We have a user who is asking lots of questions like Cournot competition question or Consumer theory with lump sum fee

I don't like them (the questions)!They are homework questions that nominally satisfy our policy (effort is shown) but contribute essentially nothing to the long-term value of the site. Rather than taking the time to type the solution, we just get scans of exam papers or handwritten workings. So while there may be some "effort" in answering the question, there is essentially zero effort in contributing to the site, which makes me disinclined to offer any effort in answering.

Is this the kind of content we want on the site? If not, does anyone have any views on how our site policy should be modified to kill-off such questions?

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  • $\begingroup$ If we're taking a vote, I think we should require that work be shown using the markdown features. $\endgroup$ – EconJohn Jun 17 '18 at 4:31
  • $\begingroup$ @EconJohn Add slightly more detail and post this as an answer? $\endgroup$ – Giskard Jun 17 '18 at 8:56
  • $\begingroup$ @denesp as you wish. $\endgroup$ – EconJohn Jun 17 '18 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ @denesp Should I make a post for a vote on changing site policy? $\endgroup$ – EconJohn Jun 18 '18 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ @EconJohn You are the moderator, it is up to you :) Seems to me the current vote was about that though, wasn't it? And as Alecos points out questions with only pictures should already be closed according to the previous consensus. $\endgroup$ – Giskard Jun 18 '18 at 22:49
  • $\begingroup$ @denesp Wow, thats exciting. Ok new meta post coming soon $\endgroup$ – EconJohn Jun 19 '18 at 2:43

As suggested by denesp previously in a flag. I suggest that we modify our homework policy to be that the question must be copied down in a markdown form.

If our site's objective is to help make information available, taking pictures of work doesn't seem to help as images are not searchable.

I think such questions should be flagged and downvoted.

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    $\begingroup$ Honest question- should we be a bit more forgiving (closing and clarifying the new policy) instead of downvoting right off the bat? I can go either way- my only hesitation is it might push away potentially good users, especially if its a new change in policy. (And they aren't a habitual repeat offender.) Again, whatever you guys think works for me $\endgroup$ – AndrewC Jun 18 '18 at 3:02
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    $\begingroup$ we can do that. I'll have to make a new generic response to the new policy like this one for regular homework questions. $\endgroup$ – EconJohn Jun 18 '18 at 3:42
  • $\begingroup$ Just have a question regarding the point that images are not searchable. I was wondering if the heading of the question and the answers to that question contain important keywords then this issue may not to be as severe as it seems? $\endgroup$ – Amit Jun 18 '18 at 11:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Amit Im not so comfortable with it. but lets see what the rest of the site thinks. $\endgroup$ – EconJohn Jun 18 '18 at 18:59
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    $\begingroup$ Scans are not searchable. That's all there is to it, and it is enough. In an answer of mine, economics.stackexchange.com/a/14473/61, I resorted to using scans, but alongside a lot of searchable text. $\endgroup$ – Alecos Papadopoulos Jun 18 '18 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ @AlecosPapadopoulos I do feel however that its not in the spirit of the site to just post an image of question test and the effort done. this is again due to the lack of searchability. $\endgroup$ – EconJohn Jun 18 '18 at 21:40
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    $\begingroup$ Why "however"? I don't see where what I wrote disagrees with what you wrote. $\endgroup$ – Alecos Papadopoulos Jun 18 '18 at 22:00
  • $\begingroup$ @AlecosPapadopoulos I must have misread. Sounds good $\endgroup$ – EconJohn Jun 19 '18 at 2:42

I tend to agree with you, although I admit that I am guilty of occasionally answering such questions to get easy rep point, thus keeping the problem alive.

The problem I see with these questions is two-fold:

  1. Often the effort displayed is not with regard to the question itself, but earlier sub-questions from the same main question.
  2. As has been pointed out by @denesp on occasion pictures are non-searchable so they do not add much information to the site.

If we choose to alter the site's policy than perhaps we should require that:

  1. The question and effort shown are specific to one question (more than "these are the previous questions and how I solved them and I'm confused about subquestion c") and and we enforce that by downvotes and closing votes. We already have the question specifity requirement I think, so that may just require stronger enforcement.

  2. The use of pictures is limited to illustrations and graphics. Any other use that could have been achieved with simple typing results in downvotes or closing.

I realize that equations may be a grey area with regard to 2. I also do not always know how to Latex certain complicated equations. Then again if your question is specific you probably wouldn't need too many equations.

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