I understand that all the forums serve different purposes, and they have their own moderators, rules and policies. But CS seems completely different to me, with respect to all the other forums I have used.

The most significant difference that surprised me is that one will never get a solution. I totally understand that one must do a self-study, and research before posting a question here, but after doing everything one could (in the limited timeframe), he/she will not get a positive reply here. I guess most of the experts that are in the forum have pretty high standards. They will never believe that you have done enough research or self-study until you have proved the problem, in which case you will not need help from a forum or someplace else.

Whenever I have posted homework related question, where I actually have given it some thought, and did my research, but still couldn't managed to solve the problem, I will get a reply that I should think more about it. But, one has to keep in mind, that students take plenty of courses each semester, and nearly all of them will include exercises (which is always helpful to learn the subject more), which amounts to plenty of work. The homeworks will usually have short deadlines (or deadlines that are okay, if you only take one course, and fully focus on the subject). So, it is not possible to devote your full time to just one course, and spend all your time in one problem set, because if you do, you will sacrifice the other subjects. Therefore, each student tries to keep a balance. Plus, not all subjects are equally important to everyone. Everyone thinks about the area where he/she wants to continue or specialize, and spend more time on those topics.

Anyway, what I wanted to say is that, whenever I have a math or programming question, and if I post in MathExchange or StackOverflow, I will get an immediate answer, either a solution or a "really helpful" hint for the problem. Then, I can study the problem, see what the person who has answered the solution has done where I was stuck, ask him/her questions regarding the solution to fully grasp it, and at the end better understand the subject, because each problem teaches you something new or a gives a different view of that area. I guess this kind of policy and behavior in those forums, is what makes them very active and helpful.

I understand that it is normal for SO and ME to have plenty of users, after all they serve to a larger base of people than CS. But, when we think that CS is perhaps the most important area of study at the moment, and more and more people enroll to study it, one will expect that the CS forum would be in the level of SO or ME. But seeing the unhelpful replies, I'm not surprised why it is not in the same level as SO or ME.

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    $\begingroup$ No Stack Exchange site is a forum, please don't call them that (for the sake of new users). Forums are for discussion, SE sites are not. $\endgroup$ – AStopher Nov 14 '15 at 23:18
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    $\begingroup$ @NormalHuman I meant it both as an emphasis and sarcasm, cause even the hints in those sites are a solution. $\endgroup$ – user41301 Nov 14 '15 at 23:45
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    $\begingroup$ @bob I don't believe that a new users ever read the meta sections. xD $\endgroup$ – user41301 Nov 14 '15 at 23:45
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    $\begingroup$ "The most significant difference that surprised me is that one will never get a solution." -- that is clearly false. There are many, many accepted answers around. "experts [...] have pretty high standards" -- in my experience, that only helps you learn, if you use what they say. "Everyone thinks about the area where he/she wants to continue or specialize, and spend more time on those topics." -- that's fair, but that does not mean that you get to outsource the rest. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Nov 16 '15 at 0:19
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    $\begingroup$ I think you have written a long post for asking just this: "why won't you do my homework for me?" The answer is simple: 1) because it's (usually) boring for us, 2) doesn't really help you and 3) violates professional ethics. Rule of thumb: you should not ask a question on Computer Science that you would not dare to ask of your professor. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Nov 16 '15 at 0:22
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    $\begingroup$ @Raphael it should be backwards: you should not ask a question you should be asking to your professor. ;) $\endgroup$ – Braiam Nov 16 '15 at 1:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Braiam That would be to restrictive. Not all professors are available or approachable. But yes, there are questions that should be asked of your TA or professor, e.g. such that inquire about definitions/notation specific to the course. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Nov 16 '15 at 7:51
  • $\begingroup$ fyi there is a long history of discussion of these topics by mods in chat, and its all in the history/ logs & encourage others to voice their opinions there regularly & wrt specific Q/A if you care about the site, it tends to be vacant most of the time. and re bobs assertion, discussion is not discouraged in chat or meta & it has a tag for it in meta, in some ways its the point of meta/ chat. agreed, SE regulars tend to dislike the use of the term "forum" and its connotations for the main site. $\endgroup$ – vzn Nov 17 '15 at 18:15
  • $\begingroup$ fyi the mods have cited the so-called "help vampire" problem in meta. see also should SE award As for effort. these are the two sides/ extremes that need daily balance. $\endgroup$ – vzn Nov 18 '15 at 21:06
  • $\begingroup$ and along with DWs suggestion below dont overlook that Mathematics has a significantly used computer science tag! and some questions are borderline between this group and Stack Overflow and one could lean toward that if one wanted to. ie see the sites as complementary and that what you are describing may be a "feature, not a bug"... $\endgroup$ – vzn Nov 20 '15 at 16:14
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    $\begingroup$ What makes you think that the point of a homework problem is its solution? Also, I've answered plenty of questions here, but you're right, I am not going to answer straight homework problems because that is harmful to the student. If the student cannot solve the problem himself, then his teacher should be able to detect that fact. That is an important feature of homeworks. $\endgroup$ – Andrej Bauer Nov 26 '15 at 14:57
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    $\begingroup$ @AndrejBauer. Excellent first sentence. $\endgroup$ – Rick Decker Mar 25 '16 at 0:55

I agree with David Richerby. Math.se is the anomalous site. It is inundated with boring homework questions that keep repeating in an annual cycle. I personally ran away from the site with disgust, and I wouldn't want the same thing to happen here.

I don't mind giving help, or sometimes complete solutions, for interesting and non-routine exercises. For me they are nice puzzles to sharpen my technical abilities. What I dislike are routine, basic exercises, which I usually only give hints to. This is not merely to discourage such questions, but also to encourage the posters to solve such exercises on their own.

These routine, basic exercises are often not much more than a play with definitions. They are designed to help you learn and internalize these definitions. If a student is unable to solve them, this is usually due to lack of "mathematical maturity". The only way to develop mathematical maturity is to solve such exercises enough times until your skill increases.

Another issue that bothers me is fairness. It is common for students to ask for help from their peers, teaching assistants or professors. The latter will help the student with hints, but hopefully not complete solutions, while asking peers might be forbidden. The internet side channel is thus a way of cheating the system. Many people on math.se would disagree with me on this point, which is why that community behaves differently.

There is a hint of entitlement in your question. We are not here to help. We are here to do as we please, forming our community standards through our actions. There is no obligation to help every student in the way they seem fit. Our only obligation is to ourselves. There are disagreements among the major users on this site, a plurality of opinions, so even if one person is unwilling to help you, another might. But if all of us as a community feel helping you in this particular way is against our better judgement, your only option is to accept it, and try to change it, for example by asking this question.

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    $\begingroup$ For reference, Yuval is one of the most active users in terms of responding to obvious homework posts. So this is probably the most pro-homework opinion you'll get from the group of core users/experts. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Nov 16 '15 at 0:16
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    $\begingroup$ @NormalHuman, If you look at a graph of Yuval's activity on Math.SE, you can clearly see that his activity level in answering questions on Math.SE has taken a dramatic dip: his lifetime average on Math.SE is about 20 answers/month, but is far less lately (2 answers in Sept 2015, 2 answers in Oct 2015, 4 answers in Nov 2015). For anyone else, 2-4 answers/month might be considered substantial. But this is Yuval! That's tiny, by his standards. $\endgroup$ – D.W. Nov 16 '15 at 4:19
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    $\begingroup$ For Yuval, posting 2-4 answers/month is vastly below his rate at answering questions here, so I think characterizing that as "running away" is entirely fair. I'd hate for this site to lose a user like Yuval: if he transitioned to posting only 2-4 answers/month, that would be a huge loss for us. $\endgroup$ – D.W. Nov 16 '15 at 4:19
  • $\begingroup$ "which I usually only give hints to. This is not merely to discourage such questions" Surely that encourages them. $\endgroup$ – Lightness Races in Orbit Nov 22 '15 at 4:33
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for the last paragraph. Too bad I can't add more. Heck, now that I think of it, why can't I, since it doesn't really count in meta? $\endgroup$ – Rick Decker Mar 25 '16 at 0:53
  • $\begingroup$ I dont know if I feel it correct, but what about having sister site for cs.stackexchange for possible homework problems? People may vote for "move to hw.cs.stackexchange". Once obtained enough votes, the question might be moved to that site. That way, cs.stackexchange will remain clean, and cs noobs will also get their questions answered. We may have "Please ask homework question at hw.cs.stackexchange" banner on "Ask New Question" page on cs.stackkexchange...? $\endgroup$ – anir May 26 '18 at 14:04

But CS seems completely different to me

It isn't. Our policy on homework questions is broadly the same as Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Economics and Stack Overflow. Rather, it's Mathematics that's unusual in accepting homework questions with essentially no restriction.

  • $\begingroup$ I haven't used other sites, except for SO, and they also give you a complete answer or a helpful reply, if you just provide a few lines of code. I mean if they see that you have thought about the problem or if they see that you are doing wrong, they will help you. But, of course, if you ask them give me the code that does this they won't reply positively. $\endgroup$ – user41301 Nov 15 '15 at 13:40
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    $\begingroup$ @portal It's the same here then. Thing is, most homework dumpers do not show any thought, and even react undiplomatically to requests to do so. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Nov 16 '15 at 0:11
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    $\begingroup$ @portal SO also accepts homework question, provided it's well written and can help future visitors in general (not only for future students). The thing is, it doesn't matter if it's homework or from professional field, if it's useful to the site. The problem is, there are too many users who only want reputation, thus answering bad homework questions (no effort, etc). $\endgroup$ – Andrew T. Nov 16 '15 at 1:31

I'll share my own personal views. You should expect that the views of folks here may vary from person to person, so don't take this as necessarily representing anyone else's opinions.

We wouldn't be able to handle all the world's homework problems

Our policies regarding problem dumps exist for a reason. If we allowed everyone in the world to just post their exercise problem and ask "I can't see how to solve it, how do I solve this?", we'd be inundated. Similarly, if we allowed everyone to post their exercise problem and their proposed solution and ask "is my solution correct?", we'd be inundated. We couldn't handle that kind of traffic, and if we got inundated by that traffic, I suspect it'd be have a dramatic effect on our community.

Your primary beef seems to be that you feel you're too busy with other classes to put in enough effort on your own to satisfy the standards of this community. I'm sorry to hear that. But our standards are what they are, for a reason.

Keep in mind: when you come here, you are asking for experts to volunteer their time to help you. One of the reasons why the site has standards is precisely so that the experts keep coming here. Be careful what you ask for. If the site eliminated its standards, it's all too easy to imagine this degenerating into Yahoo Answers or Quora, and you might find that the experts stop coming and you don't get useful answers at all. There are other sites like that where you can participate, if this community's model doesn't appeal to you.

In particular, if we accepted problem dumps ("here's my homework problem, how do I solve it?"), we'd be inundated with them, and it's not clear whether the core participants would want to be here under those conditions.

And we're not here to be a homework help site, or to build a repository of homework problems and their solutions. I don't see that as the primary mission this community has decided they want to take on -- at least, not as our primary reason for existence. We do want to help with concepts, understanding, and problems people face; and if you've put in enough effort to ask a well-crafted, focused, question about some specific aspect or concept you are unclear on, that's in scope as well.

Does that mean we always get the balance right? I don't know. Meta is always open for specific proposals about our policies. And if you keep participating and learning the norms that have built up over time, I imagine you might get a better sense for where these policies come from.

If you're not getting enough personalized assistance with your assignments, you might consider making more use of your teaching assistant or professor at your university. That's what they are paid for.

We want to help you, not solve your homework problems for you

Also, I think I see a common misconception in your post. I think you are equating "solving your homework problem for you" with "helping you", and when someone doesn't want to solve your homework problem for you, you decide that they are being unhelpful. I see this view a lot. Many students think that if someone who gives them a solution to their homework problem is helping them. But in my opinion, that's not helping you, even though it might feel like it at the time.

How do you learn to ride a bicycle? It's not by watching someone else ride one, that's for sure. The only way to ride a bicycle is by trying to ride it yourself. You have to struggle with it yourself. It's a frustrating, annoying struggle at first -- but that's the only way you can learn to be able to do it for yourself.

Homework is like that. Homework is like teaching yourself to ride the bicycle. No amount of watching someone else solve your exercise problem for you will substitute for struggling with it yourself.

Our policies are not that unusual

Our policies are not actually as unusual as you suggest. Yes, Math.SE tends to have very different standards. But you could also compare to CSTheory.SE (Theoretical Computer Science). There, they have taken an even stronger stance. Take a look at their help center. I'll quote a few excerpts:

Questions should be based on knowledge sharing, not on shirking

You should only post questions you're actually seriously thinking about. Users are expected to do their part and try to answer their question by themselves before posting them on cstheory and asking for help from others. Search to see if your question is already answered somewhere else (e.g. Wikipedia) before asking a question. Try to make your question interesting for others by providing some background knowledge. Remember, questions should be based on knowledge sharing, not on shirking. Shirking goes against the spirit of the site.

See also their tips for How to ask a good question?.

You might also enjoy reading Stack Overflow's guidelines, How much research effort is expected of Stack Overflow users?.

We're not the only game in town

One last suggestion. You mentioned that you like the Math.SE model better. I can understand and respect that. And that raises a natural question:

Why not ask over there, at Math.SE?

They accept many questions about theoretical computer science, and they have over 2000 questions tagged computer science. It might be an interesting experiment to give it a try and see if you find that community meets your needs better.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to push you away from this site: I do hope you'll stay. I'm just saying that you could try both Math.CS and here, and compare them. If you did it systematically, say via a randomized experiment, that might even lead to data that you could point to. You can't post every question at both places, because cross-posting is forbidden, but you could do a randomized experiment where for the next 10 questions you ask, for each one flipping a coin about where to post. Who knows; maybe it will work out that the experience there is clearly better all around, and if folks here just saw how it worked out, they'd be persuaded by your arguments. My experience is that when you want to change a community, hard data can often be extremely influential in changing minds.

  • $\begingroup$ I'd say the comparison with CSTheory is a bit unfair since that site is aimed at professional computer scientists. $\endgroup$ – Tom van der Zanden Nov 15 '15 at 8:32
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the nice reply. I agree about the comparison between CS and CSTheory, it is same as comparing Math.SE, with MO, where the latter is focused on research questions. Though, you say that experts will stop coming to give helpful replies, but if you look closely, people who come to ask for help is not coming anymore. I mean you can do a simple test and open CS, Math.SE and SO sites homepage, and leave the tabs open for let's say 10 mins. After that see how many questions during those 10 min have been posted in Math.SE and SO in comparison with CS. As I said, they target a larger audience $\endgroup$ – user41301 Nov 15 '15 at 13:42
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    $\begingroup$ ...but still, 90% of all the question there get replied with a positive and helpful reply. I mean there is huge demand, and the experts manage to keep up with that pace. I believe same can be achieved here too. But, as you say experts take their own personal time to help here, so I really appreciate them. But, to me as I pointed out, it doesn't seem that they help much. And regarding posting in Math.SE question about CS, I guess that's why people post there, cause they don't get much helpful reply there. But continuing this trend will also ruin Math.SE, cause it should stay only mathematical. $\endgroup$ – user41301 Nov 15 '15 at 13:46
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    $\begingroup$ @portal You disregard an important difference in semantics. We want to help you learn, but we do not care one bit for your exercise credits. Learning has to start and end with you, so you'll have to give is more than a problem statement. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Nov 16 '15 at 0:15
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    $\begingroup$ @Raphael Exactly, that's why I like question/answer style discussions. For example, yesterday I solved a problem with the help of Tom van der Zanden, all he did was ask me right questions, to point me in the right direction, and let me think, then I replied with what I thought, then he would point out if it was correct or not, and continue this process until we reached an answer. That\s also what I like to do with a few members from Math.SE. This is the process that I have found to be most rewarding, and fair at the same time. $\endgroup$ – user41301 Nov 16 '15 at 8:38
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    $\begingroup$ @portal We agree that what you describe is a useful process, but it does not work well on SE. In fact, the platform and network-wide policy explicitly discourage such interactions, because they do not create lasting value for future visitors (arguably). For interactive learning, you have real-life peers, online chats, discussion boards, etc. Stack Exchange is for questions and answers. If you can not yet formulate a focused question that can be answered, and the answer to which actually helps you, then you are not ready to post on SE. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Nov 16 '15 at 10:30

I share your concern that CS.SE is often not as welcoming to new visitors as it could be. Here's a common scenario: (1) a new visitor asks a question; (2) the question appears to the regulars to be a problem dump; (3) one or more of the regulars posts a copy of a standard comment template like, "What have you tried; where did you get stuck?"; (4) the question quickly accumulates enough close votes to be placed on hold; (5) end of story: new user leaves, never to return.

I'm more or less okay with stages (1)-(3). It's reasonable to expect that many new users have never read our help section and so don't realize that a question should also include some background about the question, if only to let us know how to target an answer so that it will be of most use. It's also reasonable to expect that many new users haven't taken the time to search other questions to see if there might be one that could be helpful; until our search facility gets much smarter than it currently is, searching old questions is a pain, even for regulars.

My problem with the CS.SE culture is stage (4). My feeling is that we're way too quick to close a question. As I said in a comment recently, we often do something akin to this: a student comes to my office hours and says, "I can't figure out where to start Question 3 on the homework". I respond, "What part specifically are you having trouble with?" and then without listening to their answers, if any, I kick them out of my office, perhaps saying, "Look at the text and your notes". This would be inexcusably unprofessional and my student would have every right to be pissed.

Of course, this analogy is perhaps a bit overstated, but my point, again, is that we're often too quick to pull the close trigger. It would be far better, in my opinion, to downvote a question rather than reflexively cast a close vote. A downvote along with a comment on how to improve the question keeps the lines of communication open for a while. If the question isn't modified after a few days, then an appropriate action would be to close it.

Certainly, some questions are candidates for immediate closure, but not all that many, IMO. Also, I think that the problem of "driving regulars away" is a straw man argument. It only takes a few seconds to read a question and decide whether to respond or not, and given the manageable number of questions we get per day (a tiny fraction of, say, Math.SE's), scanning all new questions is a minor burden. A quick downvote is easy, the rep cost is negligible, and it leaves the door open for potential improvement.

(By the way, I noticed that the original question has 9 upvotes and 3 downvotes. Draw your own conclusions.)

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the good comment. I was having the same concerns. I mean I always try something before posting a problem here. Maybe I haven't thought enough to give a explanation, and maybe it will sound like I directly ask for the answer, but I really don't. As I pointed out in the above comment, yesterday, I solved one problem with the help of a user from CS, where he only was asking me questions and letting me answer them, and he was telling me whether i was correct or wrong. I agree that a more personalized method like this takes time, but even like in your 3th step, asking the right questions $\endgroup$ – user41301 Nov 16 '15 at 16:33
  • $\begingroup$ ... so that the user can think on the right things and tell what he has come up with, is a very helpful method. $\endgroup$ – user41301 Nov 16 '15 at 16:33
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    $\begingroup$ Since even regulars get this wrong, we apparently have to communicate better that putting a question "on hold" is not the end. It can be edited and reopened. It's saying, "with your preparation, I can't help you. Come back after you've read Section 4". (cc @portal) On the other hand, leaving a bad question open a) enables rep-diggers to answer and reinforce the unwanted asking behaviour, and b) creates bad precedent (especially if it gets answered). $\endgroup$ – Raphael Nov 16 '15 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ One issue is that closing dumps is no longer policy, it's community action. Back when I put (almost) all dumps on hold myself, the standard comment included something along the lines of "edit to improve, then we may reopen". Since that's not longer standard procedure, the standard comments do not contain this bit anymore. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Nov 16 '15 at 18:49
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    $\begingroup$ @Raphael. I'm aware that, strictly speaking, putting a question on hold is not the end. However, my experience is that it is effectively the end. As for your last sentence, I disagree, but I'm aware that this is a minority opinion. $\endgroup$ – Rick Decker Nov 16 '15 at 19:27
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    $\begingroup$ If the OP doesn't bother to improve their question (let's assume they were told that that was an option), doesn't make that closure the right action? $\endgroup$ – Raphael Nov 17 '15 at 7:47
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    $\begingroup$ "a student comes to my office hours and says, 'I can't figure out where to start Question 3 on the homework'. I respond, 'What part specifically are you having trouble with?' and then without listening to their answers, if any, I kick them out of my office [...] This would be inexcusably unprofessional" I have two problems with this analogy. First, we are not professionals in this context: nobody is paying us to contribute to SE and we're doing it on a voluntary basis in our own time. To me, it makes sense to focus my voluntary efforts where they will make most difference. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Nov 17 '15 at 8:15
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    $\begingroup$ Second, I feel the accurate analogy would be that you ask them what specific part they had trouble with, they sit there staring blankly at you for fifteen minutes and then you kick them out of your office. We ask for more information; they never respond. What are we supposed to do? It typically takes several hours for a question to be closed by community vote. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Nov 17 '15 at 8:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Raphael. Most of the time I have no problem closing a question if the OP was asked for clarification and failed to provide any in a reasonable amount of time. The main point of my answer was that it seems to me to be the case that we often are too quick to close. Quick downvotes, though, seem entirely justifiable. $\endgroup$ – Rick Decker Nov 17 '15 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ there is a long theory/ conjecture expressed in chat by mods that "poor quality" questions drive away experts, so its better to close them. agreed/ think that low-voted (but not negative voted) questions should generally not be closed and have long advocated this in chat. closing needs to be basically for off-topic posts. now, following that, we might have a lot of unclosed low-voted or unanswered questions around, but that seems to be a different problem. ie is closing questions a kind of artificial way/ "easy out" to (superficially) "improve" our helpfulness statistics so to speak? $\endgroup$ – vzn Nov 17 '15 at 18:13
  • $\begingroup$ @vzn My impression is that almost all posts that get closed have no upvotes, and even most of the ones that managed to get upvotes also got downvotes and had a non-positive score when closed. The exception to this would be decent but off-topic questions, which might collect a couple of up-votes before being closed and, if appropriate, migrated. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Nov 19 '15 at 12:09
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby am not following your point. it only suggests that high voted posts are rarely closed which nobody would disagree with. however a post with no votes may also be regarded as "unknown quality" so those are indeed some to look at. anyway the main point of RD is that maybe the closing policy is at times too strict, which am agreeing with from personal observation, and which is largely subjective & cant necessarily be measured via voting on closed posts, although its something to consider. also, while personally not liking this strict policy, it seems conformant with other SEs... $\endgroup$ – vzn Nov 20 '15 at 1:34
  • $\begingroup$ @vzn You said, and I quote, that "low-voted (but not negative voted) questions should generally not be closed". Could you explain precisely what you mean by "low-voted", using actual numbers? You can't understand how my comment is related to yours, and perhaps that's because I misunderstood yours. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Nov 20 '15 at 8:36
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby the basic idea is that closure and votes are two different things, and that negative voted questions are ripe for closure and/or deleting (actually afaik they get deleted automatically in ~30d without answers), but anything else would stay open unless offtopic with a liberal policy. think (along with RD) that closure is a heavy handed action/ harsh signal for posts that are still on topic but marginal. LM mod candidate has also expressed support for official "light touch/ exception handler" style moderation. $\endgroup$ – vzn Nov 20 '15 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ @vzn You seem to have misunderstood what Luke was saying in his statement. His statement says that moderators shouldn't do much closing because closing should be left to community votes. That says nothing at all about how the community should decide what to close; it just says that the mods shouldn't close a whole bunch more stuff on top. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Nov 20 '15 at 18:43

Looking at the activity in Math.SE I'm struck by how many math enthusiasts are there. It's full of people who just enjoy shifting symbols around to solve problems the way other people enjoy doing crosswords or assembling jigsaw puzzles. The same is true with regard to stackoverflow and coding. There's such enthusiasm for coding that there are spinoff code golf and code review SEs. For some reason answering basic questions about languages, FSMs, etc. just doesn't make the math/CS heart go pitter-pat in the same way. It's not just the people on cs.SE; as a rule CS questions tend to languish even on math.SE though most such questions are on-topic there.

Find a way to repackage CS questions in a way that tickles that puzzle-solving desire in CS experts, and you'll have your hyperactive CS.SE.

  • $\begingroup$ Well, this is a good advice, but if I could have managed to this, I would have already solved my problems alone xD After all, my problems are pretty easy for the experts here, however I tend to repackage them. $\endgroup$ – user41301 Nov 16 '15 at 22:01

It happened to me some times. In fact I have to delete certain questions. But still my experience is very satisfactory as other questions get responded well.

To tell the truth, I mostly ask a lot of questions. In that comparison, I barely answer others. I know thats very very bad. I always feel I know very little about the topic so I almost never look out to answer question. However I am very confident as learn more and more, I will have enough knowledge to answer others and feel confident enough to answer.

Since I ask a lot I feel I have enough experience (of asking questions) to answer this question :p.

About why others may ask you to do more research (my opinions, need not be facts):

  1. The references of CS are more in the form of books unlike programming references which are mostly online articles, knowledgebases and in fact stackoverflow-like QA sites. Now the CS concepts are more rigid and older than programming concepts.

    For example, deadlock concept is very well satisfactorily explained in many books (like by author William Stallings or Galvin). So for most concepts you should get your doubts cleared anyway from these books.

    Coming to programming side, concepts are relatively newer. Say newly evolved framework in website development or cloud platform. All concepts are more documented and enriched by online community using QA site, knowledge bases and articles. And by the same habit they occur to answer you more. They have to because it more likely that your doubt reveal certain untouched aspect of certain new framework which can barely be found highlighted in any book.

    Also many programming concepts (like behavior of a particular overload of a method, or use of particular method to achieve something different, for example here, op proposes to use groovy's find{} closure to emulate terminating loop, which I use now frequently) too detailed / subtle for books to document them all. In contrast, CS concepts are straight forward and do not involve intricate details.

  2. Why you get more answers on Maths than CS? Well because Math is by nature, a subject of problem solving. Well you may argue whether CS is not a subject of problem solving? Or programming is not a subject of problem solving? Thats not like that. They are too subjects of problem solving. But both CS and programming are new fields relatively to Maths. Maths is ancient. CS and programming are modern. Both programming and CS find their roots in Maths. Since long, humans love to solve mathematical problems. Mathematical problems are not only heavily documented but also thoroughly practiced for many centuries. There were always competitions like Math Olympiads when there was no programming competitions. I also have a friend who is always in search of new type of mathematical problems to solve. Thats why even after heavily documented, like CS topics, ops on Maths forum are always crazy to solve your problem. Well on CS site too, there are crazy people who love to answer your question. But they are certainly less in number in comparison to Maths site. I feel this is more cumulative psychological effect caused due to culture that is there around the approaches taken towards learning these two subjects. That is also a reason why your Maths homework problem is more welcome than CS homework problem. Obviously I feel over time as number of problems in CS are more and more talked / discussed online, this difference will vanish and more people here will also go crazy to answer you.

PS: Above is just naive opinion.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the helpful answer! Some tangential remarks: 1. Just asking questions without answering them is perfectly fine; it's not bad at all. As long as the questions are of high quality and well-received, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Please don't feel bad about doing that. 2. I want to warn others about establishing a pattern of deleting their own questions. In most cases it shouldn't be necessary to delete your own question, and (at least for new users) having too many self-deleted questions could in some situations lead to limits on ability to ask new questions. $\endgroup$ – D.W. Nov 25 '15 at 17:35
  • $\begingroup$ 1.In some chat rooms I have experience of not being allowed to join due to poor question-answer ratio 2.I did not delete too many questions. $\endgroup$ – Maha Nov 25 '15 at 17:42
  • $\begingroup$ 1. OK! Just letting you know that this site doesn't work like that. 2. I apologize if you interpreted my comment as a criticism of you -- certainly not my intent! I just wanted to warn other readers (especially new users) about this, since it's not necessarily obvious. I did not mean to imply you have anything to worry about. $\endgroup$ – D.W. Nov 25 '15 at 17:46

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