I have made my views fairly clear before on this subject in this previous answer about homework questions or this answer about interview questions, but let my provide by viewpoint again with perhaps a bit more detail.
My belief is that homework questions should be off topic, for two reasons:
- I do not give my time to this community to do someone else's homework. If I wanted to do homework, it would be my own in pursuit of my own studies.
- When we spoon feed answers to people asking homework questions, they aren't learning what they should be from the work. This in turn will make weaker IT professionals that I may have to deal with "tomorrow" in a professional capacity, whether this is as a network professional, a systems admin, a developer, etc.
Even if the question doesn't state it is homework, it is usually easy to spot such questions because they are typically based on contrived situations or on technology/concepts that are no longer commonly used in modern networking. An example of contrived questions we have seen fairly often deals with dividing an IP range into networks of various sizes (i.e. you have a /24, subnet this to accommodate networks with the following numbers of hosts - 50, 24, 10, and 8).
In the off chance it is a real world question, the person asking should be able to provide more context or explanation about why they are asking and it can be reopened as appropriate. People asking homework questions seldom seem to realize the non-practical nature of the question. With the above example, a legitimate question asker might explain that they were allocated a /24 from their ISP and need to divide it up in this fashion for plausible reasons X, Y and Z.
The added advantage to this approach is that with further context/explanation this community may be able to provide legitimate posters with a better solution than what they are currently considering based on our collective knowledge and experience.
However questions about the concepts behind homework should be allowed (within reason). One of the requirements would be that the question is limited to the concepts and not specific answers. Based on my previously contrived example question something along the following lines:
- Okay: What process would you use to efficiently divide an IP range into subnetworks of various sizes minimizing the unused IP addresses in each subnetwork?
- Not okay: What process would you use to efficiently divide a /24 IP range into subnetworks of sizes of at least 50, 24, 10, and 8 hosts while minimizing the unused IP addresses in each subnetwork?
While the second is about the concept to a degree, it is leading those who would respond into using the supplied values and actually providing the specific answer to the homework question.
Additionally, questions about ideas/concepts inspired by homework questions should be allowed. Using the same example, something along the following lines (ignoring the opinion based nature) would be acceptable to me: "We were asked to divide up an IP range into small subnetworks of various sizes based on the number of hosts in each; is this an approach that I will normally be using as a network professional?"
My personal opinion is that there is a lot of grey here.
Agreed. And I firmly believe that not everything as part of these communities will be or should be firmly black and white. Life just isn't that simple. Nor are these communities and you will always have people with minor and/or major differences in their views on things.
That is the nice part of Stack Exchange as they allow the community to be self correcting. As our community continues to grow, there will be more viewpoints that will be able to cast close and reopen votes when they feel they should. Additionally, users are free to ask about their question being on/off topic on meta if they think it was wrongly closed.
As to the specific example posted in the question, on my first read through I thought it should be clearly closed. On reading it a second time, I still think it should be closed as it stands but it falls into the grey area. It matches my "Not Okay" concept example above; edit out the actual work and stick to the concepts and it should be fine to reopen in my opinion.
This example just came in and I wanted to point it out. This is a homework question, and the OP did all the work. They are simply asking for us to check it's accuracy.
By the other answers, this may be allowed since the OP did all the work and is not asking for the answer.
By my standard this would also be off topic since they are not asking about the concepts behind the question, have included the specific question/answer, and it is not inspired by the homework. This would prevent this site from becoming some sort of "homework validation" service as well, which I would like to avoid.