In any event, should a platform be held responsible for users’ miscreant behavior?
The Cheating Economy
Doug Bierend

I think we should hold platforms like Studypool accountable, but at the same time, we need to redesign our education system to provide the proper incentives for learning, not just quick fixes. Studypool and Wikipedia remind me of the discussion on firearms. They are all, essentially, tools. Tools do not carry intent. They may allow certain behaviors to be more cost-efficient, accessible, and low-risk, but they do not directly espouse these behaviors. From what you’ve said, Studypool’s current system rewards quick fixes instead of actual learning due to the client-rating system. These are features that Studypool can and should redesign. Perhaps Studypool can assemble a team to monitor tutor and tutee transactions to see whether notes and explanations were given instead of just answers. This team can also be given partial access or a vote to decide how a certain tutor is rated.

It is not enough for Studypool to simply step back and say it is only a ‘platform’. Platforms are incredibly powerful in shaping human behavior. With regards to something as important as education, it is only right that we preserve its integrity. At the same time, different incentives should be placed in the classroom in order to discourage quick fixes. For example, in my Chemistry class under the IBDP program, each of the units is deeply connected. You cannot proceed to Unit 10: Organic Chemistry and expect to do well without first understanding Unit 1: Stoichiometry. Combined with the cumulative tests of the IBDP, it is practically stupid to try and pass the course through cheating. You’d do better by failing but understanding bits of the lesson by yourself, rather than paying someone to cheat on 1 test for you. When classes are designed such that genuine understanding of the lesson is what leads to success, then students will choose to learn.