I suspect that OR.SE will see a good number of questions that ask for help with an optimization model that's not working as desired. Here are a few examples of such questions, from other sites:
- Vehicle Routing with Multiple Time Windows per Node
- Adding a constraint in Linear Programming Optimization using PULP
- How to fix constraints for allocation optimisation in PuLP python
- Is the following knapsack modelling correct (with additional constraints)
- Optimization - production in two categories
- Optimization model has no feasible solution found via Lingo
We've also had one or two on OR.SE, if I'm not mistaken. Many of these questions are well crafted and insightful and make it easy for readers to understand the question and develop answers. Others are sloppy and non-intuitive and make me not want to invest time to answer them. (I'm not calling these specific questions out as good or bad examples, just as examples of the kinds of questions I'm referring to in this post.)
I'm sure many on this site don't really want to answer "help me with my model" questions, no matter how well written they are, and that's fine. Others (myself included) enjoy answering questions like that from time to time.
One way or another, I am sure that questions like this will drive a lot of traffic our way, and we should welcome them.
I also think that one of the selling points of OR.SE is that we can provide guidance on all aspects of the modeling process, from algebraic formulation through coding and analysis. Right now, theory questions tend to be asked on math.SE, coding/implementation questions on SO, modeling questions tend to get split between them, and there are many other exceptions of course. On OR.SE, one can ask questions both that include math models (MathJax!) and programming (code blocks!) in the same post.
I think we should provide some guidance to askers about how to ask a "help me with my model" question. This will make it easier on both the askers and the answerers, and will (I hope) help jump-start the quality of these questions. My idea is that at some point this guidance would be part of our help page, and we can also link to it when responding to questions that need some work before they are answerable.
I'll post my thoughts in an answer below. I hope others will comment and/or post their own answers.