I came across this homework-y question which had a few close votes, but was within the community guidelines for asking for help on homework questions. After investigating it a bit more, I am surprised to see that the community not only closed it, but after reopen votes were raised, it stayed closed.

Just to get one thing straight, up front: I hate homework questions where a problem is just regurgitated on the site with no narrative from the OP whatsoever. I think such questions should be burninated on the spot. (And I'd even welcome some "rude" comments from a certain old user that many of us knew.)

But... sometimes a student just needs help and asks for a starting point. Which is exactly what this OP did:

I'm not looking for a straight out answer I just want to know how I should go about solving it?

I fail to see why the close vote stuck on this one. Not only that, but the close reason (as far as I can see) is that it's off-topic. Really? I could see having it closed as a duplicate (I know I've answered similar resistor-network redrawing questions before, somewhere), but off-topic?

Close reason box

To me, this question closure just feels like a mishandled one. I normally argue the other way, favoring to keep stuff closed/deleted since they usually fail to meet requirements and show some minimum effort.

As of this writing, it has four answers with 15 up-votes total. The question apparently is controversial, with both 4 up- and down-votes.

Therefore I am posting the question here: Should this homework-looking question have been closed? I think it attracted good answers and information which surely is a boon for the site and people encountering this sort of EE question for the first time.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "I think it attracted good answers" I disagree, they are quite bad. If you think a question with an obfuscated schematic regarding something as trivial as how to calculate parallel resistance adds something to the site, we disagree. I was taught how to calculate such when I was 16 or 17 something, way before engineering studies, so it's arguable if this is electrical engineering or general education. And obviously we already have lots of questions about that, so it's a duplicate. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lundin
    Nov 4, 2021 at 15:13
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Lundin An interesting viewpoint. I agree these ridiculously twisted "schematics" are terrible, but that's not the fault of the OP. They appear in various beginner EE coursework and obviously cause people some trouble. I think Simon's answer was good in that it attempted to clearly explain how to untwist such schematics and approach the problem. Had the question been closed as a duplicate, I wouldn't have posted about it here. \$\endgroup\$
    – JYelton
    Nov 4, 2021 at 18:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ The OP got their answer and was happy so, that meets one criteria. Regards meeting the criteria of satisfying the site that it's a good question, it got closed because it was a badly formed question with no attempt at a solution. I mean, the OP didn't even try to calculate the current through the 4 ohm resistor. Neither did the OP use their eyes. It's a basic trick question that comes along once per year that needs to be closed. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Nov 7, 2021 at 11:25

2 Answers 2


Homework questions should at least have an attempt at a solution (this has been covered before in the meta several times, it should also be noted that in many cases students are posting these questions from an exam (and I mean while they are sitting in an exam) or directly from homework just to get out of work).

Closing the question isn't bad it lets the user know that they need to edit their question before it can accept answers. I would say flag it for closure and let the user know in the nicest way possible that they can edit the question and get it reopened.

I have no problem if you want to also flag it for moderator attention to get it reopened to expedite the process.

I also have no problem if seeing flags if you see a homework question and think it needs to be closed.


This should have been closed as unclear or a duplicate. Unclear because the schematic looks like some attempt of modern art rather than electrical engineering. This isn't an art site and it isn't a puzzle site either.

  • Step 1 here is to redraw the schematics by using the on-site schematics editor or another tool, so that it can be read by humans. This should be done by the OP.
  • After that we realize that it's just 4 resistors between supply and ground in parallel. Then the natural question is: what have you tried? Do you know how to calculate parallel resistance as taught in school?
  • And then at that point we realize there is very likely a duplicate which can and should be used to close the post. Maybe this one: Calculation of parallel resistors


The down vote reasons are: unclear, lacks research.
The close-vote reasons are: unclear, duplicate.

  • \$\begingroup\$ That is the problem, OP was upset that close reason was "off topic" which does not educate anyone. \$\endgroup\$
    – KalleMP
    May 10, 2022 at 20:10

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