We already have a question, on the policy of handling homework questions, but I believe that this point is important enough to deserve its own discussion. There is a general consensus that completely answering a homework question for someone will have bad consequences. Not only will it encourage a flood of near duplicate questions, but it will make it easier for someone to avoid learning anything.
At the same time, it is important to realise that often concrete examples are the best way to learn. Answering too many questions in only general terms will cause us to have to deal with lots more follow up questions either in the comments or in other questions.
So lets suppose somebody asks a non-duplicate "homework" question. then I would propose:
- Explain the general method for solving the question
- If possible, provide a detailed example, but not for the exact question asked. It is fine to link them to another question with a detailed example instead
Many extremely specific questions are currently being given answers that could just be copied and pasted. If the community agrees with this proposed policy, then we need to use comments to explain to other, why this is undesireable.