I will ask for help on solving systems of linear equations but it might be taken off. will it? And what are the questions supposed to ask? a clarification or a tutorial or something else?

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    $\begingroup$ How you ask matters at least as much as what you ask. If you demonstrate that you've put some thought into the question, or that you've put in some thought to arrive at the question, then it's likely that someone will take the time to help you. Asking the question as clearly as possible will help too: if someone can't be bothered to write their post using easily-understood complete sentences, why should the rest of us bother to read it? $\endgroup$
    – dfeuer
    Dec 11, 2013 at 7:30
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    $\begingroup$ To expand upon what dfeuer wrote, please read through this FAQ item. $\endgroup$ Dec 11, 2013 at 8:49

1 Answer 1


Asking for a tutorial is great. Especially if you clearly state what you want to see explained, and possibly what aspects you are having trouble with.

It's very different, however, if you simply post a problem, possibly with additional text asking "what is the answer?" or anything else that could be interpreted to suggest that you're looking for a solution rather than learning how to find the solution yourself.

Some people love such questions and will pretend you asked an interesting question and answer it -- if you're lucky, it might even be the question you meant to ask. Some people even seem to like doing others' homework problems.

Many people strongly dislike the presence of such questions on MSE and will downvote / vote to close it fairly promptly.

  • $\begingroup$ Obviously it is a popular strategy on meta.MSE to assert that answerers of questions (that you dislike) do not know what they themselves find interesting, are in a state of pretending, and answer the questions out of enjoyment in solving other peoples' homework. It is postings like this, which is to say, postings of a kind that you have personally and uniquely innovated in this forum, that have brought the "politics of personal destruction" to MSE. Given that close-reasons are in place and an activist review queue using them, what further excuse is there for the continued toxicity? $\endgroup$
    – zyx
    Dec 12, 2013 at 6:31
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    $\begingroup$ @zyx: Pretend: "speak and act so as to make it appear that something is the case when in fact it is not." Acting as if a post contains a question that it does not is a textbook example. If the thought of acting under a pretense is that utterly repulsive to you, then maybe you should reconsider your actions and what actions you support, rather than attack anyone who points out that's what's happening. I, on the other hand, am quite to pretend when appropriate -- and I will even explicitly state the pretense. e.g. "I'll assume you asked foo. <answer to foo>". $\endgroup$
    – user14972
    Dec 12, 2013 at 9:43
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    $\begingroup$ @zyx: People like to show off. Homework problems are an excellent opportunity to do so show off what you've learned. It is inconceivable that a popular site like MSE has somehow avoided attracting anybody who succumbs to that temptation. $\endgroup$
    – user14972
    Dec 12, 2013 at 9:45

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