# How should we respond to "homework questions"?

This question asks how to complete an artificial task that is unlikely to be useful in a practical graphics setting, but is part of learning the basics about a graphics library. Does that make it on topic as part of learning, or off topic as a homework problem with no practical application?

Where should we draw the line with this type of question?

I believe it's a valid question for learning purposes. Even though the the task has no practical graphics uses, the assignment serves as a good thought experiment.

With that in mind, I believe we should draw the line similar to /r/cpp_questions or StackOverflow. That is:

1. We will not solve your homework for you.
2. Show that you've at least tried to solve the problem, or at the very least, tried to do some research
3. We can give code samples or pseudo-code as help. But, in following with 1, we should not just give the answer outright.
• It has valid practical uses, just not obvious ones. Sep 24, 2015 at 0:48

Just to add to what has already been answered, I don't think we need a special policy for homework questions. Whether or not the question is the result of assigned homework is irrelevant.

What matters is whether the question is up to scratch or not. If the question is well researched, clearly formulated and not a duplicate, it should be welcome. If it's the opposite, it should be closed, downvoted, or face whatever other action may be appropriate.

I'd say this particular question is somewhat unclear and open for interpretation, so at the very least would urge the OP to clarify. That it's homework doesn't matter.

• I disagree. If it's specifically a homework question (or appears to be), we need to be careful not to do their work for them. There are some questions that have a very straightforward question, and it the context of "real" life, giving the answer is appropriate. Whereas homework serves a particular purpose that is different from other types of challenges, we ought to be careful to aid that purpose, without circumventing it. Jun 6, 2016 at 20:27

I'd like to bump this discussion along with stating my own opinion about homework questions. Not because I'm a moderator now, but rather because I've recently seen a close vote reason on a homework-style question stating that it should be closed because it is a homework question (and nothing more).

I think, most if not all homework-style questions are asked, because the author has difficulties applying or understanding an underlying problem. And because of this, the author can not solve the assignment and asks for help.

Now the question can be asked like

In my course we have the following assignment:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam...

I tried X and Y but don't understand how to Z, because...

How do I do Z with respect to X and Y?

which deserves an answer, in my opinion. However, if it is asked like

it does not look like a good question. And it most likely isn't, because often the question is too broad, unclear or both, because there are too many aspects in the task that could be the actual problem of the author.

And there will be questions in between these two extremes. But we should aim to turn the homework-style questions to be in the style of the former example. And if it is, it does not matter anymore whether or not it is a homework related question.

While researching how other sites handle homework questions, I found some paragraphs which I'd like to share:

Don't flag questions as "homework." There's nothing moderators can do about that.

There's a specific admonishment in the Help Center:

Questions asking for homework help must include a summary of the work you've done so far to solve the problem, and a description of the difficulty you are having solving it.

If a user is clearly just trying to get their homework answered without any effort on their part, I typically close the question, putting that description in the custom close reason.

Source: Robert Harveys answer on Meta Stack Overflow

I think this is a great way to close questions that are of the plz give me the codez and alike type.

Also,

• Make a good faith attempt to solve the problem yourself first. If we can't see enough work on your part your question will likely be booed off the stage; it will be voted down and closed.
• Ask about specific problems with your existing implementation. If you can't do that yet, try some more of your own work first or searching for more general help; your professor is likely to be a better resource at this stage than Stack Overflow.
• Admit that the question is homework. Trying to hide it will just get the question closed faster. Do not use a “homework” tag, but mention it in the question text if relevant (you can structure your question this way: “How can I do …? I'm trying to do this as part of … which is a homework problem. This is my attempt so far: …”).

and