is probably the only tag on SO that comes with its own guidelines on how to answer questions it's applied to.

As such, wouldn't it make sense to style the tag in a manner that grabs the attention of potential repliers? Perhaps in the same manner that the tag is styled, or even as conspicuously as the tag?

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    Not so, there are others: e.g. [code-golf]. – Ether Jul 30 '10 at 16:36
  • @Ether: indeed! i couldn't think of any others, but that's right, of course. – David Hedlund Aug 2 '10 at 10:56
  • yup, I can't think of any others either :) – Ether Aug 2 '10 at 17:08
  • @AndrewC: yes, that is the currently accepted answer as well. – David Hedlund Sep 24 '12 at 7:47
  • Sorry, didn't click the link. My mistake. – AndrewC Sep 24 '12 at 11:44

The homework tag's appearance is in the process of being changed.

Old style

Homework tag normal appearance

New style

Homework tag invisible

Therefore, this should be


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No. The homework tag is already abused per-se, as it is very often added by people who are not the OP and who can't possibly know whether it's homework.

In fact, let's say I post a question while trying to learn a language as a hobby, which gets tagged homework by a random person who doesn't know better. And after all this (which can be insulting to some people) I get intentionally vague answers?

Let's not make the situation worse. (And let's not talk about the people who will find the question with google, and can't get a real answer)

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  • this question has nothing to do with who should be adding the homework tag. there are already guidelines for that as well. my suggestion was that this should apply when the tag is present, and it has nothing to do with the circumstances under which it should be. – David Hedlund Jul 30 '10 at 14:48
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    I think Kop's point stands, though. I can't support drawing attention to a tag that's so frequently abused, it would only lend emphasis (and legitimacy) to something that often seems to lead to less-than-helpful responses. – Kara Marfia Jul 30 '10 at 16:59
  • @Kara Marfia: it's a valid point on its own, but it's irrelevant to the question at hand. ultimately, it's a red herring argument. a given behavior is undesired, and it is loosely related to the discussed feature, therefore the discussed feature is also undesired? if the abuse of homework tags is a problem, and granted it may be, then try to stop the abuse of homework tags, not everything potentially positive that surrounds homework tags. by analogy, if people abuste stack overflow, then stop them, don't stop stack overflow entirely. – David Hedlund Aug 2 '10 at 10:46
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    In a perfect world, I'd agree, but sometimes the detriments just outweigh the possible benefits. And the new policy against tags that can't stand alone make it moot. – Kara Marfia Aug 11 '10 at 17:49


I feel this may encourage people to ask others to do their homework for them.

If people see that there is a special tag for homework, they may come to the conclusion that it is something we encourage.

While asking questions about homework is encouraged, we are not in the business of handing out grades for free.

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    @Jusin 'jjnnguy' Nelson: a valid concern! while we may disagree with regards to the relative tradeoffs of implementing the change, this is the only answer so far that actually relates to the change in itself, and not everything else surrounding the homework tag, so +1 for that =) – David Hedlund Aug 2 '10 at 10:49
  • @David, thanks for reading. Glad you agree with me. – jjnguy Aug 2 '10 at 12:49

Those guidelines are just that: guidelines. No one has to follow them, and there is no official stance on how one is "supposed to" handle these. The matters of respect and niceness are identical to the treatment given to non-homework questions. An important quote from the highest voted answer in your linked question:

This post is not the official position of the Stack Overflow administrators, but rather a community-edited effort to provide clear guidelines on how to respond to homework. Individual community members can of course use their own judgment.

The required tags are styled because they are required for the site, and the moderator tags are styled to note that they are the judgment of a moderator. Marking the homework tag would indicate that there is some special distinction to homework questions. And there is no mechanical reason to distinguish them.

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  • i couldn't agree more that the matters of respect and niceness are identical to the treatment given to non-homework question. if you read anything else out of my question, i'm afraid i can't see how you could. it's still a fact that being nice to the OP can be two different things entirely based on whether the question is homework (i.e. posting full code, and not, respectively). it is for that reason that it would be nice to bring attention to the difference between the two. the request aspired to aid the endeavour of treating everybody equally nice (albeit by different means) – David Hedlund Aug 2 '10 at 10:54
  • @David Alright, I guess my answer wasn't clear enough. Marking the tag in any way gives it a special distinction that no other tag has. Since there's no mechanical reason (as the guidelines are just guides), there must be some other reason, but what? How is a homework question different from someone who is just beginning to learn something, versus a full-time employee running a deadline? Those are the two basic elements of homework, neither of which even need tags and should be afforded the same levels of treatment (full code where needed) that you propose homework to receive. – Grace Note Aug 2 '10 at 13:17
  • oh alright, then i agree with your conclusion from the premises you've stated, but i disagree with your premises :) I don't think that beginner-level and deadline are the two basic components of homework. the only reason i ever want to know that a question is homework, and act differently upon that knowledge, is that the most helpful answer, to a homework question, is not one where you write a lot of code. this, as far as i can see, is unique to homework. as @Popular Demand noted, there is special distinction to the tag, in that it provides meta information, and as such – David Hedlund Aug 3 '10 at 9:07
  • it may not have to be treated like all other tags. Popular Demand suggests that because of this, the tags should be dropped altogether, but i'd rather see that they were given this visual distinction, just as the meta-information-tags such as feature-request, support, faq here on meta. – David Hedlund Aug 3 '10 at 9:09
  • coming back at this, i realize the distinction i describe might have been what you meant to include in beginner-level questions in general. but in that case the problem is superficial. if that's how we are to define it, then a learning tag, rather than a homework tag is what i want, and my request for it to be conspicuous still stands! – David Hedlund Aug 3 '10 at 10:15

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