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Today, at least three times essentially the same question about ideals in a polynomial ring $R[x]$ has been asked by three different users (first instance is the initial steps); same notation, even.

  1. First instance.
  2. Second instance.
  3. Third instance.

This seems too much of a coincidence. Could this be someone’s exam? Are the three accounts from a similar geographic region?


Third instance was deleted by the author about 15 minutes after I posted this question. If you have high enough reputation it should be visible.


One of the users has admitted that this is part of “an assignment”.

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    $\begingroup$ From the writing style, it seems very likely the first and third are the same person. $\endgroup$ – Eric Wofsey Dec 10 '20 at 1:25
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    $\begingroup$ @EricWofsey: In which case, moderators should step in... presumably they can look at IP addresses, etc. $\endgroup$ – Arturo Magidin Dec 10 '20 at 1:44
  • $\begingroup$ Just to make it clear: if your reputation is over 10 000, you will be able to view the deleted posts. $\endgroup$ – Toby Mak Dec 10 '20 at 8:23
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    $\begingroup$ Arturo, same here: First instance, Second instance, Third instance. I just found out about the third one using the MathSE search. Have flagged. $\endgroup$ – TheSimpliFire Dec 10 '20 at 8:59
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    $\begingroup$ I've just shared this thread with all the math faculty at my school. I would suggest that anyone who spots other suspicious questions leave links here, so we can have one page to point faculty to. $\endgroup$ – David E Speyer Dec 11 '20 at 14:52
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    $\begingroup$ In case the professor from the first question shows up here, they should be aware that it is asked and answered on Chegg chegg.com/homework-help/questions-and-answers/… $\endgroup$ – David E Speyer Dec 11 '20 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ FYI, the comment that admitted about part of an assignment has been deleted (but mods can still see it) $\endgroup$ – Andrew T. Dec 13 '20 at 12:12
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    $\begingroup$ My "favourite" example of this occurred a few years ago. The question body consisted of a low quality phone photo of the question on the exam paper, including the OP's name written at the top of the page, with virtually no accompanying text, apart from a plea for help, ASAP. :rolls eyes: $\endgroup$ – PM 2Ring Dec 13 '20 at 13:05
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks mods for handling both situations. $\endgroup$ – TheSimpliFire Dec 13 '20 at 16:12
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    $\begingroup$ One time in grad school, someone posted a final exam problem on MSE. I found it while searching for some information to help better my understanding. I almost wrote, "nice try, fellow MATH 777 (or whatever) student" but decided against it. Professor found out and boy was it awkward. Everyone got interviewed about it... $\endgroup$ – Cameron Williams Dec 15 '20 at 15:05
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    $\begingroup$ I believe there should be an option for which a user or the OP can delete their answer/question after getting approval from moderators for a valid justification. $\endgroup$ – xX A C E Xx Dec 18 '20 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ @GAUSS1860, users can delete their questions and answers with no approval needed (although I think that deleting questions can only be done before people answer). $\endgroup$ – LSpice Dec 22 '20 at 20:21
  • $\begingroup$ I am aware of that, I gave my opinion that this should happen if and only if the moderator accepts that. Furthermore, I believe that after the exam, the professor should interview each student and those who cheated will definitely be caught $\endgroup$ – xX A C E Xx Dec 22 '20 at 20:29

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