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See Algorithm for exclusion of numbers for the question.

As far as I can see it qualifies as being on topic because it is both a specific programming problem and an algorithm question. It was upvoted 8 times, starred 2x, and had 2 answers that were voted for multiple times. The answers involve regular expressions, finite automata, and dynamic programming - clearly all standard algorithm fare.

Yet four experienced stack overflow users decided that it should be closed. The only comment from anyone voting to close it is that it looks like a math problem - even though the posted answers rely on standard CS material that is not likely to be encountered in a standard math curriculum. And, judging from the voting on the comments, most of the people who saw it agreed that it was a programming problem and not a math problem.

Can we please get votes to reopen? Or if people think that it should be closed as off topic, can someone please explain to me why, and where it should have appeared instead?

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closed as too localized by random Jul 4 '12 at 20:46

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

No code => Theoretical Computer Science not Stack Overflow. –  Cat Plus Plus Jul 4 '12 at 20:14
It is an interview question. It does not fall under the "You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face." as discussed in the FAQ. –  Oded Jul 4 '12 at 20:15
@CatPlusPlus That site is for Research Level questions in Theoretical Computer Science. This problem is clearly not that. –  btilly Jul 4 '12 at 20:16
Looks more like a puzzle with five users who closed it –  random Jul 4 '12 at 20:16
It's a "solve this problem for me" post, not really even a question. The user appears to have put no effort in and given up immediately after reading the problem. –  Matthew Read Jul 4 '12 at 20:28
True, I would close it as not a real question. Because it is the text literally copied from the interview question whitout any effort to change it into a question and without any effort to solve it. –  Toon Krijthe Jul 4 '12 at 20:29
With some minor editing, it could fit on codegolf.SE, no? –  joran Jul 4 '12 at 20:30
@Oded By your reasoning, all homework questions should also be closed. Of course for the person who was asked the interview question, it is an actual problem with a practical purpose. And the answers demonstrate its answerability. –  btilly Jul 4 '12 at 20:30
@MatthewRead I'd be interested to see whether you could have solved the question. A lot of algorithm questions have the characteristic that until you know how to tackle it, it is hard to make any progress at all. –  btilly Jul 4 '12 at 20:31
@joran This would be a horrible code golf problem. The challenge isn't writing a short program to solve that question - that is easy. The challenge is writing a program that can actually finish in anything like reasonable time. –  btilly Jul 4 '12 at 20:32
@btilly <shrug> In that case I agree with it's closure/deletion. –  joran Jul 4 '12 at 20:33
I've solved a similar problem in an interviews, so maybe, but I'm not really sure that's relevant. A novice should certainly have been able to provide at least a naive and horribly inefficient solution if they had actually tried. It's just one of those questions that isn't really what SO is designed for, compounded by the way the question was presented. The answers did seem suited to a Computer Science style question, though; perhaps it could be rewritten and posted there, though obviously not by the OP. (Note CS and Theoretical CS are different sites.) –  Matthew Read Jul 4 '12 at 21:32
"programming problem" - you keep saying that, but the question as posted doesn't even mention programming. It is a question about the decimal representatation of numbers, nothing more. Now, both the answers provide programming approaches by which this question might be answered, but that doesn't alter the fact that the question is one of mathematics. If you are sure that user1499215 meant in fact to ask 'How might we programmatically determine how many numbers [etc]', then by all means edit that into the question and I will happily vote to reopen. If you're sure. I don't know. –  AakashM Jul 5 '12 at 8:46
@AakashM Who in their right mind would try to do a complex mathematical operation involving 50 numbers and not use a computer??? Anyways I'm done with this question, and site. –  btilly Jul 5 '12 at 14:52
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