Homework threads

LydaLyda Shipmate
Could the powers-that-be make a clear post in the FAQs that states the Ship's policy on homework requests (research for school or job)? We have new shipmates and it might save some embarrassment when they are not aware that the Ship frowns on aiding research projects. Thanks.

Comments

  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited January 3
    It can certainly be considered. Was there a recent problem you had in mind?
  • There was a thread closed in Eccles in the last couple of days.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    It was the thread titled Query Oath of Canonical Obedience.
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Exactly. No biggy, but "no homework" is a long standing policy that newbies wouldn't necessarily be aware of.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    I wrote my reply very conscious of the policy, wanting to be a bit helpful and also not wanting to do any junior hosting.
  • Thanks for the information. We're discussing it upstairs. Be patient: some crew are still on shore leave right now.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    What was the rationale for the creaion of the "no homework" policy?
  • When Bing launched, either because of a glitch or as a promotional gimmick (I can't remember which), for about 15 minutes I featured on the top of its search engine results for "French translator". That was enough time to get a call from the US from a guy who wanted to pay me to do his daughter's French homework. Do you think I should have said yes?
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    Is that meant to be an answer to my question, Eutychus?
  • It's in response to your question.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    It's certainly not an answer but thank you all the same.
  • You're welcome. I was looking forward to your answer to my question, though, which I think is a relevant one.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Caissa wrote: »
    It's certainly not an answer but thank you all the same.
    During the intermission whilst we wait for a real answer, I would hazard a guess.
    These are discussion boards and homework questions tend to be research rather than discussion.
    My thought on this, for whatever it might be worth.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    I do not see your question as relevant, Eutychus. You are comparing doing work for pay vs. someone accessing a resource such as this collective hive. There are areas in my professional life in which I have some expertise. i am happy to point individuals to resources of which I am knowledgeable when asked.
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited January 4
    Well, your answer suggests that you think there are some circumstances in which responding to a request for help with homework is beyond the pale, if so then we agree on that much.

    The problem lies in deciding where to draw the line. It's not just about remuneration.

    When threads are closed here invoking the 'no homework' precedent, in my experience it's because they've been deemed to fall on the wrong side of that line. It's difficult to make a hard and fast rule.

    That said, I'm happy to be corrected, but in response to your offer I can't think of an instance in which a simple request for resources has been closed down by invoking the 'no homework' precedent.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    Thanks, Eutychus. That is helpful information for someone who was not around when the policy was determined.
  • Schroedingers CatSchroedingers Cat Shipmate, Waving not Drowning Host
    I have been on both sides of this, so some insights might help.

    The problem with "homework threads" is that homework is supposed to be personal research, not simply asking a question of a forum and getting most of the answer. There are plenty of people who can answer these questions but a) this isn't in the spirit of homework and b) it is not good for discussion. If you want just answers, try Stack Overflow (which has boards for all sorts of topics, and you can get good answers to questions there).

    However, on the other side, I have launched a thread (with explicit permission from the hosts at the time) to ask for views and ideas on a topic, to provide a range of thoughts for homework. This was not asking for answers more wanting thoughts (to judge strength of feeling and the range of choices). It was also a discussion about the topic, so appropriate for the board.

    As others have said, it is not about remuneration. It is about these boards as a place for discussion, not answers. Homework threads tend to be about answers, not discussion. Stack Overflow does sometimes (quite often actually) close threads because they are wanting discussion, not answers - and such threads are a poor fit for that site.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    @Eutychus
    The problem with your original answer is that it oblique, at best. IMO, the Styx is not the place for "here is something to think about and perhaps you can answer your own question" type of responses.
    Your second answer still feels like it is not addressing the question with a definitive answer either.
    Whilst I understand that the Hosts are not all-knowing in regards to this place, It would be more helpful to province a simple, clear answer. Yours does not meet that requirement, IMO.
    Can we get a "Homework threads are not allowed because of X" answer?
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    It is about these boards as a place for discussion, not answers.

    Good homework topics in the humanities make for good discussion topics because there aren't actually agreed upon answers. The topic "What were the causes of the French Revolution?" sounds like something you could just give a bullet-pointed answer to, but historians are still debating it. The Marxist class-conflict interpretation has been taken apart, and there isn't really any consensus now.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Can we get a "Homework threads are not allowed because of X" answer?
    That wasn't what the OP asked for :naughty:

    It asked for a clarification of policy, not reasons for it!

    The reason a definitive answer to that question is not yet forthcoming is I'm just spouting off my own opinions for now, not presenting an official response.

    My initial response to @Caissa was an extreme example intended to highlight the fact that most people do in fact place limits on what constitutes legitimate help with homework.

    Discussing where those limits are (or should be), both here and upstairs, will probably help achieve a sensible clarification of Ship Policy, should one be deemed to be required.

    By the way, @Caissa, I wasn't around, or certainly wasn't Crew, when our "no homework" practice emerged, but I've never had a problem with how it's been implemented.
  • RooKRooK Admin Emeritus
    My own recollection of Erin's reflections on so-called homework threads was based largely on her protectiveness of Shipmates.

    She seemed to have no need to interfere with people being wily about engaging people in interesting discussions that also happened to be homework assignments. And she certainly did not mind people being helpful with sharing information, with caveats about the reliability of said information or culpability of possible ramifications (mostly regarding health).

    But she expressly did not want Shipmates being used primarily as a means to answer other people's work. Partially because she felt it was a potential abuse of the Shipmate relationship, and also because of the feeling that it's in everybody's best interest if people do their own homework.
  • Ruth wrote: »
    Good homework topics in the humanities make for good discussion topics because there aren't actually agreed upon answers.

    Thinking aloud again, I think that historically the line has been drawn on the basis not of subject matter but perceived intent on the part of the poster.

    If it feels like they are trying to get other people to do their thinking for them, then it's going to be deemed to be beyond the pale.

    I think what we're after here as a community is stimulating people to do their own thinking.

    (@Rook posted while I was drafting this).
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited January 4
    Some recent examples:

    This recent thread was closed on "homework" grounds. I wasn't party to the decision to close it, but I agree with it: the poster's first ever post on the boards is an explicit request for help with homework; the questions sound like the essay-setter's aim was to get the student to think about them first and foremost, not ask what others thought about them. If the poster had ventured a few opinions of their own on the topic things might have been different.

    This thread, on the other hand, might have looked at first glance like a possible homework thread (I did actually ask myself this question as I read its OP), but falls within the scope of @Caissa's "looking for resources" to my mind, and I was happy to provide some.

    It then morphed into discussion of an individual poster's project in which they put forth their own informed and original suggestions up front, and now we have @Cyprian's new sung version of Phos Hilaron ('O Gladsome Light') as a result :)
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Ruth wrote: »
    It is about these boards as a place for discussion, not answers.

    Good homework topics in the humanities make for good discussion topics because there aren't actually agreed upon answers. The topic "What were the causes of the French Revolution?" sounds like something you could just give a bullet-pointed answer to, but historians are still debating it. The Marxist class-conflict interpretation has been taken apart, and there isn't really any consensus now.

    All it takes is a little subtlety. Don't announce that you are doing research, and frame the subject in such a way that the topic can wander where it will. You know, like your garden variety discussion thread that would interest others. You'd most likely get more original points of view to examine.

    And if you want sources, do what most folks do: challenge the opinions elicited and demand supporting scholarship. :smirk:

    Anyway, a point about the policy in the FAQs would clue people in and prevent arguments.
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited January 4
    We don't pretend to be able to completely prevent people using the Ship for homework purposes by devious means (although we like to think we can spot more than just the most blatant examples).

    Besides, someone who continuously asks questions without responding with their own views and reasoning doesn't usually stay around very long here, in my experience (they are certainly likely to have a hard time of it if they do and don't change their ways).

    In any case, if we can force such perpetrators to do some of their own thinking about the topic by engaging their own brain, then I personally think we'll have nudged them towards what the Ship - and homework - should be all about.
  • Schroedingers CatSchroedingers Cat Shipmate, Waving not Drowning Host
    Ruth wrote: »
    It is about these boards as a place for discussion, not answers.

    Good homework topics in the humanities make for good discussion topics because there aren't actually agreed upon answers. The topic "What were the causes of the French Revolution?" sounds like something you could just give a bullet-pointed answer to, but historians are still debating it. The Marxist class-conflict interpretation has been taken apart, and there isn't really any consensus now.

    Then that as a subject that might make for a good discussion. And that discussion might prove useful for homework, but is unlikely to provide any more straightforward answer or assistance than the student probably already has.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    edited January 5
    @RooK

    Thank you, that was what I was asking for.
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