Academic Integrity: Policy on Ask? March 2, 2013 8:38 PM   Subscribe

This question was asked, and some respondents have been raising concerns that it might violate the student's honour code. Is there an express policy about this?

My own views are that it is not entirely clear that OP was asking AskMetaFilter to provide him/her with a formulated thesis by any means. If they were, that would certainly be objectionable, but it seems like they were more just prodding for ideas. Thoughts?
posted by ageispolis to Etiquette/Policy at 8:38 PM (51 comments total)

That was my read as well.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:40 PM on March 2, 2013


Most honor codes don't preclude students from talking things over, but state that the work done must be the students' own. Every school I've attended has had a writing center where students can talk ideas over and get suggestions and critiques on essays; as long as the student does his/her own actual writing and revisions, there's no violation.

However the question made me uncomfortable so I refrained from answering.
posted by DoubleLune at 9:03 PM on March 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


I flagged it and didn't respond.

It is midterm time, and that sure looks like a midterm question to me. I did spend about twenty minutes trying to see if there was a syllabus for that class online based on the information in the question, but found nothing.
posted by winna at 9:14 PM on March 2, 2013


Every school I've attended has had a writing center where students can talk ideas over and get suggestions and critiques on essays; as long as the student does his/her own actual writing and revisions, there's no violation.

That was pretty much my take on it. It seemed to me like the post was basically asking for the kind of advice you could be getting from a writing counselor or indeed from the professor. And should be getting, in fact. I don't think asking random people online is a very good substitute for using your own college's resources. However, this poster appears to be close to graduating so I didn't bother lecturing him about this.
posted by BibiRose at 9:40 PM on March 2, 2013


Thoughts?

Since you're asking, I don't give a fuck about absurd undergraduate honour codes.
posted by atrazine at 9:43 PM on March 2, 2013 [42 favorites]


This poster has been here for several months and none of his questions seem unreasonable to me. I work on a college campus and sometimes get frustrated when people ask questions here instead of at school, but, then again, wanting to bounce some ideas around for an argument isn't necessarily something you can do at the last minute. The Writing Center might not have weekend hours or appointments at short notice. And his questions seem to be more about argument than the approach to writing.

I don't see anything in his question that is at all inappropriate. It's good for students to think about this stuff and seek out other opinions. The guy still has to write his own paper.
posted by bluedaisy at 9:49 PM on March 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


It is midterm time, and that sure looks like a midterm question to me.

It's not a question. It's an essay prompt. It may happen to be a midterm paper, but it's not as though he's cheating or anything. There's no single right answer, it's open-ended. I see no reason why he couldn't discuss his ideas here, and given that he waited until Saturday night a day before it's due, he probably isn't going to get any help from a writing tutor or TA so we may be the best place for him to test ideas

The answers are mostly helpful suggestions for how to think more about the problem.

Finally, we don't even know if this person's school has an honor code. It's not an especially common system. Most schools seem to concern themselves mainly with plaigiarism in final products. But even if this is a person from an honor code school, there's no reason this violates it. I went to a school with an honor code, and talking about paper ideas was certainly not forbidden. You still have to construct the argument, choose the citations, sequence the presentation, and deal with potential critiques. It's not like this student is going to walk away from AskMe with a completed 6-page paper.
posted by Miko at 10:17 PM on March 2, 2013 [13 favorites]


I think learning how to get other people to do your work is a more valuable life skill than whatever that class is teaching. The question should be deleted so it can be reformulated in such a way that will get people to provide answers without getting suspicious. Once the asker can do that, we can be sure they are prepared for a life in middle management. We should all strive to be educators right?
posted by Ad hominem at 11:26 PM on March 2, 2013 [14 favorites]


This is silly. I bet the guy is writing his own paper at this very moment, and for the next several hours.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:27 PM on March 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Since there isn't even a firm policy against the discussion of illegal subjects, as far as academic honor goes I'd expect that we're nearer to the "wretched hive of scum and villany" end of the spectrum. Klingon academics would probably shave their beards in shame if they suffered the dishonor of merely viewing a page on AskMe. (...or maybe that's Dwarven academics, I may be mixing up plot devices.)
posted by XMLicious at 12:56 AM on March 3, 2013


if the student asked for links to evil sites like ezcheat.com, that would be one thing, but I don't see any of that going on there.
posted by angrycat at 4:24 AM on March 3, 2013


If employees can bring work questions that they could ask their co-workers or supervisors to AskMe, there's no reason why students shouldn't be allowed to do the same. Communities exist because there's an inherent value in not going it alone in this world - sometimes you need the guidance of others to help you understand something.

There's a big difference between asking people for their thoughts and asking them to do the work for you. An idea on what to focus on isn't going to get anyone a good grade - you still need to create a coherent argument and back it up with research.

Anyone who doesn't like it doesn't have to answer the question.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 6:05 AM on March 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


What it had been a violation of his honor code if he emailed that question to a bunch of friends?
posted by empath at 6:07 AM on March 3, 2013


I hate these questions, and never respond. I refuse to do someone else's work for them. Forget academic honor codes, whatever happened to learning to trust in your own thought process and writing (or math, which sometimes comes up)?
posted by loriginedumonde at 6:20 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]



... I think learning how to get other people to do your work is a more valuable life skill than whatever that class is teaching. ...

If the answer, but not the process, is the objective, then I would agree. Otherwise, the idea is to learn to construct and argue, not delegate labor. This speaks less to a moral compass than to understanding the task. I guess if graduation, not learning a skill is the prime objective, then you could just print up a copy of the diploma and call it a good day's work. The one way you get to pay somebody to do a job for you, and the other way you get to get paid to do the job. Relevant various on this theme abound.

This guy seemed to be looking for a stroke by the muse, not someone to do the writing for him. He had some good ideas. It would be a poor honor code that was constructed to disallow (that sort of) discussion of his notes. Anyhow, he's late. I need time to let my drafts get cold, so I can tell which of the gems I need to throw out, and some perspective on how to unpurple my metaphors a bit before shoving them into someone's eyeballs.
posted by mule98J at 7:45 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


given that he waited until Saturday night a day before it's due

This would've been me, back in the day. My school had an honor code and this kind of thing would have been perfectly okay; but in those days there was not internet like there's internet now, so this is the kind of question I would've hashed out with my friends from class, in person, while we drank coffee and typed frantically.
posted by rtha at 7:50 AM on March 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


If this was my student, I'd approve of this process. I'm not sure askme should function like a writing center (if people want to spend time doing it, hey go for it), but this is a far cry from doing the poster's work for them. Asking for help thinking though a paper is great and ethical, IMO.
(If this was my student, I'd also encourage them to cite the discussion, but not out of ethics, exactly--but because it makes them look smarter.)
posted by Mngo at 8:41 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Forget academic honor codes, whatever happened to learning to trust in your own thought process and writing (or math, which sometimes comes up)?"

Creating and participating in an academic dialogue and bouncing ideas off of others are crucial to creating that trust and developing your own thought processes.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:56 AM on March 3, 2013 [20 favorites]


I hate these questions, and never respond. I refuse to do someone else's work for them. Forget academic honor codes, whatever happened to learning to trust in your own thought process and writing (or math, which sometimes comes up)?

Do you feel this way about writing or math help centres in university? Tutors? Visiting the professor to get help on an assignment?

Trusting your thought process is great, but as an imperfect human being, occasionally I need a little perspective from someone else to understand something. It's why people read critiques on certain works after reading the work itself - we're not all-knowing beings who can look within to find every answer.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 9:10 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah my take was that the OP was asking "Help me think about this" and got some decent feedback. It's definitely not our job to worry about other schools' honor codes (though we have in the past had people who were doing homework-trawling in a less kosher way and we've had users contact their profs - I'm not coming down on either side of that dispute but it's a thing that happens) and our "Don't have AskMe do your homework for you" is more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule. As with many things, if we felt that AskMe was filling up with homework-type questions or certain users appeared to be asking way too many homework questions, we'd step in. I respect that some people don't want to answer these questions, but we don't have a big issue with people asking them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:43 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the fact that Orinda was able to give an inspiring, organised, conclusive answer without actually filling in any of the OP's blanks or otherwise actual spoon-feeding essay content is a sure sign that this was a legitimate, useful question.
posted by batmonkey at 10:00 AM on March 3, 2013 [11 favorites]


It was my impression that "help me do my homework" type questions are not great for Askme. Is that the case?
posted by two lights above the sea at 10:26 AM on March 3, 2013


That is also my opinion, but I recognize that not everyone shares it.

As others have said, when I see questions that sound a little more homework-y than I'm comfortable with, I don't answer them. When I see questions that seem super-duper more homework-y than I'm comfortable with, I flag them and move on.
posted by box at 10:32 AM on March 3, 2013


'Honor' codes teach students that corruption is essential for success in many aspects of American life, as well as how to practice that corruption:
These are the sorts of calculations many students at Stuyvesant, New York City’s flagship public school, learn to make by the middle of their freshman year: weighing two classes against each other, the possibility of getting an A against the possibility of getting caught, keeping their integrity against making it to a dream college. By the time they graduate, many have internalized a moral and academic math: Copying homework is fine, but cheating on a test is less so; cheating to get by in a required class is more acceptable than cheating on an Advanced Placement exam; anything less than a grade of 85 is “failing”; achieve anything more than a grade-point average of 95, and you might be bound for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or Yale.

In interviews this month, more than three dozen students, alumni and teachers said that large-scale cheating, like an episode in June when 71 juniors were caught exchanging answers to state Regents exams through text messages, was rare at Stuyvesant. But lower-level cheating, they said, occurs every day.
I'd rather Metafilter not participate in the collective delusion that there is anything genuinely honorable about such codes.
posted by jamjam at 10:39 AM on March 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


If the concern is people not doing their own homework, that ship sailed a long time ago. I've personally sat and watched a tenured professor at a good college pretty much dictate a paper over the phone to his son, a student at another college. And as a student, I've had a professor almost write a paper for me out loud when I asked for advice about an assignment for another teacher. In this day and age, it is a small miracle if a college student can write a competent essay. The best thing (in my opinion, and if you are inclined to get involved at all) is to go ahead and help them, but in a way that empowers them to do their own work a little more in the future. Give them tips as to how to work smart rather than flail. There are college professors who will help you out with this-- and high school teachers too. And librarians, and writing coaches. It would be nice if students knew enough to go around finding these people, but a lot of them don't.
posted by BibiRose at 10:57 AM on March 3, 2013


'Honor' codes teach students that corruption is essential for success in many aspects of American life

Nonsense. First, that article takes pains to point out that no honor code was in existence at the school prior to the problems. It says:
Ms. Zhang has promised to alter Stuyvesant’s culture. She announced that all students would have to review and sign an honor policy that promises punishment for those who fail to turn in cheats, as well as for the cheats themselves, students said. Teachers were directed to talk about the policy on academic honesty at the beginning of every class on the first day of school. English teachers were instructed to discuss the policy in depth, emphasizing that students should work to reclaim Stuyvesant’s formerly sterling reputation.
Second, it's not as though these things don't happen in schools without honor codes. They obviously do, since our system is competitive in all the wrong ways and high-stakes.

I appreciated the one at my school and I think it's a good exercise in autonomy and independent decision-making no matter what happens. Honor codes don't prevent cheating - othing can - but they make it clear whose decision it is to cheat and what the community can do if you are caught violating the code. They make it possible to say "we have had this discussion and you've had the opportunity to learn how academic honor is construed here."
posted by Miko at 11:00 AM on March 3, 2013


occasionally I need a little perspective from someone else to understand something. It's why people read critiques on certain works after reading the work itself -

It's also kind of why we read the work in the first place.
posted by stebulus at 11:15 AM on March 3, 2013


And he did read the work.
posted by Miko at 11:23 AM on March 3, 2013


Yes.

If I understand you rightly, Miko, you think I was delivering an oblique criticism of the student in this case, and you are defending him. I was not making such a criticism. My comment was in fact in support of asking questions of others.
posted by stebulus at 11:30 AM on March 3, 2013


I'd rather Metafilter not participate in the collective delusion that there is anything genuinely honorable about such codes.

Since metafilter has a kind of honor code - don't self- or friends-link in an fpp - this seems kind of an odd line to take.
posted by rtha at 11:32 AM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]



Nonsense. First, that article takes pains to point out that no honor code was in existence at the school prior to the problems.
Cheating at Stuyvesant High School - The Lies of the Media
...
Now, the media would have the public believe that the new Interim Acting principal, Jie Zhang, is working with students to create an "honor code" on cell phones and cheating. The honor code was created years ago, before my oldest daughter was accepted in 1999.
...
I'm not saying that a student didnt cheat, but Im saying, the test monitors and honor code are very much in place at Stuyvesant.
posted by jamjam at 11:35 AM on March 3, 2013


My take is I don't care about the enforcing or even acknowledging the potential and possible existence of an honor code or class rules. In this case he'd already answered the question himself and was pretty much only looking for validation. If someone can figure out a way to allow ask.metafilter to actually cheat I'm still fine with it. That one assignment a week you get to cheat on, and only if you can keep people helping. What are you going to do with the rest of your work and how can you keep askme mechanical turking your homework without pissing people off?

He's not asking how to commit bank fraud here.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:49 PM on March 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dear Ask Metafilter,

I am looking for examples of publicly traded companies that will be announcing greater than expected earnings, does anyone know of any such companies?

Bonus Question: Any companies that will be announcing layoffs, mergers or large acquisitions are also helpful.

Please hope me!
posted by Ad hominem at 2:05 PM on March 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Cheating at Stuyvesant High School - The Lies of the Media

Maybe, jamjam, as if some random thing at some other school matters, but I have to caution that if you want me to believe anything in this world, you're going to need to offwe a far better source than a ranty, poorly written blog.
posted by Miko at 3:30 PM on March 3, 2013


> Yeah my take was that the OP was asking "Help me think about this" and got some decent feedback.

As a former lit major, this was my absolutely my take as well. What the OP is getting is not answers to an assignment, it's feedback on possible ways to think through how to do the assignment, it has nothing to do with any honors code.
posted by desuetude at 4:46 PM on March 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Lazypants should have just searched it online
posted by Renoroc at 8:05 PM on March 3, 2013


whatever happened to learning to trust in your own thought process and writing (or math, which sometimes comes up)?

I often wish my students had a bit less trust in their thought processes.
posted by medusa at 8:57 PM on March 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


The question, as phrased, seems almost identical to conversations I had with other students when I was trying to write essays as an undergrad. I don't see any links to the OP's honor code, so I don't know if it violates it somehow, but the question seems pretty reasonable to me.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:04 PM on March 3, 2013


Nonsense. First, that article takes pains to point out that no honor code was in existence at the school prior to the problems. It says:

Ms. Zhang has promised to alter Stuyvesant’s culture. She announced that all students would have to review and sign an honor policy that promises punishment for those who fail to turn in cheats, as well as for the cheats themselves, students said. Teachers were directed to talk about the policy on academic honesty at the beginning of every class on the first day of school. English teachers were instructed to discuss the policy in depth, emphasizing that students should work to reclaim Stuyvesant’s formerly sterling reputation.

In the first place, Miko, I think you're misreading this final paragraph of the NYT article I linked in my first comment: "She announced that all students would have to review and sign an honor policy that promises punishment for those who fail to turn in cheats, as well as for the cheats themselves, students said" does not necessarily mean no prior honor code was in place, it only means that there will be an honor policy in place with new features such as that students will have to review and sign it, and that this code will punish those who fail to turn in cheaters as well as the cheaters themselves-- although I do think the blogger I quoted in my second comment makes the same mistake you did-- and don't you think just on general grounds that it would be very surprising for a school as prestigious and storied as Stuyvesant ("four Nobel laureates") not to already have had an honor code by this late date?

Maybe, jamjam, as if some random thing at some other school matters, but I have to caution that if you want me to believe anything in this world, you're going to need to offwe a far better source than a ranty, poorly written blog.

And I can't quite make out what you mean by "as if some random thing at some other school matters"; the NYT, the blogger I quote, you, and I are all talking about Stuyvesant, are we not?-- and may I take it that you did happen to notice that the "ranty" blogger is the mother of a Stuyvesant student who entered in 1998, and as such might be expected to know whether or not there was an honor code in place there to which her daughter was expected to conform?
posted by jamjam at 9:45 PM on March 3, 2013


'Honor' codes teach students that corruption is essential for success in many aspects of American life, as well as how to practice that corruption:

This really has nothing to do whatsoever with the existence or non-existence of an "honor code." Cheating is against the rules at all schools.

"Honor codes" mean, basically, that the faculty trusts the students to take an exam up to the library for 2 hours and return it without cheating, even though no one was looking over their shoulder. Ie, basically putting the burden on the students, not the teachers, to make sure that no cheating was done.

This AskMe was someone who wasn't paying attention in class, didn't speak with his TA about the topic in all the time leading up to it, and didn't have any friends in class to bounce ideas off. Then he phrased the question poorly, which was a bit too close to "do my homework for me," which was a symptom of the fact that he didn't think about the topic long enough in order to coherently phrase a question about it. Finally, Post-Colonial theory: blech.

It may well be a violation of his school's unique and idiosyncratic honor code, if they have such a thing and if their standards for this sort of assignment specifically proscribe what he's doing. But the entire point is that the burden is on him to follow it and interpret it, not for us or the teachers to prevent him from making those decisions in the first place.
posted by deanc at 4:28 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Honor codes foster cheating by putting most of the responsibility and all of the blame for cheating on students, and thereby allow faculty to blithely make insuperable demands on students time and attention, and set virtually unmeetable standards for student performance-- which is precisely what happened at Stuyvesant.

And worse, by encouraging faculty and administration obliviousness to what students are actually doing because it's the student's responsibility, after all, they set up a system where cheating develops almost irresistible positive feedback in a highly competitive school, because as soon as one student cheats and rises, everyone else has to follow suit or lose their chances, making the odd student with unshakable integrity who refuses to cheat a failure-- and a pariah-- and making the students who cheated reluctantly in order to survive view themselves as secret cheaters for the rest of their lives, with social consequences such as we are seeing play out on Wall Street right now.
posted by jamjam at 9:47 AM on March 4, 2013


> This AskMe was someone who wasn't paying attention in class, didn't speak with his TA about the topic in all the time leading up to it, and didn't have any friends in class to bounce ideas off. Then he phrased the question poorly, which was a bit too close to "do my homework for me," which was a symptom of the fact that he didn't think about the topic long enough in order to coherently phrase a question about it. Finally, Post-Colonial theory: blech.

That's a whole big scenario of assumptions you've got there. How do you know that the OP wasn't paying attention in class? Or that the class has a TA? Or that the OP didn't try to bounce his ideas off of friends first? Or that perhaps he shares your blech opinion of post-Colonial theory and this is why he had difficulty with the prompt?

He asked a not-fantastically phrased question that others were nevertheless able to parse well enough to give appropriate, ethical, and constructive feedback.
posted by desuetude at 11:24 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Honor codes foster cheating by putting most of the responsibility and all of the blame for cheating on students, and thereby allow faculty to blithely make insuperable demands on students time and attention

Every single school every place has rules against cheating and cheating always has significant academic and disciplinary consequences. I have no idea why this is so controversial or why you consider this unusual.

If anything can be said against honor codes, it's that it is probably not scalable to a large-sized community when the stakes are so high (colleges are comparably large but there is much less incentive to cheat). But the idea is simply that at some point, students have to be taught to act honestly without supervision.
posted by deanc at 12:19 PM on March 4, 2013


That's a whole big scenario of assumptions you've got there.

They were rather natural conclusions from the format of the question.

"Post-Colonial theory: blech" was an expression of my personal distaste for the topic, outside of the ridiculousness of using AskMe for homework help.
posted by deanc at 12:21 PM on March 4, 2013


Honor codes foster cheating by putting most of the responsibility and all of the blame for cheating on students, and thereby allow faculty to blithely make insuperable demands on students time and attention.

Not all honor codes do this. When I was an undergrad at Stanford, the honor code there specifically had rules for faculty to follow (e.g. take home exams were supposed to be open-resource, and faculty couldn't give the students the exam for longer than they were allowed to work on it).

In other news, blaming the students for not accessing resources on their own campus isn't a grand idea. Better to tell them the resources exist, or simply pass the question by if you're too cut up about it.
posted by nat at 3:22 PM on March 4, 2013


And I can't quite make out what you mean by "as if some random thing at some other school matters"; the NYT, the blogger I quote, you, and I are all talking about Stuyvesant, are we not

You and the blogger are, but the AskMe OP definitely was not. None of us were talking about it until you brought up a totally unrelated school where nothing in the question was happening. It is pretty tangential.

-- and may I take it that you did happen to notice that the "ranty" blogger is the mother of a Stuyvesant student who entered in 1998, and as such might be expected to know whether or not there was an honor code in place there to which her daughter was expected to conform?

I did notice - I researched her - and yes, a lot of her POV seems to grow from a set of personal and professional grievances with the NYC system generally and this school specifically, which is a bi part of the reason she's clearly not an independent, reliable source.

allow faculty to blithely make insuperable demands on students time and attention, and set virtually unmeetable standards for student performance

Eh, I went to a college with an honor code, graduated Dean's List, and didn't find standards "unmeetable." Hard school is hard.

As nat says, it may be that there need to be structures in place for how to construct self-proctored exams, but that's not a hard thing to do; structures are in place for other kinds of exams too. Since college curricula are generally getting easier, not harder, this just doesn't seem like a concerning trend on campus.

It's also true that whether or not there's an honor code, there are still, appropriately, punishments for instances of identified cheating. An honor code just describes how the punishment happens.

And worse, by encouraging faculty and administration obliviousness to what students are actually doin... they set up a system where cheating develops almost irresistible positive feedbackw

I would guess you're coming from a personal bad experience here because of the degree of resentment you're bearing toward these systems. So I'm sorry you had a bad experience. But I really can't agree that there's a clear chain of direct causation between formal honor codes at schools and Wall Street corruption. If anything they are both reflections of the interactions of class, meritocratic intent, and the pervasive corruption of American institutional cultures, but one doesn't cause the other.

It's hard for me to feel sorry for students "who cheated reluctantly" and students who felt that "everyone has to follow suit." Since we're speaking of honorable behavior, it's fair to note that these aren't things you generally find on the list. The purpose of an honor code is to communicate that these are your decisions to make, that integrity is your responsibility. Sometimes it's tough being a "pariah," but don't know anyone who's ever been forced to cheat. Tempted, yes. Forced, no.

Cheating is found pretty evenly across academia, whether there's a clearly presented code in place or not. All faculty I know are murder on cheaters and plagiarizers, and still, everyone has a story.

Anyway, my main point was that you were leaping from a discussion about a paper that didn't even mention an honor code to a total condemnation of all honor codes, with some links that didn't have anything, really, to do with the AskMe. So it was just a little strange .
posted by Miko at 8:19 PM on March 4, 2013


> They were rather natural conclusions from the format of the question.

And then I posed some natural questions about your natural conclusions...
posted by desuetude at 9:49 AM on March 5, 2013


I would guess you're coming from a personal bad experience here because of the degree of resentment you're bearing toward these systems. So I'm sorry you had a bad experience.

I, on the other hand, might have guessed you would not resort to even such a characteristically subtle and roundabout ad hominem when pressed, but on the principle that it's better to know than have to guess, allow me to return the favor: no school I attended had an honor code I was aware of.

However, I knew a couple of kids who went to the Air Force Academy, and if you wish to preserve your conviction that a strict honor code combined with an extremely demanding curriculum is not an infallible recipe for corruption, it's best to avoid graduates of the service academies.
posted by jamjam at 12:25 PM on March 6, 2013


You've also almost certainly met or know people who went to schools with honor codes who are not duplicitous douchebags.

But if we're gonna go all anecdata, I went to a school with an honor code and I did not witness any cheating. I'm certain it happened, because students, but I never saw it myself and did not cheat.
posted by rtha at 12:41 PM on March 6, 2013


You've also almost certainly met or know people who went to schools with honor codes who are not duplicitous douchebags.

And you almost certainly met or know people who went to schools with no explicit honor codes who cheated on something at some time during their education.

It's neither here nor there.

And the military academies have a ranking structure that is totally unlike anything at a private college, and if you want to point a finger at what creates a culture of vicious competition, let's start there and not with the honor code. It really matters where you place in your class ranking at West Point. At Small Liberal Arts College, not so much.

It was worth a guess, because you seem really exercised about the issue in the way I've only ever seen people who were bruised by going through a problem with the honor system. It's true that facing an honor board is excruciating.
posted by Miko at 1:06 PM on March 6, 2013


. It really matters where you place in your class ranking at West Point. At Small Liberal Arts College, not so much.

Similarly, my honor-code-centered high school did not calculate class rank, so variations of a few points didn't matter. But even more to the point, I went to a college known for its academic difficulty without a formal honor code, and the environment was actually similar: the expectation that the professors could send you down to the library to take an exam without cheating and that you weren't going to plagiarize your work because you should know not to do that. (I once totally forgot about an exam, and the professor just let me take it a couple days later) This was possibly because there was a culture of being expected not to cheat in the first place.

The AFA has had a problem for decades with cheating. Given the number of schools that have an honor code that don't have this problem, and given the fact that the AFA is the service academy with the most persistent issue with academic honesty while others have less of a problem, I wouldn't go blaming the honor code in particular. Maybe the AFA, for reasons of academic culture or the composition of the student body, can't handle the obligations of its honor code. Maybe other academic environments are more suited to it, and the existence of them raises your hackles. I wouldn't blame the honor code for that.
posted by deanc at 5:43 AM on March 7, 2013


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