I've studied Computer Science and my first contact with the StackExchenge's sites was StackOverflow. Later I realize that there are a lot of other useful sites on this platform and currently I'm an active user of Mathematics Stack Exchange.
Recently, I've been reading this question http://meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/20401/is-the-site-being-too-lenient-in-helping-people-with-homework?cb=1, and that was the main reason I (finally) take the help tour of the site. This is an extract from the tour:
Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields.
So, what comes to my mind is:
- Why is so important for the site if the question is part of the user homework?
- or even if the user actually tried to solve the question?
From my experience in StackOverflow that was a big issue there, mainly because (in SO) usually the people ask for her/his work to be done. Nobody wants to do the work of another person, and that in fact is not constructive at all in the computer world (and surely nowhere).
But, as the previous snippet states, Mathematics Stack Exchange is for people studying math, and the quality of the site (In my humble opinion) is measured by how well the questions, and even more the answers!, help in the fulfillment of that goal: studying math.
What I'm saying is that it is better if the questions is not contaminated with spurious intents of answering, because what you actually want is to compare if you have a similar problem, in order to continue your studies. I mean, this site is not a homework police nor is for teaching the students to study, it is for the people who actually wants to study math to found knowledge and useful posts.
Again if I compare with SO, there are useful the intents of answering a question, because (more often than what could be desired) in programming the solution comes from empirical or testing approaches. But in mathematics it is not the case (in most cases).
Another example that comes to my mind is: If I have a problem with my homework, I could ask a friend or teacher to help me solve it or I could find the solution in a book. So, can I say that the book have a poor quality because I found the solution to my problem there, regarding if it was homework or not? Of course not!
So as I look to this site as the (possible) future most complete book in mathematics (again my opinion), why we should care from where the questions come from? or what was done previous to the post? What I think is important is if the question is a good one from the mathematics point of view.
By the way, I'm not talking about context in the questions, because context could enlarge the scope of a question and that is a good fact, but sometimes the policy of adding context (mostly for users that only wants to know a solution to their problem) makes the really good part of the question more obscure or difficult to reach, and hides the true value of the answers for future users searching for knowledge.