It could be argued that the issue is not how the questions are answered, but how they are asked. Posting a question and asking for a hint seems like it could be considered a poorly written question.
If it is a multi-step question and the user wants to understand the first step of the question then the question should be asked (and answered) in that manner. Now you have a situation where you have completely answered the question asked.
As a simple example: The problem might be
If the user wants help with the first step, but not have someone actually factor the question then the user could ask:
How to simplify$2x+4x$
? for which the answer would be $6x$ with an accompanying explanation. (This is obviously a simple example to make my point.) I understand this won't work in every case, but if the asker puts some thought into it he/she could word most questions in this manner.
I know that I am not very active on this stack exchange site, but I have been very active on other stack exchange sites with asking, answering and viewing questions. I used stack exchange sites as a student and I use them regularly in my job.
My OWN philosophy:
A duplicate of an answered question (except the new question says
but just give me a hint) should be closed as a duplicate or even as a nonconstructive question. If the user only seeks a hint to the homework problem the user should be able to word the question in such a way that a complete answer to the actual question posted can be given without answering the homework problem that the user is working on (as my example above). If the user is so stuck on the question that they cannot break it down, then they would likely end up needing the full answer anyways, not that this is for us to decide.
I wonder if asking for hints should really be considered as
not a question and closed with the idea that we want to be a site of full and complete answers to questions so that users can read, understand and learn from the answer as they go to apply that knowledge to their next question.