My proposal is simple. Should we add "share your thoughts on the problem and any attempts you have made to solve it" to the How do I ask a good question-page for all self-study related questions (e.g homework questions, a routine question from a textbook, a question from a test used for class or self-study, ...) ?

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    $\begingroup$ Can you explain how the paragraph entitled "Search, and research" isn't sufficient? Otherwise it's not really clear what you suggest. $\endgroup$ Apr 8, 2015 at 11:20
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    $\begingroup$ That paragraph start with "Have you thoroughly searched for an answer before asking your question?" with a link to our search page, leading to suggest that seaching for an answer is the core ingredient in the research part. I think it is because this is a standard text that is also showed on other stack exchanges such as cross validated. My suggestion is to add some specific guidelines considering self-study questions on our ask page, in the same way as stack overflow also has some specific programming related guidelines on their ask page. $\endgroup$
    – Pedro
    Apr 8, 2015 at 11:37
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    $\begingroup$ I haven't thought this through, but Instinctively I support this. After all, it is one of the more common obstacles the newbies run into. If not the most common. $\endgroup$ Apr 8, 2015 at 11:51
  • $\begingroup$ There is nothing much to be said against improving the documentation, however, the reasoning is a bit astonishing. It is not that we have many users posting: I tried to search the site and found [this] or did not find [that]. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Apr 8, 2015 at 12:24
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    $\begingroup$ I think this is a relatively noble cause that will have approximately zero measurable impact - I would be surprised if even, say, 5% of the questions that get closed for showing no effort have read the 'how to ask a good question' page. $\endgroup$ Apr 11, 2015 at 3:33
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    $\begingroup$ I think that it would be better to add this to the close reasons so we don't have to click through that dialogue twice every time... $\endgroup$
    – Newb
    Apr 11, 2015 at 6:38
  • $\begingroup$ also related meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/17404/… maybe we can combine the two $\endgroup$
    – Willemien
    Apr 13, 2015 at 8:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Newb: That is precisely what I don't understand, and apparently they think it is not worth having such as a major reason on its own! $\endgroup$
    – user21820
    Apr 16, 2015 at 12:48
  • $\begingroup$ Clicking that dialogue twice truly isn't that much effort and they only have access to changing the off-topic reasons list. $\endgroup$
    – user142198
    Apr 16, 2015 at 13:26

1 Answer 1


I don't think it's a good idea to try to condense the entire How to ask a homework question FAQ into a single share-your-thoughts sentence. It's more complex than that.

If the how-to-ask page is site customizable at all (it doesn't look so to me), it would be better to reference the FAQ directly, with an new section such as

Homework problems

If you're asking about homework (or something similar to that, such as an exercise in self-study material that the author expected the reader to be able to solve on his own), follow the advice in How to ask a homework question.


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