Homework Policing-A guide to effectively doing homework, as well as help people trying to do homework while using this website

Homework Policing-A guide to effectively doing homework, as well as help people trying to do homework while using this website

                                        **Homework Policing**

A guide to effectively doing homework, as well as help people trying to do homework while using this website

Table of Contents

0.0-A short Introduction 1.1-When should I give help? 1.2-How can I spot a potential "homework person"? 1.3-Suggestions by others 2.1-Basic Resources 2.2-A guide to how to properly ask for homework

Alright everyone! If you guys haven't been noticing (though it is very hard indeed to not notice) there has been many cases of people asking for homework help on this web site. Now, I'm not complaining about them asking for help, it's perfectly reasonable to ask questions when you don't understand something, but we SpanishD!cters (word I made on the spot, go Spanglish~) should not have to answer homework FOR other people! Therefore, I am writing this little article here, both for the SpanishD!cters that have to put up with the homework people, and also the homework people themselves.

For the SpanishD!cters (1)

As I stated before, I do believe that people that need help with homework should get help, but that help should have limits. There should be some key factors on deciding if we should actually help someone or not. Some of these factors should be: Did they ask politely? Did they use correct punctuation, grammar, and spelling? Did at least try the homework themselves and have shown that before asking? If the answer to all 3 of those questions is yes, then one should have no qualms about giving some help or suggestions to the person that is requesting help. However, if one of these requirements is not met, help should not be given.

How to spot a Homework person Homework people can usually be seeded out by following the signs. These include: 1) They have 0 reputation, 0 badges, and 0 points. 2) They ask for some common homework topics (ie: translation, unscrambling words, finding synonyms). 3) Their date of join is the current date

For Homework People (2)

Guys, we're not out to get you. We don't want to deny you a chance to complete the homework, so don't get the wrong idea. But we're not your slaves either, and you have to understand that homework is YOUR responsibility. That said, we WILL offer help, but not do the work for you. If you need help with things such as translations, why don't you check a translator? If you need help unscrambling something, why don't you go over the words you've learned recently and see if one matches? Try to display some effort first before you ask for help in this section. More often then not, you'll find that you'll get more done if you do that then rudely ask us to help you.

This article will be added to and be found in both Spanish and English when I have more free time. Expect more references, links to translators, and some opinions from other SpanishD!cters

updated OCT 6, 2009
edited by fatcinnaroll
posted by fatcinnaroll
Good deal, fatcinnaroll. I wish this forum had a way to permanently bump something to the top... - Valerie, SEP 30, 2009
Great idea, Valerie! - --Mariana--, SEP 30, 2009
lol all we have to do is keep posting in this discussion! :p - JCameron, SEP 30, 2009
I'm glad this is added to reference. Thank you. This is a great thread. - quépasa, OCT 1, 2009

16 Answers


I agree with the article, and I feel that I have been honoring that. I appreciate seeing so much spelled out.

However....I recently witnessed someone frequently engaging in what I felt to be bullying behavior towards questioners who clearly HAD already made an effort to figure things out on their own. When I respectfully stood up for one of those people, I was flagged, and accused of not following rules (although to my knowledge noone else who helped the person was also flagged). I also was subjected to bullying behavior by the same individual for helping another person who had clearly made an effort first before coming to the forum for help.

I would like to see the moderators standing up for those of us who have been making sincere efforts to abide by the rules and yet are subjected to bullying behavior by those with far more reputation points under their belt. That kind of behavior does not contribute to a supportive learning environment for anyone. Since it happened to me, it has left me feeling hesitant to even attempt at helping those who I believe have came here with a legitimate need. I think that behavior could also drive others away who would otherwise be valuable contributors to this community.

updated OCT 1, 2009
posted by arnold3
Don't be discouraged Arnold. You are a valuable member of this community. If I had been the person posting the question, I would have been thankful to have some one like you defend me. - Nicole-B, SEP 30, 2009
Actually, your comment last night may have prevented someone from being afraid to ask questions in the future. I know I would have been scared if someone accused me of something I was not guilty of. - Nicole-B, SEP 30, 2009
I agree with you, Arnold. I have seen some "bullying" behavior as well, but just remember that there is a certain amount of good faith that goes into answering a question and it is up to the discretion of the answerer to decide what is a reasonable - Izanoni1, SEP 30, 2009
question. If someone does not agree with you answering a question then they are calling your judgement into question, and by verbally attacking you, that person is themselves breaking a forum rule. I think that it would be nice if everyone that uses the - Izanoni1, SEP 30, 2009
battle cry "Remember the Rules!!!" would also remember that the rules also mandate that everyone show and be shown courtesy and respect then I think that we will all be OK - Izanoni1, SEP 30, 2009
I agree Izanoni, and I feel it is obusive for someone to flag you when you helped someone who you believe in good faith made efforts. I'm disappointed that no moderators have responded to my feedback requests on this. - arnold3, OCT 1, 2009
-Although Paralee did say she would suggest to Chris a change in the flagging system to make it more clear when you have been flagged. I would still like to see more moderator participation/presence. I don't even know who they are. I can't find a list. - arnold3, OCT 1, 2009
I agree about having more moderator presence with regard to flagging and letting us know what's going on. - --Mariana--, OCT 1, 2009
I agree with Arnold and Izanoni - and with Marianne about the improvements to the flagging process. Currently it feels like flags disappear into a black hole and nothing seems to happen as a result. - Martyn, OCT 1, 2009
Personally, I think whowever it was who flagged you was breaking the rules. - JCameron, OCT 1, 2009

Well it sounds really good in theory but in the long run, I´m concerned about the reputation of Spanish Dict. Imagine you´re a student, you´re young, and you´re not very resourceful; yes, we all were once. You see a site that advertises

Have a Spanish Question? •Our vibrant community is happy to help you with your Spanish •Thousands of answers to browse and search

There is another advertisement that mentions something about asking professionals for help.

Well, heck, I would walk right in and try my hand with my burning question. I suspect that lots of students see THAT first before exploring the rest of the site. This site is rather extensive and I´m still learning about all the opportunities available here.

I suggest we be gentle so that Spanish Dict continues to have a good name. With that, we will be more likely to keep a larger following and thus a more "vibrant community." I don't want to scare the students away.

Someone once suggested that people who sign up to use the forum should be led to a screen where they read the rules of the forum and MUST CLICK ACCEPT before going forward. I think just that little tweaking to the website would make the forum more user-friendly.

Just a few thoughts. smile

updated OCT 1, 2009
posted by quépasa
Yeah but no one ever reads the rules anyway do they? I mean, I usually just click ACCEPT and move on - Vince_Peña, SEP 30, 2009
True, but then we cant say we didn't warn them...plus, there has got to be SOME way to get them to read the rules - JCameron, SEP 30, 2009
I brought this up with the SD creator and he agrees with Vince. People never read them and the rules are right there at the top each time you go to the forum, so they are always available. - Paralee, OCT 1, 2009

Imagine you´re a student, you´re young, and you´re not very resourceful; yes, we all were once.

It's important to remember that just because somebody navigated themselves to this site that doesn't mean that person is necessarily proficient with navigating a web site.

Someone once suggested that people who sign up to use the forum should be led to a screen where they read the rules of the forum and MUST CLICK ACCEPT before going forward. I think just that little tweaking to the website would make the forum more user-friendly.

I have thought this myself, that it would be great if this site had an entrance test that had to be taken (maybe with 5 questions) in order to ask questions on the forum. Nothing hard, just simple questions that pertain to the rules of the forum for posting questions. It would also be great if their was a short guided tour that you had to go through before posting. That way each person would know how to find the reference section, the proper way to search previous threads, how to use/find the dictionary/conjugator/translator, etc.

All this would be great....but the reality is that this is not very realistic. This site is a free site and that is one thing that makes it great. I am sure that the maintenance of this site depends on the sponsors (you know all those colorful links). I am fairly sure that the more traffic SpanishDict recieves, the more likely that the sponsors remain sponsors, and the more likely that this site (as it exists now) will remain the way we know it and love it.

I think that it is best to keep this in mind when responding to "homework" questions. These types of questions may be our collective pet peaves, but by treating the askers with disrespect and contempt is not the way to keep people coming to this site.

updated OCT 1, 2009
edited by Izanoni1
posted by Izanoni1
You are right, treating them with disrespect is wrong. However, so is breaking the rules. Personally, I try to tell them that getting homework help is against the rules, and direct them to the part of the site where they can learn how to do their homework - JCameron, SEP 30, 2009
That's what I try to do too. While it is nice to hide behind the "rules," let's not forget that the rules also have a section regarding courtesey as well. - Izanoni1, SEP 30, 2009
Because people were not reading the rules, I wrote a "welcome letter" that goes out to all new members with links to a "tour of SD" video, rules of the forum, and info about lessons. But from what I know about most people, people don't read anything. - Paralee, OCT 1, 2009
Well...even if not everyone is reading these, I think that was still a good idea - Izanoni1, OCT 1, 2009
Heck, even if they don't read it right off the bat, they will read it eventually. It will do some good, no matter what - JCameron, OCT 1, 2009

I agree with Izanoni. We do have to be careful how we treat those who are suspected of having homework questions. I know that this site is used by people around the globe. However, in the US, I can almost sense when "Homework Hour" has arrived. It is a three to five hour period when the grammatically challenged and annoying questions start coming in..."i need to no this word rite away!!!!!!"

Yes it can definitely be frustrating and it does disrupt the flow of intelligent and interesting conversation that prevails through most of the day. However, once we decide to start posting regularly here, I think we have to be accountable to maintaining the reputation of this site.

Hopefully, we can come up with creative ways of encouraging the "Homework Grupo" to do a little work on their own. However, even if they wind up getting a free, undeserved answer from someone, it is my hope that they will return to the site to do some serious studying, once they see how excited we are about learning Spanish. smile

updated OCT 1, 2009
posted by Nicole-B
jejeje..."Homework Hour" yes I think we are all familiar with this concept. - Izanoni1, SEP 30, 2009

Excellent article! I have also noticed that the "homework people" have zero points, badges and reputation. Perhaps that could be one of the prerequisites to helping someone. They should have something behind their names, such as a few video lessons under their belt or at least some signs that they are interested in this site for more than just an answer to please their teacher the following day.

I do feel torn at times. I wonder if once in awhile someone slips through the cracks who is legitimately asking a question. We, assuming they are seeking help with homework, become snarky with them. I hope that doesn't happen too often, but I'm sure because of the abuse of others, it sometimes does.

No system is going to be perfect, but what you have written has gotten us off to a good start.

Thanks, Nicole

updated OCT 1, 2009
posted by Nicole-B
Yeah... I personally think that the more info they provide about their question, the better chance that they are not just trying to get homework help. (ie. I read this poster last week, and i was wondering..... etc) - JCameron, SEP 30, 2009

Love it, fatcin.

My only suggestion for your excellent article might be to say something about us being here to help them learn Spanish, not just to get right answers and good grades.

Frankly, I don't think we care about their report cards.

updated OCT 1, 2009
posted by Goyo
lol me gusta sacar buenas notas.... :p - JCameron, SEP 30, 2009
Yeah, jc, but grades are secondary to actually learning... :) - Valerie, SEP 30, 2009

I was thinking...you know what would be great is if there were an ignore button to questions. It would work in a way similar to flagging

It could be ignored for one of the following reasons:

  1. (one) Offensive/derogatory language
  2. (two) Incoherent text
  3. (three) Suspected Homework question
  4. (four) Not detailed enough/too ambiguous to answer/could be found by a little independent research

I think that flagging in this way could be proportional to the flagger's reputation so that if a question was flagged for the same reason to some preset sum of reputation points (say 5,000 or 7,000) then the poster would receive an automated response that would say something like:

Your answer has been ignored by several users for the following reason:

Reason # text

If you would like a better response to your question then try the following

Only one of the following responses would be necessary depending on the infraction

  1. (one) Remove any offensive language
  2. (two) Revise your text to make it more understandable
  3. (three) Explanation of the proper way to post a question including an explanation fo the effort required by the poster.
  4. (four) Please revise your text and provide more details and context for usage O R try our dictionary/translator to find your answers.

This could also be followed by text of the relevant sections in the forum rules.

In the meantime, the relevant flagged questions could be set to invisible to the people who flagged them.

That way, nobody has to get snarky or risk offending anyone. The offending posts could then be hidden from view of those who flagged them (until they had been revised/reviewed by a moderator).

updated SEP 30, 2009
posted by Izanoni1
Brilliant!!!!!!!! I like this idea. :) - JCameron, SEP 30, 2009
Great Ideas! - Nicole-B, SEP 30, 2009

Even if the majority of us agree about the homework answers, there will always be members answering those questions because they are eager to get reputation points. I've seen this behavior quite frequently, usually in new members, and the homework is then ready to go.

updated OCT 24, 2011
posted by 00e657d4

Yeah!!! I TOTALLY agree! It's one thing to ask for how to properly use a word (ie. what are the rules for using, say, ser vs. estar) and quite another to type your homework into SpanishD!ct...

Besides, being lazy will only hurt you on the tests and later on down the road when you actually need to know the information. I speak from experience here, as I was one of the people who was too lazy to even come to SpanishD!ct to get the answers. I just filled random words into the blanks on my homework! And now look at me... trying to catch up by trying to learn about three years of Spanish as fast as possible. (its not fun. Plus, your grades stink)

But just to throw this out there, it really irritates me when people come asking for definitions that are on the dictionary section of SpanishD!ct. I mean, how lazy can you get??? And isn't it much more efficient to just look it up yourself????

EDIT: angry somebody just asked a definition... and when I looked, I found the particular word they wanted in part of the definition. People need to read the ENTIRE definition... I mean, it's like reading half of the instructions on how to build something... it just doesn't end well.

updated OCT 1, 2009
edited by JCameron
posted by JCameron
They probably would do it themselves if they knew about the translator. - Goyo, SEP 30, 2009
But it's called Spanish Dict..don't you think they'd know there's a Dict..ionary around here somewhere? lol - --Mariana--, SEP 30, 2009
There you go being logical again! :) - Goyo, OCT 1, 2009
Marianne- maybe they think that "Dict" is short for "Dictator" or "dictate"...you know open up a thread and order people to do homework for them: I command you to fill in the blanks! To the salt mines with this one--I only got a B on my assignment - Izanoni1, OCT 1, 2009

Thank you so much for your respectful and detailed article on the subject of the "Homework People." I agree (and it's in the rules) that anyone asking about homework could easily get an answer from dozens of people if he/she showed in the question that he/she had attempted to answer it first. Even those silly unscramble the letters activities. Show us the ones you have unscrambled, tell us the theme, etc.

And please use correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Nothing annoys a teacher (or moderator in a language forum) more than bad grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Well, maybe rudeness. Which is why when the "homework people" show up during "homework hour" we all need to be on our best behavior as well. Bookmark the forum rules and post them as a comment to any questions that break those rules. Kindly ask them to read it and make an attempt before reposting.

updated OCT 1, 2009
posted by Paralee

Great post. I agree with everything you said.

Let's see how well it works...we'll need the cooperation of everyone here at SpanishDict. wink

updated OCT 1, 2009
edited by --Mariana--
posted by --Mariana--

I love helping people with their work, but I do agree that if they didn't even try it themselves then they don't deserve any help.

updated SEP 30, 2009
posted by Vince_Peña
I love helping, too, but simply giving them the answer doesn't really help them learn anything at all. - --Mariana--, SEP 30, 2009

I think the subject of homework questions can be a little ambiguous. For example as a mature adult I go to classes I also do a lot of self-study. My dining table is covered with grammar and verb books and I use both this and other sites for reference. As well as class I pick a subject and decide to work on it. If I can´t sort something out I post a question and that is sometimes something we have been doing in class and I have´nt entirely understood. I would add that I have made every effort to sort it myself previously. Would this be classed as homework questions - how long long is a piece of string? Reading through some of the comments I feel a little nervous now about asking questions although I have contributed to this excellent site!

updated OCT 3, 2009
posted by caza
Please do not be nervous about asking questions on this site. You definitely do not fit the profile of one of the "homework offenders". The group we are discussing here are usually students who are not really interested in Spanish. - Nicole-B, OCT 1, 2009
They are usually teens or younger and are only interested in completing homework so they won't have a problem with their teacher the next day. Quite often they are rude or demanding and have no interest in this site, except for what it can do for them. - Nicole-B, OCT 1, 2009
Please do not feel nervous about posting a question...I find that it helps if you take the time to explain what you are looking for and perhaps what your own thoughts are on the matter/why you have not been able to figure it out/what specific points you - Izanoni1, OCT 1, 2009
are confused about etc. - Izanoni1, OCT 1, 2009
Rather than posting something like fill in the blanks for me, etc. - Izanoni1, OCT 1, 2009
You seem to be someone who is dedicated to learning the Spanish language. You make every effort to understand something on your own first. You are the exact type of person that should be helped on this site. So please!!!!do not be nervous to ask anything! - Nicole-B, OCT 1, 2009
I absolutely agree with Nicole on this. If you have a question then ask it. Just try to provide as much detail/context as you can so that the question can be answered properly. - Izanoni1, OCT 1, 2009
Many thanks eveyone for all that - feel a bit more optomistic again! - caza, OCT 3, 2009

agreed. i just joined and i did start by using this site as an easy way to translate things for Spanish so i didn’t have to dig around in my backpack to find my Spanish book. but i really do love Spanish, its so much more straight forward then English. and i do agree, people should do their own homework. Spanish is a living language worth knowing, not just a boring * though mines amazingly fun!* class your trying to get credit for.

updated OCT 1, 2009
posted by countryboi4ever
Great to have you aboard Countryboi. I would caution you though, that writing without using correct punctuation/capitalization is not allowed on this forum. As an English speaker, your posts are examples for those who use this site to learn English, so - Izanoni1, SEP 30, 2009
It's required that you act appropriately as a steward of the English language. One of the moderator's biggest pet peaves is when people post in text speak or with improper capitalization (and especially when you don't capitalize your "I"s. - Izanoni1, SEP 30, 2009
You might want to keep that in mind as you post your responses to save yourself some grief. - Izanoni1, SEP 30, 2009

Personally, if I get a whiff of someone's homework, I tell them about theyselves. I can't stand lazy! Some students I like to help if they make at least a half effort at it, but them that post up talking about some can you write this for me? Out of the question. wink

updated OCT 3, 2009
posted by ChamacoMalo
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