I've seen a number of questions recently where the OP explicitly asks for a hint only. In some cases, these questions are closed (or have gotten some votes for closure) because the OP didn't provide any work or thoughts. (Note: I'm not asking about whether posting a hint as an answer is better than posting a full answer in general. There has been lots of discussion about that issue on meta.)
I think this is somewhat different than just posting a question and looking for an answer; it's perfectly legitimate under some circumstances to just close those questions. But if a person really doesn't know how to begin, shouldn't this be a reasonable forum to come to for help?
This also requires some discipline on the part of those writing answers, to give hints only rather than full answers. But I do think that the posters, who are probably largely looking for help with homework, would benefit.