An NP-Completeness question was asked today by a new user, and immediately received 2 downvotes. The OP desclaimed it was a question from a job interview, offered the hint given to him and asked for help since he could not progress on his own.

His question is definitely on topic; even interesting (to me at least), albeit poorly worded. I have seen a number of job interview question on this site, and they are usually solved, rather than downvoted. So why was it downvoted so quickly? Do we not discourage potential answers by immediately downvoting?

It relates to the meta question: Welcoming new users by downvoting their questions

In the answer given by Discrete lizard, it was written: "I agree with you that downvotes on questions that are fine after minor improvements should be avoided." Does the question I mentioned above not fall into this category?

TLDR: this question was downvoted soon after being posted. Was it for being confusing to read? Or why else?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I guess it is because its poor format. It does not even attract me to read it. Also, if you look at the source of the post through editing, you can see some unnatural line feeds so I guess the question is simply copied from some source, and the OP made no effort to improve the formatting. Now I have edited the post and let's see if it attracts more upvotes. $\endgroup$
    – xskxzr
    May 12, 2019 at 7:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure if I have more to add than what I said in the other meta thread. Indeed, the question needed some formatting to be readable, but was otherwise fine. Do note that apart from deliberate voting fraud, people are free to vote however they wish, even if we (the community) advise otherwise. (They could lose their keys, for example) See also this related main meta post. $\endgroup$
    – Discrete lizard Mod
    May 12, 2019 at 12:37
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ It's still a problem dump... $\endgroup$
    – Raphael Mod
    May 12, 2019 at 16:41

1 Answer 1


Disclaimer: when I saw the question title on the front page I skipped it. I hadn't read the question before today, so I don't speak for the people who downvoted it on the first day.

The OP desclaimed it was a question from a job interview, offered the hint given to him and asked for help since he could not progress on his own.

I think this is being quite generous to OP. They said that it was from a job interview, yes. They mentioned one hint which they had been given, but it quickly became clear in the comments on the question that they'd actually been given quite a few more hints which they hadn't mentioned in the question. And as for "asked for help since he could not progress on his own", the actual text was

... it has been a week since I've started thinking about it and I couldn't prove it. If someone can please post a thorough solution I would appreciate it a lot.

If they've been thinking about it for a week, where are their thoughts?

The first phrase in the tooltip for the downvote button is "This question does not show any research effort", and it is a perfect description of the question. (In fact, not only is the effort which OP has put in not shown in the question, but additionally the subtext of asking for a "thorough solution" rather than a further hint is that OP doesn't want to put in any more effort).


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