This is not a Prisoner’s Dilemma, or is it?

A little bit ago, Cory Doctorow posted a story from Inside Higher Ed about students organizing to beat the curve in a Johns Hopkins computer science class. The professor, Peter Fröhlich, scales grades based on the highest grade1. The students all refused to take the test, making the highest grade a 0. Thus, a 0 was an A, meaning they all got As.

…students in Fröhlich’s…classes decided to test the limits of the policy, and collectively planned to boycott the final. Because they all did, a zero was the highest score in each of the three classes, which, by the rules of Fröhlich’s curve, meant every student received an A…The students waited outside the rooms to make sure that others honored the boycott, and were poised to go in if someone had. – Zack Burdyk, “Dangerous Curves” from Inside Higher Ed

Doctorow labeled this as a solution to the Prisoner’s Dilemma. A brief perusal of the 113 comments on his post will convince you that the internet thinks that this is NOT an example of the Prisoner’s Dilemma. Continue reading “This is not a Prisoner’s Dilemma, or is it?”

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