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My question is: Is it acceptable to notify users who ask "solve this for me" questions of a site built specifically for that purpose?

What I would like to do is post a comment on "solve this problem" questions referencing how to get help with homework on PSE the right way, and referencing the site where they may find and are encouraged to ask for a solution.

I believe it could be good for PSE by redirecting those questions from the site, and it would be good for the site by giving it traffic it would not otherwise see. I wanted to ask and make sure before doing so however, because I have built the site and do not believe it would be ethical to promote it here without the permission of the PSE community.

Here is some background about the project:

I'm a physics and computer science major from Indiana that created a website structured a bit like a stack exchange site (Question answer format, votes, comments) with a sole focus on generating and providing solutions to STEM major problems you might find in textbooks or in homework.

I spent a lot of time scrounging the web for solutions to problems for a variety of reasons over my year of physics courses and am a believer that seeing it done can be a great way to learn efficiently, check your work on problems without answers in the book, and to find some missing details you may have missed while trying to solve a problem without spending an hour trying to realize you forgot something like cm^2 = 10^-4 =/= 10^-2.

The website is ToughSTEM.com

What do you think?

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes, that seems quite reasonable to guide those who seek answers to their homework or check-my-work problems to such a website which is built specifically for that purpose. However, just guiding to one website would be a little discrimination. I would deem it apt enough that there must be a link provided in the reason cited for closing the question to this meta question:[contd.] $\endgroup$ – user36790 Dec 12 '15 at 4:32
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    $\begingroup$ My question was closed on Phys.SE. Can you recommend me another internet site where my question might be on-topic? & then let OP decide what site he deems best to post his query. $\endgroup$ – user36790 Dec 12 '15 at 4:33
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    $\begingroup$ @user36790 that should probably be an answer $\endgroup$ – David Z Dec 12 '15 at 9:30
  • $\begingroup$ @user36790: Note that Vlad's posted an answer on that thread and you commented on it. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 12 '15 at 11:27
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    $\begingroup$ @Kyle Kanos: So,....? $\endgroup$ – user36790 Dec 12 '15 at 11:34
  • $\begingroup$ @user36790: Just seems odd to me that you've directed him to a thread where he's already posted an answer that you have also commented on. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 12 '15 at 11:42
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    $\begingroup$ @Kyle Kanos: So, what? Have you got the point I'm referring to? I just said since it contain lists of sites beneficial to OP for their homework questions, it might be worthy to link that meta question along with the conventional closing reason homework-like questions should ask about a specific physics concept ..... How is it even related to my comments there? $\endgroup$ – user36790 Dec 12 '15 at 11:52
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My observations are that it is actually rare for someone to post more than the copy & paste question & rebuttal that "It's not homework!" or "I just need the answer!" before they leave for good1.

In the event that someone does post more than that, I think leaving a comment containing a link to the Meta post My question was closed on Phys.SE. Can you recommend me another internet site where my question might be on-topic?, where you've already posted a link to your site, would suffice for those users who are really begging for help. A message I've saved on my Auto-comment (but almost never used) is something along the lines of,

Physics Stack Exchange isn't a homework help site, but if you do want that kind of help, you can take a look at this thread for a list of free online homework help resources.


As an aside, I would say that if you constantly promoted just your site on HW questions, it probably would end up being flagged as promotional content which can get the comment deleted and, if you're persistent enough, give you a suspension. I'm sure you would love traffic to your site, but whether risking a suspension here for that is worth it is up to you.


1 Whether this is a good or bad thing is a different story and I'd rather not derail this question on that.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think that might have been the fastest downvote on a Meta post I've received. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 12 '15 at 11:45
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think it deserves downvote. Probably he might be Barry Allen:P Cancelled the negative. $\endgroup$ – user36790 Dec 12 '15 at 11:47
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    $\begingroup$ @user36790 well we would prefer you upvote things because they are good, not to cancel out other people's votes ;-) $\endgroup$ – David Z Dec 12 '15 at 11:54
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    $\begingroup$ @David Z: I read, I liked, I voted, it cancelled. $\endgroup$ – user36790 Dec 12 '15 at 11:55
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you for your answer. Addressed all my concerns and i may even use your "auto-comment". $\endgroup$ – Ulad Kasach Dec 12 '15 at 11:56
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I think that for the occasional homework question if it remains without some hints in the answers or has no answers, it would be OK to refer to another site. The policy for homework here is that the site will help if effort is shown, but not to the point of solving the problem for them. But I am afraid adding your site for each homework tag will not be acceptable.

This is a problem for me too, the referencing to another site, because comments of mine have been deleted when referencing a theoretical site where I know many high level theorists are involved. I try to do that when after some time there are no answers or adequate answers, as it is a pity not to point out somebody to a resource that exists.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your input. I agree that if the asker is finding substantial response on PSE it would be inappropriate to refer them to an alternative resource. It should be left for questions that really do not have a place on PSE. $\endgroup$ – Ulad Kasach Dec 19 '15 at 0:35
  • $\begingroup$ Seems to me that the first sentence of the HW FAQ summary is in contradiction with your second sentence. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 19 '15 at 14:19
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    $\begingroup$ @KyleKanos I am talking actually of observation. After all your ling is one moderators summary. If effort is shown HW is not deleted. $\endgroup$ – anna v Dec 19 '15 at 15:42
  • $\begingroup$ Policies are what are written down, not what people do. Note also that it's not "one moderators summary" but the summary of what was decided by the community that was written up by a moderator. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 19 '15 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ @KyleKanos What community? I was not asked $\endgroup$ – anna v Dec 19 '15 at 16:12
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    $\begingroup$ The Physics Stack Exchange community. And yes you were asked, as was every other member on this site, as you can clearly see from the list of questions involving HW on Meta. Perhaps you simply ignored those discussions because you weren't called out by name explicitly, but you most certainly were asked alongside everyone else. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 19 '15 at 16:16
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    $\begingroup$ @KyleKanos I am sorry, that is not being asked. We are asked to vote for moderators for example, and that is well advertized. $\endgroup$ – anna v Dec 19 '15 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ @annav: Yes it is being asked, as it is the purpose of Meta. Questions that are popular on Meta (and most homework policy related questions become popular), they get posted on the front page as you can clearly see in this screenshot. That you ignored it does not mean it isn't well advertised or not asking you. It simply means you weren't paying attention to it. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Dec 19 '15 at 16:36
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the other solution is to use the area 51.

This may help to move a question to another site with another policy, accepting both homeworks and answers of another kind.

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