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Due to the spreading of Corona, more an more schools as well as higher educational institutions are closing. There is a change of more questions coming to this website from students who now have to do some form of self study in order not to get behind on the material. I have advised my students also to explore this website as our institution will be closed for the next 3 weeks. So it is possible to get a lot more questions from newcomers and these questions may not in the correct format, or perhaps there isn't too much initial work shown. Let's be kind and provide them with an answer nonetheless, instead of simply closing the post. The Corona virus is seriously beginning to hit us all and the internet is going to be the main vehicle for instruction. Please don't close my post, I will take it off in the future. Stay healthy and thank you for helping out students. Signed, Imran

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    $\begingroup$ This should be featured on meta. That way it will be more visible. Is there a way to move this into meta and also put it in "Featured on Meta"? $\endgroup$ – Paramanand Singh Mar 14 at 18:12
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    $\begingroup$ Does he though? It can be made into an interesting question for meta... e.g. "Due to an influx of online traffic due to covid19, should policies be temporarily enforced more leniently?" My opinion would be no, as regardless of a person's situation, I expect them to put in some effort of their own before they receive my full attention, be that in a time of war, in the time of peace, or in the time of a pandemic. Regardless, the comments here is not the appropriate place to be having this discussion. $\endgroup$ – JMoravitz Mar 14 at 18:14
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with @JMoravitz. I too, expect users to put in some effort of their own before posting: "Solve this for me" imperatives. And, This is not a mathematics question, but a post about math.se, and hence, belongs on meta.math.se. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 14 at 18:21
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    $\begingroup$ I don't really care where it is put, as long as most people see it, that's all, $\endgroup$ – imranfat Mar 14 at 18:22
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    $\begingroup$ Since when does askers' self-study require users here to do those askers' exercises for them, out of leniency, @imranfat? I fail to see your point, regardless of where you post it. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 14 at 18:24
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy I understand your point. Look, our campus is closing for the next 3 weeks or so and we are not the only ones. Students have been wondering about online options to get answers since there is no class. Stack exchange as well as Khan academy have been discussed. I explained to my students about MSE and basic etiquettes in terms of effort. But in these circumstances, sometimes it wouldn't hurt to give some benefit of doubt. If someone puts down some initial step, let's help. If someone say immediately "I don't get it", then we can guide through or give a reference to another site first. $\endgroup$ – imranfat Mar 14 at 18:30
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    $\begingroup$ My main point, @imranfant, is not necessarily to respond to "students wondering about online options to get answers". "Getting answers", instead of learning how to answer oneself, undermines a student's progress; it certainly doesn't aid it. So, I can commit to helping students who ask questions (and who do not just demand solutions) so they can learn what an exercise is intending for them to learn. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 14 at 18:38
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    $\begingroup$ @imranfat I'm sympathetic, but problem-statement questions aren't things that ought to be well-received in the classroom either, so I don't think this is slack that we ought to pick up. $\endgroup$ – Noah Schweber Mar 14 at 18:40
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    $\begingroup$ @amWhy.@noah I understand. If the student wants to get an answer just to get an answer, we need not to cater. But I feel that sometimes we need to "educate" the newcomers here, which is fine. There is a change that this group might become much bigger then normally. We are not a homework site, but if we can give them a "nudge" as to what this site is for, it may help. If they don't like it putting in extra effort, well too bad... $\endgroup$ – imranfat Mar 14 at 18:48
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    $\begingroup$ Look, I got to go now. Everybody stay healthy! Later. $\endgroup$ – imranfat Mar 14 at 18:50
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    $\begingroup$ "Let's be kind and provide them with an answer nonetheless, instead of simply closing the post." hmm well I agree with the kind part and closing part but not the provide them with an answer nonetheless. I think that they must show that they are interested in learning. $\endgroup$ – MagicConchShell Mar 14 at 20:49
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    $\begingroup$ Regarding the [close] issue, I really think it would be very important to take more seriously the time of closure. It wouldn't be nice to see the [close] of a psq or -not well formatted question- right after 5 minutes of asking... oh and the annoying several downvotes.. honestly. Instead, a kind explanation to OP would be better. Notice also that we don't know who we are dealing with. $\endgroup$ – MagicConchShell Mar 14 at 20:57
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    $\begingroup$ @user486983 what is gained by not closing it right away? If you agree that no answer should be given (at least at first) questions ought to be closed quickly. It will not work that we all agree that we do not answer. Closures are reversible. Of course explications should always be provided. $\endgroup$ – quid Mar 15 at 13:09
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    $\begingroup$ @user486983 "I'm sure that you as a moderator have the solution to this problem.. hehe" Well, no, we don't. The best solution is to close quickly, of course also offering an explanation of what the issue is (which is partly but incompletely done via closures). That's how the system is intended to work. What's the alternative? Do you propose we delete the answers? This would be pretty confusing and cause a lot of friction (and work). Further the idea to distinguish between new users and not new users to much is problematic in that there are some individuals that were "new users" 10+ times. $\endgroup$ – quid Mar 15 at 17:44
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    $\begingroup$ @Jyrki But this meta question is not about developing strategies for instructors unfamiliar with on-line teaching. I see this question as taking advantage of an enormous hardship, faced globally, by arguing "standards for students should be thrown out the window!. And one other user (user486983 who ranted twice against closure in February, seems to be doing the same. $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 15 at 18:33
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We need to be welcoming and make an effort to onboard a new user. This was true, and remains true. In a time where more and more persons are in situations of distress, it seems apt to try to make an extra effort to be friendly.

However, this does not mean that we should change the policies of this site on a whim. The guidelines are also in place to ultimately be beneficial for users asking.

To learn how to ask questions here in the long run is arguably better than just having a bunch of poor questions answered.

Further, one could just as well make an argument that there is an increased risk of students trying to cheat in a situation where online teaching and evaluations are introduced in completely ad hoc ways, and therefore one should be especially strict.

I appreciate the idea behind the post, but ultimately I do not think this is needed. Finally, and possibly crucially, even if we would adopt this as a policy, I do not think it would really work as intended. Ultimately, in the short run it would cause mostly friction.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for "learn how to ask... better than... a bunch of poor questions...". And learning how to ask is not that difficult. There are many examples of new contributors who manage to show their effort and good intent even when lacking other capabilities like mathjax. $\endgroup$ – Paramanand Singh Mar 15 at 2:27
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    $\begingroup$ I agree whole-heartedly with this answer, particularly "what @Paramanand said!" $\endgroup$ – amWhy Mar 15 at 18:30

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