Am I allowed to ask homework questions on OR.SE? If so, what guidance is available for writing a good question about homework?


1 Answer 1


Questions related to homework are allowed—even encouraged—here on OR.SE. Note the important phrase “related to”: You can ask questions related to your homework. You can not post homework questions and expect them to be answered here.

When asking questions about homework, please:

  1. Make a good-faith effort to solve the problem first, and show us what you have tried so far.
  2. Ask about specific elements of the problem or your partial solution; show us where you are stuck.
  3. Couch your question in the context of the model or algorithm you are asking about, not in the context of your homework problem. Remember that the questions and answers on OR.SE should have the potential to help lots of people, not just the asker.
  4. Use MathJax to typeset your math. Don't post a screenshot or photo of math that's in a book, paper, whiteboard, etc.

If you don’t do these things, your question may be voted down and/or closed.

For example, don’t post this:

Consider the following LP: $$\begin{alignat}{3} \max \quad & z = & x_1 & + & 2 x_2 & \\ \mbox{s.t.} \quad & & 3 x_1 & + & x_2 & \geq 5 \\ & & x_1 & & & \leq 6 \\ & & x_1 & + & 5x_2 & \leq 10 \\ & & x_1 & , & x_2 & \ge 0 \end{alignat}$$ What are the corner-point solutions, and what are the constraint boundaries for each?

Or this:

I am supposed to find the corner-point solutions for the following problem: $$\begin{alignat}{3} \max \quad & z = & x_1 & + & 2 x_2 & \\ \mbox{s.t.} \quad & & 3 x_1 & + & x_2 & \geq 5 \\ & & x_1 & & & \leq 6 \\ & & x_1 & + & 5x_2 & \leq 10 \\ & & x_1 & , & x_2 & \ge 0 \end{alignat}$$ Do I need to include the infeasible solutions too, or just the feasible ones?

But it’s fine to post this:

I am working on a homework assignment that asks me to find the corner-point solutions, and the constraint boundaries for each, for the following LP: $$\begin{alignat}{3} \max \quad & z = & x_1 & + & 2 x_2 & \\ \mbox{s.t.} \quad & & 3 x_1 & + & x_2 & \geq 5 \\ & & x_1 & & & \leq 6 \\ & & x_1 & + & 5x_2 & \leq 10 \\ & & x_1 & , & x_2 & \ge 0 \end{alignat}$$ I can find the corner-point solutions, but how does one find the constraint boundaries for solutions such as $(6,-13)$ that are feasible with respect to the functional constraints but not the non-negativity constraints?

It is also important that you follow the policy of your school and instructor regarding whether it is acceptable to seek outside help with your homework assignments.

Finally, don’t be surprised if the answers you receive guide you toward a solution without actually providing all the details. Our goal is to help, and giving you complete solutions to homework problems won’t help you, in the long run.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Good guidelines. Though there may still be dispute over your final example. On Math.SE, that sort of question may be closed, for example by users of CRUDE, since "I can find the corner-point solutions" may not provide sufficient "context". I don't know if we should enforce these stricter rules into OR.SE, and that may depend on the homework traffic we will see this autumn. $\endgroup$
    – TheSimpliFire Mod
    Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with @TheSimpliFire. If the OP could ask a question relevant to the problem but not the actual assignment, he deserves an answer. Otherwise, it is a waste of time for everybody on the site. Also, as an instructor, I believe students should learn to think and work independently. Hence, I appreciate it if nobody helps the student besides my teaching team. $\endgroup$
    – Ehsan
    Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 17:08
  • $\begingroup$ Regarding the example, I consider anything with numbers a red flag. I believe a good question would be "how should I find the constraint boundaries of a linear programming problem". That is because the answer would be usually similar to the textbooks or teaching notes on the subject or at best a more clear explanation of the subject and nothing more. The OP would learn and clarify his misunderstandings with the learning about new references and discussions. $\endgroup$
    – Ehsan
    Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 17:15

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