# I have a complaint:

Homework Helper
I do not approve of posting some messy-ass scanned copy of handwritten arithmetic in the homework forum. To me this "cheapens" the forum and gives it the appearance of being "second-rate". I can tolerate one or two but it's starting to get more than that. I say if you got more than 100 post, there is no excuse for not learning a couple of basic LaTex commands. However I don't wish to go over the mentors head and directly criticize them in the HW forum.

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
If you can't tolerate it, don't reply to it. I skip over any question that's entirely scanned rather than typed out (I don't particularly care if they use LaTex or not, as I haven't bothered to learn it either...I really have no need for it...as long as they can write the question clearly without it). But, students are coming here for homework help, not to be chastised for not knowing how to use LaTex. It seems like a bit of an over-reaction to say it "cheapens" the forum for someone to post a scan of hand-written work. If it's illegible, then they probably won't get much help until they post in a legible format.

Homework Helper
Moonbear, I'd like to agree with you and say, "yes, I was overreacting and 'cheapen' is a poor choice of words" but can't in good faith do so. I did wait to the 3rd occurrance. When does "over-reaction" change to just "regular reaction". Cheapen? Well, I really don't wish to be cruel to the poster rather only want to address your comments:

This is 2006. Maybe back in the 90's a scan would be ok. And to add insult to injury, the arithmetic on the back shows through the image! Oh yea, it's cheap. Sorry guy. Really I've though about posting the image in the software forum (but wouldn't) and make the challenge:

WRITE A PROGRAM TO READ THE BACK OF THIS IMAGE.

I'll give you a start: First read it into a big array. You got a gig in there so that's no hill for a climber. Next remove all the dark pixels (the front image). Common' you know how to read the attribute of each pixel. It's ain't rocket science. Now that you have only the back image (interrupted by the pixels you've already removed of course), just "switch the pixels from left to right in the array. Here's some code for that:

$$\text{save=image[i,index+j]}$$

$$\text{image[i,index+j]=image[i,index]}$$

$$\text{image[i,index]=save}$$

That will switch the image so you can now see it. Piece of cake!

Now, go in and manually connect the discontinuous curves causes by the removals above.

Oh yea, we'd be doin' this one.

FredGarvin
Personally I don't think it cheapens anything. If we were tutors, sitting right in front of them, that piece of paper is exactly what they would present to us. At least when I see a handwritten scan of a homework sheet, I know that there is at least some effort being put in. It may not be much effort, but for some reason, to me, it makes me feel that the poster is more interested in figuring out their problem.

Just my 2 cents.

Lisa!
Gold Member

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
saltydog said:
Moonbear, I'd like to agree with you and say, "yes, I was overreacting and 'cheapen' is a poor choice of words" but can't in good faith do so. I did wait to the 3rd occurrance.
Third occurance?! Seriously? Out of all the posts we get in the HW help forums, you've seen this happen three times and you're getting all excited about it cheapening the forums? I agree more with Fred, that at least it shows the student is really doing their own homework and has given a serious attempt to it, not just typing in a question and giving a half-hearted attempt to get us to do it for them. If you were a struggling student who just spent 3 hours working on that assignment and got to the end with the wrong result, would you want to then hear someone tell you you need to learn LaTex so you can spend another 3 hours retyping it all just so you can get help? I wouldn't.

If anything, seeing their handwritten version is helpful to me, I wish more would show me their work that way. It makes it a heck of a lot easier to identify organizational problems, how they approached the problem initially, did the identify all the relevant variables, are they using units properly and crossing them out when they cancel out, how many attempts have they made already, and even if sloppy handwriting is causing them to make errors. I can determine a multitude more things about that student's learning by seeing their handwritten work than if they just copy a problem out of a book.

I might be concerned if the homework helpers were giving their replies in illegible scribbles, but if it's the students asking for help that are doing it, then I really do think you're just being overly critical. As I said before, if you don't like to look at it or it's too difficult for you to decipher their handwriting and you don't want to bother, don't. Nobody is forcing you to answer any particular questions. Let the helpers who don't mind, or who appreciate seeing the effort take a crack at it instead.