I think my stance on hints is a bit more extreme than some, but IMO hints do not belong on this site. I've already posted a rant in meta comments about this, and I think it's a good place to reiterate it.
For some context, I was replying to someone suggesting that hints was "helping/forcing OP to think for him/herself and in that process actually learn mathematics" and that "Spoon-feeding OP with full answers is often counter-productive to this goal":
If you want to "force the OP to think for himself", don't answer at all and ask for their thoughts in the comments. It seems that people who answer with hints "show a complete lack of understanding" of how this platform works too.
It's happened several times now that I can't prove some result, look it up and find the same question on this site, and then I'm greeted with some half-assed hint that I already thought of but couldn't make anything of. Now what? I can't ask a new question, it would be a duplicate. I can't offer a bounty every time that happens.
If the question is truly bad, close it and either force the OP to improve it or eventually delete it. No one is calling for spoon-feeding. If the OP improves the question, great, post a full answer and contribute to the knowledge repository that math.SE is. If the OP doesn't, please don't contribute to the pollution of this website by putting all the people that will have the same question in the future in a catch-22 situation.
And I'm not even talking about all the people who take advantage of the "hint" policy to post some one-line hint that they didn't think through and doesn't even work when you try to work out the details -- just two days ago someone posted a solution for some question in that worked in the one-dimensional case and then "HINT: use induction on dimension" or something like that. As you can guess, higher dimension was orders of magnitude more difficult than dimension 1 and the answerer eventually acknowledged that.
Sorry for the rant but I'm really unhappy about this issue.
And to clarify a discussion that happened later in the thread, I'm not saying that every single detail should be written in the answer. I think there's a difference between "HINT: integration by parts" (horrible) and "Hint: do integration by parts twice. Let $u = x^2$ and $dv = e^x$. Then after let $u = 2x$ and $dv = e^x$". IMO the first one is completely unacceptable, I'm more reserved about the second (and I wouldn't downvote it), but I believe it would be better with more detail.
tl;dr I don't like hints, and I think they're actively harmful. Either answer the question completely or don't.
Don't answer in the comments either. I think that goes without saying. But don't answer with a hint in the comments, too. People will then be reluctant to actually answer the question because it's already "solved", and then the unanswered queue gets cluttered.