The question What metric is used when quantifying muscle tightness? was put on hold on the grounds that, given that it is a homework question, the OP should show their attempt at an answer.

In the comments below the question, it appeared that the definition of "homework" on this Stack Exchange website is much broader than some would expect, OED's definition, and the current help page's definition (https://biology.stackexchange.com/help/homewor).

Could the help page https://biology.stackexchange.com/help/homework please be updated to reflect whatever the community consensus is?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ We are working on it. Options include another close reason altogether for unresearched questions, or changing the name from "Homework" to something more descriptive that accurately reflects the issue. I definitely agree that it's confusing, and we've gone far too long without addressing it. $\endgroup$
    – MattDMo
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ @MattDMo Sounds good. That would be most welcome, as different Stack Exchange websites have different policies regarding policies whether the OP should show research, so it would be useful to 1) clarify the position of this Stack Exchange website 2) applying the agreed position consistently across all the questions $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 16:09

1 Answer 1


We have had a lot of discussion on this issue but no consensus has been reached yet (or we have not resolved the issue).

There are two issues here:

  • There is no mechanism to filter low quality (content wise) questions which bothers some experienced users
  • The use of "homework" close reason for closing questions with no effort is actually misleading. Moreover, some questions that experts dislike may not really be off-topic or trivial but would be considered not useful.

In my opinion the "homework" close reason should be exclusively reserved for actual homework/exam questions that show no effort.

Most other low quality or no-effort questions would usually qualify for other close reasons (broad, unclear, primarily opinion-based). If the questions are really off-topic in some other way, a custom reason should be cited. Downvote should be the basic response to these questions. Please note that a downvote is for saying that the question is of low quality, shows poor effort or is not useful.

If no other counter-arguments are presented, I shall consider that this is the consensus.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think no-effort questions would generally qualify for other close reasons (broad, unclear, primarily opinion-based). Unclear, broad, primarily opinion-based are issues orthogonal to no-effort. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ @FranckDernoncourt "usual" in a statistical sense. $\endgroup$
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 16:08

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