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I found a question on this site that looks like it was taken from a colleague's final exam. The timing is suspicious:

  • The account has one question and was created today.
  • The question was posted an hour after the exam was posted to the website.
  • As soon as they received an answer, the poster deleted the question. (A moderator has since undeleted the question.)
  • After the question was I deleted, the poster changed what the question was asking. (A moderator has since rolled it back.)

Is there a mechanism by which we can request that Stack Exchange disclose the IP address / login email of the account in question so that, if this is one of our students, we can proceed with disciplinary action?

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  • $\begingroup$ I understand your concern, but to be honest: that question doesn't seem particularly novel, and it has a very short solution. To me, it seems like a rather simple exercise problem that might appear in any number of textbooks, sets of exercises, etc. If you're concerned about cheaters (and you should!) I would recommend posing more interesting problems. $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Jun 26, 2022 at 21:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Raphael Your suggestion has merit, but seems orthogonal to my concern. Whether or not an exam question appears in textbooks is independent from whether it's okay for someone taking the exam to ask an online community to write their answers for them. (Note that my concern wasn't "this question matches something on an exam and should be taken down." That wouldn't be appropriate. Rather, it's "there is clear evidence here that someone posted this question because it was on an exam and is now trying to cover their tracks, and I'd like help identifying them.") $\endgroup$ Jun 27, 2022 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ Well, in that case you're asking us to violate data privacy, which we can't and I'm pretty sure SE won't do, unless you get the order of a judge. (IANAL, obviously, and @D.W.'s hint about contacting staff is apt.) $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Jun 27, 2022 at 21:04

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Not that I know of. Stack Exchange protects the privacy of user accounts. In any case, moderators and site members won't be able to provide this information, so if you would like a definitive answer, I suggest contacting a community manager at https://cs.stackexchange.com/contact.

In this kind of situation, I generally recommend leaving a comment indicating that the question appears to be taken from an exam, providing a link to the exam so others can verify, ask the author to provide a reference for where they encountered the question, and suggest to answerers that they might want to think twice before answering. Unfortunately this is probably the best we can do within the Stack Exchange format. I know it sucks.

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