People are currently closing homework questions (that don't make a real effort; I actually like reading homework questions where people are truly stumped, and not lazy) as "not a real question" and adding a homework tag.

This seems like it splits the homework tag evenly between the "good" and "bad" homework questions, since people add the tag either way. This adds a negative connotation (in my opinion) and is unfair to students just trying to figure out a tricky piece of code.

I would like to discontinue the homework tag and implement this instead. If it is a well pieced together "homework" question, it won't be obvious that it is one.


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    I was a fan of the plz-send-me-teh-codez tag for the "bad" kind, when meta-tags were still allowed ;-) – ptomato Aug 23 '10 at 14:36

This fits entirely well within the "Not a real question" option, since it's a question born out of laziness, not out of genuine necessity nor curiosity. No reason to add another option to the already long close menu.

Also, the homework tag should stay. I often answer these very differently. With students, you want to guide them to the right answer. Their livelihood isn't based on whether or not they can get this SQL statement out the door yesterday. Therefore, I'm much more likely to explain the concepts behind what needs to happen without giving any very detailed code (only some basic code to demonstrate concepts). It always helps to know your audience.

  • +1 spoken like a true educator :) – user132619 Aug 3 '09 at 8:28
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    +1 I agree with all you said, however the problem with teh homework tag is that it is used to denote both lazy, do my homework for me questions, and legitimate I've tried really hard but i'm still stumped questions, and I think this tag reflects negatively on the later. – Sam Cogan Aug 3 '09 at 10:01
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    I think in every case you should be guiding people to the right answer. It doesn't matter if they're "officially" a student or not, they're still learning. – devinb Aug 23 '10 at 12:20
  • +1 @devinb; the OP might be asking because of homework, but what about the 25 people who arrive at that question via Google? – Pops Aug 23 '10 at 13:59
  • @Popular Should be guiding them too. StackOverflow shouldn't be a crutch. StackOverflow is where you go to have other people help you figure out the answer. If StackOverflow could do all my work for me, then my employer could hire an intern to outsource all the technical work to SO. There is no reason to treat questions differently by omitting or including information. If you want to tailor how you convey, that's great. but you shouldn't be tailoring what you convey. – devinb Aug 23 '10 at 22:25
  • @devin, yes, I was agreeing with you. – Pops Aug 23 '10 at 22:38
  • @Popular. Oh... I guess I'm having one of those days. – devinb Aug 23 '10 at 23:00

These should NOT be closed, and they need not be tagged with a red letter. Instead, links and resources should be provided so that student has enough leads on how to accomplish their task by learning good methods efficiently and avoiding dead ends and frustration.

I don't see why we can't help them find the better places to learn from, even if that's not the way they asked the question.

(Community wiki, please add to it.)

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