# "No homework!" rule clarification, please?

I know I can’t ask to have my homework done for me so please don’t start hollering at me about that.

If I remember right, though, it IS ok to start a kind of polling thread - “how would you define X” or “what do you think of Y” as part of an assignment. I don’t know if I’m remembering right, though, and my search skills leave something to be desired since I can’t find a thread with a definitive answer.

So, as I said…could I please have some clarification?

Merci.

I’m not a moderator, so wait for an official answer, but here’s what I’ve seen:

[ul][li]Asking people to do your homework for you is not allowed. However, answering such a question is not forbidden.[/li][li]Explaining your assignment, what you’ve done so far, and asking for a hint to get you past a roadblock is OK.[/li][li]Asking for opinions for an assignment that requires you to gather opinions is generally OK, but it’s a good idea to ask permission first.[/ul][/li]
That covers all the cases I can think of.

It’s not a “rule” so much as a “guideline.”

We do NOT want kids coming here asking us to do their homework for them. We do not really want kids coming here asking us to HELP them figure out their homework (note the fine distinction.) There are plenty of website that provide tutorial help, from people who know what they’re doing. I mean, let’s face it, if you don’t know which textbook the kid is using for math, your advice on how to solve a certain problem may NOT be what the kid is supposed to be doing.

So, we’d frown on:
Q: If Bill has three apples and gives two to Susan, how many apples does Bill have left?
A: Three

Q: What does “portal” mean?
A: Door

We’d be less disapproving of:
Q: If Bill has three apples and gives two to Susan, how many apples does Bill have left?
A: You might try subtraction to solve this one.

Q: What does “portal” mean?
A: You might check a dictionary for that.

That is, telling someone how to go about solving a problem is different from solving the problem for them. And this ain’t hard and fast, because some legit questions from way-past-school members can sound like homework. So, as I say, its more a guideline.

Yep, that’s what I thought. Thanks much, to both.

Off to IMHO…

I’d certainly frown on that answer!

P.S.
If Bill has three double-entendres and gives one to Susan, how many jokes does Bill have left?

Q: I’m supposed to go ask 20 people how many apples they have and draw a bar chart. Come on, guys, spill.
A: 1, 3, 2, 10, 0, pi^e, 7, …

Q: My teacher says blah but I think he’s full of it, is my answer to [apple q] right after all?

I’ve always assumed these were in the spirit of imho and fighting ignorance respectively, but based on experience it seems to be a “ask a mod first just to prevent future misunderstanding” because it LOOKS like it might be more like the bad type of Q. Is there a mod suggestion?

I guess the answer is: I dunno.

Our goal is saying “no homework questions, please” is:
(a) there are websites where trained professionals, with access to the right textbooks, can provide help. We’d have the same reaction if someone asked a question that was easily looked up in a dictionary, say. We don’t need to waste time duplicating efforts.
(b) if we just provide an answer, the person isn’t learning.

So, a “homework related” question that doesn’t fall into (a) or (b), we’d probably be OK with. However, while there’s lots of stuff that’s clear, there’s lots of grey area. So, ask a moderator if you’re unsure.

The guideline that I tend to use is:
Is the answer directly available in a standard reference?
PLUS
Is the question interesting?

“Who succeeded George Washington as president of the U.S.?” might be met with derision.

“Why did the U.S. invade Mexico in 1846?” has a nice, easy textbook answer–that is rarely sufficient in the standard high school and college texts of the U.S. school system.

I stumbled across SDMB my senior year and used to use the General Questions forum to ask questions from Dopers requesting source material online and in book form so I could then look for the books myself when I hit the library – and caught flack from purists Dopers just for doing THAT. There are actually people here who thought just asking for websites was cheating with my research. I’ve since gotten a lot more proficient Googling since, but I’ll never forget how some Dopers would do a shame-on-you pile-on just for research help. Yeesh.

Also, if you do ask us to do your homework for you, and we give you answers, caveat emptor.

And if you have to translate “caveat emptor” for your Latin homework, it means “the quality is high”.

Don’t listen to Chronos. Everyone knows it means, “Your caviar bowl is empty.”

A quick search through Cafe Society turned up this example of what not to do, and the types of responses you’ll get if you try:

Askia raises a good point. Although there’s no really formal “rules” about homework, lots of members will be extremely derisive of requests that they think are work-avoidance.

Actually, I’d never heard of the book that was asked about in that thread, but it sounds interesting. I may read it myself now, and not even as a homework assignment.

I’m almost positive that my textbook said “Because it was there.” Well, maybe not in those words.