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I recently looked over my list of reviews for 'suggested edits'. I found a fair number of cases where the majority vote was to approve the addition of the self-study tag. I was under the impression that our policy was to reject these edits, so I took a look at meta and found that this has been addressed here multiple times:

Should we tag questions that smell like homework?

Top answer at +16 begins: "I think it's fine to retag (without comment) as long as it is perfectly clear that the problem is homework"

Should I add the self-study tag to a question that is copy-pasted from a book?

Answers focus on a different aspect of the question (copy-pasting), but the comments show disagreement about whether tagging is acceptable.

Is it okay to add the [self-study] tag through an edit instead of asking OP to do it?

No answer, but top comment at +9 begins: "I am one of the people who approved that edit. I don't have a problem w/ people editing questions to add the [self-study] tag"

If rejecting an edit that adds the [self-study] tag, what reason should be given?

Top answer is one which does not reject such edits, and also states: "I usually type a custom message for the editor telling them to leave a comment for the OP". But comments under the question show disagreement.


Overall, the responses suggest a majority favour approving these edits, though there's a fair bit of disagreement. However, this is sharply at odds with the tag wiki info, which explicitly states:

The self-study tag should only be added by the one asking the question. If there's any room for doubt at all, it's best to leave it as is. Instead, always add a comment first requesting that the asker clarify the situation.

(Arguably, the second sentence walks back the first a bit, so ambiguity remains).


Whatever we decide as a community is fine with me, but I think the present situation is needlessly confusing. If the majority prefers to allow the addition of self-study through edits, should we just change the tag info to reflect this? Or should we stick to the letter of the present law and reject these edits consistently?

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With moderating it is hard to define strict rules. We are humans and dealing with humans, so there are always exceptions.

I don't feel it is that confusing. As a general rule, this tag should be added by the OP & first of all you should comment on that. You should not just add [self-study] tag and leave the question as is. On the nother hand, if you are already making other edits, no harm will happen if you add the tag while commenting that you did so and why.

I myself have different solutions for different questions:

  1. In many cases I just close them with self-study close reason. I do this mostly for the low quality questions from users that are new to the SE network (reputation 1).
  2. If a user made some effort and described the problem the greater detail, but it is still inconsistent with our self-study policy, I comment on this and ask for edits rather then closing it.
  3. If everything is according to the policies, if needed I make small edits (including tag), including the tag and usually comment about my edits.
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