What is commonly called a "Homework question" on WorldBuilding.SE is basically a real-world question that can easily be answered by a little research and shows no interest in building a fictional world. It's fine to have a fictional world based on the real world (it's the only sample we have after all) and it's fine to ask about real world stuff in such a context if it's visible what problem you are trying to solve in constructing your world.
Take for example Would a diamond layering on a tool be more efficient than iron or steel?. The whole question reads:
If I put a diamond layering on a chainsaw or other tools, would it make it faster and more efficient than a layer of iron or steel?
It's a real world question and people are arguing that it should therefore be on-topic. But personally I don't see any worldbuilding context here, which is required as per the referenced meta proposal:
- Provide context. Giving other users context around why you are asking the question allows them to better understand why you are asking and what kind of answer you want.
- Attempt to do your own research. If a quick google search will answer your question it may not be worth posting a question on the site. Generally, querents are expected to demonstrate what has been tried and why it was not sufficient or did not work. This too helps people answering understand what you are trying to accomplish as well as your level of knowledge on the topic.
- Define your requirements and by what you will judge answers.
Take some of the comments under the linked Main site question. L.Dutch mentioned:
a google search will answer that. There is also a dedicated wikipedia page
and the OP responded with:
Thanks, can you give me the link?
Apparently they aren't interested in building a world. They are not mentioning what they are trying to achieve with that layer of diamond. They don't mention why the tools need to be faster and more efficient. They don't mention what their goal is and what they expect from answers.
They simply wanted a link to Wikipedia.
And I have to agree with another comment from L.Dutch:
apparently the OP is satisfied of getting a Wikipedia link with a list of diamond tools... I am positive we are not just a mirror for Wikipedia...
We are a site dedicated to building fictional worlds, not a search engine for finding Wikipedia articles.
We need worldbuilding context and we need the OP to show that they researched the topic and found a problem while creating their world that we can help them with. We are not a copy of Wikipedia, we are not the search engine for people that don't want to google.
As I said under this recent addition to the linked proposal:
What are you trying to achieve with "X" in your story? Why is it necessary to have it faster/more efficient? What's your goal in asking this question specifically here? The goal of this specific guideline is to know what the OP is trying to achieve to know what direction we need to go with answers and what the problems are that the OP encountered. Adding "For a story" is insufficient for this and does not help at all to understand the underlying problems of the question.
We give the OP the benefit of doubt, but there are times when this benefit is just not warranted. If you post on "WorldBuilding.SE" you likely want a worldbulding perspective. But if you are not interested in telling us why you need that perspective then other sites might be better suited for your needs. Real world questions are on-topic if they show the effort to be with worldbuilding in mind.
If we can't see the context and effort a question is a "Homework question" and should be closed. We are not a dumping ground for whatever idea comes to mind. As I've mentioned in the chat before:
Give me some context about what you are building (Book? Game? ...) and why you need help from people with experience in building fictional worlds (Why is Wikipedia not enough?) and I am fine with a lot. But I am not fine with this being used as an excuse to ask anything that comes to your mind just because there could be a fictional world that is exactly like ours and where your character has the exact same problem with programming that you do.
This is a problem and with the current trend to declare everything to be on-topic just because "real world questions are on-topic" it is becoming a bigger problem.