If it turns out that a problem is equivalent to a known open problem, then the open-problem tag is added. After that, the question essentially becomes, "What is known about this problem? What are some possible ways to approach this problem? What are some ways that people have tried to attack it before, and with what results?"

MathOverflow is not the right place to ask an open problem--i.e., a question that a number of serious mathematicians have already considered and have been unable to answer. You should post questions you think have some reasonable chance of being answered here. If you're thinking about a well-known open problem, provide some background and ask about something specific related to the problem, like "Such and such is a well-known open problem. So-and-so proposed this and that approach in the 80s. Does anybody know if this aspect of their proposal can be made to work under these circumstances?" If you want to contribute to (or view) a list of open problems, visit the Open Problem Garden.

If it turns out that a problem is equivalent to a known open problem, then the open-problem tag is added, and the question is converted to community wiki. After that, the question essentially becomes, "What is known about this problem? What are some possible ways to approach this problem? What are some ways that people have tried to attack it before, and with what results?" That way, the MO thread for the problem becomes a repository of resources related to the problem. Perhaps the answers could be organized by approach, with an outline of the basic approach, followed by a horizontal rule and a summary of what is promising about the approach and why it doesn't give a complete solution.