I subsequently received a PM from a moderator instructing me to not provide complete working solutions to student requests, but to provide general guidance so the students can learn for themselves.
In general I agree with the instruction but in this case the student provided the vast majority of the code which imo just needed some re-arranging and stream lining and some minor errors corrected. Essentially, I did not provide any additional code to what the requestor originally posted or to what was posted before me by another poster.I do not provide code to posters I suspect might be students who essentially ask for code without providing some code of their own first.
My issues I feel need clarification are:
1) Since anyone can claim to be whoever they like in forums like this, how can anyone determine with 100% certainty who is a student or not. After all, a student could simply claim to be a legitimate website developer seeking some help for code or a website developer needing help could pretend to be a student, playing the sympathy card, in the hope that someone helps a "struggling student". Either way I am happy to help if the original poster first provides code showing they have made a legitimate attempt at solving the problem.
2) If not providing full code to students is an enforeable policy for this website, then notifications of breaches, imo, should be made public so that other posters can be made aware of or reminded of the policy and not sent as PM's to the offender.
I would say as a general rule we think of this place as a place to go to get help with your coding, rather than to have coding done for you for free, so it's really not that important to determine the status of whoever is asking. However, this is not a hard and fast rule of the forum, you won't be in any way restricted from using the forum if you provide solutions in their entirety.
Just to make sure there is no misunderstanding - I have no issue with the moderator who sent me the PM. The PM was polite and courteous and in no way aggressive or offensive. I just needed clarification on the instruction given in the PM.