I observed math SE is more active than physics SE. They don't close problems. I think Physics SE should encourage problem solving. Moderator should not close homework problem. This will help community to think about harder one.
Let me draw your attention to the first sentence of the "About" page
Physics is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics and astronomy.
The level of the site is defined as being interesting to serious students of the discipline,and has been that way since its inception on Area51.
This level of professionalism is similar to that maintained at Stack Overflow for programming, and they don't have any problems with scale.
Indeed, many people feel that the current state is too permissive of basic questions. I can promise you that most of these people are not interested in thrashing over the basics again and again. Indeed, many of us do some (or a lot) of that in our "real" life. I, personally, would not be interested in participating in the site you envision.
In any case, Physics is the third or fourth largest and most active Stack Exchange site in the "Science" group (including Math.SE) and growing steadily. We regularly feature in the network wide "hot questions" tool.
I stopped participating in math.SE precisely because it was being overwhelmed with homework questions. Sometimes people will post stuff on mathoverflow that's a little short of research-level, and the response is often that that's OK, because the alternative would be math.SE, which is unusable because of the huge volume of homework questions. Homework questions are allowed on physics.SE, so I don't understand the complaint. If anything, I wish I could filter them out completely so I would never see them (not just dimmed but invisible).
Precisely, they've stopped closing homeworks and our HWs are quite less compared to Math.SE and we've got enough active users (especially me) and actively rushing mods to close those things...
Over there in Math.SE...
I observed math SE is more active than physics SE. They don't close problems.
Show your work: You should definitely include any partial work you have done. This will help bolster your claim that you are not just coming here asking other people to do your homework for you, and it will help the answerers to give more clinical responses. Showing your work will help us gauge where you are having problems: if it is a technical thing near the end, a short to the point answer will suffice; if it is some fundamental problem with understanding the subject, we will then write a longer, more detailed response. It will also prevent people from spending a lot of time going over ground that you have already covered or understand well already.
First, Math.SE is huge (populated to around 50k users) and over 140k questions (where 14k are homeworks) How good can 8 mods and 400 users (who can VTC) manage those questions. I mean, how many users are there who wait for someone to post a discouragable homework so that they can close it? We also don't know how many users are always interested like mods (for example, in Physics.SE - users who have VTC privileges don't participate in closing questions except some 10 guys). They have another discussion which says that they
don't won't encourage questions which directly restates the problem statement.
This means that they support homework questions which ask politely without just ordering users to solve the problem. How do they support? They provide a simple Hint (which can be seen in bold for HWs).
Neither do they close (I think this is the important point). Mostly all are possibly asking direct questions and the important thing - all are giving hints, because they've "They don't provide direct answers"..!
How we differ?
I think Physics SE should encourage problem solving. Moderator should not close homework.
You've told us that we should encourage. But, you didn't say How? Like, if someone asks "Tell me this formula, Explain step-by-step", etc... then, we shouldn't close it and just do it for him..? Then, this isn't the site for the homework author. The reason for us to close direct HW questions and expect work from users is because we think we should be a barrier to the asker's creative thinking. If we're doing his work, they there's no necessity for institutions to give HWs. We can forget that word.
The way you've expressed in your question makes me feel that we're guilty and merciless that we don't reopen it again and downvote it rudely. NO, WE DO FEEL FOR IT. If you don't know before, I'll quote the words of Manish: "The actions of moderators are reversible" (unless they're user deletions and suspensions). I have seen many question authors (after closing their HW) editing and pinging us and we have reopened those. For instance, have a look at this question and its revisions.
You can see my VTC & my VTR...
2 more to go...
We don't have so many users interested in answering HW questions (for example, we aren't interested to check the answers to HW too i.e. we neither encourage nor discourage the answers) All that we are interested is in conceptual Physics. We often do encourage basic questions like Does the sun rotate? Because, In math (no offense), but that is what they all do - calculation. Mostly, we keep ourselves out of calculations (as far as I've seen) unless it's an interesting topic (something like this) - Cancelling special & general relativistic effects
To the comparison: Physics.SE is small, totaling to users around 14k and questions around 20k (where only 2k or so are HWs - 1:7). Because of the diffuse number of uninterested HWs and active VTC users, we're closing HW questions..