I am really against this policy of not answering homework questions. .StackE is supposed to be a community of helpers ans not those who arrogantly delete questions. While preparing for our exams we dont have so much time to write each and every detail....why cant the community just provide the answer without counter agitation! ! At the time of exams we are exhausted and the community keeps firing questions on us. This is a hoŕrible policy. People preparing for their exams should be given their answers. Can anything be done for us ?????

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    $\begingroup$ People who answer questions here do this voluntarily in their free time. I don't see the point to "spoon-feed" things to people which haven't taken the effort to look up basic stuff themselves. If you did this and still have no idea, you're welcome. But you need to be able to pinpoint a relative narrow question which can be answered without writing a book. $\endgroup$ – Chris May 7 '16 at 20:38
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    $\begingroup$ No i m subjected to this arrogant and rude behaviour $\endgroup$ – user23312 May 7 '16 at 20:44
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think it is rude and arrogant but absolutely necessary to prevent this community from a flood of these useless questions. $\endgroup$ – Chris May 7 '16 at 20:47
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    $\begingroup$ So can't we have a stack exchange site for homework questions of biology ............... see this is the rudeness and arrogance : "useless questions " $\endgroup$ – user23312 May 7 '16 at 20:58
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    $\begingroup$ We. Are. Not. A. Homework. Service. Especially for poorly-formulated, unresearched questions about basic biology, which can be answered with a simple Google search. $\endgroup$ – MattDMo May 8 '16 at 16:27
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    $\begingroup$ I always ask after thoroughly researching $\endgroup$ – user23312 May 8 '16 at 16:29
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    $\begingroup$ Then share your research, and explain exactly what you're having trouble with. Some of your questions specifically, and many homework questions in general read like you just copied and pasted directly from the assignment, or didn't even do a basic search such as googling the title of your question. $\endgroup$ – MattDMo May 8 '16 at 22:04
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    $\begingroup$ Thats exactly the problem : who has the time to do extensive research at the time of exams $\endgroup$ – user23312 May 8 '16 at 22:27
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    $\begingroup$ @Abcd It is a bad idea to start reading the book just before your exams. Who asked you to do last minute reading? You must have had an entire semester to understand the subject. $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG May 9 '16 at 6:56
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    $\begingroup$ @Abcd you said above you always ask after thoroughly researching, then you just said you don't have time to do extensive research at exam time. Which is it? $\endgroup$ – MattDMo May 9 '16 at 14:46
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    $\begingroup$ who has the time to complain about stack exchange policy on meta at the time of exams? $\endgroup$ – rg255 May 10 '16 at 12:23
  • $\begingroup$ See, SE is an advanced forum, not a dictionary. It is made to ask questions which seem confusing or difficult to find answer for. As @MattDMo said, we are not here to teach you the abcd of biology. If you cannot search google, ask your teacher about your query because they are being paid for it. I have already told you a bit about the rules here, and it'd seem a lot better to follow those rules than to challenge them. $\endgroup$ – another 'Homo sapien' May 13 '16 at 8:55

Jordi made some good points, I'd like to add a few.

While preparing for our exams we dont have so much time to write each and every detail....why cant the community just provide the answer without counter agitation! [...] People preparing for their exams should be given their answers.

I'd like to point you to an excellent meta post on Programmers.SE. While it uses programming for the examples, the general form is applicable for any student with homework questions. A few key points:

  • Don't expect an answer in any given time frame. The urgency of your question is not something we are concerned with.

I am reminded of a poster seen in more than one colleague's cubicle: "A lack of preparation on your part is no reason for an emergency on my part." Questions get answered as they get answered - there is no time frame requirement. Some may get answered right away, others take hours, or days, or weeks before someone has an interest in it. Some never get answered. Adding things to your post like "HELP PLZ!!!!!! CAN U ANSWER THIS SOON, MY EXAM IS 2NITE!!!1!1" will actively discourage people from answering, as will txt-speak, which many of us abhor. This is a professional environment, please act like one.

  • Describe the problem you are having, what your understanding of the problem is and where you are confused. For a question from a student, the best questions are often the ones that are asking how to take a single step in understanding rather than trying to leap all the way to the solution.

As I say to many people, I strongly suggest you take the tour and carefully read through the help center to learn more about the site, including what is on-topic and what is not, and how to ask a good question. Knowing what is on- and off-topic for the site, as well as the other reasons why questions get closed (too broad, opinion-based, unclear questions, personal medical advice, posted on wrong site, etc.) will go a long way towards writing good, answerable questions.

Please remember that the primary purpose of Stack Exchange is not to answer questions for a particular user. The goal is to build a repository of good, specific questions that have well-researched, specific answers so that others can find and be helped by them in the future. The focus is not on you at all in the long run. Therefore, enduring, well-asked questions is what we are looking for, not question 7 on your ecology test.

  • Copy and paste takes no skill. It cheats you out of the education you are paying to get.

You are taking a particular class to learn about some topic, understand how it's used, and apply your knowledge to real-life situations. This requires puzzling through the steps until you intuitively grasp the concept(s) at hand. As a professional cell and molecular biologist, I almost never think about the Krebs cycle in my everyday work, or how many molecules of Ac-CoA are produced from an 18-C saturated fatty acid. However, I understand at a fundamental level the reason for the Krebs cycle (also known as the citric acid or TCA cycle) and what it does, and so can apply that knowledge toward generating in my mind a model of how the cell metabolizes nutrients, which may be important for understanding how negative regulation in the immune system works on a molecular level.

If you don't have a good, solid understanding of how these systems work, but you did manage to copy and paste a good answer from Bio.SE into your final essay so you pass the class, you gain nothing. The money, time, and effort expended on that class were worthless, because you didn't learn anything except how to copy and paste from the internet because some poor sap on a website felt bad for you and gave you a clear, detailed answer to your poorly-researched, misunderstood question.

Why should we care what you do with the answer? Because you are part of the next generation of students, or post-docs, or employees working with me in my lab. A scientist with a full, solid background in basic science and training in how to apply it has many of the tools necessary to be an innovative, thoughtful investigator making new discoveries on his/her own. If you cheated and copy-pasted your way through school, you're not going to know how to perform effectively in the lab, requiring extra training, guidance, and supervision, and possibly never contributing on any real level to the work of the lab. You may never even get in the door in the first place, because you won't be able to answer basic interview questions.

So, do your homework! It's perfectly fine to have questions about things - you just need someone to use a different analogy to explain a concept, or you just can't make the logical leap from A to B. But, as all good scientists know, you need to put in the effort to answer those questions, and be a good communicator in regards to what you're looking for and why. There are plenty of excellent homework questions on this site. However, many are not so good, ranging from lousy to completely awful, and we need to maintain the quality of the site for future visitors. Don't be offended if someone asks you to explain something further, or describe your research more, or narrow your question to meet our criteria. We are NOT Yahoo Answers, with no quality filters whatsoever, and page after page filled with nonsensical tripe. We're a different kind of website, and our processes have been put in place for very good reasons. We welcome you to become a good contributor to the site, but we still won't do your homework for you.

  • $\begingroup$ Can biology.se develop a "homework site" for asking homework questions $\endgroup$ – user23312 May 8 '16 at 23:04
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    $\begingroup$ @Abcd Who would answer there? The regulars from this community are obviously not eager to do this. And you would need a lot of expertise to be able to trust the answers... $\endgroup$ – Chris May 9 '16 at 6:08
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    $\begingroup$ @Abcd we allow homework questions but there should be some effort from the OP. Helping someone with their homework is fine but doing it for them is unethical (and not good for the one whom you help, in the long run) as well as a waste of time for the answerer. Since these questions are not well formulated (or lack background and explanation), they are not useful to anyone else. Not useful for the site as well. $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG May 9 '16 at 6:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Chris .... cant experts take just take few minutes to go to the homework site and check the answers or mark them correct.....at least this method should be adopted. ..development of a new biology stack exchange site $\endgroup$ – user23312 May 9 '16 at 10:00
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    $\begingroup$ @Abcd how many different ways do you want people to say No? A homework site does not fit in with the overall goals of Stack Exchange, as I explained in my answer above. You are free to propose one on Area 51, but I doubt it will get any support whatsoever. Please listen to the advice of people who have been around a lot longer than you and have much more experience than you. If you want to ask homework questions, make sure they conform to our rules. If they don't, they will be deleted and you will be question-banned. $\endgroup$ – MattDMo May 9 '16 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Abcd I for my part will not do this. I am also not doing other peoples homework/assignments. This does not help you. $\endgroup$ – Chris May 10 '16 at 12:23
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    $\begingroup$ If you think a homework service is a good thing @Abcd then I don't think you grasp the point of homework. Homework helps teachers (and others who will look at your course grades) judge academic strengths and weaknesses of the students, not the academic strengths and weaknesses of an on-line community. If we do your homework for you, then your teachers won't notice that you are struggling to grasp something, which will only be detrimental to your learning in the long term, leaving you without the skills and knowledge that are required for the jobs that your good grades can get you. $\endgroup$ – rg255 May 10 '16 at 12:28
  • $\begingroup$ My exams are next month.....so if any doubt arises thwt time i would really feel horrible if i won't be able to find my answers $\endgroup$ – user23312 May 10 '16 at 12:36
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    $\begingroup$ And by the way i m just a 10th grader $\endgroup$ – user23312 May 10 '16 at 12:36
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    $\begingroup$ Oh no! I suddenly feel guilty. Quick, post all your questions so we can do them for you! (/sarcasm) $\endgroup$ – MattDMo May 10 '16 at 12:39
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    $\begingroup$ @Abcd We are willing to help you with answers, but the purpose of the site is not to spoon-feed you information which you can just regurgitate in your exam - it's to help you understand biology: this is why we have the rule of needing effort $\endgroup$ – rg255 May 10 '16 at 14:08
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    $\begingroup$ @Abcd you know what really amazes me about your attitude and complaints? It's that you somehow feel entitled to dump your school assignments on a random website so that strangers will answer them for you because you're too goddamn lazy to do the work yourself. Do you really think you have a right to expend no effort on your own and have other people answer all your questions in little bite-sized pieces for you? You, my friend, are going to have a very rude awakening when you discover the real world. $\endgroup$ – MattDMo May 11 '16 at 1:15
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    $\begingroup$ A 10th grader just discovered an ancient mayan city by collaborating with a space agency and using academic literature and his own prize-winning idea. Saying you're a 10th grader doesn't grant you the right for people to have to spoon feed you. $\endgroup$ – James May 11 '16 at 4:09
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    $\begingroup$ You, my friend, are going to have a very rude awakening when you discover the real world. I, now, really feel pity for him/her, just thinking what he/she will do after realizing that its too late for any forum in the world to help him/her (sorry if this concerns you, I just couldn't stop myself on this one) :/ $\endgroup$ – another 'Homo sapien' Jun 26 '17 at 18:26

Your misinterpretation of biology.se

First of all, what I feel like that you are misunderstanding here, is that you think it is our duty to be on biology.se, and that we are probably even getting paid for it. This is incorrect.

What biology.se is about

The active people on here are here to have an exchange about/on biology, and if possible help people. However, about the helping part, there are very clear guidelines, which you should read before posting anything.

What to do for the future?

There you will come across this:

Have you thoroughly searched for an answer before asking your question? Sharing your research helps everyone. Tell us what you found and why it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers, and above all, it helps you get a more specific and relevant answer!

In your case, some of the questions you posed can really be answered by some rather quick google searches.

This isn't a let me post my question without having done any research before and expecting the community to do my work forum.

From the help center:

What should I do before I ask the question?

Research it yourself - even if you try and can't find the answer or understand the concept you need you can then include what you have found out yourself in the question. Search the site to see if something similar has been asked before.

How should I ask my question? Give full details of the problem. Include details of how you have attempted to form a solution. We will not do your homework assignments for you but we will point you in the right direction if you have made the effort to research the topic first. Use logical and clear formatting as this will increase your chances of getting an answer. For example, include tasks from your assignment in blockquotes.

In your case, you really have to work on the formatting of some of your questions. Examples: (1,2,3) (note that some of the questions have been edited by other users)

NB: as suggested by @remi.b as a comment on your latest question "please don't try to make us feel pity for you"


We do answer homework questions.

Nobody has mentioned this thus far. We actually do answer homework questions, which is somewhat unusual for stack exchange.

I am generally tolerant to homework questions; there have been interesting & impactful homework questions in the past and there will be plenty more to come. These range from zoology, to bioinformatics, to biostatistics.

Why many homework questions aren't being answered.

Not many homework questions stay open for very long here. Incidentally the most common close reason by a mile is homework. This is primarily because of relatively new users posting questions that appear to be straight form an assignment without any attempt at an answer. In the future, use these steps as a rule of thumb if you need help with a part of your educational course:

  1. Have I read around? In your question, post what you have read.
  2. Have I asked someone I know with expertise like a teacher or a colleague? Probably quicker, and more able to pinpoint exactly what you don't understand. Post what you learned from that discussion.
  3. Have I attempted a reasonable answer? Post this in your question too.
  4. Have I added the homework tag? This transparency is a sign of good faith & will encourage answers that explain things with less jargon.
    • If this question has arisen because of some educational course content, an additional step is to ask if it would count as cheating to ask for help.

Note that this does not guarantee your question will stay open. If the community feels that it is too trivial, off-topic, unclear, or if it appears like you're attempting to cheat then the question will likely be closed.

Why your questions aren't being answered.

I think previous answers sum it up and go into detail more than I would want to. Your questions are being challenged and closed because you have not shown a good-faith attempt at an answer. What is the advantage in helping you if you aren't willing to go through the steps above?

People preparing for their exams should be given their answers.

This type of self entitlement completely undermines the legitimacy from the "we should answer homework" argument. It incidentally damages the communities perspective of answering useful homework questions.

You've attracted a lot of negative votes here. This is only partially because of what you're asking. The way you have asked your question involved you making some offensive and unfounded assumptions about members of this community:

  1. We're not as busy as you during your exams.
    • Assume that the answerer will be more busy than you. The prominent users of this site include world leading researchers, academics, industrial experts, and other knowledgable experts that have lots of other more important things to get on with.
  2. Your time is more valuable than ours.
    • By virtue that you are asking a question, the answerer's time is more valuable.
  3. You deserve an answer regardless of how clear the question is.
    • It's up to you to make your question stick to the guidelines and be up to the community standards. Homework questions suffer from the xy question problem because the asker has no idea about exactly what they don't understand. It's important that an answerer knows exactly what the asker is asking.
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    $\begingroup$ Side note; homework isn't unusual on SE. It's just that meta.SE is typically SO themed, and the homework tag is burned on SO with extreme prejudice (after the Death of Meta Tags) $\endgroup$ – M.A.R. May 22 '16 at 10:16

Different biology enthusiasts are on different educational level. A layman or a teenager's question might come off as homework attempt. Instead of making new people feel unwelcome, how about erring on the side of caution and answering all valid questions which don't contain "help, homework, urgent keywords"? Then in the future the obvious/done questions as easily closed as duplicates. As a side benefit, having the obvious and less advanced question/answer sets would bring a lot more search engine traffic and make this place bigger, richer.


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