59

Questions that can be summarized as "please solve this exercise" or "please plug these numbers into an equation for me" are OFF topic.


56

Questions that can be summarized as "Please explain what this aspect of a solution/derivation means or why it makes sense" are ON topic


40

Questions that can be summarized as "I was working on X and didn't understand why Y isn't the case" or similar are ON topic.


35

Please, please, please ban homework altogether. Allowing homework has resulted in a deluge of questions from users with a reputation of 1 asking us to do their work for them. Yes, we can tag then ignore homework questions, but (a) that requires us to be continually editing tags and (b) it makes the site look rubbish for anyone not au fait with filtering by ...


31

Questions that can be summarized as "I want to solve this problem but do not know how. What relevant physics do I need to research/learn to solve it?" are ON topic.


29

ToughSTEM. A question answer community on a mission to share solutions for all STEM major problems. This is a site built specifically for answering STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics -> physics) problems in a Q&A format like the Stack Exchange network. We love to check your work questions. It is and always will be 100% free. It ...


29

Questions which ask us to perform calculations are off topic. This is too broad. I recognize that it's intended to head off boring copied-from-homework questions like "what's the optimal angle for a 45 mph banked turn if the coefficient of friction is μ = 0.233457821234 also are all those digits important kthxbye". However calculation questions like "...


25

I thought it would be worth distilling my thoughts into a concrete proposal. This is essentially what Manishearth already proposed - I'm just hoping to make the idea clearer. In many ways it is not a big change to the current policy, but it is a big change to the way the policy is presented, and I think it would have a lot of benefits. The current homework ...


25

Yes, we should. "Homework" isn't the issue I think we all agree that whether or not a post comes from a homework assignment is irrelevant, as illustrated by this example question: Consider a transmon qubit with capacitance C and Josephson junction critical current I_c. What is the matrix element <1|Q|0> for this system? I might be motivated to ask ...


22

The current policy is summarised as "we do accept homework questions, but only if X, Y, Z". It would be better to move to a policy that says "we do not accept homework questions. However, if you do X, Y and Z it will not be a homework question any more and we can accept it."


20

Sound pitch of glass with water This is not a homework or homework-like question, it's not a calculation request, it's completely conceptual, but the question doesn't show any prior research, or any evidence that the poster has made an effort to figure out the answer themselves. You might think that's perfectly fine. On the other hand, if you believe the ...


20

Recently I've noticed a few people posting questions in rapid succession, each with a screenshot of a problem. If you look at the questions as a whole, it's obvious they've split their entire problem set or take-home exam into tiny pieces and asked us how to do the whole thing. This sort of behavior, which is undesirable but not necessarily obvious to ...


19

http://www.physicsforums.com


19

To discourage rapid postings of the type alluded to in the question, methinks screenshots of text should be outright banned. I can understand a screenshot of a figure, but if it can be easily done with LaTeX/MathJax, there’s no place for a screenshot. If anything, the time and effort going to typesetting makes it easier to justify that the OP has done some ...


18

Mutual $E$ force due to charged coaxial rings I think this is probably homework because it's really just asking how to solve a problem. However you could argue it's conceptual in the sense that it's asking about how to approach this sort of problem for arbitrary geometries. A belated footnote: the simplest approach I've seen to doing this requires the use ...


18

Three dimensional isotropic harmonic oscilator Hamiltonian This is an advanced question (on quantum mechanics) that shows detailed effort. It could be argued that it doesn't actually ask anything beyond "what am I doing wrong?", though. Vote up if you think this should be on topic under the new policy, or vote down if you think it should be off topic under ...


17

I agree with a strong caveat. The tag wiki excerpt must function as an exceptionally well-tuned tool to catch the great homework/problem-solving questions, turn the borderline cases into good questions, and prevent bad questions as far as possible. The way tag synonyms work at Ask a Question time is the following. You type in the tag you think you should ...


17

[moderator hat off: personal opinion] We don’t close homework-like questions based on where they are from. We close homework-like questions when they are about doing some single-purpose computation (what is this coefficient of friction, where have I lost my minus sign) versus conceptual questions (why does energy work like this, why do approach A and and ...


16

Bad: Your question looks like: "Here is my homework. Solve it instead of me, now". You scanned/photographed your textbook. You don't show effort or curiosity towards the solution. You don't bother to begin sentences with capital cases or end them with a ".". Good: You aren't asking for the numerical solution; you want to understand how you can solve it ...


16

No, I don't have the tag on ignore. Upvote if this is the case. To keep the numbers clean, please don't downvote. $\quad$


16

The exam is over now! Thankfully, nothing went awry on this particular site.


15

The How to Ask sidebar Homework questions are not allowed on this site. You should ask about specific concepts. See our homework policy.


15

Questions which can be summarized as "This is the statement of an example problem. (Perhaps the "simplest" and/or the "most interesting" case I have been able to think of at the moment.) Rather than solving it (which I may or may not be able to do myself) I'd like you to point out some useful "standard", "technical" terminology, including some name for the ...


14

I think there is one real (or at least, really potential) issue with problem-solving: it could be applied to almost every question on the site. Presumably people wouldn't go around editing it in willy-nilly, but it is likely that new users will apply it without discrimination to their questions. I'm thinking "Oh, I have a problem, and I'd like it solved". ...


14

How about homework-and-exercises? It is self-explanatory, and that way we still call a spade a spade while simultaneously leave open the possibility that it might not be actual homework.


14

I have some sympathy with Brandon's point. I'm a bit concerned we'll end up seeming an unfriendly and elitist site. The moderators are admirably tactful in dealing with homework questions, but I see comments to homework questions that while justified strike me as a bit bitchy. I worry these will put new users off - it's easy for us old timers to forget how ...


14

From what I gather, whether students use Physics.SE to cheat or not has never been our primary concern when considering the homework policy. The main reason behind the "harsh" homework policy is that the SE is not a forum where nice people come around and solve your problems for you. It is intended to be a community of more or less knowledgeable physicists ...


14

Introductory remarks First some remarks to address specific points or misconceptions in your post, then I'll try to pick apart this case. I don't think there is an agreed definition of "student". I take the word to mean any one who is seriously studying the subject. Being in secondary school certainly is no barrier to be a full participant on Physics SE. ...


14

In my opinion, in this discussion there is too much focus on the "question" and not enough on the "value of the question plus the answer". If the goal of the site is to be a "resource" to all serious students of physics, we need to make sure that the question-plus-answer becomes something of lasting value. "I need an answer to this homework question before ...


14

Your question does not ask a conceptual question about physics, it simply asks users to solve the exercise you call "the Devil's problem". That you ask us to solve the exercise not by saying "Solve this for me" but by asking whether a given number is the answer doesn't change anything in my eyes - how is an answer supposed to make the ...


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