I am currently undertaking a course in topology, and I've noticed a particular user post many questions which are taken directly from the past two assignments we've been given. They joined about a month ago, and appear to have created the account in large part for the purpose of having this community solve their assignment problems for them.

What is the attitude of this community toward this sort of behaviour, and before elevating the issue with my university, are there actions here on stackexchange I might take to try to discourage the behaviour? i.e. should I report their questions, comment on their posts by linking the assignment papers, or contact a moderator?

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    $\begingroup$ Some posts from the past which seem related (in the sense that they were inspired by similar incidents): What do we do with users who post numerous unlabeled homework questions? and One of my students may be getting math.SE to do their homework. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Sep 27 '15 at 11:40
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    $\begingroup$ And I should probably point out this faq post: How to ask a homework question? $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Sep 27 '15 at 11:43
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    $\begingroup$ the main thing is to give the instructor the information and the option of how to proceed, probably starting with a simple announcement in class that he does not want people posting these questions online and getting answers. $\endgroup$ – Will Jagy Sep 27 '15 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ I think the community has always been accepting of good questions derived from homework -- however the current state of affairs is (I believe) hostile towards postings of homework assignments, although I do not believe there is currently any will to do anything more than downvote/close/delete the postings. $\endgroup$ – user14972 Sep 28 '15 at 1:58
  • $\begingroup$ I don't understand. It's dishonest to ask homework problems on math SE? I suppose it's dishonest to go to the library or hire a tutor as well? $\endgroup$ – BCLC Nov 21 '15 at 14:40
  • $\begingroup$ @WillJagy So how can the instructor stop students from hiring tutors or going to libraries? What's the difference? $\endgroup$ – BCLC Nov 21 '15 at 14:41

If you need someone to write to your professor I can do that. My expectation is that the moderators won't do that. Note that faculty (I've done this more than once) generally do nothing more than get the abuse to stop, so you don't need to worry about huge consequences. The time I saw questions about my own research, on MO I think it was, it turned out to be a co-author who was assigning that for a graduate seminar. After I told him, all he did was make a brief announcement in class that he did not want the problems posted online; he knew exactly who the student was because it was a small class. Just found the main one: https://mathoverflow.net/questions/164051/quadratic-ternary-forms

I am remembering some of the feedback I got in a different (and more serious) case. You professor would be grateful for the chance to take care of this within the mathematics department and, if possible, entirely in the context of the one class.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't understand. It's dishonest to ask homework problems on math SE? I suppose it's dishonest to go to the library or hire a tutor as well? $\endgroup$ – BCLC Nov 21 '15 at 14:40
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    $\begingroup$ @BCLC - Necro-commenting here. No, there's nothing wrong at all with asking homework questions! The issue is that many people ask homework questions without any intent to learn from the answers, and sometimes without even having attempted the question themselves! Some users abuse the other users on this site as a means to excel in their assignments, not as a means to learn and improve their own performance in assignments. $\endgroup$ – Myridium Oct 17 '16 at 8:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Myridium but since math SE usually doesn't answer if there is no effort then there's no problem? $\endgroup$ – BCLC Oct 17 '16 at 8:58
  • $\begingroup$ @BCLC - Users usually don't answer such questions because of bad experiences. But it does happen: Exhibit A. $\endgroup$ – Myridium Oct 17 '16 at 9:01
  • $\begingroup$ @BCLC - Also, some users are good at hiding their intentions. I believe this was the case for the person in this question (who was receiving answers), but it has been too long for me to say for sure. $\endgroup$ – Myridium Oct 17 '16 at 9:03

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