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pixellany 11-07-2012 03:45 PM

homework
 
Just got admonished to move the issue here---so here we are....

I was instrumental in creating the stock reply to homework posts---at the time, the intent was to **discourage** newcomers and "fly-bys" from just doing a cut and paste of their latest homework assignment. I do not recall any significant discussion in re having a real or implied rule against forum members providing **answers** to homework requests. To be sure, it is frustrating when one of us tries to lead a student to the answer, while avoiding actually doing the work----only to have another member come along and provide a detailed answer.

Sooooo---what's the current thinking as to whether we can or should regulate members' responses to homework thread?

YVT

schneidz 11-07-2012 03:47 PM

maybe under thread tools have a item that can tag a post as homework reminding future responders to tread carefully.

camorri 11-07-2012 03:50 PM

I thinks its a personal choice of the responder. I will not answer anything that "sounds like homework". I don't need someone else doing
that for me.

Only minor problem is the extra postings that are not forum help related.

sycamorex 11-07-2012 04:01 PM

I think it should be discouraged from. Providing answers is counter-productive for an OP asking a homework question (whether they like it or not). Guiding an OP to an answer will be both more beneficial and rewarding for the OP.

The situation gets more complicated when a question is not posted verbatim and we do not know whether it's a homework question or some poor soul (who has no interest and need to have a deeper understanding of linux) is stuck with a Linux laptop. I have no problem providing a ready, copy-and-paste answer in the latter case. When it comes to homework questions, not only would it not help an OP in the long run but also it might upset a lecturer who, as you mentioned, might be an LQ member.

salasi 11-07-2012 04:29 PM

OK, here goes (warning, this post contains expressions which you are free to disagree with, and perhaps a little attitude):

Quote:

Do not post homework assignments verbatim.
So, you can post homework assignments, provided that they are not posted verbatim. Given first time posters' inability to cut 'n paste (or check what they've posted), this restriction may well be redundant. Either that or a lot of course tutors are appallingly sloppy in setting questions.

I think what I'd like it to say would be more like 'You can ask about your homework, but do not expect direct answers to the questions which you have been asked as part of your course work.'

Quote:

We're happy to assist if you have specific questions or have hit a stumbling point, however.
Absolutely fair enough. I think that I'd go on to say that you are unlikely to get anything that can be submitted as an answer, although you may be pushed, prodded or poked in the direction of an answer. Whether you get there, or not, may well depend on the effort that you put into understanding what you have been told and using that to create an answer.

Let us know what you've already tried and what references you have used (including class notes, books, and searches) and we'll do our best to help. Keep in mind that your instructor might also be an LQ member.

...or read posts on the site (which does not necessarily require being a member)...

Note that there is little in there that restricts what a responder might legitimately do.

And I agree absolutely that:

Quote:

To be sure, it is frustrating when one of us tries to lead a student to the answer, while avoiding actually doing the work----only to have another member come along and provide a detailed answer.
..particularly given that this often takes more effort than just giving away the answer...

I also note that there is no mention in the rules page of searching first (apart from the usual sidebar links to search). It might be worth mentioning that some questions come up over and over again, and that a search may well yield other threads on the same subject (like when the same tutor asked the same question in a previous semester, and a previous first-time poster had the brilliant idea of getting someone else to do the work for them).

Do I think any of this can help? Not all that much, to be honest. Given that you catch me on a bad day, I'm tempted to suggest that the mods ought to have the power to put offending threads into a 'sin bin' until the OP has corrected rule-violating behaviour. Overly-aggressive? Possibly.

johnsfine 11-07-2012 04:31 PM

I would prefer if the forum policy had a clearer statement against asking and answering homework questions (as opposed to the strange statement about not expecting answers to homework questions).

I don't have a great suggestion for wording. I think most of us are in general agreement on how those asking and answering homework questions ought to behave. We may have less agreement on how to put that into a policy.

We don't want people to ask a whole homework question, especially not verbatim. We want people to ask about specific sub issues they don't understand and/or try the problem themselves and ask about specific details of what went wrong. I don't actually want to discourage quoting the entire assignment as background info for a specific question on a sub topic. Many homework and non homework questions are hard to answer for lack of background info. We just don't want the homework question to be the LQ question.

We don't want people to answer with content that could be turned in by the OP to satisfy the assignment. We want people to explain the concepts and/or point out specific bugs in the OP's code and/or make suggestions when such suggestions can be abstract enough to teach the topic so the OP can find the answer, rather than such specific suggestions that they could be copied verbatim into what the OP turns in. Basically, we don't want the LQ answer to be the homework answer.

We will always need to guess whether a question is homework. Especially in scripting for sys admin tasks, there is serious overlap between the type of problems a real sys admin might want help with and the type a class might assign as homework (I think there is far less overlap between the nonsense a C++ class assigns and the non homework issues for which someone might ask for C++ help). Whatever the policy is (even if LQ adds more specific rules against providing copy/paste level homework answers) I think we can assume the moderators have some common sense. If someone provides a copy/paste level answer when they might reasonably believe it wasn't a homework question, I'm sure no one would do more to them than suggest that in the future they be more alert to what looks like a homework question.

Recently I answered a homework question with a directly usable homework answer (something I don't normally do):
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...8/#post4822957
Mainly I chose to believe the OP's claim
Quote:

Originally Posted by carlosk711 (Post 4822930)
it was a long gone previous assignment, just practicing

But beyond that, there was an important programming method (recursive guess and check) that I knew how to teach by example (complete working code) and did not know how to teach by pure explanation. I guess I could have invented an entirely different problem that would benefit from the same method. If LQ's homework policy were stricter and clearer, maybe I would have. But without that, I was lazier and/or thought I had a better chance of getting the lesson across by using the same problem.

People usually learn better from examples than from explanations, because we evolved to learn from examples. But that is balanced by the fact that people don't learn well from simply copying someone else's work.

whizje 11-07-2012 05:10 PM

Why should we bother if it's homework or not. It's the responsibility of the student if he wants to learn or not. And when he wishes not to learn he will face the consequences when he get's a exam.

sycamorex 11-07-2012 05:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whizje (Post 4824508)
Why should we bother if it's homework or not. It's the responsibility of the student if he wants to learn or not. And when he wishes not to learn he will face the consequences when he get's a exam.

Because we are super cool and we care, don't we? :)

On a serious note, I wouldn't personally want to help produce "Linux experts" whose only programming skill is Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V. Another selfish reason of mine is that it is more rewarding for me to guide a less experienced person through something and see how they improve their knowledge because of my guidance.

There's one more reason that, I think, should be mentioned: I like to see LQ as one of the most reputable Linux places on the internet. The place where a bunch of highly experienced moderators look after the quality of the answers. IMO, explicitly allowing direct help with homework might tarnish LQ reputation of a place where no illegal or dishonest activities are allowed.

dugan 11-07-2012 08:01 PM

In cases where the post is obviously and unambiguously a copy-and-pasted or retyped homework question, I think the thread should just be locked.

H_TeXMeX_H 11-08-2012 02:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dugan (Post 4824599)
In cases where the post is obviously and unambiguously a copy-and-pasted or retyped homework question, I think the thread should just be locked.

I agree, but not if the OP posts code and requests for help with a particular issue.

I was thinking that if the OP post homework and no code then lock the thread. This should be mentioned in a sticky or before posting in the programming forum.

If the OP posts homework and code and needs help with the code, then you should not lock the thread.

pixellany 11-08-2012 07:51 AM

I doubt if it's ever necessary to lock the thread---the more egregious "homework trolls" will typically never post any followup (and often will never even look at the thread again)

I prefer to give some kind of answer---even if it is just to ask the OP what sources they have checked, or what things they have already learned in class. This takes the thread off the zero-reply list, and sometimes the OP will continue the conversation. Most, however, just disappear.

I'm not hearing that there should be any firm rules on how much to help.
Quote:

Why should we bother if it's homework or not. It's the responsibility of the student if he wants to learn or not. And when he wishes not to learn he will face the consequences when he get's a exam.
This is a very good point----my answer: I never want to do anything to propagate mediocrity. I've seen people squeak through engineering school on a C average, and I shudder to think what they might be designing or maintaining. I react to students as if they were in my class (or my children)---guide them, but don't just hand over the answer.

H_TeXMeX_H 11-08-2012 08:39 AM

It would help them more not to give them the answer.

There was a guy in my programming class, and he cheated off my homework every day. I let him, but I told him it was a bad idea, and that he wouldn't learn anything. He failed the test in the end.

whizje 11-11-2012 01:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H (Post 4824952)
There was a guy in my programming class, and he cheated off my homework every day. I let him, but I told him it was a bad idea, and that he wouldn't learn anything. He failed the test in the end.

I rest my case.


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