16
$\begingroup$

This question currently has a bounty on it and is receiving a lot of attention. But to me it looks like a question that is normally closed for being off-topic. The question reads like a homework problem, and there appears to be little effort from the OP other than stating a method they tried to use that did not work for them. The question is asking how to solve the problem rather than asking about understanding a physics concept.

Additionally, many of the answers appear to be complete or nearly complete solutions to the problem. Even if the question is acceptable, why are these answers acceptable? I thought complete solutions to problems like these were not supposed to be posted as answers. I did attempt to flag some of the answers as solutions, and I received back:

With a score of +9 and no close votes, it seems pretty clear the community does not consider this an off-topic homework question.

But why does the fact that it has not been considered an off-topic homework question mean that posting full solutions is fine? They seem to be two separate policies. The bounty did call for actual solutions, so is it fine to go against usual policy if you put a bounty on the question?

I understand that it is a very interesting problem whose solution is not straight-forward, but it still seems like it should be considered off-topic. Is this just an instance where the community has decided to forgo the usual rules and tackle an interesting problem? What makes this problem different from other homework problems to make it acceptable?

$\endgroup$
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ I agree completely with this. The question might be inherently interesting to physicists, but OP has shown none of the effort compared to the solutions being provided. If it were possible, I would VTC the question right now. $\endgroup$ – JMac Jul 9 at 15:01
  • $\begingroup$ It reminds me the leaking wagon, physics.stackexchange.com/q/1683 $\endgroup$ – arivero Jul 10 at 16:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Totally agree - I frequently post answers which help the op do the calculations themselves, o ly for other users to post a complete all steps solution which gives them it for free $\endgroup$ – lux Jul 11 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ It's only an "interesting" problem because physicists have the mindset of wanting a closed form solution. From an engineering point of view, modelling this numerically is a straightforward task using standard commercial software, and has no particular interest unless you need the results of a specific configuration. It is no different in principle from practical applications like the dynamics of a helicopter blade, for example, except that the rotating blade also has aerodynamic loads on it as well as its self-weight. $\endgroup$ – alephzero Jul 13 at 11:45
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @alephzero Well then good thing this is Physics.SE and not Engineering.SE? $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Jul 13 at 12:45
9
$\begingroup$

I'm inclined to agree with your original assessment -- this is not a good example of the kinds of questions we want. And, as a regular user, I would have voted to close it if I had seen it prior to the bounty (because then it is locked). And as a moderator, I would probably vote to close it if it got a couple of other users who voted to close it first.

However, there is now a bounty on the question from a very respected user on the site. As a moderator, that gives me a little bit of pause before I would go in and mod-hammer things away. We rely on our users to determine policy. While brand new users who aren't familiar with how things work may not change my mind on whether something is on-topic or good quite so easily, somebody who has been around for awhile and who is very active in enforcing policies correctly earns a little more thought before stepping in.

All that said, I don't think the question should be open, nor do I think it warrants a bounty, and I think several of the answers should be deleted. All for violating the homework policy. I am very much opposed to using answers to determine if a question is on topic. In other words, it doesn't matter how hard it was to answer or how interesting the final answer is. If the question is off-topic to start, no answer should save it.

I appreciate the discussion on the question and look forward to what others think about it. I think the bounty keeping it open gives us some opportunities to discuss it and could help refine the policy -- if not in the actual wording of the policy, at least in giving guidance on how to enforce it.

If I could be a regular user again for one vote, I would vote to close it as soon as the bounty ended. Since I can't though, I will wait to see how the community decides to handle it once the bounty ends and contribute my vote accordingly.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your input. I agree with your assessment, and I think it's an interesting meta discussion to have. I really think it just boils down to whether or not there are circumstances where policies should be loosened. I agree that a bounty by a respected user makes it a trickier issue, and the motivation for the bounty does make sense. But then it makes it seem like a bounty by the choice of a single user can then be used to loosen policies that are usually followed pretty strictly. $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Jul 10 at 1:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If the community thinks this is fine, then I'm fine with it too. It just seemed like a situation that seemed odd to me. No disrespect to Emilio; like I said I respect this user and their contribution to the site, and I completely understand the bounty motivation. But I must be honest and say after I read the question and saw who posted the bounty I was greatly confused. $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Jul 10 at 1:32
11
$\begingroup$

I've spent a lot of time on meta arguing against the closure of good mechanics problems (most recently here and here) and taking a lot of downvotes for it, but here we go again!

As the homework policy seems to be currently understood, any mechanics problem that requires a specific calculation deserves to be closed. It doesn't matter if it's actually a homework problem or not, or even if it ever appears in any coursework whatsoever. (The question discussed here, for instance, is far too hard to appear in any mechanics class.)

It doesn't even seem to matter if the OP "puts in effort" or not; I had to argue at length against closing this question, where OP put in more effort and insight than most of the 9 answerers. In fact, putting in effort on interesting mechanics questions seems to make closure more likely. A question by itself may should open-ended, but if OP puts in effort, it can get rounded off to "just some calculation" and closed for that reason.

Now, for trivial questions, requiring effort from OP is useful because it filters out people who copy-paste their homework. But for nontrivial questions, I don't see the point. If this site is to act as a repository of knowledge, why should we require every answer to a nontrivial question to be preceded with a bunch of confused attempts by OP? (And they are almost always confused -- because if OP weren't confused, they wouldn't have asked the question in the first place.) What benefit does that give future readers? This is like if StackOverflow mandated that every "how do I do X" coding question include a code snippet that doesn't work.

(And this is to say nothing of the fact that many quantum field theory questions on this site are pure calculations, without conceptual content. In my four years on this site I have never seen a QFT question closed as homework, even the ones that are copy-pastes of trivial homework calculations, unless I personally made sure it was. Once we had somebody posting several questions that were literally nothing but screenshots of the same QFT homework assignment or take-home exam. I had to bring it up on Meta for any action to be taken at all. Nobody else had cast a close vote or even a downvote, even though several had posted answers or comments that provided the answer. The difference in standards is remarkable.)

At this point we have a strange situation where mechanics and electromagnetism questions whose statements or solutions need more than a couple equations are likely to be closed. As I argue on a post on HNQ right now, physics is set apart from pop physics by our ability to use equations. We already have lots of systemic factors fighting against equations -- for instance, my post is only popular because it doesn't have any -- and we don't need more. If a question demands we roll up our sleeves and calculate, I say we do it!

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Is it really far too hard for a mechanics class? I had a similar problem -- double pendulum with springs instead of rigid rods at the end of a beam attached to a spinning cylinder -- for a systems dynamics class homework problem. It was 1 of 5 problems, and took about 40 pages of derivations to solve for the motion of the weight at the end of the double pendulum. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jul 10 at 13:41
  • $\begingroup$ Also -- one of the arguments in favor of closing homework problems is that they are of little use to future visitors... If this problem really is too hard to appear anywhere else, then what value are the answers beyond the person asking? (Not that I have an opinion on this point, just curious how it fits into the "let's calculate" mindset) $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jul 10 at 13:44
  • $\begingroup$ @tpg2114 Hmm, well, I do think the linked question is harder because it's got a continuous object. If you want to solve for the motion in that case, you have a horribly nonlinear second order PDE. $\endgroup$ – knzhou Jul 10 at 13:44
  • $\begingroup$ So you believe the policy should be changed to allow for problems that people think are interesting enough? Do you think the site should include some sort of moderator-implemented tag to indicate when such a question has been deemed worthy of "let's calculate" where the question is just the posting of a problem and answers can be complete solutions? (I am not for or against this, I just want to know your thoughts) $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Jul 10 at 13:46
  • $\begingroup$ @tpg2114 One of my part-time jobs is compiling interesting nontrivial mechanics problems. The number of such problems is definitely finite! Of course there are an infinite number of possible complications, but there are a finite number of basic ideas and setups. OP's seems to be one good example -- it just combines two common ideas ("flexible chain" + "uniform rotation"). And accordingly, there are several papers published on OP's system, which shows it isn't some contrived thing pulled out of nowhere. $\endgroup$ – knzhou Jul 10 at 13:46
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @AaronStevens The policy already effectively is that way; that's why we never close QFT question even when everything about them falls under the letter of the homework policy. The decision isn't made by a mod tag, but by the collective opinion of the community. I'm just saying we should extend that protection to cool mechanics problems. Of course, people could disagree with me on whether any particular mechanics problem is cool, which is fine; the same already goes for QFT questions. $\endgroup$ – knzhou Jul 10 at 13:48
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @knzhou Is it that the policy isn't being enforced, or that not enough people who know QFT are voting? I tend not to vote on QFT things because I don't know what is or is not homework. Again, not sure that I have an opinion or stats on it, but almost anybody who took high-school physics can spot mechanics/EM homework questions. Spotting advanced homework questions requires training in those areas, and that may be a much smaller pool. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jul 10 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ @tpg2114 It certainly is that it isn't enforced, because I rarely see even a single close vote, while most of the questions get whole answers. $\endgroup$ – knzhou Jul 10 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ I mean I'm all for keeping up really good problems. I think this specific question has been great and created great discussions and learning opportunities. At the same time, I try to separate my own interests from the policy of this site. There are so many questions I see here that the educator in me wants to help the OP work through, but then I have to think that this site is not the place for that. $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Jul 10 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ This meta post is me (us?) trying to figure out if/when as a community we can/should disregard the normal policy for the benefit of tackling a good problem that could ultimately benefit future users and readers. $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Jul 10 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ @AaronStevens If you have enough reputation to vote to close or reopen, then by design your opinion can influence site policy! $\endgroup$ – knzhou Jul 10 at 15:17
  • $\begingroup$ **why should we require every answer to a nontrivial question to be preceded with a bunch of confused attempts by OP? ** I totally agree with this point, why so many fake attempts or efforts needed, just to let a question pass through the moderator? The homework policy should be made as simple as possible, so that everyone understand it well. $\endgroup$ – an offer can't refuse Jul 11 at 16:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "Now, for trivial questions, requiring effort from OP is useful because it filters out people who copy-paste their homework. But for nontrivial questions, I don't see the point." The point is that it shows OP recognizes why the problem is non-trivial and isn't just someone who is looking for us to do a calculation for them. This line of thinking wouldn't really get us anywhere, because I would think at least some people asking trivial questions consider the questions to be non-trivial, and thus by this logic they would have no reason to provide extra information. $\endgroup$ – JMac Jul 11 at 17:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @喵喵是我的猫猫 You're obviously welcome to suggest changes to the site's homework policy as well as to the text that embodies it. I wish you good luck in drumming up consensus on that front. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Jul 11 at 20:01
7
$\begingroup$

I see a more global problem here. Regardless of whether this is an actual homework problem, and regardless of the putative small audience of interest, what are we to do about vetting the answers? I know this isn't a peer-reviewed journal. My concern is that upvotes on answers does not imply correctness. What's the value of potentially conflicting analyses to any reader?

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think this was what the bounty was intended to do. To resolve the conflicting answers by getting an answer that gives a correct solution method with sufficient references to back up the claim. $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Jul 10 at 14:50
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ The same value as every answer on every question here. This site doesn't have a mechanism to assure that answers are correct, and operates purely on community feedback. It's a problem in general, not just on SE. How can one absolutely determine what is correct at all? All we can really do with anything is analyze the information given, and see if it conforms with reality. Showing multiple approaches, flaws or not, at least provides something for the readers to examine critically when trying to determine what will give accurate results. $\endgroup$ – JMac Jul 10 at 15:51
4
$\begingroup$

To directly answer the question:

Even if the question is acceptable, why are these answers acceptable? [...]

But why does the fact that it has not been considered an off-topic homework question mean that posting full solutions is fine? They seem to be two separate policies. The bounty did call for actual solutions, so is it fine to go against usual policy if you put a bounty on the question?

I understand that it is a very interesting problem whose solution is not straight-forward, but it still seems like it should be considered off-topic. Is this just an instance where the community has decided to forgo the usual rules and tackle an interesting problem? What makes this problem different from other homework problems to make it acceptable?

There has been significant disagreement among high-rep users and also among the moderators about whether this deserves to be put on hold and whether the answers should be deleted. In general, when there is such significant disagreement especially within the mod team itself and no clear path forward, good moderation often means we refrain from acting until a consensus emerges. Sometimes that works out well and sometimes it leads us down the wrong path, but even in the latter cases, holding back and doing nothing when there isn't even a consensus among the mods tends to be better than forging ahead (like, say, moderators casting counteracting close and reopen votes back and forth, or deleting and undeleting posts repeatedly).

In this case, refraining from acting happens to mean that the question remains open, bountied, and with its answers intact. If one of us had put the question on hold and/or deleted some answers first before the disagreement came up, then perhaps refraining from acting would have meant that the question stays on hold and some answers stay deleted (unless and until a consensus otherwise emerged). Yes, this can be pretty arbitrary, but I don't really know of a better way to handle things.

Bottom line:


But seriously, I wouldn't take this as any kind of precedent. In particular, don't take this to mean that you can circumvent the usual policy if the question is bountied. If you see this as a violation of the rules, then of course you are encouraged to make your case for that (as you did), but if it doesn't wind up going your way perhaps it's best to just consider it a "sacrifice" to the gods of site politics - that is, you could think of it as though we've sacrificed this one instance of following the rules in order to keep things running more smoothly the rest of the time.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks, David. The intention of this post was not a call for mods to close the question right now, and I certainly was not wanting anything to "go my way". This particular scenario just confused me, and I wanted to see what others thought. I agree that we should just let things run its course at this point. I was more interested in why this question was not closed before it got to where it is now, and why the fact that it was not closed as a homework problem means that answers to this question can also go against usual policy. $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Jul 10 at 12:58
  • $\begingroup$ Based on all of the great answers so far, it seems like the consensus is that it was just the "perfect storm" that caused this odd thing to happen. Thank you for adding the point about what this means for future scenarios like this; I think that is a key point I was interested in. $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Jul 10 at 12:58
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I laughed out loud at "bottom line: [hrule]". $\endgroup$ – rob Jul 10 at 15:19
4
$\begingroup$

Since I've been commenting my thoughts, it seems fair I should post them as an answer.

My answer was initially going to be a hard "yes" on close this as a homework question, but I'm becoming less sure. On the one hand, the people answering the question have put a lot of effort into trying to solve this problem, and clearly it's motivating people, and interesting. OP also does at least mention a method they used and a problem they encountered. On the other hand, it does read quite a bit like a homework question with minimal effort shown. OP talks about the issue he ran into, but doesn't actually show any work. It seems like it could be used as a bad example for other users.

One of the things that still leans me towards thinking of closing it, is that the question itself has quite a bit of positive attention, while still having the problem of how it appears to violate the homework policy as a fairly standard example of what we don't want.

It just occurred to me while writing this, that much of this situation could be avoided if OP could show more of what he tried and why that led him to search for other methods of solving this. I've left a comment to see if OP is able to resolve this issue while it is being worked out here. To me, it seems like with a bit more show of effort from the OP, this question might be on-topic enough for this to be a non-issue anyways.

Since it already has a bounty, I'm not necessarily opposed to letting it stay open until the bounty is done. I'm definitely not opposed to giving OP a little bit of time to solve it at least, just due to the series of events that have taken place on this question.

When the bounty is done, and if it still appears the way it is now, I'm inclined to VTC the question as homework-like, unless someone can convince me otherwise (which is possible, I'm almost on the fence).

Update: As of right now, I'm starting to lean more towards closure. OP has left a comment which implies to me that they either don't intend on improving the appearance of the question or did not read the comments.

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ FWIW, I also thought there's a nugget of conceptual problem in the question -- either "what is the appropriate boundary condition" or "how to incorporate the boundary condition in the EL equation." But, as it's written, it's kind of a leap for me to say it follows the policy. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jul 9 at 22:48
  • $\begingroup$ @tpg2114 Yeah, that's where I get stuck too. I also do feel like a well explained "I've tried all this and just cannot figure this problem out, is there anything out there to solve this?" might be appropriate, since it's clearly actually quite an interesting problem. $\endgroup$ – JMac Jul 9 at 22:51
  • $\begingroup$ The problem I would worry about then is that it could invalidate all the answers... If the conceptual problem OP really has is something other than "No idea how to solve this," then many of the existing answers will not be addressing the problem. But, I guess there's no use fretting about that until (if) the question is edited. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jul 9 at 22:53
3
$\begingroup$

There are a couple of different things that are happening here, and I'm not sure that I will quite disentangle them while I'm writing this answer, but here goes.

First, there's the question of topicality. I've been on record nearly since I joined with the opinion that interesting questions deserve more leeway than boring questions, and that it's a privilege of the human members of our community to decide which types of questions are "interesting." I thought this particular question was super-interesting, so I answered it --- which means that for this discussion I'm participating with my user hat on, and my diamond-moderator hat hanging in the hallway.

Second, the goal of the bounty is slightly different from the original question. The bounty text is

Looking for an answer drawing from credible and/or official sources.

This problem has presumably been conclusively settled in the literature. Answers here should provide a self-contained derivation and an explanation of the physics, but also suitable references to confirm their material in the literature, particularly given the disagreements between and about the different existing answers.

We have a protocol for asking questions where the primary goal is a literature reference: the tag. Such questions are made community-wiki, and there are standards for answers which are enforced collectively by the community and the moderators. A pure version of this question would absolutely be on-topic, and the mostly-complete homework-like solutions (again: I'm currently guilty here) would be off-topic answers to such a question. However, the question wasn't edited into this form before the bounty was added.

Third is the issue raised in the moderator flag response. In general, a question with a high score and no close votes (especially absent the HNQ effect, which didn't happen to this question) is a question that the community has decided to like. However, the bounty was added early in the question's history, and it's impossible to cast a close vote on a bountied question. It's possible that one or more users saw the question after it was bountied, tried and failed to cast a close vote, and gave up on recording their opinion rather than cast a custom flag or questioning the on-topic-ness in a comment there. Some better guidance in the user interface could have helped here.

Again, I am bowing out of expressing an opinion about whether the question should or shouldn't remain open, since I wrote an answer which superficially breaks the guidelines. But wow, I had a ton of fun constructing that answer; I learned a lot writing it, and now I'm in a position to appreciate what I'll find in the literature when I make time to answer the resource-recommendation part of the question. I'm glad the question was posed, and I'm glad for the tension that was pointed out between the early answers --- whether it's eventually closed or not.

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ My take on it is that someone else should be posting a new question to actually attack the things that people are looking at with the answers to this question. Everyone is clearly finding interesting stuff; but it's all being done on a horrible example of what a good question looks like. Sure, the answers are interesting, but as far as the content of the question is concerned, someone could ask the same thing where the answer is just basic SHM, and I'm pretty sure the community wouldn't think too highly of that. I might turn this into an answer later; no time to organize it ATM. $\endgroup$ – JMac Jul 9 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah I figured a lot of this was true. So it seems like your opinion is that as long as the question is found to be interesting enough by enough people then it's ok for the question and answers to go against what is usually accepted? And also when this happens that it's ok for bounties to explicitly call for such activity? I agree the problem is very interesting, which I guess why is this is so conflicting. $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Jul 9 at 20:41
  • $\begingroup$ The goal of the bounty was not to turn the question into a res-recomm thread. The goal was to try to fix the mess of contradictory and untrustable answers that were already present. This is why the bounty asks for self-contained derivations (not literature reviews) with suitable literature support. You know, like we do in physics. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Jul 9 at 22:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty I greatly appreciate your answers and input on this site. I also completely understand your reasoning for the bounty. With that being said, I don't think anyone here is saying we shouldn't act like physicists here. This is more about the site, how it's policies should be enacted, and whether or not those policies should be loosened in certain situations. I didn't mean for this post to be a specific attack on you, but for it to be more of a general discussion motivated by this specific question. $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Jul 10 at 1:23
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty Are you saying you would have voted to close the question had there not been answers (or at least "contradictory and untrustable answers") at the time you viewed the question? $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Jul 10 at 1:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Aaron I'm going to duck out of that question same as rob did - I don't think I can evaluate what I would have done if I'd seen the question without any answers. I probably would have left it alone, but I don't think I would have opposed homework VTCs. I'm sorry that the bounty is preventing folks from voting to close, but by this stage I think we're locked into the current status quo until the bounty runs its course. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Jul 10 at 6:08
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty No apology needed. You felt the need for consensus on this particular question, and you acted accordingly. It certainly has brought attention to an interesting problem. $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Jul 10 at 13:00
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ RE: the bounty being added early, according to the timeline the question was open for three days before being bountied. In that time, it received 9 upvotes, and no downvotes or close votes. $\endgroup$ – Chris Jul 10 at 18:06
2
$\begingroup$

Let us look at the rules (http://physics.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic):

"Some kinds of questions should not be asked here: "Do my homework"-type physics questions"

So the rules use the words "should not", not "shall not" or "must not". In my book, this is not an absolute ban on such questions.

In this particular case, many people liked the question, so maybe it just should not be closed? See also the discussion I had with @David Z at The commutator of scalar field and the link to meta there. Let me note that the rules have not been changed since then, so maybe they are not so bad?

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I wasn't saying anything about an absolute ban, and I am not calling for it to be closed. $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Jul 11 at 13:13
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I really don't see how that wording is relevant here. It's not a legal document, so the "shall/should" distinction isn't quite as important. My interpretation has always been "You shouldn't ask any of those questions, because they will be closed as off topic and waste everyone's time." Shall to me implies that they have some way to prevent it, or that there would be greater consequences than the question just going away. People definitely can post those questions here, they just shouldn't. $\endgroup$ – JMac Jul 11 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ @JMac : For all intents and purposes, the rules are a legal document for us, and should be read as written. $\endgroup$ – akhmeteli Jul 11 at 13:41
  • $\begingroup$ @AaronStevens: "I am not calling for it to be closed." Then what did you mean by "I understand that it is a very interesting problem whose solution is not straight-forward, but it still seems like it should be considered off-topic"? Or by "What makes this problem different from other homework problems to make it acceptable?" $\endgroup$ – akhmeteli Jul 11 at 13:49
  • $\begingroup$ Please read my responses to other answers here. $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Jul 11 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ @AaronStevens : Maybe you changed your opinion later, but the quotes I gave speak for themselves. $\endgroup$ – akhmeteli Jul 11 at 14:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ For the first thing you quote, I am asking how the question got to this point. Wondering why it was not considered to be off topic is not the same thing as calling for moderators to close the question. For the second thing you post, I am asking why this question makes it acceptable to go against the normal policy (read the previous question in my post). No where in my post do I call for the question to be closed. If I wanted that I would have explicitly stated it. It always amuses me when people tell me what I was thinking. $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Jul 11 at 14:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @akhmeteli Those are not written as strict rules at all. As far as I'm aware, that is all closer to guidelines, not rules. Practically none of the community guidelines if any use "shall" or "must" language. AFAIK there is no "legal document" for us and how the community is governed. Things seem to fluid here for that. $\endgroup$ – JMac Jul 11 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ @AaronStevens : "it still seems like it should be considered off-topic." "I am not calling for it to be closed." I do apologize, it was naïve of me to think these two statements were mutually contradictory. $\endgroup$ – akhmeteli Jul 12 at 0:56
  • $\begingroup$ @JMac : If the rules are not strict, you should not have a problem with my "many people liked the question, so maybe it just should not be closed?" $\endgroup$ – akhmeteli Jul 12 at 1:01
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, maybe it shouldn't be closed, but votes on it aren't the only thing to consider. My answer says the same, and explains my position. $\endgroup$ – JMac Jul 12 at 1:26
-7
$\begingroup$

I would say if you keep a tag on homework, any physics related homework problem can be posted, as long as they made the statement clear, that's it. Otherwise I suggests remove that tag.

A homework is a homework, I take it from a book, dont know how to solve it, and ask for help on a site which has homework tag on it. Why do you close ANY of these questions? If this site cannot stand homework questions, or have many ambiguities about how to handle such questiobs, then close the tag first until it is ready.

$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I don't think you fully understand why the policy is currently the way it is, and I don't know if I believe you that there are "many ambiguities about how to handle such questiobs [sic]". Do you have evidence of this? $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Jul 11 at 11:19
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I don't see how the thinking in your first paragraph is reasonable. A tag doesn't mean that anything which could fall under that tag must be on topic. That's true across the whole SE network. When you join, the Tour tries to make it clear by saying "Don't ask about ""Do my homework"-type physics questions", with a link to the homework and exercise policy. They try to make it clear to new users that those questions aren't on topic. $\endgroup$ – JMac Jul 11 at 11:29
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Also, the homework-and-exercises tag specifically says "Please READ THE GUIDANCE IN META before asking homework-like questions.". Obviously not every user will notice that, but there is quite a bit of effort put into removing as many ambiguities as possible. $\endgroup$ – JMac Jul 11 at 11:39
  • $\begingroup$ @AaronStevens The evidence is that I saw a lot of disscussion about 'why close this' type of question on the homework tag in meta $\endgroup$ – an offer can't refuse Jul 11 at 14:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I am sure what you see is still a small fraction of instances where the homework policy works fine. Plus the questions you see could also just be users whose questions were closed wondering why it was closed $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Jul 11 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ @AaronStevens not every homework question has a chance(or has the neccessicity) to disscuss on meta, I see a small fraction of them appear on meta doesn't prove the policy works just fine $\endgroup$ – an offer can't refuse Jul 11 at 14:43
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If you feel like homework is not handled correctly on this site, then I would suggest asking your own meta question. This post is supposed to be more focused on the question I link to. You aren't really responding to what I posted; you are just saying what you think about the homework policy. This is why I downvoted, and probably why others did too. $\endgroup$ – Aaron Stevens Jul 11 at 14:45
  • $\begingroup$ @AaronStevens No hard feeling about any down votes on any of my answers, I just state my oppioin on the tag, maybe as you said, not straight to the point of the original question. $\endgroup$ – an offer can't refuse Jul 11 at 16:32
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Note that the on- & off-topicness of a question is in principle independent of the existence (or non-existence) of certain tags. Tags are mainly for classification purposes; not for policy making per se. $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic Jul 12 at 14:16

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .