How to prevent students from using modified calculators to cheat on exams?

We had a (now-deleted) answer to this question that was at +28 with the author requesting that it be un-accepted so he could delete it. On the other hand, the comments explaining how it was bad had been upvoted to the fifties.

This is not the behavior voting should result in. The answer was known bad, and yet yielding upvotes, but the votes in the comments were logically outweighing the votes in the answer showing its badness. But the answer downvotes didn't come.

What have we done wrong?

Two answers; both miss the point. There is no problem with deleting the answer. There is no problem taking awhile in identifying the answer was bad. There's an obvious problem when the comments on why the answer was bad got more upvotes than the answer ever did and the answer is still net highly upvoted.

  • I'm not sure what you mean by "what have we done wrong?"
    – aeismail
    Nov 27, 2017 at 17:35
  • 2
    @aeismail: That answer should have been sitting in the negatives, not at +28. It was deleted with a really high score.
    – Joshua
    Nov 27, 2017 at 17:40

3 Answers 3


First note that the answer in question has 51 upvotes and 23 downvotes right now. So there is a considerable amount of downvotes already.

The main reason for the discrepancy between downvotes and comment upvotes is probably this:

  • Downvoting requires 125 reputation; upvoting requires only 15. So there are just more users who can upvote a comment than who can downvote the question.

  • As of this writing, the question is a hot network question. It’s safe to assume that most of its ten thousand visitors come from other sites of the network and thus have 101 reputation (from the association bonus). Therefore they can only upvote and not downvote.

  • 7
    "Hot Network Question" ruins everything.
    – Fomite
    Jan 1, 2018 at 1:53

At the beginning, the author of the answer thought it was a good idea (of course he did). Many other people probably thought along the same lines.

Once the possible flaws have been pointed out, some people might still have thought that it was a good idea nonetheless; others might simply haven't come back to the answer to rethink about it; and those who wanted to cancel or revert their upvote would have found the vote locked until the next edit.

I don't think we did anything wrong, after all.


The answer was deleted at the answerer's request:

Update: after further thoughts I agree with the downvoters that this is not a great idea. This is probably not a workable answer in practice. I would no longer recommend it, though I cannot delete it, since it is the accepted answer.

As for why the question wasn't "rated" lower—I think the kernel of a good idea was there (not using your own calculator), but the execution wasn't right. So it's not necessarily worth downvoting to oblivion, but it probably shouldn't have been the accepted answer, either.

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