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I have slightly > 500 rep on SO, and would enjoy helping with the homework tag removal. However, I obviously do not have the rep to vote for deletion of poorly worded homework questions.

I was about to start going through the questions following Jeff's suggestion in this thread: The homework tag is now officially deprecated

...but I didn't want to be a nuisance by flagging questions that were many years old and all but forgotten.

So, how should I help with this clean up? Or, should I just sit this one out and wait until I have more rep?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

You can suggest edits to questions that currently have the homework tag, but need other edits in addition to that tag's removal. That will help by making it easy for others to simply accept your edit instead of having to do it themselves. As always, please make sure you fix everything that needs to be improved with a post when removing the tag.

...but I didn't want to be a nuisance by flagging questions that were many years old and all but forgotten.

Yes, that's appreciated. With many people already looking at cleaning up the homework tag, we don't want posts flagged for deletion yet. People with enough reputation should remove the majority of them through voting and editing before a moderator needs to step in.


I just want to make clear that we're removing the tag, not necessarily the questions with that tag. From what I've seen most of the questions are okay. Some certainly need to be removed, but most just need to be edited, not closed and deleted.

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In addition to what Bill wrote, please do flag questions tagged for closure if you think they should be closed. If they're closed, leave them alone unless you think they should be reopened. Questions with a flag for closure are shown to a queue to users with close privilege who can then cast close votes (or not, if they disagree). Be sure to use one of the predefined close reasons, not custom text; for questions, common close reasons are “too localized” (questions containing a big code dump where the answers won't help anyone else) or “not a real question” (when the question is just a dump of an assignment, it's usually too broad).

One important guideline when deciding whether to edit or close a homework question is whether the thread is likely to be useful to future visitors. There are two aspects to that:

  • Will someone having a similar problem be able to find the thread in a search?
  • Will someone who finds the thread get some benefit from the answers?

If the answer to these two questions is yes, even if it's a weak yes, please edit: at least to remove the tag, and if necessary (which is often the case) to improve the formatting, the title, the English, the other tags, etc. Also, if you can help the thread along by adding a worthwhile answer or by adding some search fodder, please do so. If the thread looks good, don't forget to remove the tag.

If the thread isn't salvageable, do leave the tag, and flag for closure as applicable.

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I'd note that ~2/3rds of the negative vote questions I've looked at obviously fall under one of Giles' two bullet points. Even if you don't have the time or energy to work on salvage you can still help sweep the trash into the dustpan. –  Dan Neely Nov 7 '12 at 1:35

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