When editing a new question, for grammar, punctuation, clarity, formulas, etc., is it appropriate to add the homework tag if your intuition is strong that it is homework?

Please don't knee-jerk brand this a duplicate question. This is a specific question about homework tags and non-OP editing that I didn't see directly addressed in the voluminous (I read more than ten) questions on this ... roiling ... subject.

I have been assuming no, that it's not constructive to force-apply the homework tag without asking the OP first, even for questions that I would bet 100:1 are homework. I don't want to make the OP feel shame at asking a homework question, nor for asking one and neglecting to tag it as such. Good point by Isaac about the delicate etiquette of this.

What I'd rather is the OP see a friendly "We have the impression this is homework, and so we assume you would prefer help to a thorough answer. Please explain if not the case."

Or even a convenient, affirming, OP-knows-best prompt:

Is your question homework?

  • Yes, I prefer answers not be too thorough.
  • No, I prefer detailed, complete answers.

But in lieu of a feature like that, I have been just refraining. What's your policy?

Edit: duplicates found at

In particular from Alex Becker's answer:

I and many other users consider it inappropriate to tag another user's question as homework unless they have explicitly said it is homework.

So now what I think I should do is propose a feature in meta that the OP can be offered a friendly prompt like the above.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Can I brand this a duplicate question if my knee is not jerking? meta.math.stackexchange.com/q/8608 $\endgroup$
    – user856
    Mar 23, 2013 at 22:07
  • $\begingroup$ Yes! Thanks @RahulNarain I do think this issue is already well covered by Brian M. Scott's question and rar's question. Glad to feel in tune with the zeitgeist. So, can I brand my own question a duplicate or does that require your rarefied powers? $\endgroup$
    – Bob Stein
    Mar 23, 2013 at 22:59
  • $\begingroup$ We also have a comment template about homework questions. $\endgroup$ Mar 24, 2013 at 8:18


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