Poll: How to respond to homework questions

Ketil Z. Malde ketil@ii.uib.no
28 Aug 2003 11:25:43 +0200

Andrew J Bromage <ajb@spamcop.net> writes:

Tom Pledger <Tom.Pledger@peace.com> writes:

>>> Please consider the following.

>>> (A) Give a perfect answer.
>>> (B) Give a subtly flawed answer.
>>> (C) Give an obfuscated answer.
>>> (D) Give a critique of what the questioner has tried so far.
>>> (E) Give relevant general advice without answering the specific question.
    (F) Give a blatantly incorrect answer, providing entertainment value
        to those of us who did our own homework, and hopefully a clue to
        the more intelligent of the homework-posters.

I suppose C is one way to do F, in particular by providing a working
program so complex and opaque that no first-year could possibly have
written it.

> On Wed, Aug 27, 2003 at 05:50:14PM -0400, Matthew Donadio wrote:

>> There is a big difference between "I am having some trouble with this
>> homework problem.  This is what I did.  Could someone give me some
>> tips?  Thanks" and "How do I write a map function in Haskell?"

>> For the first case, I would vote for D and/or E as appropriate.  For the
>> second case, I vote for (F) Ignore.

I would say D and E are appropriate for the former (curious, puzzled,
inquisitive, rather than just lazy) category, and F (Ridicule) for the

> IMO, this is better than ignoring, and far more polite than giving a
> correct but highly useless answer, fun though that might be.

I'm not sure I care much for politesse.  Barging in asking people
to work for free, so that they can get their lazy butts through
college without learning anything is hardly polite in the first

And hey, 'fun' is an important part of all this. :-)

But yes, a brief FAQ would be nice.

If I haven't seen further, it is by standing in the footprints of giants