I've noticed quite a few homework problems being posted on EE.SE which makes sense since the semester is just beginning.

Its known that these are off-topic, as in we just don't answer them. I'm curious if we could get a flag specifically for homework questions. Currently there doesn't seem to be a very suitable flag.

If I'm mistaken on there not being a suitable flag, let me know, but quite frankly I'm not sure which one to do.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Don't downvote because you disagree. Downvote if the question is badly done. It's still a good question, and if it were removed, someone else would ask the same thing. (IMHO...I mean, I would :) ) \$\endgroup\$
    – gbarry
    Jan 31, 2015 at 18:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @gbarry for a feature request voting on meta sites is different and is the correct way to disagree. That's also why you don't gain / lose reputation on meta posts and there's no automatic question bans. \$\endgroup\$
    – PeterJ
    Feb 1, 2015 at 7:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Actually, StackOverflow used to have a homework tag that is now officially deprecated. The linked Meta question has links to a lengthy discussion and conclusions explaining why creating the tag was a bad idea. Since they've been there, done that, I see no reason for us to repeat the same mistake. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ricardo
    Feb 1, 2015 at 18:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Putting my money where my mouth is on electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/152369/… -- I keep editing it to make the question history make sense - and the accepted answer no longer answers the question. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 4, 2015 at 0:01

2 Answers 2


I don't think Homework is off-topic. "Gimme the answer" is off topic, but a well-reasoned question, showing real effort in advance and reference to where the student is stuck is very welcome.

The response should not be "here's the answer", but a socratic shove in the right direction that encourages them to learn the concepts involved.

The right way certainly takes longer for the responder than the wrong way -- and that might be why even good HW problems may take a while to attract a good answer.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Your approach to "guiding" toward the answer is noble, but utimately some show-off shows up and gives the answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – gbarry
    Jan 31, 2015 at 21:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @gbarry: Yes, that's why we all need to downvote answers that just do the homework for you. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 1, 2015 at 18:31

My strategy for homework questions.

  1. If the O.P. has demonstrated effort for solving the problem and he is genuinely stuck, then homeworkness of the question is not a problem. (There may be other issues, though.)
  2. If the O.P. have not demonstrated effort, I post a comment asking
    "What have you tried so far?"
    Maybe the O.P. is new to EE.SE and he doesn't know that he has to show his attempts.
  3. If the O.P. doesn't post his attempts, I close-vote with a custom message "Homework, initial effort not demonstrated."

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