Homework questions sometimes subvert that, especially debugging questions which often have little to no future value and just clutter up everyone's search results. When you're looking for a good way to do something, you don't want to find all the confused bad ways, and answers debugging them but still implementing the bad way. Keep that in mind when answering or choosing not to answer a homework question.
If there's anything interesting worth saying in answer to a question including a nice way to code something , I'm going to put that in an answer.
To be an answer to the question asked, you do also have to directly answer the question including pointing out things wrong with the OP's implementation, or explaining exactly why their code behaves the way it does. I do tend to include more conceptual explanation than I would otherwise when answering a homework question, because usually it's clear that missing concepts are the reason they needed to ask in the first place instead of just writing some code.
But if the OP didn't want a complete answer to their question, they shouldn't have asked on SO. If I think it's worth answering in the first place, I don't like leaving out details or suggestions that would be useful to future readers wondering about the same problem. If you just want guidance or you don't know where to start , ask your instructor or TA for help.
I'm not saying you must always include working code when answering. Don't reward lazy questions homework or not with code dumps. But don't hold back from showing code only because the original asker of the question was doing a homework problem. If there's an alternate much better way to do what the OP was attempting, I'd encourage mentioning it. Sometimes that's easiest and clearest with code. Homework questions are often posted by new users that don't know how to ask good questions yet.
They're also often asking about the same thing that's been asked a zillion times, but with a unique misunderstanding or bug in their code.
I usually resist downvoting new questions like that, even though they have near-zero future value, as long as they include a [mcve] if it's a debugging question. I will go looking for a duplicate to close it if possible, though with an answer that explains things in English, not just a code dump, of course. But when I come across old questions like that near-zero future value, with a problem that could have been found easily with a debugger , I downvote ruthlessly.
I have no patience for old bad questions wasting my time in search results if they won't ever make good duplicate targets because they have two or three misunderstandings combined with various bugs. For example, there are a zillion questions about printing or reading integers in x86 assembly language usually bit DOS because some schools are still teaching that?? Using a debugger is more important in assembly language than in higher-level languages, because many totally wrong things are not build-time errors or warnings.
Watching register values change as you single-step would reveal the bug in more than half the asm-homework questions that get asked. Home Questions Tags Users. How do I ask and answer homework questions? This is an attempt to reconcile two extreme positions in a way that is acceptable to the majority of the community: Some feel it's irrelevant that it's homework: Some feel Stack Overflow is not the place for homework: The guidelines outlined below are rooted in two principles: Asking about homework Make a good faith attempt to solve the problem yourself first.
Answering and moderating homework questions Try to provide explanation that will lead the asker in the correct direction. It's okay to ask if a question is homework, but be polite.
If the question is worth answering; the answer should be as complete as possible it may contain links to more details but the essence of the answer should be in the answer itself. I know there is a difference between teaching and helping to learn, but its about how easy it is to misinterpret.
Mistakenly thinking that is what leads to questions that break multiple site rules to begin with. I feel this is all rather outdated: The homework tag was removed ages ago. The stance currently is that it doesn't matter why someone is asking something, but rather how they ask it. All questions will be regarded equally no matter the purpose of the question. Therefore, asking if something is homework is most likely completely irrelevant and just clutter.
In addition, there has been many up-voted discussions on meta that wish to ban artificial questions with no real-world use meta. Therefore "homework is likely to include artificial constraints" could mean that the question is not suitable for this site.
Overall I don't think this post should be referred to any longer, it is far too old and does no longer necessarily reflect community consensus. One of SO's important goals is to be a repository of useful answers to useful questions. This site is intended for bugs, features, and discussion of Stack Overflow and the software that powers it.
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