This is irritating and tedious, just put something about homework in the FAQ if it's necessary. If you don't want to just 'give people the answer' then treat all questions as if they are homework.
We asked before answering a homework question and a non-homework questions because the information content we provide will depend on it. If we answer a non-HW question like a HW question, the asker won't get enough information; if we answer a HW question like a non-HW question, the asker may just copy the result without learning anything.
It is a standard practice carried from SO.
Don't edit a question to add the
[homework]tag. If there's any room for doubt at all, it's best to leave it as is. Instead, add a comment first requesting that the asker clarify the situation.
The short version is that commenting to ask a user if a suspicious question is homework is encouraged, but not because we don't answer those questions or look down on them. Rather, it's that students looking to learn more about a concept often have different wants and expectations for their answers than professionals looking to solve an immediate problem. So this helps us give you better answers.
and widely accepted (as in upvoted) in math.SE too.
If a question looks suspiciously like homework but is not tagged, comment on the question, asking for elaboration before posting a detailed answer.
Can we please stop asking “Is this homework?”
Only if we please stop providing full solutions to homework-like questions.
I think that at least part of the problem is that "Is this homework?," as a bare question, is too easily read as being accusatory or having some connotation that homework questions are unwelcome.
I think the response to asking whether or not a question is homework would be more positive if the comment were something like:
This seems like it might be a homework question. If you are asking for help with your homework, please add the tag "homework" to your question.
I see no reason to get annoyed/irritated, even if it is your question which gets such a comment.
Most people who want to get their homework done for free would not even bother to read the FAQ, so I don't think putting something there will result in lesser amount of comments asking if it is homework. Besides, I believe the FAQ already mentions people put the homework tag if they indeed need help with their homework...
btw, did you try reading the multiple discussions about treating questions which might be homework? See this for instance: What is the proper way to handle homework questions?
Personally I never ask the OP, whether the question is a homework, if I see from his rep that he has posted a few questions or answers before. It's very probable that he has been told already.
If I see that user is posting his first question, quite often I post some kind of "welcome comment", where I also link to How to ask a homework question. More-or-less along the lines of this proposal CFV: Proposal for standardized meta-comments, to avoid main-site meta discussions.
But in general, if question is not tagged homework, I treat is as non-homework question and in such case I don't see any problem with posting full solution. (And sometimes I give hints even for non-homework questions.)
The most important point I'd like to make: It's not my job to police the posters. The poster should have some honesty himself (and the students are lead to be honest about their work at their school). Of course it's good to make sure that user is aware of our homework policy (if we have one - from A Consolidated Homework Policy you can see, that it's almost impossible to find something policy with which all users would agree), but let's try not to overdo this.
In my answering experience, I have tackled tons of forums that have no good moderation and the entire community consists of online-homeschoolers who copy/paste their test questions. This is utterly the result of community ignorance and wrong moderation despite a code of conduct stricter than SE. Math.StackExchange is the most perfect website for Mathematics that I have seen in my life. Personally, I would never stop asking people if their question is for homework.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE STOP (in the correct order):
Students would perceive that test questions are too mainstream and there is no reason for them not to ask.
They would, in turn, ask their test questions.
- Repeat 1.
The forum would eventually be filled with Rage Comics, Advice Animals and other memes.
Would you want such a community?