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I believe at this point the strict homework policy is reducing the ability of the site to grow. The initial idea of banning homework so that people don't use this site as course help has been long outdated as there are many other sites which can give provide help of that sort (eg: reddit, discord etc). So, why when this site has already so many questions rich in theory should growth be kept limited by such a policy?

I am thinking of something similar to the policy which MSE has.

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    $\begingroup$ This is a very strange argument (even accepting its questionable premises that a) cheating is the initial and main reason of banning HW-like questions and b) growth should be our primary goal): "We could grow this site if we did X! Sure, we didn't do X due to ethical considerations, but since other sites now already do X, we should, too!" Replacing X by questionable behavior other than "allow people to cheat" hopefully makes clear that this isn't actually an argument. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Apr 17 at 22:42
  • $\begingroup$ This seems to amount to "They put their hands in the fire, so we should too". It's not an argument likely to win many over on a physics site. $\endgroup$ Apr 19 at 14:38

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The initial idea of banning homework so that people don't use this site as course help has been long outdated as there are many other sites which can give provide help of that sort

This is a strawman argument. The reason we don't want homework questions here is not because we think it will keep people from cheating on their homework and think they'll give up if they can't find it here.

There are several reasons that different people don't want homework questions here. The most salient to me is that the front page being filled with homework questions makes it difficult to find questions I actually find interesting. What's worse is that this may drive off the kind of users that want interesting physics questions instead of homework question after homework question.

Mathematics SE's policy means their front page is absolutely inundated with homework questions. At a glance, it is currently close to 50% blatant homework questions.

As you say, if you want a homework help site there are plenty on the internet. Why would we want to become another one?

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  • $\begingroup$ There are a lot of meta threads in the past where the first argument was given $\endgroup$ Apr 17 at 22:31
  • $\begingroup$ I think the underlying assumption in this answer is that , homework = generally boring? I think this depends on what the kind of homework it is. In MSE, I don't believe having a lot of the questions as homework has actually affected the quality of site that much. Almost any kind of question you can ask, there'd be someone willing to answer it there. Could you give me a reason to believe otherwise? The reason I say PSE should expand it's idea is because then this site could become a bigger and greater community than it already is $\endgroup$ Apr 17 at 22:34
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    $\begingroup$ @Buraian Well, I can't speak for everyone and maybe some people gave that as a reason. But at the very least casting it as "the initial idea" instead of "one of the reasons" is misleading. $\endgroup$
    – Chris Mod
    Apr 17 at 22:34
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    $\begingroup$ @Buraian You can certainly ask interesting homework questions. But if you read our homework policy it doesn't ban "all homework questions." It bans very specific types of questions. The types of questions it bans are very rarely interesting. And in the rare case they are, the community is always free to make a one-time exception if they want. $\endgroup$
    – Chris Mod
    Apr 17 at 22:38
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Homework problems are a very important part of the learning process and no-one here thinks homework problems are an evil work of the devil¹. I say this as someone who spends a lot of their time helping students with homework problems.

The issue here is that there is a vast number of students with homework problems and unless we discourage them we will end up swamped by them. Whether this is a good or bad thing is a matter of opinion, but it has long been the majority opinion here that the value of this site lies in the more conceptual problems and answers. It is this that distinguishes us from the Physics Forum or Reddit. It means we will never be as large as the Physics Forum or Reddit, but this is not a concern to those of us who believe quality trumps quantity.

It is easy to lose sight of what an extraordinary resource the Physics SE is. Perhaps you have (like me) to have started your journey in physics before the Internet existed to appreciate it.


¹ though some undoubtably are

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 for "started your journey in physics before the Internet existed to appreciate it" it really inspires me not to ask here and there rather solve by own. $\endgroup$ Apr 18 at 13:47
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NO! If people want that kind of help they can use Chegg or whatever else.

This site is one of very few that can be used as a resource across the curriculum. Homework questions will just pollute the site and make searching impractical.

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