SDMB policy: "Help me with my homework"

This thread prompted the question. I was going to respond to it with a link to the ATMB FAQ or a thread where this was discussed… but looking through the registration agreement, the ATMB FAQ, and a quick search of ATMB didn’t reveal a published official policy.

So I shut my virtual mouth.

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen mods (esp. in GQ) warn posters that “we won’t do your homework for you” (or words to that effect), but I’m not entirely certain.

What’s the official board policy, and is it posted plain as day somplace where I neglected to look?

[sub]Why do I have the feeling I missed something really obvious here…[/sub]

<SIGH> I’ve done this way too much lately. That link doesn’t work.

Does this one? &nbsp&nbsp* Preview *&nbsp&nbsp Yup.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen it as an “official” policy, but it seems an accepted practice here on the board, IMHO: if you obviously start a thread so that other posters can write your assignment for you, you will meet with stiff resistence to the idea. Much the same as those who refrain from using search engines, but love getting the answers from those who do use them (only not to the same extent of ire and growling amongst GQ denizens).

I’ll second that with Ice Wolf. I think for the most part, it’s fairly obvious through the phrasing of the OP what the poster’s intent is.

But I think it kinda falls under this condundrum:

  1. You have a poster who may have not done any research at all, and is looking for a quick answer just to sign off on it and hand it in. . .
  2. You have a poster who has tried the problem, and is genuinely stuck on something, and is seeking actual help.

I would tend to think the OPer could phrase things in such a way as to differentiate between the two. Any half-assed idiot can pull up papers on the Internet. I like to think that we can help out those who are genuinely stuck on a problem. . .

For me, it all depends on the OP.

I think this person should suffer in their own juices.
It looks like homework, from a new registration, so maybe you should stak out and let them work it out.
I don’t think there is an official policy either, but if the person posts question after question and it becomes obvious they want the quick answers because they are lazy, then a mod may chime in as a homework nazi.
OTOH, if it looks like someone who is trying to get a whole thesis written for them, then I firmly believe that misleading them is the way to go. They will then learn not to trust people on the internet to do their homework. This may be mean, but the burnt hand may teast the best.

My impression, from what I’ve seen here:

GOOD: Hey, guys, I’ve been working on this homework assignment for a while, and I’m stuck on this particular item. Can anyone point me in the right direction or help me find some resources that might clear things up?

BAD: So, uh, what do you guys know about the history of widgits in Poland from 1845-1963? Specifically, I’m looking for about two typewritten double-spaced pages.

I would… er… ahm… suggest that people not jump to conclusions about posters’ intent. I also think it’s a good idea to help people solve the problem themselves, especially for things like math. Solving the problem for them doesn’t help them learn, but neither does letting them be utterly stumped by a problem they just can’t do. I think this is consistent with what the official board policy would be if it existed, but I don’t know.

Still, I admit that five consecutive posts does sound way too eager. :slight_smile:

Yeah, what they said; if someone is clearly repeating a question that they have been assigned, in the hope of just pasting the answers into their assignment, then it is bad (Although it will probably backfire on them if/when they actually encounter the problem in the grown-up real world and haven’t a clue how it works).

But questions of the type “Help me understand differential calculus” - that involve discussion and honest inquiry on the part of the OP (rather than post-and-wait) have got to be a good thing on the whole, haven’t they?

I’m not sure how much there is in the way of “jumping to conclusions”, Achernar (I hear you on that one, it’s too easily done here in places), but – where you think a poster is just fishing for free info so that the braincells don’t get overworked on the way to a class mark, just leave 'em alone.

Except that in the specific case, the followups were mostly to clarify the scrambled symbols, so we could actually read what was intended.

Mostly? I’ll concede two out of four. :wink:

It might make sense to mention this in the FAQ, even if not as official policy, just to give people something to link to in cases like this. Something like

And maybe mention something like this:

“…and is it posted plain as day somplace where I neglected to look?”

Naw. If there was a full agreement it might be several times larger than it is now. Then there would be that special paragraph, say 456(a) through 456(d) that specifies what ‘handy’ can do :slight_smile:

I don’t mind teaching people how to do their homework well, as long as they do the actual homework themselves.