What/who determines if some questions are homework or not?

I believe it's not quite clear that which one is homework like and which one is not! Therefore the mechanism by which some questions are marked as closed or on hold should be modified to prevent probable mistakes of considering some questions as homework like. When some one tag a question as homework like and put it on hold it can't be answered anymore. And because of new questions, after a short while it'll be removed from the first page of newest questions. I think, in relation to a question on SE, normally most views (Or let me say the highest rate of the views ) occur at first hours of asking it , which is nearer to the time at which it has been asked.

Doesn't it mean if we put a question on hold by mistake, it will reduce the chance of finding the answer for that question as quick as possible? Shouldn't some rules be defined and established to prevent this and similar instances? Thank you.

  • $\begingroup$ What is the negative vote for? I've just asked a question! Do you think it's not rational what I've discussed through my question? So why don't you share your idea? and don't try to convince me? :) $\endgroup$ – 2physics Oct 3 '13 at 20:46
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    $\begingroup$ This post asks a question and then proposes that the situation is wrong and should be changed. A natural interpretation of downvotes is that people don't agree with either proposal. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Oct 3 '13 at 20:53
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty: It doesn't propose any thing, just asks considering some instances "if the situation is wrong or not?". Because it can cause some problems; And actually I asked it to see if a procedure has been considered to prevent those problems.. $\endgroup$ – 2physics Oct 3 '13 at 21:10
  • $\begingroup$ Don't take it personal - I'm simply trying to explain (possible causes for) the downvotes. Statements like "Therefore the mechanism [...] should be modified [...]" are not questions and are susceptible to disagreement. Downvotes could also mean people think "no" to the question "Shouldn't some rules be defined [...] to prevent this [...]?" $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Oct 3 '13 at 21:23
  • $\begingroup$ One downvote is mine, on both counts. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Oct 3 '13 at 21:23
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty: Oh yeah? thank you :D . How ever I still say I didn't propose any thing, I just asked your idea about it and the aspect which may cause problems and if there is a problem at all?.. Though votes (whether negative or positive) are always highly appreciated by the questioner ;) $\endgroup$ – 2physics Oct 3 '13 at 21:53
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    $\begingroup$ Take note that with the exception of the mother meta, meta site do not have their own rep, so the use of downvotes to voice disagreement does only that. $\endgroup$ – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Oct 3 '13 at 23:26

The meta question (v1) addresses really two separate and independent issues:

  1. When to close a question?

  2. When to tag a question with the homework tag?

These are in principle two separate and independent decisions and actions.

  1. Reasons for closure are discussed in many places on meta. [If I find a good link I will include it here later. E.g. this meta post is currently not quite up to date.]

  2. Concerning whether a question should be tagged with the homework tag, let me first of all say, that I think the issue is too minor to e.g. start a back-and-forth edit war over. The usual practice is that if the question looks like homework, it will be tagged with the homework tag, if not directly by OP himself, then by someone from the community. Sometimes OP disagrees with this. Then he will usually be made aware of our homework policy. However, the final decision about tags is usually left for OP to decide for himself.

  • $\begingroup$ @Qmechanics: Thanks for the explanation and clarification. I just don't understand why does a "homework tag" get so much importance that can put some questions on hold and prevent them from being answered. $\endgroup$ – 2physics Oct 3 '13 at 20:55
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    $\begingroup$ @2physics it's not the tag itself that makes a question get closed, it's adherence (or not) to our homework policy which Qmechanic linked to. $\endgroup$ – David Z Oct 3 '13 at 21:12
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZ:Who has arranged and made that policy? And if we accept the perfectness of the policy,considering mistakes by users who decide on closure of questions,don't you think e.g. agreement of more than one person should be needed to close/open a question?It's just an idea and I'm not sure if it's useful.(+ I would like to express my gratitude to you and other people like you on SE that spend their time here to decrease and eliminate ignorance and ambiguity through helping other people find the answer for their questions about physics,and arranging whole of this asking-answering procedure.) $\endgroup$ – 2physics Oct 3 '13 at 21:45
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    $\begingroup$ @2physics You seem to have the misconception that the primary goal here is to help people get their questions answered. That's not the case (if it was, then closing would make no sense whatsoever). The primary goal is to have a repository of good, useful (to others) Q&As. Helping others is secondary. Usually these two goals don't conflict, eg in the case of conceptual questions, but for HW questions they do come at odds as most HW questions are useful only to the OP and anyone else with the same question (very few). $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Oct 4 '13 at 12:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Manishearth: "A repository of good, useful (to others) Q&As ""to help people get their questions answered". not??:) Plus I just appreciated what people who care about helping others to have a better understanding of physics, do ; whether whom try harder to make a better repository of Q&As or others who not care about these aspects of what is going on on . $\endgroup$ – 2physics Oct 4 '13 at 13:07
  • $\begingroup$ on SE so much. All of them surely are trying to help people to understand physics and some ones try harder to arrange all this procedure better and make it more efficient and useful. $\endgroup$ – 2physics Oct 4 '13 at 13:15
  • $\begingroup$ @2physics Sure, we care. But most of us find that solving another's homework for them does not really help them learn; and is usually counterproductive to that goal. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Oct 4 '13 at 13:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Manishearth: yup,I agree , you are right. $\endgroup$ – 2physics Oct 4 '13 at 13:42

To address one of the confusions in this question, tagging questions as and closing them as off-topic are independent concepts. Searching the main site for non-closed homework questions currently turns up a healthy ~1800 such questions. (For comparison, only beats that.)

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    $\begingroup$ I wouldn't call the fact that the homework questions are second in numbers healthy. $\endgroup$ – MBN Oct 4 '13 at 9:33
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    $\begingroup$ @MBN Why? They're too many? Too few? Unless you have a specific aspect you're unhappy about, I don't think this number says much. I post it here because I think it does show that relatively tagging and closing are independent. If you want to worry about the numbers you should do a way more detailed analysis such as this (though even that feels simplistic for this). The real worry for me is quality of homework questions, not their number. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Oct 4 '13 at 10:15

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