I feel I should point out that corrupt grading is easily detectable - one can often see it by looking at a corruptly graded paper, or by interviewing a candidate who got a high grade and finding that he does not know the subject. And thus, it is not covered by the Adams quote.

Moreover, universities have a strong incentive to not be corrupt in their grading - if they let people slip through without learning the work, employers will start to notice and discount qualifications from that institution, and then prospective students will hear of this and go to other institutions instead, and then the entire institution will collapse. (It's not immediate, or perfect, and quick action at the start of the process can save the institution, but it is a consideration).

It's not immediate

That sounds like a hell of an understatement to me.

3Zubon4yThe fact that few employers request transcripts and fewer distinguish between "barely passing" and "summa cum laude" (maybe apart from recent graduates?) seems like pretty strong evidence about caring about grading corruption. You really need to corrupt your school's degree award process (like a diploma mill) before anyone will care about it. Also, as Old_Gold suggests, if you count grade inflation as corruption of grading, empirically this incentive wasn't strong enough. We also note that across-the-board corruption of this type undermines incentives. If someone comes up with a better signal, the entire institution of universities would collapse, but most people have seemed to accept rampant grade inflation with a shrug rather than mostly ignoring degrees. It may eventually collapse, but on a time scale where it seems difficult to believe "this was due to grade inflation starting 50 years ago."
2Old_Gold4yExcept who sees a paper except the grader and the student who wrote it? Empirically this incentive wasn't strong enough.

Rationality Quotes Thread February 2016

by elharo 1 min read2nd Feb 201697 comments


Another month, another rationality quotes thread. The rules are:

  • Provide sufficient information (URL, title, date, page number, etc.) to enable a reader to find the place where you read the quote, or its original source if available. Do not quote with only a name.
  • Post all quotes separately, so that they can be upvoted or downvoted separately. (If they are strongly related, reply to your own comments. If strongly ordered, then go ahead and post them together.)
  • Do not quote yourself.
  • Do not quote from Less Wrong itself, HPMoR, Eliezer Yudkowsky, or Robin Hanson. If you'd like to revive an old quote from one of those sources, please do so here.
  • No more than 5 quotes per person per monthly thread, please.