I would say that our ultimate goal should be the burnination of homework. But I agree with several others who have said that that is unworkable in the short term. My experience with questions tagged homework is that they fall into a few categories:
- "Please do my homework for me. I have put no effort into it at all." exampleexample
- "I have completed this homework problem. Please check my work and/or where did I go wrong?" exampleexample
- Possibly not a good question as written, but the OP is trying. There might be a conceptual question somewhere. exampleexample, exampleexample
- Hard problems that come either directly from the research literature, or from upper-level courses. These usually have an easy to identify conceptual question. exampleexample exampleexample
1 and 2 are easy; we just want to close them and get on with real questions. 3 is probably the most difficult category, both to identify, and to actually address. I think we want most of the questions in 4, but it is sometimes difficult to separate out the physics and the math in those.
I've just favorited homework, sort of in the spirit of Manish's suggestion and have been going through those questions (if anyone has seen a lot of homework questions in the review queue recently, that's me). I haven't seen a single question yet where the homeowrk tag actually helps the question: they're all either on-topic or off-topic. It really is a meta tag.
The best argument I can come up with to keep homework is that people can use it to filter out questions they don't want to see. I have two replies to that. First, it's not a very good filter. I suspect people who want to ignore homework are trying to filter out categories 1 and 2, and possibly 3. But they're also ignoring questions that fit into 4, and I'm not sure they want to do that. My other reply is that we really do need everyone's help to close the really bad homework questions when they come up. I feel a little conflicted about saying that; it is essentially telling other users how they should use the site, and the low-level BS homework questions are exactly the sort of things that drives away the higher-end users we're trying to keep/attract. On the other hand, I worry that part of the problem we're having with closing the bad homework questions is that not enough of our 3000+ users are seeing them.