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betsy_w_jones
Member

Does Upwork support academic cheating?

Upwork is very adept at screening my posts and proposals for my phone number, the word Skype and other topics that are of concern to it and boldly flagging them for attention. Yet words and phrases like syllabus, book report, research paper, homework, admissions application, admissions essay and various descriptions of research and citation requirements, some quite bald, frequently make it into job posts. I have even seen posts that referred to the "attached syllabus" or the "attached list of assignments" in bids for freelancers who were open to ongoing work. 

 

I flag such posts when I see them, and I hope others do, too. However, the sheer volume of them suggests that the usually vigilant folks at Upwork are doing nothing to discourage what is plainly academic cheating.

 

Surely sifting out such naked attempts at academic ethics violations could be done most effectively at the platform level, perhaps even by flagging such phrases and having the prospective client certify that whatever he or she is posting is not a violation of his or her university's ethics policies. 

 

Would anyone from Upwork care to comment about why so many explicit attempts at cheating get posted to the platform rather than being filtered out through simple word- and phrase-matching automation? 

 

20 REPLIES 20
mtngigi
Member

Do a forum search and you'll find some very long threads on this topic. Many of us have given up reporting these blatant listings. Many have figured out how to hide what their job is.

 

The real problem? The idiot freelancers who take these jobs. Stop/get rid of them, and the problem goes away. I know of one profile where it appears that that's all this freelancer does (and flagging the profile does no good). But hey, U is making money ... that's all that matters, right?

aocumen
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Betsy, 

Thank you for flagging this here.

 

I tried a sample search of some of the keywords that you have noted, and some of the job search results that use the same keywords are not in violation of academic integrity. For example, some keyword search for homework, or assignment yields some job posts that request for tutorials on certain subjects. Some admissions essay search result are related to proofreading.

 

While I understand that it's very frustrating to see these jobs in the marketplace, I would like to share that we have dedicated systems, and teams to review these job posts, and take action. Just the same, we appreciate that users take the time to flag these job posts, and report them to us.

 

I have also reported some just now, but if you still see some of the job posts you've reported, you can share it with me through a private message, and I will follow up on your report.

 


~ Avery
Upwork


Avery O wrote:

Hi Betsy, 

Thank you for flagging this here.

 

I tried a sample search of some of the keywords that you have noted, and some of the job search results that use the same keywords are not in violation of academic integrity. For example, some keyword search for homework, or assignment yields some job posts that request for tutorials on certain subjects. Some admissions essay search result are related to proofreading.

 

While I understand that it's very frustrating to see these jobs in the marketplace, I would like to share that we have dedicated systems, and teams to review these job posts, and take action. Just the same, we appreciate that users take the time to flag these job posts, and report them to us.

 

I have also reported some just now, but if you still see some of the job posts you've reported, you can share it with me through a private message, and I will follow up on your report.

 


OK. What about posts that mention list of assignments or syllabus or attached syllabus? 

Hi Phyllis,

 

It depends on the usage of the term syllabus, by definition alone a job post containing the word would not be considered as academic integrity since a syllabus pertains to an outline of the subjects in a course of study or teaching.  As Avery mentioned, these can sometimes ask for editing or proofreading etc. However, if the job post requires homework or assignments completed, then we will consider it as an academic violation. When you a flag a job we do review the posts and descriptions and those that violate academic integrity are against our ToS and are actioned. If you come across a job that you feel fits in this realm send it to us via PM. Our team will review the job along with the client and take proper actions. Thank you.

 

Untitled

Thought I would update you all about a post I just flagged. I will PM the moderators as well, but why not bring this out into the daylight given several moderators' "oh, maybe it's not academic cheating" obfuscations?

 

Here, a student ATTACHED HIS OR HER ASSIGNMENT along with a sample of the quality of assignment that the hired freelancer should match. 

 

I am curious, since the client has paid out more than $2K, whether other posted jobs were for other parts of his store-bought academic career. 

 

Also, given Upwork's ability to screen for key words, why does it not present clients with a pop-up or other notification asking the client to certify that he or she is not asking for help with academic assignments? 

 

=== And not 10 minutes later, a request for someone who has "extensive experience with writing doctoral level dissertations."  See additional attached screen shot (you'll have to download the PNG file since it is not displaying). 

 

Though it's not visibile in the screen shot, the screening question is "Have you worked on a PhD dissertation project before?" 

 

 

Lena, you should be aware that many colleges consider editing and proofreading to be CHEATING. 

 

The work submitted is supposed to be the student's own, not his + that of a professional helper.

Avery, thank you for your response. 

 

Most of the posts I flag do not contain the word homework, although I included it in my list of words that Upwork easily could flag.

 

Most of the posts that I flag blatantly ask for help editing or rewriting admissions essays or, as I noted in my post, refer baldly to a syllabus or class assignment. As I further noted, some posts have attached a syllabus or class assignment.

 

These posts are NOT asking for tutoring. 

 

For example, I flagged a post today that asked for help rewriting an admissions essay for Columbia University. Should I as someone who was admitted to an Ivy League university on my own merit help someone cheat to gain entrance? 

 

Helping rewrite an admissions essay is cheating. Every academic ethics policy I have seen has students sign off that they wrote the essays themselves. Ditto for class assignments.

 

If Upwork does not understand the distinction between soliciting for someone to explain how to do something better (e.g., walk me through these math problems so I can learn how to do them better) and cheating (rewrite my essay so that I can get into a college that I'm really not qualified for), I invite you to review the ethics agreements that incoming students sign at virtually every university in the United States. 

 

While it's true that some posts relate to proofreading, I believe that if you read my query carefully, you would not mistake my concern as being about proofreading (although some universities object even to that practice, requiring students to certify that all the work submitted is their own). 

 

If you'd like to respond to my more substantive concern, I'd welcome learning more about what Upwork is doing to shoo away would-be or current students who want to hire freelancers to boost their grades or their chances of admission to particular universities. 

 

I completely understand where you are coming from, Betsy. Posts that are a blatant disregard for academic integrity will be actioned on. As Lena has noted, any job that requires homework or assignments completed, or a rewrite of their academic essay, or admissions essay will be considered an academic violation. 

 

When a job post is flagged, it goes to the team's queue, and the job post's description and attachments are reviewed against our ToS, and are actioned on. If you still see some job posts that you have flagged, but are still in the marketplace, you can send the links to me through a PM, and I will follow up on your report.


~ Avery
Upwork

Avery, I remain concerned that Upwork is not doing anything to flag and remove offensive posts itself. 

 

It should not fall to freelancers who are on the platform to find work to root out clients who are violating academic ethics codes. 

 

Perhaps I have overlooked it in the thread, but it does not seem as if any of the moderators has come forward with any information about what UPWORK actively is doing to prevent abuses by students or applicants. 

 

I welcome your or other moderators' response to this concern. 

Crickets.

 

Why have no moderators jumped into the conversation with strong evidence that Upwork is doing everything it possibly can to flag and remove academic cheating posts?

 

In the meantime, I continue to encounter posts that baldly ask for help with assignments. The client who posted the attached job has two additional jobs open for the same class. Apparently he is outsourcing all of his assignments. Is this really what Upwork wants to promote? What its corporate ethos is?

 

 

 

 

Hi Betsy, 

Please know that our team will not be able to share the methods and actions that they take against violators of academic integrity comply with our privacy policy. 

Please send me the link to the job post that you have noted on your post through a private message so that I can follow up on your report. 


~ Avery
Upwork

Whatever Upwork is "doing" isn't working.

 

It does not appear to flag phrases such as "assignment that needs to be written."

 

And it does not present pop-ups to students to make them sign off that they're not cheating. 

 

Here's the latest. 

 

**edited for Community Guidelines**

Betsy, 

I was unable to find the job posts that you have noted on your most recent post. It is very likely that the job posts still show on your end because you have a direct link to them, even if the team has actioned on it already.  If this is the case, you will not be able to access the job posts once you clear your cache/cookies.

 

I tried mixing the keywords for the jobs posts, but I didn't come up with any search results. If you still have the job post links, you can send them to me through a private message so that I can follow up on your report. 


~ Avery
Upwork

Until they take this problem seriously, Upwork will continue to say they have a process in place for dealing with academic fraud. Repeated complaints from those of us in the field that the process is inadequate will continue to fall on deaf ears, unless and until Upwork is somehow held legally liable for facilitating such fraud.

Michael, I agree.

 

In the meantime, another post. 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

...from a client who apparently asks for academic cheating often. See attached.

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

Hi Betsy,

 

Could you please reach out to me via PM and send me the job posting URL you`re referring to? Thank you.

 

~ Goran
Upwork

Moderators, what are the "community guidelines" I am violating when I post screen shots of job posts that anyone here could see for himself or herself? Are you simply embarrassed that there are so many requests for academic cheating available for posting?

The latest request for academic cheating, this one a bald request for correction of homework. 

 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

Hi Betsy,

 

I understand your frustration with this and you can always send us Moderators a PM with the job posting URL. We will take action immediatly. 
Posting images of job postings in our Community is a violation for:

  • Including names of persons or companies (or other identifying information) in an accusation of misconduct, incompetence or other wrongdoing.

Thank you for your understanding and I would like to clarify that we highly appreciate all reports we receive.

~ Goran
Upwork
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