FAQ: Homework Policy

Can I ask questions from a course I am taking here?

General questions are always welcome! :smile:

Please do ask general questions about things like:

Specific questions can be OK, if you follow these rules:

  1. Never copy-paste instructions from an assignment (even for online courses).
  2. Explicitly mention the course you are taking and use the #homework tag.
  3. Ask your question as a reproducible example (reprex), preferably prepared for posting using the reprex package.

Want to maximize your chances of getting the help you need? Keep reading! :nerd_face:

Is this a good place to ask questions from homework or a problem set?

This site hosts discussions among people working with R and its many add-on packages, including the Tidyverse package collection, and for people working with RStudio software products. It may not be the best place to get help with your specific problem.

This shouldn't be the first place you ask your question

If you have a question about your homework, we encourage you to first contact your course instructor or teaching assistants directly. After all, that is what they are there for :smile:. Your questions also serve as feedback to help them improve how they teach the course.

Even if your instructor has mentioned this site as a place to seek help, please don't post here before first asking for help within your course. (In the unlikely event your instructor has told you to come here first, feel free to point them to this FAQ!).

Posting all or part of your assignment word-for-word is not allowed here

Copying and pasting text from your assignment may undercut your instructor’s course materials, and it violates most schools' academic integrity policies. This rule still applies even if what you're working on comes from a MOOC or an online learning platform. Many people here are happy to help you solve problems and learn to become a better data scientist, but we do not want to offer a repository of copy-paste solutions.

What's the best way to ask a specific homework-related question?

Following these steps will make it much more likely that you'll get helpful answers! :grin:

  1. Tag your question as #homework and say that you are working on an assignment

    Course assignments often have artificial constraints. It's frustrating for you and for your helpers if they take the time to offer help you can't use because it doesn't fit with your course requirements.

    Helpers often prefer to answer questions in a different manner if they know you are a student. They may explain things in more detail or be more willing to walk you through finding the solution yourself.

    If you don't say up front that you are working on an assignment, experienced helpers usually figure it out anyway :face_with_monocle:. People may not want to keep helping if your actions seem deceptive.

  2. Narrow down your problem to the specific reproducible issue you’re stuck on.

    Identifying the specific step in your work that is causing you trouble will probably take quite a bit of effort! :sweat_smile:

    If you can't figure out how to ask a "homework inspired" question without copying and pasting the actual text of your assignment, then you probably need to do some more work to narrow down where you're stuck. This is a good time to ask for help from classmates, teaching assistants, or your instructor.

  3. Read our tips for asking code-related questions, and follow them!

    Do your absolute best to learn how to post well-formatted, self-contained code (the link above has lots of resources to show you how :grinning:). You don't have to do everything perfectly, but helpers are much more likely to want to help if they can see that you have made an honest effort.

Got something to ask? Or add?

FAQ posts are closed to replies. If you have any questions or suggestions, please visit the corresponding discussion thread: FAQ Discussion: Homework Policy

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