Ideally the posters should be applying the homework tag themselves, but if I see a question that looks like a homework question what should I do?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

You may edit in the tag (suggested edit if you don't have the rep) if you see a post like this. The important thing is that if the post looks homeworky to you, then check if it obeys the homework policy (it should show some effort on the OP's side, highlight the concept, and mention the OP;s level of understanding). If it doesn't, flag as "too localized", and leave a comment telling the OP how to make it fit the policy.

This is the comment I generally leave (with an optional "Welcome to Physics.SE!"):

Please see our homework policy. We expect homework problems to have some effort put into them, and deal with conceptual issues. If you edit your question to explain (1) What you have tried, (2) the concept you have trouble with, and (3) your level of understanding, I'll be happy to reopen this. (Flag this message for ♦ attention with a custom message, or reply to me in the comments with @Manishearth to notify me)

Of course, that's a more moderator-y message, so I suggest you try something akin to this:

Please see our homework policy. We expect homework problems to have some effort put into them, and deal with conceptual issues. Could you please edit your question to explain (1) What you have tried, (2) the concept you have trouble with, and (3) your level of understanding?

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