Could this site somehow let contributors know if a homework and exercise question has been reviewed and found acceptable for answering? Right now we only know when a question is found to be unacceptable and put on hold (sometimes after spending considerable time answering it). I would like to wait before answering these questions until I know they have been found acceptable for answering.

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    Well, there really isn't a mechanism for specifically blessing a question as OK. Hang out a while, and you will calibrate your HW detector pretty well eventually. – Jon Custer Sep 12 at 14:32
  • I think at 250 rep you can see the number of close votes in a question. The number of votes is probably a good starting point for determining if it's worth answering – Kyle Kanos Sep 12 at 14:56
  • @JonCuster thanks Jon – Bob D Sep 12 at 14:58
  • Perhaps this is a question for the main meta (Meta Stack Exchange). I don't know if there's a system by which people are notified when their posts are reopened. Presumably it's already been suggested if it doesn't exist yet – Chair Sep 12 at 14:58
  • @KyleKanos. Thanks Kyle, I'll do that. – Bob D Sep 12 at 14:58
  • @KyleKanos That's only on your own questions. Like I couldn't see close votes on other peoples' posts until I crossed 3k. – Chair Sep 12 at 14:58
  • @Chair ooo...so I guess it's 1k rep to see them everywhere instead? – Kyle Kanos Sep 12 at 15:01
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    @KyleKanos Didn't fully understand your question, but here's the whole thing: until 250 rep, you can't see up/down distributions anywhere, and you can't see close votes anywhere. At 250, you can see close/reopen votes only on your own posts, and you can't see up/down counts anywhere. At 1k, you can see up/down stuff, but you can still see close votes only on your own posts. Finally at 3k, now that you can cast close/reopen votes, you can see the close vote count everywhere. That was a week ago for me, so I'm very sure about that :P Of course, there are always the external userscripts though. – Chair Sep 12 at 15:05
  • This is only an issue if the question is closed as you are writing the answer. It happens, just like it happens that someone else will post a few moments ahead of you a near identical answer to the one ypu’re working on. – ZeroTheHero Sep 12 at 15:46
  • I think EmilioPisanty once managed to post an answer to a question 4 hours after it was closed. You could ask him how he did it. – Chair Sep 12 at 16:01
  • @Chair That was along the lines of this: meta.stackexchange.com/q/91922. It is not a general solution. – Emilio Pisanty Sep 12 at 20:13

This isn't workable. The process to "certify" that a given post is on-topic would require a consensus of 3k+ users, almost certainly via a review queue, and there is no realistic way to make this happen faster than the existing Close Votes review queue.

The real problem is that the Close Votes review queue isn't currently as fast as we would like it to, particularly for the obvious broken-window questions like blatant homework dumps. Ideally, we'd like those questions to be closed before anyone has time to post (or even start writing) answers for them, but the current reality is that it's not happening that fast. The solution to that problem requires more reviewer time, and diverting reviewer time to a separate queue would be counter-productive.

If you want to know whether a post violates the homework policy enough to be closed because of it, there's a straightforward alternative: read and understand the policy and come to your own determination of whether it's in direct contradiction to those principles. Unfortunately, of course, the stated policy is only an imperfect capture of the actual real-world application; I wish I could tell you that that's about to be fixed but the reality is that the homework-policy debate has taken so long and drained so much energy (see the links here for an incomplete sampler) that the chances of movement on that front in the near future are slim. Still, as you see more of the site, you'll be able to get a sense for what does and does not constitute an about-to-be-closed homework question.

And, as pointed out in a comment below Chair's answer, if in doubt, head over to the site chatroom and ask. We can't promise to provide a definite answer, but it's quite likely that we'll be able to give a reasonably accurate prediction, together with an explanation of why it falls in either class of question.

  • Appreciate all the comments and suggestions. But I'm not sure I understand why a question can be considered off- topic by a handful, albeit high rep, users, yet it takes 3K+ users to determine the question is on-topic. – Bob D Sep 14 at 15:00
  • @BobD It doesn't. It takes five 3k+ users to close a question. The point here is that, to be robust and credible, an "on-topic certification" like you request would need exactly those same five 3k+ votes, nothing more and nothing less. The process you want is, in a sense, already in place - it's the review queue, but you don't see the results because they'd be pretty useless. – Emilio Pisanty Sep 14 at 15:43

I don't think anything similar can be feasibly implemented. It has been suggested on Meta Stack Exchange that we implement a system by which posts are made publicly view-able only once they have been reviewed. With such a system, you won't see any homework questions in the first place. But those proposals weren't well-received.

The closest I can think of to what you were saying is something which counts how many people with Vote-to-close privileges have viewed the post and chosen not to vote to close it, but even that's completely messed up because there are several high-rep users who don't use the review queues, and people with <3k rep can cast helpful flags.

So I'm sorry, but the only option I see is getting a bit more familiar with the homework policy. It doesn't take too long :) Or once you have the 3k rep privileges, you'll be able to see if there are any pending close/reopen votes on a post.

  • Understood. Thanks anyway for hearing me out. – Bob D Sep 12 at 15:58
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    If you see a question that you're not sure about, you can also pop into Physics Chat and ask the regulars what they think about it. – rob Sep 12 at 18:50
  • @rob. Thanks. I was wondering if there was another venue to discuss these things. – Bob D Sep 12 at 20:17
  • @BobD I think the two chats where that would be a good idea are The H bar and Physics Meta.. The H bar is our general chat and it's usually pretty full, so odds are you'll find someone almost immediately, but technically we frequently use Physics Meta chat for meta-discussions like this, except you may need to ping a couple of people to get them to look at your message since it's a pretty still and empty place.. – Chair Sep 13 at 4:10

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