Refer to this question. It's homework, and clearly disclosed as such. Somebody flagged the question, stating "I'm assuming homework questions aren't allowed here."

Got me thinking that we haven't actually established a clear policy on homework questions.

UPDATE: Here's a more recent occurrence and perhaps better example where the question, IMHO, is apropos to personal finance, but it is being voted-to-close because it is homework: Solving for mortgage payment amount and its deduction on the total principal?

Should homework questions be permitted on the site? If yes, under what circumstances? If no, why not?

4 Answers 4


From a comment on the homework question being discussed:

At electronics.SE we allow homework questions as long as it is still an acceptable question as far as the sites standards are concerned. So essentially, remove any references to it being a homework question, and if it is still a good question then it can stand. The problem with this question is an answer could simply be "Yes" and nothing else. It is good to see effort on the part of the OP, but it also has to have room for a good answer. – Kellenjb

The first example cited is a bad question because the only valid answers are "yes" or "no", not because it's homework. "yes" or "no" do not add anything to the community.


If the question has value beyond the homework, it may be worth keeping. I liked that the OP of the first example cited shared an equation to solve an otherwise sophisticated problem. I confirmed I got the answer he did using a spreadsheet.

To answer you specifically, the concept of 'good question' is probably subjective, and we're back to group rule, voting to close/delete.

The current question regarding mortgage calculation is legit, in my opinion, although the homework aspect puts a slight spin on it. He wants to understand the calculation vs just being led to a calculator or App that gives a result.


Like any good question on SE, it should really be about the amount of effort. If they cut and paste their homework question, I would close and eventually delete that. If they cut and paste, show their answer and their process, then I would try to answer it. They don't have to give the right answer; even a mistake can be helpful to teach.

Proposed rules guidelines for homework type questions:

  • Is it on topic?
  • Does it show effort?
  • Are they looking for clarification on an answer they propose?
  • Is it labeled or identified as homework?

I would say the first two are paramount, and failure to met those standards should have the question closed; the second two are just good practice to encourage people to help.

Under these guidelines; the first example is awesome for our site, the second example should be put on hold until some work is shown.

In a nutshell, we should clarify, expand, and confirm or correct homework that has shown effort.

  • 2
    Whatever the rule is that gets accepted, we should edit the help to point to it, so lets make the answer nice looking.
    – MrChrister
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 14:07
  • How do we feel about the homework tag? I know SO has banned it, should we?
    – JohnFx Mod
    Commented Aug 11, 2014 at 0:24
  • @JohnFx - I don't like it as a tag. I feel tags should be about the topic, not why the topic came up.
    – MrChrister
    Commented Aug 11, 2014 at 6:18

Personally, I believe that a website like stackexchange is about getting opinions. I think that peer to peer interaction makes the question rich and shows multiple ways of approaching the subject.

Given this, I believe that any kind of question ought to be allowed.

  • 1
    No, actually, it is exactly the opposite. Questions soliciting opinions are closed.
    – littleadv
    Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 6:36
  • Ah. Okay then - Makes sense.
    – letterhead
    Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 6:56

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