On Thursday, June 30, 2011 01:50:38 PM Josh Cheek wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 9:46 AM, David Masover <ninja / slaphack.com> wrote:
> > Another place this is done
> > is with homework questions -- someone will point out that something looks
> > like
> > a homework question. I don't always notice something wrong with the
> > question
> > itself, so I'm glad when people point it out, because I don't want to
> > help with homework questions.
> 
> I'm ambivalent about these cases.
> 
> I tend to think "the student knows better than I do what they need, I'll
> just give them all the tools and let them choose for themselves so as to
> get maximum benefit" but lately I wonder if people simply can't make good
> decisions, even if they want to.

I actually have some ethical issues with this. If you're having this much 
trouble with this sort of problem, you either need to learn fast, or you need 
to not pass the course. Maybe giving some people all the answers will help 
them learn fast, but it also might help them pass a course they shouldn't.

It's also kind of doing their work for them.

Also, if the course is at all decent, they have all sorts of other resources 
available to them. If they're asking us and not their teacher (or TA), then 
there's probably a reason for that, and it probably has to do with cheating.

If it's a larger project where asking mailing lists for help should be 
allowed, then if they're at all competent, they're asking real questions, of 
the sort professionals ask each other all the time. Those are also the sort of 
question where answering it doesn't mean doing someone's work for them.

Still, it's been long enough since I've seen this discussed that I don't 
really remember what an "obvious homework question" looks like, and how it 
differs from a legitimate newbie question.