# Is this a good homework question? Is there anything like a good homework question?

This is the first time I have posted a homework question on M.SE: Solution of 2nd order linear ODE with regular singular points, and complex exponents at singularity

I would like to post more, because of a class I am taking this semester that I seem to be struggling on a bit. However, before I post a couple more of these, I'd just like to know if this is a "good" homework question format.

Some things I have tried to take care of:

1. Shown all my work, along with proper formatting.
2. Tried to summarize the questions I have about my work at the end.

Some things that could be done better that I am struggling with:

1. How to title the question so that it can be relevant for someone apart from just me? Do I describe the problem as its given, along with unnecessary physical details? Do I describe the topic of the problem? Do I write "Help!"?
2. What are the right tags to use apart from solution-verification?
• You might find some useful information in this faq question: How to ask a homework question? – Martin Sleziak Jan 29 '15 at 16:08
• I wouldn't have much advice for you; your current question looks fine and has appropriate title and tags. Its length might be discouraging to some answerers (i.e. if possible, it's good to isolate whatever doubt/question you have as much as possible), but it's certainly appropriate to the site as is and posting more questions like this would be fine. – Milo Brandt Jan 30 '15 at 1:03

Long answer: Of course, anything can be improved. :P

How to title the question so that it can be relevant for someone apart from just me? Do I describe the problem as its given, along with unnecessary physical details? Do I describe the topic of the problem? Do I write "Help!"?

The topic should be the minimum description necessary to uniquely identify your problem. Or, if not uniquely identify, at least give the reader a good idea of what they're walking into if they open the link. The current title "Solution of 2nd order linear ODE with regular singular points, and complex exponents at singularity" is good, but a bit on the long side; unfortunately, I don't see how to make it shorter without removing valuable pieces of information.

Do not use filler text that could apply to any problem (e.g. "I need help to" or "Help!" or "Can't solve" or ...)

What are the right tags to use apart from ?

This is question-dependent. First, pick the most specific tag relating to the issue you're having. Just start typing keywords into the tag box and see if a tag exists already (don't create new tags). For instance, if you're trying to solve the , there's a tag for that. Sometimes, there isn't a "super specific" tag you can use.

You should always have a "general topic" tag. These are tags that are typically titles of courses (like or ). If you can find any other ones that apply to your question, tack them on!

The only other suggestion I could make is that:

Your question is long. Erring on the side of long is good, though. To make your question shorter, I'd recommend cutting some of the step-by-step algebraic simplification. For instance:

Consider when $s = 0$: \begin{align} &\quad 5s^2 - 6s + 1 = 0 \\ &\equiv s = \frac{6 \pm \sqrt{36 - 20}}{10} \\ &\equiv s = \frac{6 \pm \sqrt{16}}{10} \\ &\equiv s = \frac{6 \pm 4}{10} \\ &\equiv s = 1 \vee s = \frac{1}{5}\\ \end{align}

Could become

Consider when $s = 0$: \begin{align*} &\quad 5s^2 - 6s + 1 = 0 \\ &\implies s = 1 \vee s = \frac{1}{5}\\ \end{align*}

Chances are, you didn't mess up on your quadratic formula. So, you can skip some simplification. Same thing goes for other simple algebra stuff.

But, all in all, your question is awesome. Keep up the good work, and please ask more good questions. :)