Current policy is to close all questions that "feel like homework" to at least five (high-reputated) people. Those more militant even downvote answers given by others even if those were hints rather than complete solutions. I want to argue for stopping this crusade and allowing all kind of questions that are posed well (to be defined) and concern TCS.
First, rational reasons:
- We cannot for sure distinguish homework from other questions¹
- Getting help/inspiration is not always forbidden, sometimes even encouraged
- We are not responsible for other people cheating
- Some people are willing to help with low-level question
- By providing help for homework questions we can reach new users
- We should let people help that want to
- A well-posed question deserves at least some hints
- Such questions will continue to pop up, always, thanks to Google. We may as well answer them.
The only two reasons I ever read against homework/low-level questions are cheating and scope. Cheating I consider not an issue (see above) and scope should, imho, be defined by active users. If such answer low-level questions, so be it. Those who have some pure utopia in their minds should evaluate wether or not they really speak for most people and/or the greater good. Using RSS it is easy enough to preselect questions based on their titles.
Your thoughts, please.
Ad (1): Let me link to some accepted questions one might consider as homework level:
- Proving skip-lists strongly weight-balanced in expectation (skip lists and more complex analyses were covered in a Master course I took)
- Writing universal recursive function (content in the very first Bachelor TCS course)
- Is the following problem NP-Hard? (although allegedly no homework, simple NP-hardness proofs are Bachelor level)
- Is there a non Turing-complete model of computation whose halting problem is undecidable? (could very well be asked in basic TCS courses for intuition building)