Archetypical Homework Question

I help review questions on Chem.SE regularly, and this type of question comes up regularly. Some downvoted homework question by a new person to the Chem.SE network, usually because they weren't aware of the homework policy in the first place. Is it possible that, to help them, we could link them to the homework policy in the "How to Ask" dialog, somewhat like so?

New How To Ask Box

Note: I usually don't foray onto meta sites much, I'm a chemist, not a meta-chemist. This is my first post, please tell me if anything needs to be fixed.

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    $\begingroup$ (+1) I agree with your proposal. I always wonder why exactly are there so many questions with such a low effort from the OP almost everyday. I am too inexperienced to get to the best reason, but I guess not knowing the homework policy might be one. $\endgroup$ Feb 19, 2018 at 14:08
  • $\begingroup$ Also, in relation to my previous post, instead of only linking to the homework policy, we should do: "We require questions to show some effort on the part of the OP. Please also include your effort in solving the problem in this question, even if it didn't work out to the correct answer. For more, details read [here]". $\endgroup$ Feb 19, 2018 at 14:10
  • $\begingroup$ Also, it is only the "first-time posters" that we need to worry about, because once a user has already posted like 3-4 questions on the main site, I doubt if they even read that boring "How to ask" noticeboard (at least I don't read it :P) $\endgroup$ Feb 19, 2018 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ sigh One can put any standard comment for homework if they wish there's nothing to propose. Link makes it better but such comments in general aren't particularly effective. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Feb 19, 2018 at 19:10
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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Should we link new users to the homework policy right in the first comment? $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Feb 19, 2018 at 19:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron I do in general agree, but this is a feature-request, so let's treat it apart from the comment thing. $\endgroup$ Feb 20, 2018 at 4:56
  • $\begingroup$ It was suggested via flag that the status-declined flag be applied. I think this is reasonable, but if this warrants more debate, we can certainly discuss it further. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    Mar 14, 2018 at 22:46

1 Answer 1


While I do not enjoy these kinds of question, I don't want to have any more barriers for new users on the site. Stack exchange operates on a try first - fix later policy and that usually gives us the best results. i.e. allowing everything first and filter out what to retain as a community.

As part of the moderators on this site I can say, that this is a standard building block we cannot change. I also think, that implementing it would not be a priority, if possible at all to change this for our site only.

On a second thought, given that the welcoming comments are largely ignored, I don't think this would lead to a significant improvement. People who you copy and paste their assignments, usually don't care for anything except the submit butten. As such I would assume it is also largely going to be ignored.

  • $\begingroup$ @AvatarShiny The developers won't implement something just for a short trial. $\endgroup$ Feb 20, 2018 at 4:59
  • $\begingroup$ Oh I thought , mods altered the site. $\endgroup$ Feb 20, 2018 at 5:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin-マーチン In my humble opinion, and in the short lived life I had here, I feel Chem.SE does get several (not a lot of, but also not very few) very-bad-quality questions nearly everyday. The main site has crossed 25k questions now (a milestone, woohoo!), and I think we should come to a conclusion regarding why is such a traffic the case with Chem.SE. Why is it that many new users come here and post bad questions? I've neither the experience nor tools to be able to firmly comment on that. I just hope that the mod team is aware and thinking of some solution ^_^ $\endgroup$ Feb 20, 2018 at 13:14
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    $\begingroup$ @Gaurang They come here from pages like yahoo answers and forums, etc. In general sites that do not really curate their content. What's there is there, and there might be a bit of closing and redirecting, but in principle everything is retained and the reader have to weed out the unimportant stuff themselves. We have a completely different philosophy, a different set of goals. We delete crap, and retain the good stuff. When we have a net increase of good stuff we are winning the long game. With an open philosophy like ours, you'll never discourage lazy people. $\endgroup$ Feb 20, 2018 at 13:50
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    $\begingroup$ (cont'd) I really do not think that there is any necessity to look for a solution, as I don't see a problem. There is a lot of crap on the internet, but at least we're trying to keep our house clean, and in the end that's all that counts. We have surpassed the 25k questions a long time ago, it's just that these are the ones that are retained. There are about 14k deleted questions, too. The flood of low-quality questions will not stop, and when it's exam season, it'll be a lot worse. Just down-vote and move on, don't waste your precious time with something that cannot be changed. $\endgroup$ Feb 20, 2018 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin-マーチン 14k deleted! Whoa. Alright, you summarized a lot of long-term experience in those two comments. I agree completely, and will keep that in mind. $\endgroup$ Feb 20, 2018 at 13:58
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I'm accepting this answer. $\endgroup$ Feb 20, 2018 at 14:17

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