This is a community created list of Frequently Asked Questions about Art of Problem Solving. If you have a request to edit or add a question on this page, please make it here.
- 1 General
- 2 Forums
- 2.1 How do I create a forum?
- 2.2 Why do some posts say they were posted in the future?
- 2.3 I've lost admin access to a forum or blog I created, how do I get it back?
- 2.4 What should I do if I find a glitch in the community?
- 2.5 How do I format my post, e.g. bold text, add URLs, etc.?
- 2.6 How do I hide content in the forums?
- 2.7 I got the message "Too many messages." when trying to send a private message, why?
- 2.8 If I make more posts, it means I'm a better user, right?
- 2.9 I have made some posts but my post count did not increase. Why?
- 2.10 I believe a post needs corrective action. What should I do?
- 2.11 How do I post images?
- 2.12 How do I become a moderator of a forum?
- 3 Blogs
- 4 Alcumus
- 5 Contests
- 5.1 Where can I find past contest questions and solutions?
- 5.2 How do I get problems onto the contest page?
- 5.3 What are the guidelines for posting problems to be added to the contests section?
- 5.4 Why is the wiki missing many contest questions?
- 5.5 Where are all of the mock contests?
- 5.6 How can I host a mock contest?
- 6 LaTeX and Asymptote
- 6.1 What is LaTeX, and how do I use it?
- 6.2 How can I download LaTeX to use on the forums?
- 6.3 How can I download LaTeX for personal use?
- 6.4 Where can I find a list of LaTeX commands?
- 6.5 Where can I test LaTeX commands?
- 6.6 Where can I find examples of Asymptote diagrams and code?
- 6.7 How can I draw 3D diagrams?
- 6.8 What is the cse5 package?
- 6.9 What is the olympiad package?
- 7 AoPSWiki
- 8 Miscellaneous
- 9 AoPS Acronyms
- 10 FTW!
- 11 School
Can I change my username?
- No, unless you contact Art of Problem Solving. However, note that they can typically only change usernames for privacy reasons (e.g., your current username reveals personal information).
Why can't I change my avatar?
- You must be a user for two weeks before being able to change your avatar. You can get another avatar by downloading a picture you like and changing the dimensions via computer; however, it's really hard to get a good-looking picture under the size limit. Instead, you could visit one of the many avatar shops to get one (try searching "avatar shop" in other forums on the community page).
Something looks weird (e.g., blurry, missing line, etc.)
- This is likely due to your browser zoom level. Please make sure your zoom level is at 100% for correct rendering of the web page. If it is at 100% and still doesn't look right, try a refresh or hard refresh. If it still shows up, follow the instructions here to submit a bug report about it in Site Support.
Can I make more than one account?
- Short answer: No.
- Long answer: Multiple accounts (multis) are banned on AoPS. Having more than one account leads to issues of not remembering on what account you did what. Using multiple accounts to "game" the system, (e.g. increase rating for posts or in online games) or to attempt to spam without consequences will lead to bans on all accounts associated with you. If you have already made additional accounts, please choose one account and stop using the others.
What software does Art of Problem Solving use to run the website?
- Search: Solr
- Wiki: MediaWiki
- Asymptote and are generated through their respective binary packages
- Videos: YouTube
- PyWindow: Skulpt
- All other parts of the website are custom built.
Can you make an AoPS App?
- No. Contrary to popular opinion, any app built would be less functional than the website. Any features missing on the website in phone view would also be missing in an app as an app doesn't magically make the screen bigger. In addition, the logistics and costs involved are too great.
How do I create a forum?
- To create an AoPS forum, a user must be on the AoPS community for at least 2 weeks. To create a forum, hover over the community tab, then click "My AoPS." You should now see your avatar, and a list of your friends. Now, click on the "My Forums" tab. There, you would be able to see which forum you moderate or administrate, as well as the private forums you can access. Click on the "+" button at the top right. This should lead you to a forum creating page.
Why do some posts say they were posted in the future?
- The AoPS clock is based on the official Naval Observatory time. This is considered the most accurate time. If your computer's system clock is behind the correct time, recent posts may indicate they were posted in the future. Please correct your computer's clock or enable clock synchronization so that your clock is always correct. Mac users may wish to check Synchronize your Mac's Clock With A Time Server. You can also check the US offical time.
I've lost admin access to a forum or blog I created, how do I get it back?
- Please send an email to email@example.com. They will research your request and restore admin access to your forum if appropriate.
What should I do if I find a glitch in the community?
- First, search the Site Support forum to check if your issue has already been reported. You can search here.
- If your issue isn't reported, try refreshing your browser page. Most issues go away after a refresh and there is no need to report the issue unless it continues after you refresh your browser. You can refresh on most browsers in Windows with Ctrl + R and on Mac with Cmd + R. To Hard Refresh, click Shift between Ctrl/Cmd and R.
- Some commonly known glitches that should not be reported are avatars appearing twice in the topic list or private message, friends appearing more than once in the friend list, the edit icon showing next to a message when it shouldn't, and not being able to search for a forum after going back a page in the community.
How do I format my post, e.g. bold text, add URLs, etc.?
- AoPS is based on a markup language called BBCode. A tutorial of its functions on AoPS and how to use them can be found here.
How do I hide content in the forums?
- Wrap the content you want to hide in [hide] tags.
- If you want to customize the label, instead of saying "Click here to reveal hidden text", you can do something like:
[hide=Label to display]Content[/hide]
I got the message "Too many messages." when trying to send a private message, why?
- To prevent PM spam abuse like "hvbowibvibviorybvirusbshbiuovvisuvib", users with less than five forum posts are limited to four private messages within a forty-eight hour period.
If I make more posts, it means I'm a better user, right?
- No, not at all. In fact, if you make many posts of poor quality, you will be considered a worse user. Those who spam will have post privileges removed. Post quality is far more important than post quantity.
I have made some posts but my post count did not increase. Why?
- When you post in some of the forums, such as the Test Forum, Mafia Forum, Fun Factory, and most user created forums, the post does not count towards your overall post count. And still. Quality over quantity.
I believe a post needs corrective action. What should I do?
- If you believe a post needs moderative action, you may report it by clicking the Z icon on the upper-right corner of that post. If it's a minor mistake, you may want to PM the offending user instead and explain how they can make their post better. Usually, you shouldn't publicly post such things on a thread itself, which is called "backseat moderation" and is considered rude and unproductive.
How do I post images?
- While AoPS forums have the ability to attach images, we do not generally recommend doing so, as we can not guarantee the images will be available through upgrades, restorations, etc. We also have limited disk space which causes us to remove attachments from time to time. Therefore, we recommend using a third party image hosting solution. There are many options, but we recommend imgur.com.
- Go to imgur.com
- Click New Post
- Upload your image
- Right click (Ctrl+Click on Mac) on your uploaded image
- Select Copy Image Location
- Paste the copied URL in to a forum or blog post surrounded by [img] ... [/img] tags
How do I become a moderator of a forum?
- The creators of user-created forums select moderators in several different ways. Contact the creator(s) of the forum for more information.
- The AoPS staff will select moderators for the major forums on an as-needed basis. If the AoPS staff determines that a forum needs additional moderators, then the staff will reach out to productive users and invite them to become moderators. These are some features that the AoPS staff may consider when selecting new moderators.
- An established history of productive posting. No unproductive, spammy, or troll posts in the past several years. (For example, a high school student might have made some poor choices while in elementary school -- but then learned from those mistakes.)
- No use of \8char or other strategies to get around rules or restrictions on the forums.
- When the user reports posts, the report is useful and helpful, and the reported post (or thread, or user) really did reflect a serious issue worthy of administrators' attention. The user filled in the "Further details" field with valuable information. The user does not report the use of phrases such as "gosh, golly gee" as profanity.
- No multis.
- No backseat moderating, no posting of "\requestlock".
- When the user revives an old thread, the new post is valuable and relevant.
- The user does not use the forums to cheat on Alcumus, homework, contests, or similar activities.
How come I can't create a blog?
- One needs to have at least 5 posts in order to make a blog.
How do I make my blog look nice?
- Many AoPSers make their blogs look nice by applying CSS, which is a high-level stylesheet language. This can be done by typing CSS code into the CSS box in the Blog Control Panel.
How is rating computed?
- The rating is more of a prediction of what percentage of problems in the topic the Alcumus engine believes you will get correct. As you get more and more correct, the rating will go up slower and slower. However, if you are predicted to get most correct, and you miss one or two problems, the rating, or prediction of percentage correct, will go down.
I am stuck on a problem, and changing the topic does not change the problem.
- Alcumus provides review problems to make sure you still recall information learned from the past. You are not able to skip these problems. You will need to answer the problem before moving on.
Why can't I change topics?
- Alcumus provides review problems to make sure you still recall information learned from the past. You are not able to skip these problems. You will need to answer the problem before the topic changes to the currently selected topic.
Where can I find past contest questions and solutions?
- In the Contests section.
How do I get problems onto the contest page?
- Make a topic for each question in the appropriate forum, copy/paste the urls to the National Olympiad. Your problems may eventually be submitted into the Contest page.
What are the guidelines for posting problems to be added to the contests section?
- Refer to the guidelines in this post.
Why is the wiki missing many contest questions?
- Generally, it is because users have not yet posted them onto the wiki (translation difficulties, not having access to the actual problems, lack of interest, etc). If you have a copy, please post the problems in the Community Section! In some cases, however, problems may be missing due to copyright claims from maths organizations.
Where are all of the mock contests?
- User-generated mock contests are now in its separate subforum, AoPS Mock Contests. Please use that forum for creating, hosting, participating in, or recruiting writers/test solvers for mock contests.
How can I host a mock contest?
LaTeX and Asymptote
What is LaTeX, and how do I use it?
- is a typesetting markup language and document preparation system. It is widely used for typesetting expressions containing mathematical formulae. See LaTeX:About.
How can I download LaTeX to use on the forums?
- There are no downloads necessary; the forums and the wiki render LaTeX commands between dollar signs.
How can I download LaTeX for personal use?
Where can I find a list of LaTeX commands?
- See here.
Where can I test LaTeX commands?
Where can I find examples of Asymptote diagrams and code?
- Search this wiki for the <asy> tag or the Forums for the [asy] tag. See also these examples and this article (click on the images to obtain the code).
How can I draw 3D diagrams?
What is the cse5 package?
- See here. The package contains a set of shorthand commands that implement the behavior of usual commands, for example D() for draw() and dot(), and so forth.
What is the olympiad package?
- See here. The package contains a set of commands useful for drawing diagrams related to olympiad geometry problems.
Is there a guide for wiki syntax?
What do I do if I see a mistake in the wiki?
- Click "edit" and correct the error.
Is it possible to join the AoPS Staff?
- Yes. Mr. Rusczyk will sometimes hire a small army of college students to work as interns, graders, and teaching assistants. You must be at least in your second semester of your senior year and be legal to work in the U.S. (at least 16).
What is the minimum age to be an assistant in an Art of Problem Solving class?
- You must have graduated from high school, or at least be in the second term of your senior year.
- AFK- Away from keyboard, inactive
- AoPS- Art of Problem Solving
- AIME- American Invitational Mathematics Examination
- admin(s)- Administrator(s)
- AMC- American Math Competitions
- AMO-USA Mathematical Olympiad
- ATM- At the Moment/Automated teller machine
- brb- Be right Back
- BTW- By the way
- CEMC - Centre for Mathematics and Computing
- Combo - Combinatorics (Counting and Probability)
- C&P or C+P or CP - Counting and Probability or Contests and Programs
- cbrt - Cube Root
- DHR - Distinguished Honor Roll
- EBWOP- Editing by way of post
- FF- Fun Factory
- FTFY - Fixed that for you
- FTW- For the Win, a game on AoPS
- gg- Good Game
- gj- Good Job
- glhf-Good Luck Have Fun
- gtg - Got to go
- HR - Honor Roll
- HSM - High School Math Forum
- ID(R or E)K-I Don't (Really or Even) Know
- ID(R or E)C-I Don't (Really or Even) Care
- iff-If and only if
- IIRC- If I recall correctly
- IKR- I know, right?
- IMO- In my opinion (or International Math Olympiad, depending on context)
- IMHO- In my humble/honest opinion
- JK- Just Kidding
- JMO- United States of America Junior Mathematical Olympiad
- lol- Laugh Out Loud
- MC- Mathcounts, a popular math contest for Middle School students.
- NFL- Not for long/No friends left/National Football League
- NHL-National Hockey League
- mod(s)- Moderator(s)
- MOEMS- Math Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools
- MO(S)P- Mathematical Olympiad (Summer) Program
- MSM- Middle School Math Forum
- NIMO-National Internet Math Olympiad
- NT- Number Theory
- OBC- Online by computer
- OMG- Oh My Gosh
- OMO-Online Math Open
- OP- Original Poster/Original Post/Original Problem, or Overpowered/Overpowering
- QED- Quod erat demonstrandum, Latin for "Which was to be proven"; some English mathematicians use it as an acronym for Quite Elegantly Done
- QS&A- Questions, Suggestions, and Announcements Forum
- ro(t)fl - Rolling on the floor laughing
- smh - Shaking my head/somehow
- sqrt - Square root
- Sticky- A post pinned to the top of a forum - a thing you really should read
- ToS- Terms of Service - a thing you really should read
- USA(J)MO- USA (Junior) Mathematical Olympiad
- V/LA- Vacation or Long Absence/Limited Access
- WDYM- What Do You Mean?
- WIP- Work in Progress
- WLOG- Without loss of generality
- WOOT - Worldwide Online Olympiad Training
- wrt- With respect to
- wtg - Way to go
- tytia- Thank you, that is all
- ty- Thank you
- ttyl- Talk to you later
- xD- Bursting Laugh
- TL;DR- Too long; don't read
- yw- You're welcome
Please see the For the Win! FAQ for many common questions.
What if I miss a class?
- There are classroom transcripts available under My Classes, available at the top right of the web site. You can view these transcripts in order to review any missed material. You can also ask questions on the class message board. Don't worry, though, classroom participation usually isn't weighted heavily.
Is there audio or video in class?
- There is generally no audio or video in the class. The classes are generally text and image based, in an interactive chat room environment, which allows students to ask questions at any time during the class. In addition to audio and video limiting interactivity and being less pedagogically effective, the technology isn't quite there yet for all students to be able to adequately receive streaming audio and video.
What if I want to drop out of a class?
- For any course with more than 2 classes, students can drop the course any time before the third class begins and receive a full refund. No drops are allowed after the third class has started. To drop the class, go to the My Classes section by clicking the My Classes link at the top-right of the website. Then find the area on the right side of the page that lets you drop the class. A refund will be processed within 10 business days.
For my homework, there is supposed to be a green bar but it's orange, why?
- For the bar to turn green, the writing problem must be attempted. Once it is attempted the bar will turn green.
I need more time for my homework, what should I do?
- There is a "Request Extension" button in the homework tab of your class. This will automatically extend the due date to 2 days after the normal deadline. If you want more time you need to ask for it in the little comment box, stating the reason why you want the extension, and how much time you want. This request will be looked at by the teachers and they will decide if you get the extension or not. Note that you can only use this button 3 times. After, you will need administrator approval.
- Otherwise, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your username, class name and ID (the number in the class page URL after https://artofproblemsolving.com/class/) and reason for extension. Someone should get back to you within a couple days.