Reading through questions on the Q&A Stackexchange, I came across this Question regarding rotational mechanics. I'd been confused a few other times in the past by homework closures and had come to the conclusion that to merit closure under the homework flag the question would have to show a clear lack of effort, and a lack of question about any real concepts, such as a post purely providing information and asking "how do I solve this" or "what's $F =$ to?.

The question linked above shows effort to solve the question, and also asks about physics concepts, and could definitely be useful to future SE users struggling with similar problems. Why did this question get closed?

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    $\begingroup$ Did you read the link in the close reason? In particular, did you read the part where it says " It's not enough to just show your work and ask where you went wrong."? That said, there is a long standing effort to clarify and improve the homework policy. That effort has stalled, I think because people are weary of it. $\endgroup$ – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Apr 30 '17 at 19:15
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    $\begingroup$ @dmckee people are weary of it (as seen on meta many times). This does not really make the dividing line clear or help new users understand what is being done here ... $\endgroup$ – Sanya Apr 30 '17 at 19:16
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    $\begingroup$ He didn't just ask where he went wrong @dmckee and that was only stated explicitly in the comments, he was asking for help. And even if that were all he asked, what justifies the statement that it's not enough? The text describing the closure and homework flag doesn't seem to $\endgroup$ – user95137 Apr 30 '17 at 19:17
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    $\begingroup$ He did just ask what he did wrong. There's nary a reference to any conceptual framework in there. The whole thing is the assigned question and his workings and a generalized plea for help. It is the very picture of a "Check my work" problem. $\endgroup$ – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Apr 30 '17 at 19:20
  • $\begingroup$ Ok thanks for explaining it a bit, but surely the homework flag and information that comes with it should be amended to fit this? $\endgroup$ – user95137 Apr 30 '17 at 19:24
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    $\begingroup$ @dmckee Also, do Free body diagrams not fall under concepts? Even if not strictly "physical", it's definitely a concept needed. $\endgroup$ – user95137 Apr 30 '17 at 19:26
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    $\begingroup$ @Phase A conceptual question the user could have asked to help him or herself solve this problem might have been "How do I related the tension in a string or rope on the two sides of a massless pulley ?" But that's not what we have there; what's actually there is "Please do this problem for me." There is no way a "do my work for me" problem can be made topical under the current homework policy. $\endgroup$ – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Apr 30 '17 at 19:33
  • $\begingroup$ @dmckee I wouldn't be surprised if more people were offended by someone just bluntly asking "How do I do this" without showing any kind of (research) effort themselves ... $\endgroup$ – Sanya May 1 '17 at 9:34

I voted to close the question because of the 1st clause : there is no question here about a specific physics concept. The asker showed effort and cannot be faulted for that, but he did not identify a source of conceptual difficulty, such as @dmckee points out in the comments above, or about Free Body Diagrams, as you suggest.

While there are several potential sources of conceptual difficulty in the question, I still cannot see any one identified, even in the comments. The nearest which hello comes is "Every time I calculate the acceleration of each mass, they always depend on other acceleration too. Is it okay?"

The question is asking "Here is what I have tried but I didn't get the correct answers. What have I done wrong?" and later in the comments "Can you check my calculations?" Asking for "help" is too broad to be interpreted as asking about a specific physics concept.

I agree that closing the question is unhelpful and unnecessarily harsh, when other users are willing to walk through the entire solution if necessary. Users cannot always see the source of their own difficulty, so they do not know what to ask about. Penalising them for their own lack of insight is perhaps unfair. But that, as I have understood it, is what the homework policy is.

  • $\begingroup$ I entirely agree with your position. $\endgroup$ – ZeroTheHero Jun 18 '17 at 13:18
  • $\begingroup$ I also agree with your reasoning for your close vote and your interpretation of the policy, and I think those parts are very well explained. I do not agree with your judgment on the merits of the policy in the last paragraph, and for that reason I'm somewhat hesitant to upvote this, despite the rest of the post being quite good. $\endgroup$ – David Z Jun 18 '17 at 23:53

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