This site (like many in SE) gets peppered with non-optimal quality homework questions and for someone interested in looking through the questions quickly this is a pain, not least because well intentioned questions might be misconstrued.
I see off the top of my head two possible solutions. If one, both or others are already implemented please enlighten me. In any event:
Allow quick browsing of questions with a popup or preview (such as in email) - that would remove the very time consuming requirement of hopping back and forth between webpages.
Add a homework or other tag to indicate that a question might be a repeat or otherwise.
There is a deprecated homework tag. I could find no information regarding why this was deprecated. Seems the website could gain a lot from application of a filter so that homework questions are under a separate tab. Application of the tag by editors also would provide an easy way to filter questions of lower quality.
This does not seem to help since I believe (i) people don't bother to read it and/or (ii) people ignore it and post anyway. Some questions do not seem far removed from trolling.
It's been a while since I was behind the scenes in SE but from past experience the editorial work is also arduous and often frustrating.
Dumping questions that are regarded low in quality or duplicates into a separate channel without requiring time-consuming manual action such as writing comments, flaging, or editing directly or indirectly would save a lot of time, not to mention reduce frustration.
Aside: is there a guide describing how to filter the content?
EDIT: My goal with this question was really to understand the mess of seemingly poor questions streaming among the new questions, potentially hiding the more interesting stuff, consuming editorial resources, and also providing the temptation of showing off that one actually knows a little more than a newbie (a temptation which if followed might prove useful to the person replying and the person whos problem is solved, but no one else in particular). In other words, the person answering gains something from the exercise, too, even if, as has been explained to me, registering the value or result of such a superfluous effort for perpetuity is not in the spirit of the site.
Having begun the slow process of educating myself on the history of the [homework] tag, I would like to add:
People learn chemistry in many different ways, and presumably this is a topic discussed in another meta thread, but I might summarize them as
- Understanding abstract concepts and
- Understanding how to apply concepts to solve problems, ie "homework".
"Homework" problems can range from the seemingly trivial posted by a lazy student, to the impossible to answer, asked by a sadistic teacher and echoed by a desperate student. They are always of value to someone, and even near carbon copies can vary enough to be useful, if only to an AI engine.
There is potential value in assembling related homework problems together, even when these are only variants that would otherwise be labeled duplicates, in much the way that SO has programming puzzles/golf type of problems (I've noticed orgo problems of this type but this does not lend itself in the same way to pchem). The style would have to be a tad different, naturally, for compiling homework.
I should also add that some fields in chemistry allow for a surprisingly varied range of methods to reach an equally correct (and ultimately identical) answer.