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How to ask and answer homework questions?

I started to answer a question, then stopped because it looks like a homework assignment. What is the proper etiquette/response? Downvote the question?

marked as duplicate by Sampson Mar 24 '10 at 20:21

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question.

migrated from stackoverflow.com Mar 24 '10 at 20:11

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  • I've done the same a couple of times... – Mitch Wheat Nov 15 '08 at 5:34
  • Close as duplicate? – George Stocker Dec 10 '08 at 2:02

Answered Here


If they wanna water down their very expensive education, let them.

Personally, I don't feel it's my place to prevent someone from cheating. If it's a good programming question, I'll answer.


This is going to be closed but:

Usually I just ignore it. Downvoting doesn't seem quite right as this is a place to ask questions, but at the same time, I don't feel like helping people who just post assignements here verbatim and wait for the solution.

I guess the difference is whether they've made an attempt to solve it or not. "Can you help me out here, I've got x far but I can't figure out why this won't work? paste code" is much more acceptable and appropriate than a broad open-ended question that's obviously been posed by a teacher with no effort made by the poster to give their opinion on the matter.

The former option there is quite a fun thing to help with and it's nice to give people pointers that make it 'click' without actually giving them the solution. When I was a student of other topics I'd occasionally post to online forums when I really couldn't grok why my formulas, etc, weren't working and I was always really grateful when someone gave me a nudge in the right direction.

I don't care about 'cheating', I just think it's a matter of manners. Usually the people who post their assignment as-is are just here to use the community and not give anything back. It's the same as if someone who worked as a programmer posted here asking for someone to write something he needs done for work. Can you imagine the response to, "My boss needs me to write a custom CMS, can you post the codes please?"


I always appreciated help when I was a C.S. student, and feel that I owe the same measure of help to others.


Has SO become Cliffs Notes/Do My homework site for CS students

No more so than Google.


Also answered at this question.

StackOverflow isn't that unique. There are plenty of programmer help sites out there. If you're worried about StackOverflow being overrun with "do my homework" questions, go visit a few others that have been around a while.

You will certainly get certain kinds of questions at certain times of year that correspond with semester or midterm projects wrapping up.


I feel more compelled to help a CS student if the they have put forth effort to solve the problem on their own. Everyone gets stuck sometimes, I would have loved to have a site like this to refer to when I was in school.


With homework questions I find answering with how to solve the problem helpful, solving the problem for them isn't.


It depends how you answer and how they ask, We're here asking for help from others so why shouldn't they? Programming is about learning and not immediately knowing the solution to any given problem at any point. So if they ask legitimate questions regarding a language or structure issue then I think they deserve the help, especially as their asking is setting a good precedent and shows they care.

If however they ask you something like:

I needs make a program to work out latest currency and change it to other currency, Help me do this?

Then that's going to be closed pretty fast as that is not a question, it's a request for you to do their work.