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Recently I've answered a question, which asked for translations of several questions. To me they seemed like some conversation starters. I translated all of them and made a post, however, the question got deleted, because someone thought it was a "do my homework" question.

So my question is: When is a question not considered to be a "do my homework" question?

Every translation could potentially be a part of a homework, as could any other question. So only because there were multiple questions it was considered to be a homework? Only because they were basic stuff? I don't see any good criteria, which allows to distinguish between homework and honest question.

There is another question too: Why do we care if people cheat themselves by solving their homework this way? If they don't want to learn German, they don't have to. Someone else who looks up a translation might still learn something from the answers to a "do my homework" question.

The "reason" for deleting the question was also that "As the question stands it does not add any value for future visitors." which of course is not true.

So please tell me some good criteria, which tells me if a question will be deleted because of the "do my homework" recognition. If there is none, it is purely arbitrary and does not encourage further posting of answers.

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German Language is a place where everybody is welcome to search for or give help on topics about the German language as further outlined in our Help section.

We usually expect a question to be clearly written as such, show some own research effort, and give context. Any question should also deal with one topic only.

All questions that are mere lists of apparently random sentences, or have blanks to fill in will hardly meet this very basic quality standard. If we can see that people who asked had a specific issue they did not address sufficiently in their question, or if we needed some more context we may ask this in comments.

But generally providing a bulk translation service or answering questionnaires is not within the scope of this site. Our main intent why we voluntarily spend our free time here is to help people to learn and understand the finer points of the German language but we do not want to provide answers to such homework-style questions. These question are likely to be closed as off topic very soon.

If there was no chance to salvage a question by an edit, and if there was no value for future visitors we also tend to delete them. Only in case there are useful and upvoted answers even a poor question may survive after it had been closed.

Answering such a question may help the single person who asked it in this very short period of time only. But by providing answers to such poor questions we also say that it was welcome. This is bad for the site, because it might encourage people coming here to also try to get away with asking us to do their homework.

  • Still don't get why any translation, however malformed the question, wouldn't be useful to future visitors. Many people might want a translation for the same and will then find the answer immediately without needing to open new questions. Of course an answer can only get enough up votes, if it exists for a while, so you'd have to observe such questions to check the criteria you mentioned. I don't think this was done. While I get that there should only be one question in each stackexchange question post, it's certainly wrong to say an answer for a malformed question is useless to future viewers – Zelphir Kaltstahl Sep 28 '14 at 15:00
  • @Zelphir: that's why closing or deleting usually need 5 votes from experienced community members. – Takkat Sep 28 '14 at 15:50
  • Yep I am amazed by the sheer amount of experience I can see in that decision ;) Let's just say I think it doesn't make sense and that's my opinion and I'm now done with it. Next time I know better than to simply translate some question. – Zelphir Kaltstahl Sep 29 '14 at 21:21

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