TL;DR: post examples of current questions which are edge cases for the new policy, look through the list, and
- vote answers UP if you think they should be ON TOPIC
- vote answers DOWN if you think they should be OFF TOPIC
Also, if you feel motivated, fill out this questionnaire about the answers.
When we last left the ongoing examination of our homework policy, the community had come to something of a consensus that certain low-effort questions asking for calculations should be off topic. In addition, I've been watching actual question closures over the past couple months since we had that discussion, and I see more and more questions getting closed for displaying unacceptably low effort, whether using the existing homework-like close reason, or a custom reason written in a comment.
I think it's time we start formulating a new policy.
This new policy, along with one or two associated close reasons, will prescribe how we should decide whether questions are off topic for being low-effort and/or being calculation requests. It will replace the current homework policy, and in the future, we will use the associated close reason(s) for homework questions, instead of using the existing homework-like close reason (which will no longer be active).
What I have in mind is a process in 4 steps, of which this is the first:
- Collect examples of questions that should be on topic or off topic under the new policy.
- Prepare and edit a draft of the new policy that implements the consensus on the examples as well as possible. This may take a while.
- Decide on the wording of one or two new close reasons that will be associated with the new policy. Two reasons would be an option in case we want both low-effort questions and calculation requests to be off topic and we can't come up with one reason to cover them both.
- Make an official faq post with the content of the new policy, deprecate the current homework policy, and swap the new close reasons in for the existing homework-like close reason. This is the easy part.
1. Collecting examples of on/off-topic questions
In order to guide the development of a new policy, I think it will help to have many examples of questions that should be on topic or off topic. So I'm making this post to solicit these examples from the community.
Here's how it will work: each answer should contain a link to one question that is currently on the site. Vote up each answer if you would like to see that question be on topic under the new policy (that we are going to write), and vote down if you think the question should be off topic under the new policy.
Please vote based on how the question is currently written, not based on how you think it could be written if it were improved.
It doesn't matter so much whether the question is currently open or closed. If you have feedback arguing one way or another for a particular link, leave it in the comments on that answer.
For a lot of questions, the decision is obvious. We don't really need to post those. What I'm most interested in are "interesting" cases, such as questions which are currently on topic but which you'd like to see be off topic under the new policy, or vice versa. Borderline questions, which are not clearly on-topic or off-topic, are also good candidates for posting here. For inspiration, you can look at our previous discussions on this topic:
- Generalizing the homework policy
- Should we rename the homework policy?
- Homework - the view from the chat session
- What's the current status of the homework policy?
- Banning homework: vote and documentation
- Chat session on homework close reason
- Closing "Insufficient Effort" questions
- Does "insufficient effort" cover previous SE questions?
- Questions that show insufficient effort by the OP
- What is the meaning of **effort** that Phys.SE wants in homework questions?
and so on, e.g. linked and related questions in those.
The consensus that emerged from the last meta question is represented by rob's answer, which suggested the following:
Questions which attempt to outsource tedious calculations to the community, without any broader context, are off-topic.
I recognize that a key word here ("tedious") implies a value judgement, and there's a bias in writing these guidelines towards "objective", judgement-free criteria. That bias is flawed, which is why we have human moderators and the opportunity to discuss some decisions with them.
Use this as a starting point to help judge which questions are likely to be edge cases and how you would vote on them.