And if so, what should we do about them?
Quite what "homework" means for TeX, I don't know. There are some places that have courses in how to use TeX/LaTeX, and presumably they assign homework, but there are a few aspects of that that make me doubtful that people would ask their homework questions here in the same way that they do on, say, Maths-SX.
Nonetheless, we do get the occasional question that has a "homework feel" to it in that they appear to simply state a problem with no motivation or explanation as to what they've already done to try to solve it. An example is: https://tex.stackexchange.com/q/32625/86
Now, I don't think that actual homework questions are going to be a large problem for us so I don't think that having an official homework policy is either necessary or useful (and given the hassle that they have on Maths-SX with deciding and enforcing such a policy, I'd like to avoid it here). But questions like the above need some action. I'd rather treat the symptom than the cause and it seems that the simplest treatment is to have a text block that can be used to put a polite and informative comment on such a question.
In order to devise such a text block, we need to identify what exactly it is about questions like this that needs improving. Here's my initial reaction:
- Impersonal. I like to know that I'm helping a person so use of the personal pronoun is good in a question.
- No motivation. Not for the original problem, but for the TeX-related part. What is this for? What sort of document? That sort of thing.
- No work done. There's no evidence of having thought how one might start, or what tools one might use.
Now I'm well aware that such a question can just be a feature of someone's lack of facility with English, or with this place. That's why I think that treating the symptoms, not the cause, is better for us: it's the same treatment whether it came from homework as from someone's Norwegian research article. That's also why I'd like a polite text block that can be used.
(And, just to remind everyone, the text blocks are not there because they have to be used, but to provide a base-line of civility and politeness for this place.)
I guess I have to have a question ... so here are some:
- Does anyone have a different main outlook on the issues that I've raised?
- Does anyone have other characteristics of these questions that should be addressed in a text block?
- Does anyone have a suggestion for the text block itself?
- Am I just tilting at windmills?