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The entire contents of this question is:

Write a program that uses predicates to assist a small supermarket owner in keeping track of his/ her stock"

Obviously homework by somebody who doesn't have enough English to know how to ask nicely.

Should this be instantly closed? I was having trouble finding a category to close it under.

One vote was for the category "Blatantly Offensive", but I think such a category is unfair and weakening the cases where they actually are Blatantly Offensive.

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5 Answers 5

up vote 17 down vote accepted

Homework---even very obvious and basic homework---is not forbidden on Stack Overflow. Indeed I am happy to help with homework, though questioners will have to tolerate my pedagogical style.

The problem with this question (and many others) is that the poster shows not the slightest sign of having tried and gives no hint that they have even thought about the problem.

I've been voting for "Too Localized" on such questions, reasoning that giving us their assignment doesn't help the next guy or gal down the pipe while tackling the thing that is stumping them might.

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+1 for homework is allowed here, but I disagree on "too localized." The community de facto "standard" when users have wanted entire assignments done for them (which is frowned upon) seems to be "not a real question." –  John Rudy Jan 12 '10 at 17:01
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+1 - For a blatant "do my homework" questions, "too localized" is cleverly correct. Unless the author makes their question more general by asking "teach me how to solve this problem" (which is how homework questions should be asked), it is truly of little use to anybody else on the system. I never thought of it that way. –  Robert Cartaino Jan 12 '10 at 17:22
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+1 This is a good use of "too localized." I would like to see this become standard. –  Super Long Names are Hilarious Mar 19 '10 at 6:59

Well, it is closed as "not a real question". That seems to be a typical choice if there's no where else to 'dump' it.

I'll do the same thing too. :)

As for "Should this be instantly closed?" I say it should be closed. Instantly or not doesn't matter.

I have yet to close one that is considered "Blatantly Offensive" to me. Certaintly not for this question (to me).

As for you statement "Obviously homework by somebody who doesn't have enough English to know how to ask nicely."
I have to say it's kind of drawing too much conclusion. He/she might be too rush to correct the language.

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In this particular case, I might go "not a real question", since there's really not enough information in question or tags to be confident the question is properly answered.

A new close reason like "Answer would require professional services" might apply here. While I'm perfectly happy tossing off explanations and snippets, I don't write random programs for random people who aren't paying me. (Writing programs I want to write, or for people I actually care about, are separate cases, but "do my homework" questions don't qualify.)

I would reserve "blatantly offensive" to posts that are positively insulting to groups of people for unfair reasons (Slashdot's GNAA posts come to mind) or gross in themselves.

dmckee's suggestion of "Too Localized" is intriguing.

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I know this is incredibly old, but I don't think close reasons should be tied to the motivation (or lack thereof) of possible answerers. I've also been using "unreal" for the "too vague", "overly broad", and "cannot be reasonably answered" bits, rather than too localized, as I've seen duplicates which make me believe they are either socks or have the same professor or book. –  Gnome Nov 13 '10 at 1:10

As others have said, "not a real question" is clearly the correct choice here, but I would prefer to be able to expand on just what makes a "real" question. It needs to be

  • specific
  • detailed
  • contain what the OP has tried so far

Pasting in an entire homework question verbatim is not acceptable. Asking "I need to make a supermarket stock checker, what I'm having trouble with is how to detect duplicate inventory" is much better.

The OP is not really clued into what he did wrong when he's slapped with "not a real question". After all, there was a question mark at the end (probably at the sentence "plz gimme teh codez?")

PS. "But people don't read" is not a justifiable response here. That's an excuse, and doesn't help anyone.

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I would choose either blatantly offensive or not a real question depending on the question. If it's an obvious repost of the actual text of the assignment without any more information, I'd probably go with blatantly offensive. If possible, I'd try to fix the question first so that it is acceptable, but it's hard (impossible?) to do when just the assignment text is posted. I'd also follow up with a comment as to why the particular question is unacceptable and how one could have asked the question in an acceptable manner, including tagging the question properly as homework so people are aware and can respond appropriately.

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