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Friction influencing the motion of a mass and non-inertial frame of reference

Kirchoff's rules and RC circuits

It is pretty apparent that in both of these questions, the user was legitimately asking for help after he/she tried the problem him/herself. I understand if the questions are closed if it just directly asks the community to solve everything, but why these? I just don't understand why the moderators would put them on hold.

Oh, and both of them were closed after I answered, did that have anything to do with it?

Please don't say that they don't contribute anything to the community. Does that mean reading solved problems can't teach you anything? I guess all the Physics textbooks should stop printing solved examples then.

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  • $\begingroup$ The homework policy is currently under active long-term discussion. To see roughly what the tone of the conversation is, start with this question and use the Linked section in the right sidebar. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Apr 3 '14 at 14:24
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    $\begingroup$ This answer by tpg2114- "I've been noticing another trend that brings up a counter-point to my "let's nuke it" answer I posted previously. Many homework-like questions are answered by lower-rep users. It would be a case of beginners helping beginners, which actually means that the answerer does in fact get something out of helping -- the best way to learn is to teach after all..." $\endgroup$ – user42733 Apr 3 '14 at 14:41
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    $\begingroup$ I feel exactly the same way. I joined the community two weeks ago and HW questions have helped me learn to answer questions and earn some rep. $\endgroup$ – user42733 Apr 3 '14 at 14:43
  • $\begingroup$ There are of course many sides of the issue, and I'm not saying there is a well-defined site position. However, if you want to charge into the problem you should have a good understanding of what the current state of the discussion is. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Apr 3 '14 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ One way to see the issue is that HW questions help beginners but they clutter the site, and lower the level, to a point many (most) experts find unacceptable. In that sense, you should seriously consider what effect the existence of MathOverflow has on the viability of the math.se homework policy. If it came to making a choice, would you rather have a site with allowed homework, or a site with high expert density? $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Apr 3 '14 at 17:08
  • $\begingroup$ I am not trying to impose any of my opinions. I have just joined this site and I am obviously not qualified enough to say how it should be run as of now. I agree about the cluttering problem. I think allowing only quality HW questions is the best option. But it would be difficult to define what quality questions are. $\endgroup$ – user42733 Apr 3 '14 at 17:13
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    $\begingroup$ Well, now you understand why this is a complicated discussion. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Apr 3 '14 at 17:16
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It is pretty apparent that in both of these questions, the user was legitimately asking for help after he/she tried the problem him/herself

The current status of the HW policy is that even if work is shown, it still needs to be conceptual. Quoting the summary at the top of the policy,

It's not enough to just show your work and ask where you went wrong. If you just need someone to check your work, you can always seek out a friend, classmate, or teacher. As a rule of thumb, a good conceptual question should be useful even to someone who isn't looking at the problem you happen to be working on

Please don't say that they don't contribute anything to the community. Does that mean reading solved problems can't teach you anything? I guess all the Physics textbooks should stop printing solved examples then.

This site is not a physics textbook. People don't read it like one, they come to it by searches and homework problems are rarely found in the same form (the generic titles don't help), so these are pretty useless for this site. What may be useful for a textbook need not be useful for this site.

If the questions can be rewritten to be explicitly conceptual (instead of just showing a problem and a partial solution), then they can be reopened.

Oh, and both of them were closed after I answered, did that have anything to do with it?

No, but you shouldn't answer such questions in the first place.

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    $\begingroup$ -1 Strongly disagree. Physics stackexchange should encourage good questions sure, but there is no point to closing questions which "only help the asker." Isn't that the point after all? It's good to help askers. It's even better if these questions help future askers, but why should it be mandatory? $\endgroup$ – user35033 Apr 1 '14 at 22:33
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    $\begingroup$ @user35033 it's only part of the point. The main focus is creating a repository of Q&As that are helpful to others. Besides, many members do not like homework questions; and some have even left due to the high amount of homework we get. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Apr 1 '14 at 22:49
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    $\begingroup$ I don't understand. So all numerical questions are not allowed here? What exactly do you mean by 'conceptual'? If it means that they should talk about a specific concept, I don't see why numerical homework questions can't do that. $\endgroup$ – user42733 Apr 2 '14 at 2:27
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    $\begingroup$ @ParthVader The distinction is between "get through this problem" and "understand this physics". That distinction may seem a little contrived to people who are just starting out but it is widely recognized. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Apr 2 '14 at 5:13
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    $\begingroup$ @Manishearth Who is leaving because of homework questions? The reason people usually cite for leaving the site is overmoderation. $\endgroup$ – user35033 Apr 2 '14 at 6:09
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    $\begingroup$ @Manishearth From the About page: "This site is all about getting answers." physics.stackexchange.com/about Please point to the part on the page where it says that Physics.SE is a repository for questions that help others. $\endgroup$ – user35033 Apr 2 '14 at 6:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Manishearth I am just confused. These seem like perfectly good questions. Closing them because they don't conform to a tortured reading of the policy seems like a waste of energy. What's the issue with leaving them open? It's not like they clutter the site. $\endgroup$ – user35033 Apr 2 '14 at 6:16
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    $\begingroup$ @user35033 Multiple examples scattered over Meta Stack Exchange, no time to look for them at the moment. That statement in the about page is focussed towards saying that discussion isn't allowed -- it is about getting answers, but the policies are made towards a different goal. One could similarly apply "this site is about getting answers" and ask a question about how one can fix a broken door. The about page is meant as an intro to the site, not an exhaustive list of policies. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Apr 2 '14 at 6:17
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    $\begingroup$ @user35033 It's not a twisted reading of the policy. It's on the top of the policy, and the policy was written and vetted by the community here. Yes, it leads to clutter, people even leave because of this. If you want to change the homework policy or get an explanation for its nature, I suggest you ask a separate meta question. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Apr 2 '14 at 6:19
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, so why wasn't this question closed- physics.stackexchange.com/questions/106354/… It was edited by a moderator, he obviously saw it. $\endgroup$ – user42733 Apr 2 '14 at 17:11
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    $\begingroup$ @ParthVader and it was closed now. Mods usually don't unilaterally close; and as you see the community closed it. "Why wasn't X closed" is never a good argument for getting other things opened, more often than not X just was missed by the community. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Apr 2 '14 at 20:19
  • $\begingroup$ Got it. Thanks for the explanations. $\endgroup$ – user42733 Apr 2 '14 at 20:31

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