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I came for the homework help. I stayed because I like helping.

  1. Oct 7, 2011 #1
    Hey all,

    I'm pretty new here (my posts consist of 1 help-request thread in intro physics and 8 or 9 responses so far), and I have to say I really love the layout and the idea here. Is there a good way to get involved beyond just answering homework-help threads to the best of my ability -- and, obviously, without spoonfeeding the answer to lazy people who just want the instant gratification of having their work done for them line by line -- and answering PMs in as helpful a way as possible?

    Also, I'm not clear on the etiquette (if any) that governs things like bumping a request thread when you think you may have made a breakthrough, etc., or bumping a request thread if you're still stuck days later. For that matter, is there a policy on going through old unanswered questions and giving advice there? I just want to know how to be the most positive member of PF that I can be, because I really believe in the mission here.

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 7, 2011 #2
    Welcome WJSwanson! You are exactly the type of member we strive to attract!

    We tolerate one bump a day or two after if there are no responses.

    No policy on replying to old unanswered questions. Some of our most popular homework help threads are old and indexed in google. That means even years later, thousands of random people are getting ideas and help. I would encourage you or anyone else to go through and respond to old unanswered questions.
  4. Oct 7, 2011 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Just say "I know this is an old thread but Greg said it was ok", so that you don't get reported for necroposting.

    As for doing homework help in private via PM, I would say no, gently steer them back to posting in the forum.
  5. Oct 7, 2011 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    Glad that you are enjoying the website! :smile:

    As for bumping threads, we generally allow one bump if a thread has not received a reply for 24 hours (but only one bump per thread). If the OP has new information or has made good progress, it seems fine for them to post that in the thread. That isn't exactly a bump when there's been good progress to post.

    As for helping out in HH, please feel free. It sounds like you understand the HH rules, and will try to offer the appropriate level of help. You can also learn a lot by watching how the Homework Helpers, Science Advisors and Mentors deal with HH questions. You will often see them asking just the right question to get the OP to do some thinking on their own, which often results in the OP figuring out their question. Pretty neat when it happens.
  6. Oct 7, 2011 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    BTW, it also helps us out a lot if you click the Report button on any threads that are homework-like that are posted outside of HH and in the general technical forums. Those generally need to get moved into the HH forums by the Mentors.

    This thread has some more useful thoughts about HH: https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=373889

    And if you see a post where the OP is showing zero effort (no attempt at solving the problem, no Relevant Equations listed, etc.), please also report those posts. They generally get deleted by the Mentors with a reminder to show their work when they re-post the question.

  7. Oct 7, 2011 #6
    Thanks for the warm welcome, everyone! And thanks for the detailed advice, especially berkeman. :)
  8. Oct 7, 2011 #7


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    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I haven't really consider just how important these old thread can be. Long Live PF.

    Bookmarking his https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=3545231&postcount=2" now. :approve:
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  9. Oct 7, 2011 #8


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    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Glad to have you WJSwanson! You sound like you'll be a great addition to the community.
  10. Oct 8, 2011 #9


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    Gold Member

    Yeah... well... Greg had this minor stroke of genius and somehow managed to suck the rest of us into it.
    My introduction was somewhat similar to yours. I was directed here by Google while researching something, snooped around, found a question that I could answer and had to register to do so, answered the question with what I believed was a very logical solution, and was directed by Brewnog to GD because humour wasn't normally appreciated in serious threads but was in personal interactions. So, I was just here to make jokes. Then I discovered Mechanical Engineering and had a purpose in life.

    I can't help wondering how many marriages this site has destroyed:
    "Come to bed, dear."
    "In a minute, honey. I'm busy admiring Monique's iris."
    "Her what?"
    "Never mind... it's science."
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