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There are lots of discussions on SO about homework, both in question comments and here on meta, there are even a very good answer on the homework guidelines...

Also the homework tag is deprecated.

And finally, there are lots of high reputation regulars that complain of homework questions.

Yet I keep seeing some high reputation people that are called by others as "repwhores" that not only reply homework questions, but instead of putting explanation, they just put the full answer, usually if the question is asking to write a program, some people paste a full complete program that is just matter of the student copying and pasting and showing to the teacher.

Why students should not post homework here, when there are people here willing to their homework for them? We have no right to complain about homework questions, downvote them or close them, if representatives of SO community with 20k+ rep people do their homework for them without any punishment or even a warning from the rest of the community.

Worse than the students that come to ask questions here in good faith, it is those that just to get reputation do their homework for them, because it is a easy way to give a precise technical answer, and other SO users upvote these (even if they downvote the question).

EDIT: This is NOT a proposal. I am only seeing a problem, and I don't know how to fix it.

Problem: homework questions bother people on SO (because most of them are low quality, and those that aren't bother peopel anyway, since they get downvoted quickly). Yet people put answers on them of the sort that encourage students to put their homework here.

I believe in two approaches: One, is make it clear that homework questions are fine, and should not be downvoted just for being homework.

The other, is make it clear that doing homework for those who ask is not good, and that they should suffer some punishment (maybe downvoting at least).

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closed as not constructive by Rosinante, Lorem Ipsum, Martijn Pieters, Austin Henley, animuson Feb 25 '13 at 3:35

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

What is your question? Or are you just venting? – David Heffernan Feb 24 '13 at 20:46
Academic honesty is something that entirely falls upon the student. It is not something that we can be held responsible for. I would personally not answer a question in full detail if I have an hunch it might be homework, but that is my choice. – Bart Feb 24 '13 at 20:47
We (community) should not behave with less double standard regarding that? If we complain about homework questions, don't tolerate those that encourage those questions. If we tolarate those, then we should stop complaining about the questions. – speeder Feb 24 '13 at 20:47
What are you proposing here? Are you proposing anything? Where do you want to take this discussion? – Bart Feb 24 '13 at 20:53
My personal opinion is that we should devise a way to punish reputation seekers that just plomp down full code on homework, or at least develop clear guidelines for that, that we can point to them. – speeder Feb 24 '13 at 20:54
That's just nonsense. If it's academic honesty you're worried about, then that's up to the student. Other than that, you're talking about regular questions which happen to be homework. If it's a good question, it's welcome. If it's not a good question, it should be closed. And we have many users answering low-hanging fruit for rep, equally as much for non-homework questions. Should they be punished as well? – Bart Feb 24 '13 at 20:57
Well, make your proposals in the question. Dribbling out half formed ideas in comments is no good. – David Heffernan Feb 24 '13 at 20:58
Show me proof of that. Show me a good question which got downvoted into oblivion. – Bart Feb 24 '13 at 21:11
This question could be better, but -6 I think it is too much… – speeder Feb 24 '13 at 21:18
@speeder fyi... The hypocrites and double standard bearers don't like it when you point out that they're hypocrites and double standard bearers. You just get down-voted for stating that fact. I do feel your pain, tho – Chris Gerken Feb 24 '13 at 21:18
That's a hopeless question. It fails to actually ask a question. It states a problem and dumps a wall of code. It deserves -6. The answers attempt to help. That's commendable. I see no problem here. – David Heffernan Feb 24 '13 at 21:22
@speeder That is a pretty poor question. The user doesn't state what the problem is, but merely what he wants. "What kind of syntax should I use" is not a good question. If this is your example of a great homework question which should not have been downvoted, then I do not agree. – Bart Feb 24 '13 at 21:23
@ChrisGerken What hypocrisy or double standard is in place here? Also, just "stating that fact" is pointless unless you're suggesting a solution, so I see nothing wrong with downvoting a question that just complains. This question has been edited to suggest two alternatives for fixing the problem towards the end, which is great. – Asad Saeeduddin Feb 24 '13 at 21:43
Can we please stop with the "repwhore" name calling? Reputation exists to turn selfish behavior toward a result that benefits the community. Any one of us who has checked our reputation score is a "repwhore". – Brad Larson Feb 24 '13 at 22:09
@BradLarson: "Reputation exists to turn selfish behavior toward a result that benefits the community." That's the theory, at any rate. In practice, there are things people do to increase rep that don't benefit the community at all. That's where "repwhore" accusations come on: when someone is doing something that increases rep at the expense of making the site better. – Nicol Bolas Feb 24 '13 at 23:45
up vote 18 down vote accepted

I think we've outgrown the homework question stigma. The intentions behind questions or answers cannot be known with certainty, so guessing at them is pointless. Whether a person is "repwhoring" or genuinely trying to seek/give help is not something you need to know when judging the quality of a post.

If a question provides a platform for information that will be useful to future users, it is a good question. If an answer provides this information with clarity and succinctness, it is a good answer. The intentions of the users are irrelevant.

...but instead of putting explanation, they just put the full answer, usually if the question is asking to write a program, some people paste a full complete program...

Then you should downvote the answer, because a code dump is a bad answer on any question, not just homework questions.

We have no right to complain about homework questions

Absolutely correct. Do not complain about a question simply because the OP is seeking help with homework. Complain about a question if it is poorly researched, unreadable or off topic.

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It doesn't matter why someone answers a question. If the person answering is motivated to answer because they think the answer will garner reputation, that is fine. If the answer is deemed helpful and valuable, it will be upvoted.

There is nothing wrong with rep seekers. If they gain reputation from answering questions, so what? Typically rep seekers help people. That's what SO is all about.

In the same way, it doesn't matter why someone asks a question. Whether or not the question is a homework problem is neither here nor there. Questions should be judged on their intrinsic merits, and not on the motivation behind the asking of the question..

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Not if their behaviour encourage bad questions. – speeder Feb 24 '13 at 21:06
Then close or delete the questions if they deserve it. – Bart Feb 24 '13 at 21:09
@speeder No, the motivation of the person answering is simply irrelevant. If an answer is good it will be upvoted. If it is bad it will be down voted. If a question is good it will be upvoted. If it is bad it will be downvoted and close voted. Whether an answerer seeks rep is simply irrelevant. – David Heffernan Feb 24 '13 at 21:15
@speeder Your acceptance of Asad's excellent answer which I upvoted seems at odds with your comment to this answer. – David Heffernan Feb 24 '13 at 21:27
He fully understood my point. – speeder Feb 24 '13 at 21:28
@speeder He said the same as me, albeit he said it better. – David Heffernan Feb 24 '13 at 21:29
The part that he said the same as you, it is the same, what he understood is that people should not downvote homework just for being homework, and that complete code without good explanations should not be upvoted either. – speeder Feb 24 '13 at 21:31
I agree, questions should not be downvoted just because they are homework, and code only answers are not good. If you read my postings in the delphi tag on SO you'll discover that I am a vehement advocate for answers with explanation rather than code only answers. – David Heffernan Feb 24 '13 at 21:33

It's not StackOverflow's job to regulate/moderate "cheating", and I think it's fair to say:

  • asking someone else to do your homework for you in its entirety is cheating.

The onus* is on course directors and assessors (if they care).

* Mainly, the student is doing themselves a disservice, will most likely will find all subsequent homeworks more difficult without understanding this one, and that's their problem... they won't have StackOverflow in their exam!

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It's onus, not impetus /nitpick – Eugene Seidel Feb 25 '13 at 0:45
@EugeneSeidel onus is clearly better, but I think both are ok...? Edited! – hayd Feb 25 '13 at 1:13

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