I noticed recently that there have been users downgrading other user's answers to questions.
For example, Wonderman, he has repeatedly been saying:
"Please do not post solutions to this problem! This is a homework problem, and using outside resources is considered cheating."
At first, me and a lot of other users have been annoyed by this, as he downgrades our thought-out explanations.
But then after further digging, I realized that Wonderman had a reason to post these.
He goes to an AOPS class, and in his class the teachers assign homework.
Wonderman observed in this class that some people were cheating their homework, and not actually learning. He is (assumely) angered from this, and attempts to stop what is happening.
Hard working people like Wonderman is watching other cheaters and dishonest people easily cruise by in the AOPS classes while he has to learn and do the homework.
In turn, many people are affected negatively. Including the answerers and the non-cheaters. THe only people who are still easily cruising by life is the cheaters.
Look at what cheating has done. Everybody is starting to bicker and complain, and the source of the problem is the cheaters.
Of course, the main source of question askers on this site is the cheaters (unfortunately), and the site will not survive without them. However, it will be really nice if they can become better people.
The point of this is to signify that cheating is the cause of the issue, not Wonderman downgrading people's answers.
Not only that, strange things have happened due to this cheating.
This post was Rom answering someone's question. Wonderman replied what he usually says.
Rom's post was deleted, and Im not sure if that is the reason why Rom changed his profile pic and doesn't go on anymore, but it is obvious that cheaters are obviously affecting everyone negatively.
Wonderman knows which problems are cheating problems, as he goes to the same classes as them. Not every problem is cheated on this site, but a lot are.
So, as an message to all that read this. DO NOT CHEAT YOUR HOMEWORK. This doesn't mean to not post questions, but try explaining your attempt at a problem. If there is a simple concept you can't grasp, then ASK FOR AN EXPLANATION. Don't just ask the question.
I believe that there are some things that Wonderman can do instead of downvoting the question. He could, give help and not the answer or ask people to give help instead of giving the answer. I think this way, he will make a much more positive impact on the community instead of being a police officer. However, there is nothing we can do about the cheaters, in my opinion. If they cheat, it's their fault. We don't lose anything from answering or giving help to the question. They lose because they fail to learn the process and how to do the problem. We can't let cheating negatively affect this forum.
CalculatorUser, regarding your "Wonderman observed in this class that some people were cheating their homework, and not actually learning."
Those students, who are not learning, will not be able to come here and ask for the solutions when they're taking their exams. If they've routinely depended on this site to do their homework for them, and not learned from the examples which were solved, then the abrupt drop in the quality of their work on the exams will betray that they've been cheating. It will also drop their grade point. The habitual cheaters will be winnowed out by a sort of natural selection.
I solve a problem here occasionally. I'm not good enough to do the higher maths like calculus and abstract algebra, but I can do relatively simpler problems. I hope my meager contributions help free up the time of the really smart responders, like CPhill and heureka, and the omission of a mention of other superstars is not meant as a slight, I just picked the first two I thought of.
The only way I know to help is to solve the problem. Hopefully, seeing the solution will instill learning by example. I'm not a teacher, I don't have teacher training, and I wouldn't know how to start teaching. I remember when I was in school, if I was stuck and somebody solved a problem for me, most of the time that would turn on the light above my head. By seeing one problem solved, I learned to solve that type of problem.
I'm certain that wonderman's intentions are good, it's just that continually griping at me isn't going to get him anywhere. The responders here have good intentions, too. Instead of criticizing me/others for our good intentions, an alternative for him/her could be to lead by example. Even if nobody follows, that would create one new leader.
I'm part of an AoPS class, and I've seen other people spam AoPS questions.
I've never done this personally, but I've had people literally joking in my class about web2.0calc.
One person would say, "You know there's like an answer key to AoPS questions online?"
Another would say, "Yeah! web2.0calc is epic!"
And they just start laughing.
I'd like to bring the following point to your discussion. Before I do, let me refer to a previous post on this forum
I don't want to sound rude, but like... people come here because they need help.
It seems to me that most answerers believe that those students "accused" of cheating come here because they don't have any help at all and you're the only help they'll get. For AoPS students that's not the case. AoPS students have a live class, where they learn from an instructor and the class is highly interactive. If you don't understand, then you can ask and there are people there ready to help in real time. The online materials for the class are always available for the duration of the course.
Even if you can't make it to the class, you can see what happened later, as there's a transcript of each session. If you're working on your homework and have questions, AoPS also has a forum that is available 24/7. Lots of people are ready to help there. The website is well designed even for use with smartphones, so wherever you go, you get access to all of this. A student can receive hints on how to proceed. When they show some work, they get tailored replies depending on what's the part they're finding hard to understand.
That brings me to another point that Melody brought up on another thread.
Are you seriously trying to help the asker to learn?
Are you mostly interested in showing your own cleverness or increasing your own points. (I have not great criticism here)
Are you doing homework for students which is facilitating cheating and making it unlikely that they will attempt to learn anything?:
It's great to see a community of math lovers here. But many times I see answerers are just showing off trying to make it to the top users list rather than helping.
I find HiylinLink's post on the first thread linked above quite helpful to deal with this (though I wouldn't give full answers):
For those that have made the answerer's acknolwege that they are familar with the problem and have proved so by showing there work either ina picture or in text. The answer then can show them the whole problem in one full answer on what they did and where they screwed up.
For those who do not post how they have solved the problem and why they need help, the answere's can assume they are clueless on how to solve the problem therefore indicating that they may not understand the problem may jsut be throwing homework on here to maintain a grade, the answers can ask question's to indicate if this is true or not, if it is true then the answerer should give helpful tip's on how to solve the problem rather than give the full answer.
We're not saying all this stuff to point fingers to cheaters or answerers, but to make this forum a better place for math lovers.