This question is getting old, but the matter is still unresolved. Please contribute by voting on the answers here, or by voicing your opinion if you have something to add to the existing answers!
Our help center provides basic guidance towards writing good answers, including:
Brevity is acceptable, but fuller explanations are better.
And an important bit:
Answer well-asked questions
And only such, I daresay.
Now, given our homework policy (allow homework in the sense that we don't care where a question comes from), we get a lot of questions of the form
[Problem statement] I don't know where to even start, please help!
Now, was far as our help center is concerned -- and our own gut feeling -- this does not make for a good question. Full answers are unlikely to help the asker beyond gaining exercise credit.
So, being a helpful lot, our community has developed a compromise between "ignore and/or shoot down" and "answer for glory": the hint-only answer.
There are quite a few.. If you scroll through that list, you'll see that many if not most answers are one-liners, with some exceptions.
Now, these are clearly bad answers. Granted, they might have done their job in actually helping the original asker without doing their work for them, but now we have a question-answer-pair that is almost useless for anyone landing there from, say, Google -- except that person attends the same course in the next iteration.
In essence, the problem is the contradiction of these two statements:
- The Stack Exchange platform only works well with full answers.
- We want to help people without giving full answers.
So, the goal of this discussion is to find out
- if the community agrees that hint-only answers are a problem, and
- what to do about it.
Feel free to vote to your desire; should we decide that we need to vote, there will be another thread with clearly defined rules.