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dalex's blog

By dalex, history, 3 years ago, In English

Problem or Question?

Question is a short phrase, requiring a short answer. Examples of questions:

  • What's your name?
  • Where are you from?
  • What drinks do you prefer?

Some say interview questions are problems, but that's not correct, most of the interview questions are either short and require short answer...

  • How to compile a C++ source file?
  • What is the complexity of mergesort?
  • How add a file to a Docker image?

... or the interviewer may want to hear how you design a system with microservices and so on, which is can't be called a problem too.

Problem is something complicated but strict. You need to solve a problem a get a solution.

Problems exist not only in competitive programming, but also in math or physics competitions, in chess.

Examples of problems:

Why does one particular nation misuse the word "question"?

  • Their native language seems to have the same word for these concepts, and they don't care English does have different words.
  • Many of them get into competitive programming because of jobs, they got used to this "interview question" phrase, and as in their country technical interview is closely connected with competitive programming problems, they replace problems with questions.

What to do with contests?

I think the default word is to take part or to participate. My language allows the words play or write, they both make sense because contest is like a game, you compete (another good word) against other players, and you write code on contests.

The word give is wrong. When you say "give", you mean you no longer have something, and someone else receives this something from you. How are contests connected with it? No data.

People from the known country say they use the word "give" as they use it in the phrase "give an exam", which is wrong too and is surely related to their native language. You can pass or fail an exam or you can take an exam (note that "take" is literally the opposite word for "give")


I'm not a native speaker. But when someone says I'm wrong at something, I try to remember it and not to repeat the same mistake in the future. The most numerous nation on Codeforces don't. It is disrespectful.

Please don't use Indian English. It is ugly and contradictory.

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3 years ago, # |
Rev. 2   Vote: I like it +1 Vote: I do not like it

Varieties exist for literally every major language in the world, be it Spanish, be it Arabic. This is a characteristic of every language which is spread over a large geographical or political expanse. I just don't get what the issue is.

3 years ago, # |
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Radewoosh right now....

3 years ago, # |
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Please don't be racist. It's hypocritical and contradictory. We solve "questions" and "give" contests and we don't "give" a fuck to people disparaging our variety of English.

3 years ago, # |
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dalex Why Russian English didn't develop like Indian? Like play contest

3 years ago, # |
Rev. 2   Vote: I like it +38 Vote: I do not like it

Have you ever heard what "dialect" is? Try persuading somebody in Saint-Petersburg that saying "поребрик" or "парадная" is wrong and flawed. And note that in English, descriptive approach is way more spread than prescriptive, so "correct" is something the most people actually use, not something prescribed by some rules and logic.

3 years ago, # |
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In English language there exist a word "ignore" you could have used it instead of trying to persuade us (^_^)