While other sites on the network are plagued with them, we have a very low incidence of homework questions. But still, they crop up now and then. Just today, I had to close a "give me the exact solution" plea, starting with HELP in all caps.

It is probably best to codify the way we want to handle homework question. And this doesn't necessarily mean an outright ban, because sometimes good questions arise when somebody is trying to solve a difficult homework problem, and we could encourage that, both for the sake of the inquisitive student and the site.

How should we deal with homework questions? Do we want special rules for them, or do we just deal with them on a case-by-case basis?

As an example, here is how biology.SE handles them.

1 Answer 1


As far as making specific rules or handling on a case by case basis, while either can work, I lean toward the special rules. That said, the way it is set up on biology.SE is very clear and concise and extends itself well to this type of situation.

The question you refer to is no doubt someone not wanting to put forth any effort to learn or do the work, which was minimal at most. They even listed the 4 answers which only needed to be paired with the 4 questions. I would guess that they had reference materials. Plus, if they could put forth the effort to find SA and take the time to type the whole thing out, the same amount of time could have been spent looking for the answers online. I think most of us would agree that answering this type of question does no good for anyone, especially the OP.

As you note, I don't think that homework questions should be banned. There most certainly can be good, legitimate homework questions that should be posted and answered. I think most all of us would pitch in and help someone who had tried to research and find answers to no avail, or someone who honestly doesn't understand a concept, method, etc.

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