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Today I noticed this bountied question, which is currently a week old. In my opinion, it’s a homework-like question about QED. But no one has yet voted to close it as homework-like, nor has it been closed by a moderator. So is it OK for me to answer it, or not?

The whole point of putting up a bounty is that the OP expects a complete answer. But homework-like questions aren’t supposed to receive complete answers, or even any answer at all. I don’t want to spend time answering it if my answer is just going to get deleted.

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  • $\begingroup$ FWIW, I did flag the question for "Moderator intervention" asking the mods to consider closing the question since it's a homework like question (I can't VTC because it's bountied). At the time of writing, the flag is currently "waiting for review". $\endgroup$ – user258881 Jun 8 at 7:13
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    $\begingroup$ Related question of mine: Why is this question not considered an off-topic homework problem? $\endgroup$ – BioPhysicist Jun 8 at 10:13
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I have refunded the bounty on this question so that a regular close review can occur. Users thinking this question should be closed/stay open are invited to vote on it as they see fit.

If the review ends with the question staying open, a bounty can be offered again and answers to it will not be deleted.

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  • $\begingroup$ The question was closed after receiving five votes to close. $\endgroup$ – G. Smith Jun 11 at 5:02
  • $\begingroup$ And then was reopened by a moderator, so I answered it, sans bounty. $\endgroup$ – G. Smith Jun 15 at 4:39
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My view is that you should answer. I would post an answer if I could but the question is far outside my price range.

I have no wish to restart the agonising debate about homework, but for what it's worth my main aim when I answer a question is to help the OP learn something new and/or understand something that they hadn't previously appreciated. Questions set on advanced topics are almost never simple crank the handle type questions, but rather they are designed to help the student learn more about a difficult subject. This was the point of my question Graduate and above level questions aren't homework, and that got a considerable number of upvotes though not everyone agreed with me.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your input. I asked the question hoping to understand where I am going wrong as I have been trying to answer this question for a long time. I understand the theory, but I believe I must be going wrong somewhere, mathematically. $\endgroup$ – user7077252 Jun 8 at 17:32
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    $\begingroup$ @user7077252 I wonder if your comment here hurts your case, as generally PSE deals with conceptual physics questions, not trying to find mathematical errors. Usually if you have the physics down then the question isn't best suited here. OTOH, I haven't done much with QED, so keep that in mind as well. $\endgroup$ – BioPhysicist Jun 8 at 17:39
  • $\begingroup$ I understand. Thank you $\endgroup$ – user7077252 Jun 8 at 17:42
  • $\begingroup$ My question then is what is the cut off for a topic to be advanced? How much physics experience do you need before you deserve help to learn something new and/or understand something that you hadn't previously appreciated? $\endgroup$ – BioPhysicist Jun 15 at 11:49

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