How to ask for help in solving a particular problem

We've noticed many people asking for help in solving a particular problem, most of which are posted as notes, or as comments in solutions. Here are some guidelines for what information to convey when requesting for help from others:

  1. Provide context for how you came across the problem: Knowing that the problem was from an Olympiad training book with a chapter on polynomials, would result in a different initial response than if the problem was from a grade 9 textbook.

  2. Explain what you have tried: State what you know, what your initial thoughts are, and what your concerns are. Sometimes you are on the right track, but just need the reassurance to go further.

  3. Explain where you are stuck: Clearly state what hypothesis / guess you are trying to show. If you are stuck on an irrelevant (or even wrong) point, that could often mean that you are going down the wrong path.

  4. Do not simply demand an answer: Do not randomly message / mention people to solve your problems without indicating any work done.

Feel free to link back to this note, to help others understand the etiquette for asking for help.

Note by Calvin Lin
4 years, 7 months ago

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1 vote

  Easy Math Editor

This discussion board is a place to discuss our Daily Challenges and the math and science related to those challenges. Explanations are more than just a solution — they should explain the steps and thinking strategies that you used to obtain the solution. Comments should further the discussion of math and science.

When posting on Brilliant:

  • Use the emojis to react to an explanation, whether you're congratulating a job well done , or just really confused .
  • Ask specific questions about the challenge or the steps in somebody's explanation. Well-posed questions can add a lot to the discussion, but posting "I don't understand!" doesn't help anyone.
  • Try to contribute something new to the discussion, whether it is an extension, generalization or other idea related to the challenge.
  • Stay on topic — we're all here to learn more about math and science, not to hear about your favorite get-rich-quick scheme or current world events.

MarkdownAppears as
*italics* or _italics_ italics
**bold** or __bold__ bold

- bulleted
- list

  • bulleted
  • list

1. numbered
2. list

  1. numbered
  2. list
Note: you must add a full line of space before and after lists for them to show up correctly
paragraph 1

paragraph 2

paragraph 1

paragraph 2

[example link]( link
> This is a quote
This is a quote
    # I indented these lines
    # 4 spaces, and now they show
    # up as a code block.

    print "hello world"
# I indented these lines
# 4 spaces, and now they show
# up as a code block.

print "hello world"
MathAppears as
Remember to wrap math in \( ... \) or \[ ... \] to ensure proper formatting.
2 \times 3 2×3 2 \times 3
2^{34} 234 2^{34}
a_{i-1} ai1 a_{i-1}
\frac{2}{3} 23 \frac{2}{3}
\sqrt{2} 2 \sqrt{2}
\sum_{i=1}^3 i=13 \sum_{i=1}^3
\sin \theta sinθ \sin \theta
\boxed{123} 123 \boxed{123}


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Sir is this the correct way of asking doubts?

My Elasticity Doubt

Md Zuhair - 3 years, 5 months ago

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That's a great example. You can see that Hari understood how to reply, and how much you already know.

Calvin Lin Staff - 3 years, 5 months ago

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Calvin Sir what moderator at means and how to be so pls quickly reply

A Former Brilliant Member - 3 years, 5 months ago

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What if we encounter a problem, and we aren't really sure how to start tackling it? Take my recent note as an example.

Blan Morrison - 3 years, 4 months ago

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That's a great way to present it. You made it clear what you are thinking about, what you have experienced/tried, and provided people with context on what you are aware of.

Calvin Lin Staff - 3 years, 4 months ago

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