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Should people really be giving out answers? (Yes, I would hope to have an answer for this)

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If you want to help people then the answer is yes but the real question is how to answer? by giving only answers or answers + explanation ? Me, I would love to add explanation but only for who wants to learn I'm not going to waste my time answering questions with explanations for who don't want to learn and people sometimes only want to check their answers so it pretty hard to know what's going on on the other side.
I feel that we should be fostering an environment for learning. Just ging the answer does not facilitate that. I always try to give explanation with the answer or often in lieu of the answer. However, there are times when the answer only is appropriate, checking answer being just one of those cases. However, the onus is on the asker to let me know they are checking their answers. Otherwise I assume that they are here to learn and better understand what they are working on. I do understand that there are many who come here, just looking for the quick answer or for others to do their work for them, but I do not participate in this. Not only are they cheating on their homework, they are cheating themselves out of an education. In addition, by giving an explanation with your answer you often (not always) stem the further similar questions (Is blue and adjective or adverb? ... Is quickly and adjective or an adverb? ... Is solely an adjective or and adverb? ... etc.
If you know someone is cheating, I would do 1 of the two things depending on how I feel: (A) Not answer any of their questions (B) Force them to answer questions that will lead them to the answer for the bigger question (aka their question) And hopefully they don't get mad and abusive. If they get mad and abusive please report abuse on them, so a moderator can come by and hopefully correct their actions (and if not there are other things that can be done) Just make sure you are being polite and helpful to them. It is my opinion it is up the community to not cheat. It is up to the "asker" to be honest, but it also up to others to be great role-models and not just give answers and not help them cheat. I personally don't like when someone just gives an answer but this is not abusive. It is up to someone else to come behind them and supply an explanation (hopefully the "asker" stuck around). You really can't stop cheating. It is gonna happen anywhere and everywhere. It would be nice if no one cheated, but that is in "make-believe world".

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And no this doesn't mean I approve of cheating. I dislike dishonesty.
That's my point and is why I almost always provide an explanation with my answer. I tend to avoid giving the answer if it's possible. Often I make up a similar question and answer that instead of answering their question so that they at least have to go through the process of solving their own problem or question.
I really feel like they would get mad and abusive if I tried to help (not give them answers but just try to help) if they really are here to just get answers.
Well that's on them. There is no need to get abusive to someone who is trying to help you and it is against the CoC. I have not had anybody get abusive with me for providing explanation . . . yet. But if someone did I would simply remind them that I am trying to help. It seems like that would usually defuse the situation, at least it work in the real world.
myin you said: "I personally don't like when someone just gives an answer but this is not abusive." It is abusive to the rest of the community because it perpetuates the asking of "cheating" questions which causes legitimate questions to receive a diminished amount of support because people are either spending their limited amount of time helping someone who doesn't want it or they never see the question in the first place because its been driven down the list by "leeches". Also while cheating will of course happen no matter what that is no reason to not stop it when you can if its hurting others. I'm happy to be wrong here just would like to know why I'm wrong. Maybe its a simple as there is no reduction in the amount of support given to honest questions. And that medals don't matter (cheating facilitators inevitably receive medals for their efforts)
Sometimes it i also hard to know when one is cheating. Maybe they are just checking their answers. Like I said I don't help others cheat. I give explanations. For people who are not getting help they can post a link in the chats to get more attention for their problem.
It is up to the community to explain things and not just give answers.
If someone is checking their answers they could/would say, 2+2 = 5? (that is, they would provide their answer that they want checked!) and we would say no, try again! :) . or no, thats incorrect, how/why did you come up with that answer/show your work and we'll see where you are going wrong. Also, if people are truly just checking their answers (not in the way I described they might but in a way that was unclear if they were "cheating" or not) wouldn't they just sub in the "one-word" answers some people provide thereby giving their teacher the faulty idea that they have full comprehension of the subject (they would ask for further clarification of the one-word answer if they truly wanted to fix their faulty understanding that caused them to get the question wrong)? Which would also deprive the teacher of a means of not only identifying where a student needs help but where their own teaching might be faltering and could use some type of enhancement?
And since, as you say, its up to the community to explain things and not just give answers, what is to be done when members of the community don't do this? how do we communicate to them that they need to explain things and not do peoples homework?
I agree with Dgo. His point of view are clear on what I am trying to express.
I think the reason I'm kind of fervent about this topic is I think that its possible that the number one cause of problems in the world(!!!) is that people don't learn/aren't taught to think for themselves.
Not to mention some people helping them on cheating. I saw one poster, actually post the test he was taking (No idea how) and people actually gave him answers. Pists me off..
The main thing is that we (the leaders and good answerers) need to lead by example. that is how we communicate how we feel things should be done. Not every one will get the hint, but those that really want real help and those that share our viewpoint will. AND many that are not one way other other will fall into line when they see respected members of the community responding in this way.
So no consequences for bad answers(rewarding and perpetuating mindlessness)?
I don't see the need. It will discourage others, especially new users from adding or providing their input. The longer users frequent the sight, the more they will try to emulate the best answerers. That is part of human nature. We desire to be like and be accepted as peers be the groups we keep. Causal users and those just showing up for the answers are not going to care, but frequent users and those that truly want to help are going to try to answer like the people they see giving good answers.
jagatuba, how do you define "the best answerers"? I ask this because it is possible to accrue many, many points here without actually generating dialog with those who ask questions or provide insight into the solutions provided. (In fact points can be gained by answering questions which are obviously copy/pasted from a graded assessment.) I guess my question is -- what role do "points" play in determining who is/is not among the best?
The word best is rather subjective, but what I mean by best is not related to points, levels, or rank. What I mean is the people that put up the best responses to questions. The thorough answers. The ones that actually teach something. The ones where the asker and others in the thread express that it is a good answer rather than just supplying a medal. The answers that show a true understanding of the topic under discussion. Those that supply these types of answers are the best answerers in my eyes.
jagatuba -- agreed 100% on your definition of best. :) Very well articulated!
You will see jag in the writing group often. :)
Most of the time when it's busy there (which is not enough IMO).
I'm with jag. And what drives me crazy is when I spend time on an answer that attempts to provide the background for the student to figure out the answer on his/her own, or that asks preliminary questions as a prompt, and then someone comes along after me and simply posts the (typically) single-letter answer, thereby completely obliterating the work I've just done, and completely shutting down the conversation. I wish the moderators would issue warnings to people who do this.
I agreed Redwood you have some theory and logic there. The whole purpose of why I opened this question.
I suppose if you are hanging out there and someone does that you could just delete it. Don't know how that would fly, but... Of course you could only do that when you are the group mod.
Well, no, I wouldn't want to take that upon myself, even if it were possible. (Which I don't think it is.) Something like that would have to fall to the moderators, and would have to be (I would think) handled in the same way consistently across the groups. I don't see that happening, based on the responses in similar discussions that I've seen from the folks who I take to be the site creators and managers. The feeling seems to be, lead and others will follow. That may be true to an extent, but I'm betting that a lot of those who offer up the quick and ready answer are other kids. I don't see that kind of behavior changing easily. I've never responded by saying anything to the people doing this either. I'm relatively new here and haven't felt that was my place. A public note to that effect, right there in the discussion, I don't think is the right approach anyway. That's something you'd want to take up with individuals directly and in private.
It is possible, but that's what I meant by I didn't think it would fly.
I'm able to delete the responses of others in a discussion? I see the red "Delete" option next to my own responses, and I wouldn't want it any other way! What madness if people could just delete anyone else's responses!
You can when you are the top ranked user in the group.
Ahhhhhh. Well, luckily I have not had that honor!
Anyway, I don't think that's the answer.
In fact, when this is the case, it's sort of your responsibility to help the moderators moderate the group. If a mod is not in there paying attention and someone puts something inappropriate you should go ahead and delete it. Hang on a sec.
You should now have the honor.
Well, inappropriate in what way? If there were something offensive or abusive, that would be another matter.
Um, what, are you granting me powers?
Yes. Anything against the CoC.
Go to the writing group and you are now the top ranked user.
But is simply supplying the answer against the code? I had thought not. I think it's *wrong*, but in the sense in which you spoke of it as wrong. It shortchanges the student. Sometimes, of course, this is exactly what a particular student is looking for.
You now have the ability to delete any question and any responses and any chat messages in that group.
Oh, wow, what a revelation! But unless I saw something really ugly, something that ought not to be there, I would never want to delete someone else's response in a discussion.
no it is not. I was speaking of other tasks like keeping the group tidy and friendly. I figured we agreed that deleting answer was no good, so I dropped it.
I have deleted not relative questions and responses to keep the group tidy so we don't have chat in the question answer area and letting others know to post math in the math group. Once those questions and my response has been up for a while I delete it as it is not relevant to writing.
There was another time that there was a user trolling in the chat and wouldn't stop after several times so I kicked him.
That's a good point. I'd have to be around a little while longer to venture that though. And any of us doing that would have to be on the same page, as I imagine all you moderators are. I'll keep it in mind though. I've mentioned to folks posting questions in the wrong group that those questions are in the wrong group, but nothing more than that.
After that is up for a while, go ahead and delete it. especially if nobody has even responded to it.
Okay, I'll do that then. Next time if happens.
Making inappropriate comments to provoke a response.
Ah. And here I know that term only in the sense of looking! Adopted from its use in fishing.
It's similar. Trolls fish for other people to respond to them so that they can disrupt the discussion.
Nice guys.
one of my pet peeves.
You guys rock, thanks for all your thoughtful discussion. I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that there will be no consequences nor official preventive measures for homework leeches and facilitators. And as long as its not hurting the honest q's and a's then I'm ok with it I guess
It's hard, I know! I'm right there with you. :(
I'm getting the idea that we're to be encouraging the right approach and helping to develop that culture of study and discussion that we want to see here. And that *may* work over time. I am not quite so optimistic as some on that score. But I can get with the program, if this is to be the approach.
Yeah me too. Just try to turn the situation around if you can. That's what I meant by leading by example. If someone does post an answer. Elaborate on it. I know that you often do this RW. This shows a) that the poster's answer was in adequate for thorough understanding and b) that you care enough to be sure that askers are learning what they need so that they don't need help with the same thing over and over.
This site is what the users make it. I feel that we are probably in the minority of users with this viewpoint, However, we are the top-ranked users and that does carry some weight.
Yeah, I try. Just because I like it so much. I dabbled a little in teaching, and I quite liked it. Well, I liked working with the students who wanted to learn! Whether they were on top of the material or not. It's the apathetic I have trouble with. How do you reach them? Goes beyond what one person can do, sometimes.
And there are some students out there who do appreciate the discussion. That's always so great to see and to be a part of!
Yeah, learning (real learning) is something that has to start from within. You can "preach" all you want about any subject, but if the student does not want to learn, they won't and there is pretty much nothing you can do but try to encourage them.
That is so very true.
Well, stimulating discussion, as always. Congrats too, jag, on your advancement. I spotted it earlier in the day, when I popped on for a moment. You were a perfect moderator already, as well as a subject matter expert. It's good to see you have the title now too. Time for me to get back to work . . .
We can also help by rewarding those who ask thought provoking questions, when we see that they wish to gain a greater understanding of the issues under discussion - especially if they come back and have that discussion to show their willingness to learn.
Yes I always do this. Good suggestion.
Hey guys, loved reading all this, and I'll be going through the rest of the feedback shortly. You have all made completely valid points, and the cheating issue is one that we've discussed at length among the OS team. We're working on some things in the back room that will hopefully help those users that give good answers and explanations and users who ask good questions and are in it for learning, not answers. While it is not a warning offense, unless the question is repeated by the same user (or deleted then added), or an inappropriate question, the suggestions I've seen here are definitely the way to go. At the end of the day, you can always choose not to answer. That's what I tend to do if the user posts multiple questions about the same thing (or it's clear it's for a test). If you notice a question is answered incorrectly, you can choose to correct the user or you can leave it and hope they learn from their mistakes.

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