Most questions which are actually exercises and considered homework on other sites are closed within a short span of time, but since this site requires people to show their work so that they are guided properly with it, they are not closed here. But it has been misused and some questions are asked and answered without any effort by only saying "I can't think of what to do" and many users who maybe are only concerned with reputation answer such questions with a full solution; therefore, reputation has been easy to gain by such questions, but sometimes those questions are really well presented. Does something need to be done?
Whether or not a question is homework or not, is not a major concern of mine. It is typically quite difficult to determine, and in those cases where it is more or less obvious the question is normally lacking for other reasons, too (see below).
What is a concern of mine is the quality of questions. "Prove [something]." (and nothing else) is not a question let alone a precise one, and this fact is, contrary to what some will say, not irrelevant.
A list of several vaguely related problems is not a reasonable question-post for the site, and so on.
This site is doing extremely well as regards attracting new questions and producing many posts, it does not so well as regards attracting readers. This suggests to me that we should put more emphasis on increasing quality rather than quantity.
In brief, I think we should try hard, maybe harder than we do right now, to give high-quality answers to reasonably posed questions (and not throw-away answers to whatever shows up in the new-queue). This will help to solve the (perceived) 'homework problem' too.
First of all..I don't do homework. I am 65 years old and do mathematics problems from my childhood textbooks for amusement, not because I have to. To me it has much the same appeal that sudoku has to others. However, sometimes I can get stuck on a problem and since I cannot (obviously) see a solution I ask it on here. Because of the level of the maths involved (up to 16+ basically, GCE "O" level) the questions are straightforward as are the answers. One either spots the principle behind the question or one does not.
55-60 years ago no class ever worked diligently through an entire text-book. Parts were simply skimmed over and only a small proportion of the exercises were ever completed. It is highly probable therefore that some principles of maths fell through the holes and therefore when an exercise is attempted that uses such a principle help is needed.
How do you distinguish between someone such as myself or a school-pupil trying to avoid work (if indeed that is what it is)? No-one ever learned anything by being told "work harder" but pupils are frequently told "go and look it up for yourself". On a site such as this, is that not precisely what they are doing? "Looking it up" meaning "asking for the solution". If you don't want to help, fine, don't help, but please do not complain because someone has asked for help.
I think that it is reasonable to require some effort from the asker. Users cannot be expected to churn out answers to test-paper-style questions for their own enjoyment without some motivation given by the asker. The asker should motivate (implicitly) as to why they feel that their question is important, by explaining their situation - what they have tried, what they know.
On the other hand, I find it time-consuming to write out my working in LaTeX. I often spend an hour typing up a question, and the cost of doing so is weighed up against the benefit. The benefit is a useful answer, but it sometimes takes a while for that to come so one has to be patient in those occurrences.
With regards to answering the question with a full solution, we should give good quality answers because we are building up a resource. I usually search for my question before asking it, and when there is a good answer I am able to stop there. I love reading clear, well-articulated answers as opposed to hints. But this does not mean we must not first give a hint - just that in the long-run those questions without proper answers are not worth much. I rely on answers on MSE for questions that I get stuck on, and find that it can complement my notes and textbook to have a well-laid out answer and I often print the question and answer out for later reference if I didn't immediately catch on what was being said.
One partial answer to the concern raised here is that when a poster shows what some may consider insufficient effort, one can calibrate a posted answer accordingly. Thus, for example, someone posts
When I tried to use integration by parts to do this problem, here in step 6 I didn't understand why [such-and-such detail is as it is] [etc.]
So you post an answer that explains that.
But another person posts
I can't think of any way to do this integral!!
Then instead of going into detail one posts an answer that says "Often when the function being integrated is the product of two functions of very different kinds, integration by parts can be used.", and omit details.
A good solution (which won't happen in the next few weeks...) is to eliminate grades in courses except as private communications from instructors to students.