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I don't understand the reception that this question has gotten.

What I understand is, due to the dating app, there is an influx of male students in classes who become the top %, and they attract all the female students there either through the pretext of homework help, or, general peacocking of intelligence.

The issue I have is, wouldn't it be the same in any class that there are some students who excel and rise in academic hierarchy compared to others? And wouldn't these students be attractive to other academically inclined students anyways?

And ultimately, whatever happens, there is a limit to number of people who can sit in class/ a person can interact with, so shouldn't it all cancel out in the end?

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    If you had read that question you are referring to, the people in question do not "attract all the female students" but rather harass them and make attending classes uncomfortable for many of them.
    – Sursula
    Jan 30, 2023 at 13:23
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    It's unclear to me that targeted harassment is the goal of creating the app. I suppose it may rather be exposure. Clearly, if one harrases and they are caught then its very much against their best interest. There is many levels between talking to people vs harrowing @Sursula
    – Babu
    Jan 30, 2023 at 13:26
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    Even if it is not necessarly the "goal/intention" to harass, it obviously is perceived as harassment. If the outcome is the same, the motive doesn't matter.
    – Sursula
    Jan 30, 2023 at 13:35
  • @Sursula There is no indication that it is perceived as harassment by anyone. There have been no complaints other than complaints from students they are not getting attention from seniors. Even OP explicitly mentions that there are no unwanted advances, there is no unwanted flirting, and that none of this qualifies as harassment, even though OP seems to wish it did qualify.
    – Servaes
    Feb 3, 2023 at 9:08

6 Answers 6

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Almost no way of meeting prospective partners is inherently unethical. It will always depend on how you go about "meeting/attracting" the prospective partners.

The unethical aspect comes into play if the way you go about meeting new people makes them or others around them that you do not want to attract uncomfortable, objecified, treated with sexism, etc.

That is what has been happening in the case in question. Behaving like this is shitty in no matter which environment, but when you do this at a place of education (where in a worst case scenario people have even payed a lot of money to learn) and you are not only harrassing others but in doing so distract them from learning or even worse might drive them to drop the course subject altogether, you are causing even more harm.

From your profile I gather that you are a man, and it is often hard to grasp for men that unwanted attention is neither flattering nor otherwise else perceived positively or wanted by most women*.

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    Also, I do not appreciate the snarky remark associating stereotypes to my gender. It was uncalled for and also unneccesary.
    – Babu
    Jan 30, 2023 at 13:44
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    @TrystwithFreedom In the question you are referring to, it is not a single person talking to someone, but (semi-)organized groups, which is not the same.
    – Sursula
    Jan 30, 2023 at 14:13
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    @TrystwithFreedom I did not say "all men". And I do not say that lightly and out of malice but sadly due to the reality that people who ar not men* face. If you are not on the receiving end of actions targeted at a specific demography, it is often hard to grasp to what a large extend those actions impact that specific group of people and it is often hard to take criticism if you belong to the group where those actions originate from if you do not actually participate in them. Just as me, a white person, cannot fully grasp the amount of racism POC experience from white people in general.
    – Sursula
    Jan 30, 2023 at 14:18
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    @Allure Then it would be equally sexist behaviour, just the roles reversed.
    – Sursula
    Jan 30, 2023 at 15:04
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    @TrystwithFreedom Young men, who, by-and-large, would love it if a group of women made a concerted effort to come and meet them, have a hard time understanding that women constantly receive male attention and don't want more of it in an environment that is not for that. It will come with age, or try talking to a woman in your life about unwanted male attention. Even by college, they will have lots to tell you. Jan 30, 2023 at 15:30
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You ask for an ethical perspective, so here is one.

Attending a university course with the sole intention to flirt with classmates is considered unethical by many people because it is an attempt to manipulate the classmates. A situation, which should occur in a learning environment, is manipulated into taking place in a dating environment, and even worse, the "flirter" is putting themselves into a position of power by using their advance in knowledge when they offer "private tutoring" to attractive students as indicated in the linked question.

Immanual Kant wrote:

So act that you use humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means.

which can be reformulated to "rational beings must always also be treated as ends themselves, requiring that their own reasoned motives must be equally respected" (Wikipedia). By manipulating a university course into a dating platform, one clearly disrespects the own reasoned motives by the other students (i.e. to study within a learning environment), and therefore this is considered unethical.

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    The Oxford English dictionary defines manipulate as "control or influence (a person or situation) cleverly or unscrupulously". You've got a pretty poor view of humanity if you think all attempts to interact with someone is manipulation by this definition. Nit all interaction between people have to be instrumental. Jan 30, 2023 at 23:35
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    You are misusing the term "position of power" that is commonly used in other harassment scenarios. Having more knowledge about the course topic gives the flirter exactly zero power over the woman. The woman can study on her own or with other women, or ask the professor for clarifications. A boss or a landlord (or a teacher that gives grades) are in a position of power. A classmate with good grades is not.
    – wimi
    Jan 31, 2023 at 7:28
  • @wimi if you read the question, which OP linked to, you will see that the students in power have offered "private tutoring" to attractive classmates, which surely is a position of power.
    – LuckyPal
    Jan 31, 2023 at 7:32
  • @Thissitehasbecomeadump. You seem to misunderstand my argument. The problem is not the interaction with other humans. As Ian wrote, you seem to have a very poor view on humanity (or you treat humans yourself in a way, that I would consider questionable at least). The situation becomes manipulative because the other students had the intention to study but are finding themselves being part of a dating platform, what they had never asked for and which is disrespecting their actual motives. Therefore, according to Kant, this is unethical.
    – LuckyPal
    Jan 31, 2023 at 7:40
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I started this as a comment to @sursula's answer, but its too long. However, I don't want to be seen as taking away from their experience and advice.


In a situation where it is known that there are a large number of individuals in a class who are there with the express purpose of finding younger women to impress with the aim of dating, then any woman will have to treat any interaction with a man connected with that class through that lens:

What is the motivation this person talking to me? Do I need to be sending "i'm not interested" signals to them? Are they really interested us helping each other study, or do they just want an opportunity to be spend time alone with me? Do they really want to help me, or do they just want to demonstrate how clever they are? This takes mental and emotional energy away from the class. Even if they are attracted to the person in question, even having to ask the question to themselves in circumstances where that sort of thing wasn't their purpose detracts from the main purpose.

To an extent women (and all of us) have to have these things in the back of our minds on any interaction with anyone. But when it is known that a large number of individuals are their only for the purpose of dating, then hypervigilance is required.

Coming back to the point @sursula made in the comments to their post: one such interaction is not on its own a problem, but when there are repeated such interactions even if (particularly if) they come from different people each time, this can be a major problem. That is even if no individual's behaviour is harassment, the collective effect on all the individuals on the recipient amounts to harassment. They are harassed, even if no individual is harassing them.

Furthermore, the type of showboating/showing off behaviour described in the question is damaging to the learning environment. For example, there are many reasons I might want to ask the class a question. I might want to gauge the level of understanding in the class of something. For I might be encouraging a particular train of thought. I might want to enter into a conversation with a student that doesn't know the answer where we reason our way together to the answer, thus demonstrating to them, and the rest of the class, the thought processes involved. None of these cases is helped by a smart-alec too senior for the class who just knows the answer.

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It's unethical if it is predatory. It is unethical if you become a distraction to serious students. It is unethical if you affect the "curve" lowering the grade of others, though the instructor shares the blame for that.

But beyond the ethics, it is creepy. Do you want a reputation as a creep?

And beyond that, it is suboptimal for your own education, trading grades for learning. You are not taking advantage of opportunities that might advance your career, which has some ethical concerns as well. It is an example of "Self Defeating Behavior". Someone looking at your transcript would, perhaps, wonder why you were taking such low level courses as an advanced student. How will you answer?

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    Of course you don't put the course on your transcript. You can use most of the lecture time to do other work, so you're not actually giving up that many alternative opportunities. And the opening hours of most bars/clubs do not overlap with lecture times. So in that sense, for the purpose of meeting women it's a highly effective use of these timeslots, certainly not self defeating. It is creepy though, and that's why it's socially more prudent to attend lectures that you can at least feign to have some interest in or benefit from.
    – Servaes
    Jan 30, 2023 at 22:57
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It's unethical because it's happening at a lecture/tutorial, i.e. a place of learning. Students attend lectures/tutorials to learn, not to meet partners (although that can be a side effect). Getting suggestive comments at a lecture or tutorial is very distracting from the original goal, and because it is also unrelated to that goal, it is unwelcome.

If you use a dating app or go to your local bar to meet people, and can safely say "I got really good grades in this course", more power to you. You could reverse the above scenario - instead of meeting partners as a side effect, maybe you'll get to teach a more junior student as a side effect. But the key point remains: the people you meet this way are interested in developing the relationship. The same cannot be said for most students at a lecture/tutorial.

As for:

The issue I have is, wouldn't it be the same in any class that there are some students who excel and rise in academic hierarchy compared to others? And wouldn't these students be attractive to other academically inclined students anyways?

Yes - it's obvious who the good students are, and good students tend to flock together. But the goal of these students when they get together remains to do well in the course, not to become life partners (although that can be a side effect).

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There may be different opinions on whether an individual taking an easy course with the purpose of impressing members of the other sex is ethical or whether it is a waste of time.

But what surely is unethical is advertising someone else's course as a place to hit on women. It's not their own course so they have no business advertising a change in its purpose. It is negative publicity and will ruin the course experience for most of the women, and convince others not to take it. It is really surprising that the university does not do anything against it. The university is effectively endorsing the fact that some of their courses are turned into dating events.

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