It seems to be the community's fault that we give the readers an impression that you can ask anything and get answered, yet arbitrarily treat new users really bad.

  • 2
    That's what I have been preaching to the choir all the time but nothing changes. Probably, they will find the 7 voted one and start downvoting.
    – percusse
    Apr 23, 2017 at 16:01
  • 16
    Why do you wonder? This here is not a uniform "we" community where everyone does the same. There are people who don't answer such question (like me), other downvote, other like to answer them and other upvote (perhaps as they want a similar answer). And at the end you see a more or less random sample of all this views -- which can be quite different dependent of the day, the hour, the outside wetter and whatever. Apr 23, 2017 at 16:13
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    there is a difference between the two questions. the first one explicitly says that it is for an assignment. although that is not explicitly covered in the various tex.sx help pages, it is an established convention that these will not be answered in detail, since the purpose of an assignment is (usually) to teach something, so a full answer would be counterproductive. (maybe an addition to the help pages, saying this, would be a good idea.) Apr 23, 2017 at 16:29
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    @barbarabeeton I do not consider it a real difference. I personally do not want to punish those who confess that it is a homework and reward those who are being ambiguous. But hey, that makes sense, and can relieve my anxiety.
    – Symbol 1
    Apr 23, 2017 at 16:38
  • 3
    actually, i appreciate when someone is honest about something being a homework problem, and (if i know the subject area well enough) would be willing to give hints in comments, saying why a full answer is not justified. but i don't downvote. and, as someone else has stated, this is a matter of personal choice. (most such questions deal with graphics, and that's not my most competent area, so usually i just take a quick look and go away. on a question about display math, i'd be more likely to give a hint, if egreg hasn't gotten there first.) Apr 23, 2017 at 16:48
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    @barbarabeeton It is really really hard to be faster than egreg.......
    – Symbol 1
    Apr 23, 2017 at 16:53
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    nearly impossible for me to be faster than egreg -- he is usually 6 time zones ahead of me. my only window is when he's offline, teaching a class. it's really unfair. Apr 23, 2017 at 16:56
  • That's tough tities.
    – wilx
    Apr 23, 2017 at 18:29
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    Possible moral: To get your question answered, mention "TikZ" in your question rather than "LaTeX" :-) Apr 23, 2017 at 18:49
  • @barbarabeeton Are they assessed for credit though? I teach LaTeX workshops, but students don't get credit for them. There are exercises, but only to help people practice. It would be entirely pointless to get somebody to do them for you - even from the most short-term, graduation-focused, grade-crazy perspective.
    – cfr
    Apr 24, 2017 at 1:42
  • @AlanMunn But what kind of assignment would require you to copy something into LaTeX but a LaTeX assignment? Maybe it is badly expressed, but that seems odd. 'Reproduce this' is presumably only an assignment if it is the reproduction which matters?
    – cfr
    Apr 24, 2017 at 1:44
  • Here's what I did several years ago: tex.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4591/… Apr 25, 2017 at 21:02
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    @cfr "I need the following for an assignment" Would be the question someone asks who doesn't know the word scatter plot in engllish (got an image though) and doesn't think it is important to say it is for the chemical experient that he has a report to write on. The question would be still of low quality.
    – Johannes_B
    Apr 27, 2017 at 5:43

2 Answers 2


I think the title of the former doesn't help.

We say we don't want "do this for me" questions, and this effectively has "do this for me" in the title. There isn't even a link like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ziggurat_algorithm to tell us what's going on.

At the same time the questions' scores are too extreme IMO. I don't downvote questions (in practice, it's not a decision). I flag/closevote if necessary and comment if I think the question isn't up to much. If I remember to come back after commenting and the question doesn't look like it's going to get better, it's probably worth a VTC as unclear/too broad/off topic. I just checked, and I've cast exactly one downvote here (on an answer that didn't answer the question). I'm quite sparing with my upvotes on questions too -- neither of these would be interesting enough.


Zarko's answer to the second listed question was posted in less than two hours (1h 34m, to be precise). Torbjorn's took about 25 minutes.

It's true that the question is of the “do-it-for-me” kind, but this should not restrain anybody to give an answer if they find the question interesting in itself, particularly if it doesn't require extensive research.

The first listed question was closed after one day (about 29 hours). This makes the difference, I believe.

About the votes: I agree that -3 for the first listed question is too much and the same is +13 for the other one.

  • I respond with comment to the first question in six minutes. In it I suggest OP where to look for solution (and also note that site is not dedicated to "do-it-for-me" service), however OP newer respond to any comment. So I conclude, that she/he is not interested for further help and after day support closing this question. Maybe I should wait longer period for this. At the second question I based my answer on Torbjorn's one. About the votes I agree with @egreg.
    – Zarko
    Apr 28, 2017 at 3:01

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