Open your minds folks. These rules you grew up with, enforced upon you as kiddies, are clouding your vision. The question was designed to confuse because it has been written incorrectly, in a form not acceptable to Mathematicians or Computer coders. It is a fairy optical illusion for the reader.

That's (one of the places) where you're wrong, lad.
I could show that expression to any of my mathematician colleagues, I could type it into any computer programming language I know, and would get the same answer back, because we are all agreed on the rules for interpreting strings of arithmetic symbols.

If you don't know the standard order of operations - or if you have some reason to suspect that the writer of the expression doesn't know them - then there is some room for doubt as to the intended answer. If I knew a seven-year-old had written this I might question what he meant the answer to be, because most seven-year-olds don't know the order of operations or apply it perfectly.

Subject to the standard rules though, (and seriously, they are standard,) there is no ambiguity.

Thus we have different answers for the same question - "How many pages long is this thread..." all being right depending on the observer and the way they see things.

That's (one of the places) where you're wrong, lad.
I could show that expression to any of my mathematician colleagues, I could type it into any computer programming language I know, and would get the same answer back, because we are all agreed on the rules for interpreting strings of arithmetic symbols.

If you don't know the standard order of operations - or if you have some reason to suspect that the writer of the expression doesn't know them - then there is some room for doubt as to the intended answer. If I knew a seven-year-old had written this I might question what he meant the answer to be, because most seven-year-olds don't know the order of operations or apply it perfectly.

Subject to the standard rules though, (and seriously, they are standard,) there is no ambiguity.

Mathnut's in back town bringing some law and order to this thread...

Quite the opposite of stubborn, I, being open minded, accept both answers. Mine and yours. The poll seems to support my view.

No it doesn't. Seemingly none of them get two answers, just about 50% of them are wrong. Being wrong's OK. You, however, are evasive and closed minded and stubborn. There is one right answer. You're arguing with people who really know including a maths phd somewhere in here. And it's becoming embarrassing.

Most threads go like this. Some people say 9, some people say 1...then usually someone comes up with something silly like 5 when using a base other than 10.

No it doesn't. Seemingly none of them get two answers, just about 50% of them are wrong. Being wrong's OK. You, however, are evasive and closed minded and stubborn. There is one right answer. You're arguing with people who really know including a maths phd somewhere in here. And it's becoming embarrassing.

Lol. It's not the answer that's wrong. It's the question. Silly billy.

But again why would you multiply out the brackets? You have to solve what is inside the brackets first then multiply out (unless you have division or multiplication to the left of it)