As the title suggests, I saw this question from a new user here. The question was closed as self-study and I can understand why...on the surface it appears to be asking for someone to solve the question for them:

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However, what they are actually asking is what the notation is, which can be difficult to find given Euler's Number isn't something you can easily type into a Google search (googling "e" for example isn't helpful and the symbol $e$ doesn't make that any more useful). Does this count if they are just asking for what this symbol is? I think this question is somewhere in a gray area, but maybe I'm overlooking the problem. I don't have a hardline stance on the subject, just curious.

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    $\begingroup$ This question is problematic for so many reasons that I cannot see any "gray area" to it. It cannot be answered objectively or uniquely based on the information given. The sub-question about pronunciation is off topic (but could be addressed in chat) and does not thereby rescue this post. It should be closed on sight. $\endgroup$
    – whuber Mod
    Dec 15, 2022 at 15:32
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    $\begingroup$ I think after looking at both answers here, my understanding is more clear now. Thank you for the clarification whuber. $\endgroup$ Dec 15, 2022 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ I'd like to point out $-$ to avoid potential confusion in readers of this question $-$ that the premise that the notation $-$ $\stackrel{\circ}{e}_x$ $-$ has to do with Euler's number ($e$, the base of the natural logarithm) is mistaken. That notation instead denotes the (complete) expectation of life at age $x$, which is in units of years and varies from life table to life table as well as across ages (here denoted by the subscript $x$) $\endgroup$
    – Glen_b
    Dec 25, 2022 at 23:21
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for clarifying. I think I corrected it after someone else chimed in. $\endgroup$ Dec 25, 2022 at 23:41

2 Answers 2

  1. The title of the Question is "How do I solve this actuarial science problem for ex:3?" This is a self-study question.

  2. While it's true that the body of the Question contains a grammatical question, the text of that question begins "sort of related, ..."

Taken together, OP is asking primarily about how to do their homework. It's a self-study question.

Please note that it's not true that asking about how to solve a homework/exam problem is off-topic. Instead, someone asking for help with a self-study problem must also make a good-faith effort to show how they tried to solve the problem: what they know, what they've tried, and where they are stuck. Only questions that do not provide this information are closed. The lack of demonstrated effort is the reason that this question was closed.

  • $\begingroup$ That makes sense. I guess I mistook what OP's primary intent was, but that is more clear. Thank you! $\endgroup$ Dec 15, 2022 at 5:08
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    $\begingroup$ This post is salvageable if OP wants. Certainly they could have asked about how $\stackrel{\circ}{e}_x$ is manipulated and what its properties are. But as of now, as Sycorax wrote, it's a (callous) assignment problem without any research effort. $\endgroup$ Dec 15, 2022 at 6:18
  • $\begingroup$ Understandable. Guess I'll make sure to avoid answering those sorts of questions then. $\endgroup$ Dec 15, 2022 at 15:11
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    $\begingroup$ @ShawnHemelstrand Just to be clear, the general policy for self-study is (1) OP must provide a good-faith effort that they've tried to solve the problem, and be explicit about where they are stuck; (2) Answer-writers provide hints, not answers. More information: stats.stackexchange.com/tags/self-study/info $\endgroup$
    – Sycorax Mod
    Dec 15, 2022 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. That is helpful. $\endgroup$ Dec 15, 2022 at 15:35

Such questions ought to be moderated on their merits and not on any intentions we might impute to the OP. Whether it's "homework" is irrelevant.

When the question is perfunctory – that includes true/false and multiple choice questions, as well as questions with no statistical context – that makes it clearly a self-study question from our perspective, regardless of how the OP is using it.

When a question – as in this example – is copied without appropriate context or preparation, rendering it meaningless or ambiguous, it doesn't matter whether it's considered self-study or not: it's not on topic here.

Therein is the problematic nature of objectively self-study questions: the OP usually cannot provide any kind of statistical objective or any deeper explanation of what they are hoping to achieve. In most cases that reduces the question to mere calculation, often makes it a duplicate, and makes further clarification (on the part of the OP) impossible.

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    $\begingroup$ When a question -- as in this example -- is copied without appropriate context or preparation, rendering it meaningless or ambiguous, it doesn't matter whether it's considered self-study or not --- This statement really helps. I think I will keep this in mind if I see another like this. $\endgroup$ Dec 15, 2022 at 15:33

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