The question Proof of correctness for the greedy solution of uva10249 The Grand Dinner is presently on hold. It is definitely not self contained, so I understand it needs editing.

My question concerns the remark by @Raphael: "It's inappropriate to outsource contest questions". Let me start by saying that I agree with his comment in general, I do not like to solve assignments, whether homework or programming. Yet I do not know what is proper in such a case. I happen to know what type of problem this is, it has a related mathematical theorem, and a wikipedia page with a hint to a greedy algorithm.

What is your opinion: should we close this question, or can we answer and give the name of an applicable algorithm?

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    $\begingroup$ This has come up before. I'm not going to close this question as a duplicate immediately because the old discussion is three years old and didn't gather much attention then. $\endgroup$ May 25, 2016 at 22:24
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    $\begingroup$ FWIW, I did not think that it being a programming contest question alone was sufficient reason to close it. It's a flavor of badness similar to homework dumps -- something we grate our teeth at but do allow. $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    May 26, 2016 at 9:56
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    $\begingroup$ a/ the problem with banning contest questions (somewhat similarly to homework) is that they are often carefully/ cleverly constructed to impinge on key areas of theory etc, and one recent one got a lot of votes and decent analysis here... suggest ppl ignore/ downvote em if they dont like em but dont think a blanket/ unilateral closing tendency makes sense. $\endgroup$
    – vzn
    May 26, 2016 at 15:25

1 Answer 1


In my opinion the post needs editing, not self contained, author said that his solution fails, but didn't posted code (which would make this off-topic) or pseudocode (which woukd be proper), and asked for greedy solution and proof - which turns to be big request.

It is far better that he gave source of the problem instead of trying to hide it. I thought about solving task publicly - there are two points: source should be given but on the other hand it will destroy the task (so attributing contest, but not hotlinking to contest would be nice, hardly doable though).

With edit and your answer, which shows what problem is behind the task is more like win-win-win (question is proper, author learns something, we do not fully destroy the contest).

Also I agree with Raphael's comment, but this was not the reason to hold afaik. Just thinking aloud - could we work out some policy of contest questions?


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