Helping students with their homework

I’m sure you already found this.

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I was thinking when reading the post on categories too.

For me, when I joined this forum, thought the main tutorial was very complete, don’t remember where, but I read too how to help people with his homework. But I see many people writing without format his code (despite it is in the tutorial if I’m not mistaken) and doing other mistakes, like not check other posts before creating one, etc. It’s a pity, but not all people respect the rules

Also for me, is hard to realize when someone is asking, if is an student or is asking about homework, maybe creating a category or sub-category can help us for identify that cases.

I’m totally agree with this point!

Regards! :hugs:


Just a reminder for anyone who has not voted in the poll above – please do so!

So far, for most of our suggestions we have half or more that don’t like the idea. That isn’t a lot of support to make a change! The only popular choice is “post template hw warning.”

It would be good to hear some of the reasons that people don’t like relatively simple changes, like the FAQ pinned on the homepage, or a dismissible Banner. I thought those might be easy wins, but clearly not with the voters so far.

I wonder if changes could be made on a trial-run basis? The pop-up banner for example? See what happens. If adverse impact on quality of discourse is observed by members then banner is taken down… Or, FAQ restored to original location…


Of course! If people hate something, we’ll change it back. This is a community, after all…


Okay, I hoped a couple tiebreaker voters would wander in, but it looks like we are stuck at 50%, so let’s go ahead with the template linking to an FAQ entry, which 11/14 liked.

A post template that looks like this:

<!-- Tips:
Format your code with </>
Homework policy:
Asking Questions:

Has been added for these categories:

  • Processing (and most subcategories)
  • Processing for Android
  • Processing for Pi
  • p5.js (and most subcategories)

Note that this will only appear when creating a new topic in one of those categories – not when replying. It has to be added to each category manually - it doesn’t cascade down – so we have copy-pasted it in ~20 different places, and will need to do that again when we want to update it.

Here is the draft Homework section language on the FAQ:

Homework Policy

Homework questions are welcome here. Teachers from around the world encourage their students to use this forum, and some of our regulars discuss teaching with Processing.

Our goal is to give you starting points and to help you break down problems and learn how to solve them for yourself – not to do your homework for you!

  • Homework questions should be identified as homework.
  • Do not ask for complete code solutions.
  • Do not offer complete code solutions.
  • Students are responsible for following the policies of their school, class, and instructor. Post as if your instructor is reading.
  • If you only want general advice (NO code), please say so explicitly.
  • Do not attempt to receive help and then hide it by deleting. Posts with answers belong to the community, and will not be taken down. Deleted posts will be restored.

For an overview of how to ask great questions that get the best help, see: Guidelines—Asking Questions .

If you are an instructor with concerns about student posts or answers, please flag them and contact our site administrators.

See what you think. All suggestions welcome.


As part of this change we also have two minor site-wide configuration changes:

  1. “uncategorized” is now disabled. A new post must choose a category before they begin writing. This means they can’t skip seeing the template. All previous uncategorized posts were categorized.**
  2. Pinned topics (sticky posts) are now manual-unpin, not auto-unpin. Click the pin and they sort down among the rest. If you don’t click the pin, they stay pinned.

** …and there were only 7(!) – thanks @GoToLoop

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This is GREAT!!
:grinning: :grinning:

I feel like I should know this, but what is a sticky post? And where are they?
:face_with_monocle: :nerd_face:

A pinned topic. Like the two on top, here:

Click the pin and they stop sticking to the top (for you).

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On that time I didn’t feel like I could find a category home for those 7 threads. :thread:
So I’ve just left them “uncategorized” on purpose. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

Totally. It made sense, I just had to shoehorn them in today just because Discourse doesn’t allow anything to be uncatgorized when you deactivate that feature.

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I am trying to activate a site-wide tag, “homework.” New users can use it to self-tag their posts, or other users can (I believe?) modify a post and add the homework tag to it. We can try it out and see if it is helpful.

Site search also includes a tag field that lets you filter by homework:

This is a test – we may have to deactivate the tag system, but let’s see if people like it. Right now the ability to create new tags is restricted, but ideas for tags are welcome, and if it seems like it is working and useful we could open it up more.

Okay, we have a rough tagging of about 300 past posts with “homework”:

  • in:title “homework” or “assignment”
  • “homework” “school project” “my assignment” “our assignment” “assignment is” “my class” “our class” “my group” “our group” “professor” “teacher” “we are not allowed”
  • Scan for things that are not yet tagged homework with keywords from above, plus -tag:homework

If an answerer asked “is this homework?” and the responded ignored the question, it was tagged homework.

If a questioner asked multiple questions at the same time, and identified the first one as homework, then in general they were tagged homework.

There are still many things on the forum that are homework but not tagged, of course – we can’t possibly know everything that is – and the goal isn’t to get to 100%. It is just to see if this helps.

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For consideration…

This was my edit of this; a bit late but I had other priorities.

I wanted to include the community as taking responsibility as well.
I changed the “Our goal is… and… and…” to “may” and points; that is a lot of responsibility to bear as is. I can help with what I can.
I removed the “our regulars” to be more inclusive to the community and added a comment for teachers at the bottom.
Emphasis on integrity for everyone; including me.

Homework questions are welcome here. Teachers* from around the world encourage their students to use this forum.

You are responsible for completing your homework with academic integrity and the community for assisting with integrity.

The community may assist you to help solve problems yourself by:

  • Getting you started.
  • Breaking down problems.
  • Problem-solving.
  • Building your confidence by guiding you and letting you do your own homework.

Important points:

  • Homework questions should be identified as homework.
  • You are responsible for following the academic policies of your school, class, and instructor.
  • Do not ask for complete code solutions.
  • Do not offer complete code solutions.
  • Properly format your code.
  • If you only want general advice (without code) please say so explicitly such as “No code, please.”
  • Posts with answers belong to the community and may not be deleted.
    Deleted posts will be restored at the discretion of the moderators.

For an overview of how to ask great questions that get the best help, see: Guidelines—Asking Questions .

*Teachers and community. There is a Teaching category for discussion and ideas about teaching code.


Academic Integrity

Academic Dishonesty


Problem-solving Merriam-Webster

These are living documents and should always evolve.
Feel free to use any part of this.

Somewhere in the FAQ we should state that we are all volunteers here that contribute by volunteering our time, energy and skills to support the Processing community.

Have fun coding and stay well everyone!





This what I get when starting a new topic:

The link above to the Homework Policy gives an error:

Oops! That page doesn’t exist or is private.

I am seeing an increased number of posts that appear to be homework or academic assignments.

This notice when creating a new topic is a positive first step to directing people to the FAQ and guidelines.
The links may not be viewed if they are not “clickable”.

I leave this in your good hands.

Stay well!

Hi @glv
Thanks for this feedback.

Could you please try cutting and pasting that link again? I just tried, and it worked fine – just as it did when I first created it.

Still, if you are having a problem, clearly newcomers may have a problem as well – this is not to discount your feedback.

I’ve found a way to shorten the links to numbers only – that might make them a bit easier to work with:

Right now there is no way to embed “clickable” links into new posts without making them visible – text in the editor is text. If they are clickable once posted they will also show up in the preview window (if it isn’t covered by a warning), but they won’t be in the editor window (e.g. the mobile editor without preview). We hope that newcomers will delete the template, but I’m worried about them spamming the same tip text 1000 times all over the forum. Any suggestions about that?

I suppose a post could come with a visible header.

[homework policy](/t/5#homework) * [asking questions](/t/2147) * please format code with </> button
<!-- You may delete this before posting. -->

Which will display in preview (and will be posted, if they don’t delete it) like this:

I suppose a post could come with a visible header.

homework policy * asking questions * please format code with </> button.

However those links now won’t be cut-pasteable from the editor – they will have to see them in preview in order to click them…

Also: sorry I’m late in seeing this. Swamped today, but will look it over and try to incorporate as soon as I can. Many thanks.

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I was getting the same error message a couple days ago, but thought the setup was still in progress so did not post the error message at that time…

Just clicked on the 2 links above and get the “OOPS! That page does not exist.”

But I agree with @glv, regarding this not being anything urgent. Just wanted to let you know the error message is not unique to one instance.
Take care!



This is what I get:

We all have other priorities in life at this time; focus on those and take care of this when you have the time.

Stay well!


Okay, looks like the link is a secret internal staff link for editing the FAQ created by discourse, and the public link is:


…does that work?

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