We can not reject that the number of just-do-it-for-me questions has been increasing over time. The chance of seeing a just-do-it-for-me tagged questions is higher than before. We have been doing the following to deal with such questions:

  1. Answer it as a normal question
  2. Close it as off topic

Now that the number of just-do-it-for-me is increasing fast, I don't think the second option is good in the future, when I think the site will be flooded with such kind of questions.

However, option 1 is also not good, because by providing a complete answer to a just-do-it-for-me question, we are encouraging people to ask such questions in the future.

So what should we do to deal with just-do-it-for-me questions?

I have two proposals:

  • Continue closing such questions (I don't really like this way though, but it is opinion-based) and answering them if you want (well it has been discussed)
  • Answer them not completely, even when we are in free time

I think I will probably apply the second proposal since now (actually I started testing a few days ago), as such answers will help the OP, but those answers also require the OP to do some additional research, and gradually it will teach the OP of TikZ-PGF.

To make it consistent, we should use only one of the above. What will you use and what do you think about this?

And, to make it consistent, if you generally use the former proposal, I will also stop following the latter one.

  • 8
    "Now that the number of just-do-it-for-me is increasing fast" could you post some SEDE queries to back that up? It seems far more likely that the posting is as it always was but your tolerance to basic questions or poorly constructed questions is decreasing. May 24, 2019 at 9:21
  • @DavidCarlisle Strictly speaking the statement "We can not reject that the number of just-do-it-for-me questions has been increasing over time." is true since this is a statement on the number, not the ratio of these questions over the total number of all questions. Whether or not the ratio is changing is hard to tell since, as you say, it is not even clear how to define them.
    – user121799
    May 31, 2019 at 2:37

3 Answers 3


Isn't this just a duplicate of the linked question (and others in the same area)?

There is no reasonable definition of a "just do it for me" question nor any need for a policy that is shared between different people. It's your choice. For any question, if you want to answer it, answer it, if you don't want to answer it ignore it or vote on it or whatever else you want.

Do not try to force your choice on others.

For example all these questions could be classed as this way, but they all have answers which are perhaps generally useful so why are they a problem?

How to draw 'English coastline' fractal?

Draw curved lines simply

How to create a title page like this?

  • 7
    +1: It took a moment until I realized, that the linked questions are from the OP :). May 25, 2019 at 12:35

I think the situation is better now than some time ago.

Just-do-it-for-me questions asked by old users are downvoted now. That's a good signal that those questions are not written in a proper way.

I don't have your feeling that the percentage of just-do-it-for-me questions (among new questions) is growing, I feel just the opposite, perhaps due to what I've said above.

However, there's no need to close them, there are many of them with awesome answers, which could be useful to other users.

I think it's good policy just to downvote them only if they are asked by old users who should know what an MWE is (and upvote them as soon as an MWE is added) and leave a comment explaining the reason of the downvote.

Let everybody be free to answer, if they enjoy doing it, or not, if they think the question doesn't deserve it.


These are just some thoughts since up to now I never really understood what a "do-it-for-me" (DIFM) question is. Originally I thought they may be synonymous to "too little effort" because in connection to classifying a question as DIFM very often one sees complaints about the lack of an MWE. However, "too little effort" is hardly a criterion as many of our most voted questions do not show much effort. Another thought I had is that these are questions the answers of which will not really be useful for many but the OP. However, why complaining about the lack of an MWE in this case? Regardless of whether or not there is an MWE, such questions are too narrow in scope.

Yet at this point it is important to recall whom we are writing answers for. I would like to argue that we do not write them only for those who are good at abstraction and are able to write a question which is rather abstract such that the answer can be applied to many problems. We also write answers for those who want to learn from examples. It is probably safe to assume that several of those who are good at LaTeX now originally learned from examples.

And, in a way, all questions are "do-it-for-me" since, after all, when answering them we do something for the OP, namely help to solve their problem.

Altogether I feel that the whole discussion misses a very clear point as DIFM is not well-defined, and also got more emotional that it probably should. I agree with David Carlisle that everyone is free to deal with questions in the way they want, but we should not start imposing rules on how others deal with these questions, the more so since it appears to be not clear what "these questions" really are.

  • I'm sure this has been mentioned before, but I understand a "pure" do-it-for-me question to be one that is (a) not original from the OP, but has been assigned, possibly as homework, by someone else, and is (b) shortly thereafter duplicated by another OP without obvious variation. I'm unable to find an example just now, but have voted to close at least a few of these. Jun 3, 2019 at 20:41
  • @barbarabeeton Thanks. That is certainly a very useful definition. However, I am not sure that the OP of the question above had this definition in mind when they wrote the question. If they did, then indeed these thoughts are not relevant.
    – user121799
    Jun 3, 2019 at 20:49
  • @barbarabeeton Isn't this one a just-do-it-for-me question? (Just an example, the first one I found browsing the top question list).
    – CarLaTeX
    Jun 4, 2019 at 4:47
  • @CarLaTeX If this is one, how about this one? Both of them post a screen shot and want something to be done for them.
    – user121799
    Jun 4, 2019 at 4:50
  • marmot, the problem is not answering, in my opinion, you're free to answer any question you like. The problem was (because now seems less evident) that just-do-it-for-me questions were upvoted. Sincerely, when I see a question with an image and the title "how can I do this" and nothing else upvoted by 5 or 6 people, I'm wondering why!
    – CarLaTeX
    Jun 4, 2019 at 4:50
  • Yes, that one is a just-do-it-for-me, too. In that case, maybe people upvoted because, in spite of everything, the question was interesting (even if I upvoted the answers but not the question).
    – CarLaTeX
    Jun 4, 2019 at 4:54
  • @CarLaTeX I do not upvote these questions either, so I agree with you on that. The point on which we may disagree is whether these questions hurt our site. My take is that those who can ask very deep questions will in most cases be able to find out the answer themselves. However, newcomers will learn from explicit examples. So these questions may not hurt us (other than diluting the really interesting stuff, but we have google to find it).
    – user121799
    Jun 4, 2019 at 4:56
  • Indeed, I don't downvote just-do-it-for-me questions by new users. But when I see one by someone with 1K or 2K reputation, sincerely I do.
    – CarLaTeX
    Jun 4, 2019 at 4:59
  • They hurt the site only when are serially upvoted without being interesting in any way
    – CarLaTeX
    Jun 4, 2019 at 5:05
  • @CarLaTeX I have absolutely no objection. I rarely downvote, and if I do, then for academic dishonesty, i.e. stealing from others without mentioning them, because IMHO this hurts us more.
    – user121799
    Jun 4, 2019 at 5:07
  • I know you care a lot about that topic, but it hurts fairness, not the post quality (that is, even if it is copied, a good answer is a good answer).
    – CarLaTeX
    Jun 4, 2019 at 5:26
  • @CarLaTeX I never downvoted questions for that. I downvote answers that just copy another answer without mentioning it, but I do it rarely because these ... do not deserve the attention they are trying to get that way.
    – user121799
    Jun 4, 2019 at 5:29
  • @CarLaTeX -- Although the question you link has no hint of accompanying code, it also has no hint of the reason for wanting to reproduce the table or its intended use. My proposal was more restrictive -- an actual indication that the reason was a homework assignment. This has actually happened, and although I'm sympathetic to a student who needs help, asking for an answer isn't the way to give it. Asking for pointers on how to get started, and showing attempts would elicit more sympathy, and maybe even a suggestion, along with a scolding. Jun 4, 2019 at 16:21
  • @barbarabeeton Answering these questions defeats IMHO the purpose of homework problems. (However, I know of a student who refused to work on homework problems because these were "solved problems" in the sense that someone had solved them before. Only their grades and the concrete risk of getting kicked out made them reconsider their attitude. ;-)
    – user121799
    Jun 4, 2019 at 16:24
  • @marmot -- I agree that answering such questions defeats the purpose of homework problems. But what if you're a part-time student (working full time to pay your way) and don't even have access or time to consult other students for assistance? Having been such a student myself, I do have sympathy for such a situation, if it's honestly admitted. But I definitely wouldn't give a full answer, only pointers. Jun 4, 2019 at 16:35

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