Stealing code in College

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#1 Apokio   User is offline

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Stealing code in College

Post icon  Posted 29 June 2010 - 12:04 PM

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So, I am sure this has been discussed before but I didn't see a thread on the first page and I didn't want to necro-post. So here goes.

I attended Univesity of Phoenix Online and I am currently in my Second Java course that requires us to create a program with a GUI. Earlier this week I was reading answers to our discussion questions and one of the questions was: What do you like about Java, and what are you struggling with? Well anyway I noticed one of the answers looked like it was taken from a report or something so I copied a line and googled it. Sure enough it was posted word for word on a webiste. Does someone really need to copy and paste for a question like that? NO.

So the week went on and I finished my program and I have to post my source for my team to review so we can Quaility Control each others code. Then today I am clearing out unread posts and I see that a guy on another team has files named exactly the same as mine. I open them up and he just downloaded my files changed the name to his and posted them for his team. I am sure he also turned them into the instructor. I was pissed, and resisted the urge to just post there asking WTF, and I emailed the instructor. The instructor said he would follow up, so hopefully he does something about it.

Has anyone else ever had this happen? Java isn't that freaking hard and if you work on it and follow examples you can work your way through it even if you don't understand everything that is going on in the code right away. I understand we are all there to learn but at least put effort to change variable names and change the comments and the header. Anyway, my rant is over and I feel a little better now.

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Replies To: Stealing code in College

#2 JackOfAllTrades   User is offline

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Re: Stealing code in College

Posted 29 June 2010 - 12:12 PM

There is a very large subset of people for whom this is the standard method of operation. Many of them come here looking to do just what you mention.

Long discussion here.
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#3 Bacanze   User is offline

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Re: Stealing code in College

Posted 29 June 2010 - 12:15 PM

Yeah that would really piss me off too. I've never really had a problem with people copying my work, simply because they have never been given the opportunity to do so :smile2:

I know people who have and its simply down to they don't put enough effort into it. It's really silly as there getting a degree(in my case) and barely have a clue how to do anything, oh well the more job opportunities for me I guess :bigsmile:
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#4 xclite   User is offline

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Re: Stealing code in College

Posted 29 June 2010 - 12:15 PM

I TA some courses - it inevitably happens every year, no matter where you go. It's not so widespread that it depresses me, but I'd be quite upset if it ever happened to me.
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#5 Salem_c   User is offline

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Re: Stealing code in College

Posted 29 June 2010 - 12:33 PM

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Bust their ass ASAP.

Everyone else in the class will benefit without one useless dead weight holding everyone back.

Nor will some future employer have to deal with some useless dead weight sapping the energy out of the rest of the team, with their useless questions and crappy late code.
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#6 Apokio   User is offline

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Re: Stealing code in College

Posted 29 June 2010 - 01:01 PM

View PostSalem_c, on 29 June 2010 - 11:33 AM, said:

Bust their ass ASAP.


I already sent the instructor an e-mail and he said he would follow-up. Hopefully he will do something like kick him out of class. I have used other's code for guidance and clarification but I also leave them a reply telling them I looked at their code and thanks for posting it. If I do copy some code from somewhere I make sure to reference it in my comments and give the author credit for the snippet of code that I used. I was really worried when the instructor told us to post our code for the team to review but he said he could tell if code was copied but I just want to make sure he busts this guy because this is just BS.
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#7 PsychoCoder   User is offline

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Re: Stealing code in College

Posted 29 June 2010 - 01:37 PM

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Unfortunately it happens a lot, way too much. I call them (It's in someone's signature but I just cannot for the life of me remember who) The Copy & Paste Coder. They want the life of a programmer but refuse to put forth the effort to gain it. So many people go into programming thinking it's a cakewalk, they have no clue how much work you have to put into it to really make it.

There are many of us here in this community who have been doing this a long time, and we didn't reach where we're at without a lot of effort and work (not to mention many years of long hours with low pay), but that's what it takes to reach the top of any profession. Unlike being a mechanic or surgeon, we happen to be in a profession where it's all to easy to lift someone's work. It's not like (the aforementioned professions) you can go online and steal someone's gallbladder removal surgery or download someone's rebuilt engine, and more and more students are starting to take advantage of that fact.

If somethings worth doing it's worth doing it right, that's something my Grandmother taught me a very long time ago. There are no shortcuts to success, and at some point these copy & paste coders are going to be found out. An employer can tell pretty fast is a programmer actually knows what they're doing, or whether they copy & pasted their way to their degree.

I cant count the number of times I've gone to a site and seen my code there, being posted as someone else's work. Or how many times I've gone through the queue of tutorials/snippets here and seen my code being submitted as a snippet or tutorial. They say imitation is the best form of flattery, but I'm not sure I 100% agree with that statement. Then again there's a big difference between imitation and flat out being ripped off.

Just my 2¢ :)
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#8 KYA   User is offline

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Re: Stealing code in College

Posted 29 June 2010 - 01:42 PM

JackOfAllTrades's sig, a post I wrote: Copy Paste Generation
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#9 macosxnerd101   User is offline

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Re: Stealing code in College

Posted 29 June 2010 - 01:45 PM

I believe this is in janotte's or Oler1s' signature. I strongly, agree with your point. In the Intro Class, which was comprised of mainly my class (I was in AP CS this year) and a couple advanced sophomores, there were three types of students- those who wrote the code, those who wrote the code and passed it around, and those who got the code. In this case, the door swings both ways. The teacher wasn't knowledgeable enough to teach the material, but that doesn't excuse cheating either. All in the third category decided to go into Discrete Math next year rather than AP CS b/c of their inability to code (albeit, inhibited ability for those with any aptitude). I really can't wait to see what they think of Discrete, especially when we study Graph Theory. Maybe they'll wish they had tried harder in the Intro class to get into AP CS.

Edit: My mistake. Thanks for correcting, KYA!

This post has been edited by macosxnerd101: 29 June 2010 - 01:47 PM

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#10 Apokio   User is offline

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Re: Stealing code in College

Posted 29 June 2010 - 01:58 PM

Thanks for all the links to the other posts and articles. I spend most of my time reading on here instead of posting so I have seen many of them before. I have been learning Java in the my free time for about 2 years now. I have the basics down pretty good and I seem to be picking up the new stuff I try to learn pretty quickly. If I don't understand something I find clarification. I don't know how many people I have seen in my classes grabbing bits and pieces of code from everywhere and throwing it all in one file and then asking why it doesn't work. Even after reading all this stuff I still can't wrap my head around why someone would want to cheat and get a degree and then walk into a job knowing they have no clue how to do that job. Amazing.
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#11 macosxnerd101   User is offline

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Re: Stealing code in College

Posted 29 June 2010 - 02:05 PM

There you go again. Making sense. :)
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#12 nooblet   User is offline

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Re: Stealing code in College

Posted 29 June 2010 - 02:07 PM

I think it happens everywhere. This is one field that gets the most copy and paste shit ever. I think at my school, there was a past history of this sort of shit happening at an incredible rate, more than all the other departments and fields in the entire school combined. Supposedly it's dropped drastically in recent years but it appears it happens everywhere.
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#13 Martyr2   User is offline

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Re: Stealing code in College

Posted 29 June 2010 - 02:23 PM

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The funny thing is that sometimes these people who copy and paste actually have to do more work than if they had written it themselves. This is because not only do they have to copy and paste, but in big projects it is impossible to copy everything. So they copy a small bit and then spend a ton of time trying to get it to work with another piece of code they copied from elsewhere.

We see that a lot on here too. "I have this code and it just doesn't seem to work with my other code" and then we take a look and realize the two pieces of code are different style, different naming conventions, everything.

I have seen one guy spend something on the order of 3 days getting copied code to work together when it would have taken him like 2 hours to just write up his own code. Pathetic really.

:)
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#14 nooblet   User is offline

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Re: Stealing code in College

Posted 29 June 2010 - 02:33 PM

Believe it or not, I know of a couple of self-taught programmers that are copy and paste artists if you will. They learn by Googling stuff and mashing it together, but otherwise can't code, yet they're able to build full programs on this shit. That doesn't really make a whole lot of sense other than the fact that I think they don't have the capability to write even simple algorithms. I don't know these guys personally but I've talked to people who kinda do know them who apparently says it works for these guys.
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#15 DaneAU   User is offline

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Re: Stealing code in College

Posted 29 June 2010 - 02:50 PM

Nothing wrong with reading code to learn and implement things that you are not sure of hence examples in API etc... however if you constantly have to refer to other peoples code for implementations then best bet is to change your degree because your simply not in it and never will be. I had a group project similar to what you mentioned - people copied my code and flogged it off as there own as i posted partial solutions to sections of the problem in the discussion forum of my university asking for advice on possible improvements citing ways i was considering on moving to my instructor. To top things off the person in question actually came to a group meeting acting as if he had solved it simply by changing a few variable names and the name of the function - flogging it as his own code... I kept my mouth shut and noted for future reference to avoid being grouped with him in my group ever again should the occasion arise. I knew the issues with the code as it was my own and it was a problem i was working through - so to be a prick i tore the code to shreds and told him to start again as it was all wrong... In the process of doing this i realised the solution and came back a few minutes later with the correct code and proverbially shoved it up his ass :)
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