Revision as of 20:52, 8 February 2012 by Applepi2000 (talk | contribs) (What do some of the acronyms such as "OP" stand for?)

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.



Can I change my user name?

As indicated during the time of your registration, you are unable to change your username. If you accidentally registered using your real name and you are a relatively new user who has not been active on the site, we may be able to make the change for you. Due to technical reasons, abuse issues, and to prevent an overload of requests for changes of user name, we are not able to change your user name for any other reasons than accidentally using your real name.

What software does Art of Problem Solving use to run the website?

  • Forums: phpBB3
  • Blog: User Blog Mod for phpBB3
  • Wiki: MediaWiki
  • Asymptote, Latex, and Geogebra are generated through their respective binary packages
  • Videos: YouTube

Note that as AoPS does not develop the above software, they are not responsible for the proper functioning of said software. Bug reports and feature requests should be sent to the appropriate developers of the above software.


What do the stars under my username next to a forum post represent?

On the Art of Problem Solving website, under your username, you will find stars, as well as the name of one of the Millenium Problems. The number of stars you have, as well as the name of the Millenium Problem, depends on your post count. Here is the table that determines your "rank."
  • 0 - 19 New Member (Zero Stars)
  • 20 - 49 P versus NP (Half Star)
  • 50 - 99 Hodge Conjecture (One Star)
  • 100 - 249 Poincare Conjecture (Two Stars)
  • 250 - 499 Riemann Hypothesis (Two and Half stars)
  • 500 - 999 Yang Mills Theory (Three Stars)
  • 1000 - 2499 Navier-Stokes Equation (Four Stars)
  • 2500 - $\infty$ Birch & Swinnerton Dyer. (Five Stars)
  • Administrators have six stars.

I got the message "You can not post at this time" when trying to post, why?

New users are not allowed to post messages with URLs and various other things. Once you have five posts you can post normally.

If I make more posts, it means I'm a better user, right?

Absolutely not. Post quality is far more important than post quantity. Users making a lot of senseless posts are often considered worse users, or spammers.

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, and the Fun Factory, it does not count towards your post count.

Who can see my post rating?

Only you, moderators, and administrators.

How does AoPS select moderators?

When a new moderator is needed in the forums, AoPS administrators first check if any current moderators could serve as a moderator of the forum which needs a moderator. Should none be found, AoPS administrators and/or other moderators scour the forum looking for productive users. They may also ask for suggestions from other moderators or trusted users on the site. Once they have pinpointed a possible candidate based on their long term usage of the site, productive posts in the forum, and having no recent behavioral issues, that user is asked if he or she would like to moderate the forum.
Less active forums often have no moderator. Inappropriate posts should be reported by users and administrators will take appropriate action.
AoPS receives MANY requests to be a moderator. As they receive so many, it is possible that you won't get a response should you request to be one. Also, AoPS very rarely makes someone a mod for asking to be one, so please do not ask.

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 "!" icon on the bottom-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.

How long of a non-commented thread is consider reviving?

If any post is still on-topic and isn't spammy or anything, it isn't considered reviving. The definition of reviving in the Games forum is 1 month. However, everyone has a different period of time that they consider reviving. In general, apply common sense.

Someone is marking all my posts as spam, what should I do?

It happens to everyone. There's really not much you can do.

Are posts marked spam more often than good?

No. The most common rating is 6 cubes. We understand that many posts are rated 1 when they shouldn't be. We also know that many posts are rated a 6 when they shouldn't be. It pretty much all averages out in the end. The best way to safeguard yourself is not to complain about it! In fact, most other members cannot see your rating. If you want to make a mark here, let your post quality do the talking.

How do I post images?

There are limited attachment options for posts. Attachments have an overall size limit, and will be deleted as the get old. Attachments also may be deleted during any server move or software upgrade or change. You may instead wish to host images on another site and embed them in to your post using the [img] tags. The general format is [img]{url to image}[/img], excluding the braces. There are a number of image hosting sites, including:
  • In thumbnail view
  • Hover over image and click the text box labeled IMG code. It will automatically copy to your clipboard
  • Paste to your message
  • In image view
  • Look for the Links box which should appear at the right side of your screen
  • Click the box labeled IMG Code
  • Copy the text
  • Paste to your message
  • Go to image you wish to embed
  • Click the share tab
  • Copy the contents of the Forum Code text
  • Paste to your message
  • Picasa
    • This will vary by browser and OS, but the process is similar. The provided directions are for Firefox on Windows
    • Go to the image you want to embed
    • Right click on the image
    • Select Copy Image Location
    • Paste into your message, surrounding the pasted text with [img] and [/img] tags
  • Flickr

See also: Direct Image Link


How come I can't create a blog?

One needs to have at least 10 posts in order to make a blog.


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.

Who can I ask to add posts to the contests section?

Any one of the members in the the RManagers group.

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. See, for example, this post.

What if I find an error on a problem?

Please post an accurate description of the problem in this thread

LaTeX, Asymptote, GeoGebra

What is LaTeX, and how do I use it?

$\LaTeX$ is a typesetting markup language that is useful to produce properly formatted mathematical and scientific expressions.

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?

You can download TeXstudio here or TeXnicCenter here

Where can I find a list of LaTeX commands?

See here.

Where can I test LaTeX commands?

Sandbox or TeXeR.

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?

See Asymptote: 3D graphics.

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.

Can I convert diagrams from GeoGebra to other formats?

It is possible to export GeoGebra to Asymptote (see here), PsTricks, and PGF/TikZ; and GeoGebra animations into .gif or video files.


Is there a guide for wiki syntax?

See wiki markup, AoPSWiki:Tutorial, and Help:Contents.

What do I do if I see a mistake in the wiki?

Edit the page and correct the error! You can edit most pages on the wiki. Click the "edit" button on the right sidebar to edit a page.

Why can't I edit the wiki?

You must be a registered user to edit. To be registered, make sure you give a correct email, and activate your account.


Is it possible to join the AoPS Staff?

Yes. Mr. Rusczyk will sometimes hire a small army of college students to work as interns. 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.

What do some of the acronyms such as "OP" stand for?

  • AFK- Away from keyboard
  • AoPS- Art of Problem Solving, the website you're on right now!
  • AMC- American Math Competititions
  • ATM- At the Moment
  • brb- Be right Back
  • EBWOP- EEditing by way of post
  • FTW- For the Win, a game on AoPS
  • lol- Laugh Out Loud
  • MC- Mathcounts, a popular math contest for Middle School students.
  • OP- Original Poster
  • QED- Quod erat demonstrandum or Which was to be proven
  • QS&A- Questions, Suggestions, and Announcements Forum
  • V/LA- Vacation or Long Absence
  • wrt- With respect to


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.

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.

Are there any audio and video during class?

There is no audio or video in the class. The classes are completely text 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, the technology isn't quite there yet for all students to be able to adequately receive streaming audio and video.

I feel like joining! What are my class choices?

Class List Instructors List
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