First time here? Check out the FAQ!

How to turn Q&A framework into a proposal submission system?

Hi ( @Federico Poloni and others who might be interested),

Could you describe how you imagine the proposal submission system based on the Q&A platform? What kind of workflow do you expect?


Evgeny's avatar
updated 2010-08-17 10:15:34 -0500, asked 2010-08-17 10:09:29 -0500
edit flag offensive 0 remove flag close merge delete


add a comment see more comments

1 Answer


Sure. I'll describe you my use case first. I am part of the organizing committee for the Italian mathematical Olympiad --- hey guys, please go on reading and don't be put off by the m-word. :)

Each few months, we assemble a text for a competition, composed of 20 to 50 different problems. Each problem is defined by a short text (~two to ten lines) --- the solutions are not published in this phase.

Our collaborators submit proposals, tagging them to denote the problem field (algebra, geometry, et cetera), its difficulty, and the competition it's being proposed for. Other collaborators may comment on the proposal and up- or down-vote it.

For their convenience, they need to be able to print the problems, so that they can try to solve them without being in front of a computer. Each proposal may take time to analyze --- especially since they come without solution. :)

After this discussion, the responsible for the final text selects the questions to put in the competition, according to the votes and comments received, but also autonomously based on his/her judgment, and produces the "official" text of the competition (~2-4 pages of text). This last step doesn't need to be automated.

What we would need in the perfect application for our job is:

  • a standard login system for our collaborators
  • ability to submit proposals (short text snippets), and to later edit them for errors
  • ability to enter mathematical notation <--- not a big issue, we can add it ourselves using jsMath.
  • ability to comment, up- and down-vote proposals
  • ability to search easily among the archived proposals, using also tags (e.g. tagged [unused] and [geometry], containing the text "Pythagoras")
  • ability to print down the texts of a given subset of problems (e.g. all [unused] and [geometry] problems)

Currently AskBot satisfies all this bullets but the last one --- we'd just need to replace the word "question" with "proposal". Moreover, it has other interesting features like the ability to vote for comments, and a reputation system to let us know who are the most active collaborators.

So I asked if there is any possibility that the last bullet gets implemented.

I hope this was clear, feel free to ask for more details.

And thanks again for trying to help me and for reading all of this post. :)

Federico Poloni's avatar
Federico Poloni
updated 2010-08-17 13:00:56 -0500, answered 2010-08-17 12:56:44 -0500
edit flag offensive 0 remove flag delete link


where do "answers" come in in your scheme of things? does "proposal title" title have any meaning in the context of your application? Do you need to make a "call for proposal" somehow? You have a concept of "competition" - so there must be some way to enter those and follow up upon?
Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2010-08-17 13:23:47 -0500) edit
"answers" could come from the collaborators trying to answer the problem (to make sure it's well-posed). I don't need a call for proposal for every competition: proposals stay in the system and can be used for later ones.
Federico Poloni's avatar Federico Poloni (2010-08-17 16:05:42 -0500) edit
"Competitions" are just sets of 20-50 questions that are selected and approved. I didn't plan to manage them through Askbot: once the problems have been selected, we compose them by hand in a single (LaTeX) document and print them. A tag could say "used-in-competition-x", for bookkeeping.
Federico Poloni's avatar Federico Poloni (2010-08-17 16:08:59 -0500) edit
add a comment see more comments