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instead of referring certain OPs to math.stackexchange we would suggest that they drop their math courses for PE courses.
The ones I would suggest that are those that I doubt take any math courses to begin with...
How do you drop an empty set?
Thanks, Will. Gerry's request is very reasonable and well worth repeating.
@markvs: I can assure you that there is a lot of junk on MSE. I sometimes feel a bit bad that the dominating tag is [homework], alas it is not all bad. There are many interesting questions and many wonderful answers as well.
@markvs: When I have office hours and students come and ask for my help solving homework questions, I show them how to solve one of the questions and we review the solution. Do you object to open hours? Do you object to answering questions in class or exercise lessons?
Writing a complete and detailed solution to one problem with explanation on how the method works can have much better results. I agree that students need to learn how to tackle problems on their own, however you must have some basic tools in order to tackle problems. Sadly, not all teachers are that great and some students really fail to learn from their teachers. In that aspect I find that helping other students - even in their homework - can be very useful for their development.
So asking my friends for help is illegal? Interesting life you have there in the USA.
If I were told that as a mathematician I will not be allowed to ask other mathematicians, consult the internet, books, or other people in general I would probably quit now and find something else to do.
I understand that this is how the system in the USA works, but you have to remember that a lot of the users on the internet are not from the USA, and are not signed on this strange "honors code" which disallow discussions like that. If people respect the honors code, then surely most of the student asking homework questions are not those signed on this paper to begin with.
Lastly, I should point out, people that cheat and fail tackling problems are not likely to become competent mathematicians, and will likely fail or retire from mathematics eventually. People that enjoy mathematics, even if they do get the solutions given to them, will sit to understand them on their own. How different is that from finding the solution in a book or a journal?
(Yes, I am well aware - from my own experience as well - to the vast difference between reading through an endless pile of books and asking someone, even your professor, for help. However if you wish to learn you will learn. The powers of curiosity are amazing.)
@Will: Maybe no one can do it because his question does not violate any homework related rules? :-)
Yemon's question looks to me a good one for MO.
I just heard from someone affected that it is now the second year in a row that an idiot in the honors intro sequence (295-296 + 395-396) at Michigan posted take-home exam questions on math.SE, thereby invalidating the results of the exam and forcing all of the other students to take a quickly-thrown-together in-class exam. It is a very serious problem, but since math.SE is not run by people in the mathematical community (and is also home to many people who are willing to do other people's homework problems in order to get points), it doesn't seem like there's any sort of obvious answer. We could try to petition stackexchange and ask them to crack down on cheating, but I can't imagine we'll have too much success.
Harry, I saw on the deleted list several closed and deleted questions which someone pointed out were from the said exam.
I can assure you that as soon as the moderators see these things they get deleted, and if they don't see them fast enough the 20k users (which are capable deleting closed posts immediately without a day+ waiting period) usually do that.
You are wrong to say, by the way, that math.SE is not "run by people in the mathematical community". It is true that the software and the servers are maintained by the SE guys, but the moderators of the site are two "fully licensed" mathematicians and two mathematics students (there should be another moderators election soon). All of which are also MO users by the way. No one supports cheating on math.SE, the fact that people are willing to help with a homework problem is a whole other thing. When a user is found to be using math.SE for cheating in take-home exams (which is a whole other thing compared to asking a homework question) they are almost always banned (I cannot recall a time when they weren't).
Dishonest people existed long before the internet and math.SE (or MO for that matter), and they will continue to exist long long after the internet will collapse and we will resort to carrier pigeons sending binary strings across vast distances again. Had the said student used a different forum? IRC chats? Usenet? went to a different university and asked a professor there? How would that be any different?
If anything the fact that the student used math.SE made it visible and easier to know that someone has been cheating.
@Will: I was lurking here on meta, which is how I saw that question.
My thanks to Will for bringing up the question (I think this is the second time he has done this, and the second time that someone reading on meta has provided a solution) and for promoting it. Thanks also to George for the solution, which I will try to read later once my sleep-deprived brain has rebooted. Several other inequalities in Rider's paper also have a probabilistic feel, so I think George's argument is very likely to be more or less what the author had in mind.
I can't claim any "unfortunate sense of propriety" as I was really following the example set by Matt Daws, cf. this question. To be fair, I had intended to move the question over here in the next few days if no solution turned up on MSE. But thanks for the moral flattery :)
Nice argument, George.
@Harry, someone does some stupid in Michigan and it magically becomes the responsability of people who did not even know about the existence of the exam?
If someone asks me a question, I will do my best to answer. And this on MO, math.SE, the bar at my university, #math, &c. If they should not have been asking it, it is their problem.
Back to my original post. Someone asked recently
If $A$ and $B$ are bounded non empty subsets of the reals, is glb$(A)\le$ glb(B)$? Upon prompting, the OP agreed that the question should have also said that $A$ is a subset of $B$.
A MO member (OK, a student) suggested posting in on SE.
If they should not have been asking it, it is their problem.
Actually, no. It seems like it would be the problem of the poor sod who went to the trouble of writing an exam.
@Mariano: Come back to irc, we miss you dearly.
@Mike, I agree with deane.yang on this. Perhaps the new academia.SE site will be a good place to discuss that (although SE sites are never a good place to discuss something...)
@Mike3: At all of those schools (or at least the vast majority of them) a student CAN get competence by doing the work assigned, and asking the professor for help if needed. Let us imagine a history course. One student gets his term paper from the internet, and passes the course, but gets no competence. A second student writes his own term paper (asking the professor for help in finding references to use) and DOES get competence. But of course all the work on the term paper cuts down on his PARTY TIME, which is more important!!! On the other side, investigating term papers for plagiarism would cut down on the professor's RESEARCH TIME, which is more important!!!
But, as noted, this type of discussion probably belongs elsewhere...