# How to deal with people answering clearly off-topic questions?

This is a question that I have been meaning to ask, and now I've just seen a set of questions that nicely illustrate the problem, so here it goes.

Everyone that knows our homework policy will be able to see that the questions linked below are off-topic:

The posts are pure copy-pastes of a question in a book, without any effort by the OP to solve it and/or explain what the specific issue is. Our close-vote enabled users are fairly quick to respond so these posts are closed within a few hours, so no real problem there.

The problem that I do have is the following: in the time that the question is open, sometimes the questions get answered, usually by inexperienced users that genuinely want to help. This will hurt the site and therefore should be stopped, but how can we deal with this?

Let me elaborate a bit why it is hurtful: if people ask bad questions and they still get answered, then people will just continue to do ask bad questions, even though they are not strictly 'allowed' to.

However, I'm not sure how to tell our inexperienced users to stop answering the questions, because I don't want to kill their 'getting-started' enthusiasm. So how can we 'educate' our inexperienced users such that they don't answer questions that don't belong here?

I had left a comment for the OP of the three homework questions earlier and got sidetracked, so that's part of the reason those ended up staying open.

People new to Stack Exchange don't always know precisely how it works. I'm sure these users were just trying to help. However, to paraphrase what you said, cruft begets cruft, and we'd like to curb the issue of users answering off-topic questions.

• To include the link, copy this template if you need one Please see the site's [homework policy](https://chemistry.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/141/how-do-i-ask-homework-questions-on-chemistry-stack-exchange) for what kinds of homework questions that we prefer here on the site. The proper action with these is to flag them to be closed (or vote to close if you have 500 reputation). – Pritt Balagopal Jun 6 '17 at 13:23
• Alright then it's: Please see the site's [homework policy](https://chemistry.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1‌​41/how-do-i-ask-home‌​work-questions-on-ch‌​emistry-stack-exchan‌​ge) for what kinds of homework questions that we prefer here on the site. The proper action with these is to flag them to be closed (or vote to close if you have 3000 reputation). – Pritt Balagopal Jun 7 '17 at 12:41