(This is not a duplicate of questions like Homework questions - avoiding giving a complete solution or How do we enforce the homework policy?; it's about handling differences of opinion, not about the preferred policy. Since there was a misunderstanding about this, I want to emphasize that I'm not voicing an opinion of my own on the homework policy; in fact I don't have a strong opinion on that, whereas I have quite a strong opinion on the meta-issues I'm addressing here.)
I was somewhat disturbed by some of the comments at Limit with nothing but x and triangles. As I wrote there, I respect that people hold strong views about homework and tests. These tend to be professional educators themselves, and it makes sense that people who give out homework and tests themselves tend to have stronger views on how to deal with these.
However, there are also other views on this site, some of which were voiced in that comment thread (obviously the OP took another view, too), and having strong views doesn't license one to be disrespectful towards others with other views. What I found particularly problematic was the fact that there were three upvotes for a comment that said that reasonable people cannot disagree about these things, and two upvotes for a comment that equated asking for help in "cheating" to racist and homophobic comments. (I would also prefer not to read comments like "scram, cheater" on this site.)
I strongly disagree that reasonable people cannot disagree on tests, and I find it disrespectful to imply that others are not being reasonable when they disagree. There are entire educational philosophies that don't believe in things like tests. Also, circumstances differ, and reasonable people can disagree about how to view a given situation (as exemplified by some of the comments in that thread).
My intention with this post is twofold. First, I'm hoping that we can form a consensus to respect each other's different views on this topic, quite apart from how we decide to deal with the issue in practice.
Second, there seems to be a more practical problem in that people not only hold views about how they themselves want to deal with homework and test questions, but also about how others should deal with them. The discussions I found about the homework policy never really address this; they only discuss what might be a good way to deal with homework questions, but not whether it's important that there be a unified approach to them or whether it's OK for people with a minority view to answer homework questions as they see fit. Since there was quite an aggressive tone in some of the comments against people who provided hints or answers for the test question, I think it's important that we clarify whether the homework policy is a well-considered suggestion or something that should be "enforced" as a community norm. (That latter option is of course compatible with respect for the minority view, just as holding a minority view is compatible with adhering to the community norm if good arguments in favour of a uniform norm have been given.)