The Facebook groups took a turn the other week. A few people had been asking for help, a few people had been giving help, everything seemed copacetic. And then things got weird.
There are a few people who are genuinely struggling with the material. My hope is that those who are doing well will be asked for help, and they’ll be able to share what helped them when they were at that position. Because we were all at that position at some point, even if it was years ago.
Instead of people trying to help by finding out what was causing the struggles and overcome them, however, they mostly attempted to help by shaming those in the group who had admitted to doing well.
At one point, the atmosphere was so nervous over this, that nobody with a TMA score above 90 dared to post their results, though scores below this were posted. This gave an unrealistic picture of how difficult the assignment was, as though any amount of effort were not enough for high marks. The result, to me, seemed to discourage more effort, if such a goal were unattainable. Eventually, someone ventured to give their score in an encoded format, and many other high scores followed, dramatically shifting the picture of the assignment’s difficulty. It was now clearly possible to attain the high marks, encouraging more effort if it was just out of reach.
If someone isn’t doing well, ridicule is extremely unhealthy for the advancement of the group as a whole. The same is true if someone is doing well. We all need to know where we stand so we can advance.
Those who are struggling need the group to advance. Those who are doing well likewise need the group to advance. That advancement can’t happen if nobody can admit to doing well, and ask for help from those having the same types of problems.
Edit 21/11/2016: Pretty much never mind. A few days after I wrote this, there was a bunch of actual bragging on one of the groups, and I have to side with those against it. In the long run, the difference between my opinion on it and theirs is just how much discussing your current status counts as bragging, and I can’t fault someone for having a more severe opinion on it than mine.