan Mod
    Dec 17, 2021 at 12:18
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    $\begingroup$ But the question is written (again, presumably deliberately) in a way that makes it painful to figure out which, because doing so needs you to read a lot of clumsily-written text and interpret its exact meaning and compare against the exact constraints our hypothetical traveller is facing, and so on. I think it is a test of -- in order of importance -- (1) patience, (2) ability to make sense of poorly written text, (3) attention to detail, and maybe (4) a bit of quantitative reasoning. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan Mod
    Dec 17, 2021 at 12:22
  • $\begingroup$ I suspect it's a poor question even for its original purpose of testing aptitude for admission to Indian business schools. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan Mod
    Dec 17, 2021 at 12:25

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