This relates to the following discussion: Homework tag discussion

After talking to Gilles in chat about possible solutions to the homework tag problem. The tag just-a-hint was suggested. The purpose of just-a-hint would be to include all questions that are students asking homework questions or just a member trying to further their knowledge. In both cases, it's probably better to just give a hint. Those hints would possibly help future members. What are your thoughts?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure I understand what differs this tag from the "homework" tag, other than its name. Isn't this just a synonym? $\endgroup$
    – Ran G.
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 0:54
  • $\begingroup$ Homework doesn't cover people asking questions where they want a hint, but aren't working on homework. See my answer. $\endgroup$
    – justausr
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 0:55
  • $\begingroup$ I perceive the homework tag as saying: "this is a basic-level question, a partial answer is acceptable". BTW, I expect the community to put this tag, rather than the OP (which cares less about the time the community invest in answering). Thus, the "homework" tag can fit any question, even if not given as a homework. BTW2, if a question is marked homework, it doesn't mean that it doesn't deserve a proper answer, or a very detailed answer. If one has the time, even basic-homework questions should get great answers.. $\endgroup$
    – Ran G.
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 0:59
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The main downside I see concerning this tag is that people won't know it's there: first-time students probably won't come up with using the 'just-a-hint' tag themselves. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 1:09
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I think it is a bad meta-tag and is not needed. The OP should explain what kind answer they are looking for in the question. $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 1:21
  • $\begingroup$ I think a recent quote from a question I had may explain my reasoning. "at least the OP should've mentioned the word homework in his/her posting. If it weren't for your suspicion, no body would've known this is a homework". I did state in my question that I just want to know if the approach I'm doing is right, I didn't ask for the answer. That being said J.D. seems to be implying that my question should be treated differently because it's for homework even when I stated I just want to know if I'm doing it right. $\endgroup$
    – justausr
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 2:52
  • $\begingroup$ Clearly nothing against J.D. this seems to be a common occurrence in stack exchange sites about homework. They get less priority even though, when written in a useful way and showing some progress, it fits the SE format IMO. $\endgroup$
    – justausr
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 2:53

1 Answer 1


I think this would be a great idea because it would get rid of some of the issues with a homework tag.

I think there shouldn't be a homework tag because:

  • It doesn't directly encourage users to ignore the tag, but it tends to get added to the ignore list because some users think the tag means the asker is being lazy.
  • Members tend to assume that some abstract or foundational questions being asked are homework and thus mark the question as Homework
  • It's more often than not a subject of debate as to whether or not the asker is lying about it being homework
  • There seems to be a negative stigma associated with tagging questions as homework on other SE

I have no citations for these points and they're mostly subjective, but these are my experiences.

I think if we use just-a-hint as a tag and encourage the asker to use it if they're doing homework we're alleviating a lot of these issues:

  • We no longer argue about if a question is homework.
  • If an asker refuses to put just-a-hint when it's clearly the homework, it's now the askers prerogative to do so, but members can still choose not to answer when they think it's clear.
  • The negative stigma is removed from users who are just trying to review their knowledge and aren't asking homework.

I'de like to say this doesn't even need a tag and that would be my first choice, but given the way SE sites generally work this will leave ambiguity and the homework tag (or one similar) will be used instead of this. I think this tag would best indicate the purpose of the question without assigning any stigma to it.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Frankly, I feel like this is even worse than the homework tag. This is a question and answers site, not a questions and hints site. If students want to have somebody work with them for the purposes of education (in the purest sense), I don't think this platform is appropriate. $\endgroup$
    – Patrick87
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 17:42
  • $\begingroup$ Why don't the argument "it does not help to classify or find questions" not apply to the proposed just-a-hint tag? $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 13:05

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .