I know that there are a good number of questions that come through that are clearly off topic, e.g., "here do my homework please..." However, as of late, questions are being rapidly closed without any good reason.

Earlier, someone just asked a question about the appearance of the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, i.e., why it didn't have integration over the angular variable as it seemed to the OP that it should. The question was not one of those "do my homework" questions.

According to what I have read on policy here at Physics, it is okay to ask questions about homework so long as you show your effort and try and ask about the concepts involved. However, lately, if it smells like homework (doesn't actually have to be) it is just immediately closed. In addition, the policy is not enforced fairly. Some of these "homework problems" seem to go unmolested. Why? There is one floating around right now on functional derivatives, just happily sitting there without anyone bothering it.

If SE wants to be a site where only elite geniuses come together to exchange insight on the foremost frontiers of physics only, then why doesn't it redefine itself, so that the rest of us won't come here and waste our time?

Bottom line: close it if it is a clear case of: "whiney please do my homework". Questions shouldn't be closed or downvoted simply because it doesn't suit someone's sense of aesthetics regarding the "perfect" physics question. Pride goeth before a fall.

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    $\begingroup$ I do think it would be good to delete some of the barely intelligible non-sensical garbage though! Even that seems to survive better than some other posts. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 11 at 20:12
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    $\begingroup$ ...so long as you show your effort... huh? the main FAQ for the HW-like questions literally states in the first sentence that "it is not enough to show your work". $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    Commented Mar 12 at 12:51
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    $\begingroup$ @KyleKanos I know that homework is off topic, not debating that, that is why I emphasize that you must ask about principles, however, try asking any question here without showing your work, research effort, etc. that doesn't fly even if everyone agrees that it is not HW. I am just referring to the right way to ask a HW question..... I see that How to ask a HW question thing flying around all the time. We have a homework tag. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 12 at 12:57
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    $\begingroup$ Also, I think the fact that this site has not only existed for 10+ years but also has grown significantly from the early days even with our HW policy present the whole time would strongly suggest that your misquoted "pride goeth before the fall" line is a bit out of touch with reality. $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    Commented Mar 12 at 12:58
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    $\begingroup$ @KyleKanos Well, I went over to physics forums and another one like that, and good God, if that's all physics SE has to compete with then, yeah you are probably right! They don't use MathJax there (absolutely deplorable) and there it is sort of a wild west. So I agree, physics SE is here to stay. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 12 at 13:03
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    $\begingroup$ @AlbertusMagnus I agree with Kyle but I do see where you're coming from. Recently, I've seen a couple of posts asking conceptual questions which were still closed as homework. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 12 at 22:58
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    $\begingroup$ "We should delete barely intelligible nonsensical garbage." Yes, everybody agrees with this. But that's not what the question addresses. People have been banned for asking honest, legitimate questions. I have a purely mathematical one about the expansion rate H that I'm afraid to ask. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. I want to ask, "These two numbers are the same to within 0.25%. Is this a coincidence?" But I'm afraid to ask it because I don't want to be thrown out. Sure, you say, "If it's really a legitimate question it won't be downvoted." But that absolutely isn't true. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 13 at 18:59
  • $\begingroup$ Well, I have a much better understanding of the scope of the sight, as well as how the place works. Questions need to be not only the questions of students, but those questions of students that will also be useful or interesting to a larger audience that may include other students but professionals and experts as well. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 16 at 2:37
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    $\begingroup$ @AlbertusMagnus: I think physics forums are a decent competitor to Physics SE. And they do use latex formatting (except that dollar sign is replaced by 2 hashes) $\endgroup$ Commented May 31 at 14:36

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If you see questions that deserve to be closed or deleted, please use the appropriate flags to put them into the review queues. Likewise for closed questions which deserve to be re-opened.


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