It was proposed recently on meta that, as part of a broader programme of increasing the site quality, we ban homework questions altogether. This proposal seems to have really quite strong support. On the other hand, it was pointed out quite persuasively, mostly by David Z and Manishearth, and mostly well upvoted, that the current policy is already much like this in that the homework questions that stay open tend to be conceptual questions that don't really need the tag. This means that the final change will mostly be one of documentation and presentation. Finally, it's pretty clear that we need to keep the tag itself, as an aid for users who ignore that tag.
Given the really-quite-settled state of that discussion, it seems to me that it's time to move forward on it. This involves generating a consensus that we do want this, and developing the corresponding documentation.
To begin with, then, I think the consensus on what the core of the policy should be is something like:
Homework questions are not allowed on this site, but it is acceptable to ask conceptual questions which are based on a set assignment.
Please vote this question up if you agree with the change, and vote it down if you disagree.
As I mentioned above, it seems the main change that needs to happen is one of documentation. There are a fair few pieces of documentation relating to this issue around the site, and they would all need to be changed. Specifically, I can identify the following:
- The homework policy on this meta site: the question and its answer
- The How to Ask sidebar on the Ask a Question page
- The homework tag wiki
- The homework tag wiki excerpt
- The homework close reason
I am posting answers to this question with proposals for each of these, so they can be discussed independently. Please vote each answer up or down according to whether you agree to the change to that specific wording. I am making all of them community wiki: if you have suggestions for improvement, post them!
I must note that I came up against quite a few rough edges in writing this documentation when it came to describing the tag itself. I believe this is because it is pretty inconsistent to keep and actively use a 'homework' tag if the front-line message we're sending is that homework is off-topic. I'll post a separate thread about it shortly. For now, I propose we use the tag much as we're using it now: it should describe questions based on set problems (homework, textbook, etc.) as well as the old "questions whose value lies in understanding the method by which the question can be solved, rather than getting the answer itself", though that seems weird now (are those not just... questions?). I propose, to begin with, at least, that we keep the tag and the close reason separate, as described in the documentation below.
Finally, I'm also adding an answer with some thoughts on enforcement of this policy, which is the truly crucial ingredient of driving down the amount of low-level homework questions on this site.