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prof pressuring to do unethical things


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I'm too tired to write out a long description right now. It's not like the prof wants us to beat people to death, he just wants us to pressure interviewees to give the right answer and to design to his solution rather than basing our design on what our interviewees want (which he's letting the other groups do; there's been a lot of things this semester suggesting that he seriously plays favorites). This is a design that might actually be used, and he's insisting that we design what he wants while simultaneously occasionally telling us that it's okay if we do what we want.

I just really need some hugs. You know, the kind we don't give without requests here. With lots of parentheses and asterisks and curly brackets and maybe other random non-alphabetic characters as well.

We had a group meeting with the prof and the dean of something I can't remember, and she was actually very helpful. He just ignored what we worked out the meeting (probably without intending to) and when we went in with specific questions about our own prototype, monologued at length about potential solutions for his own design. Our prototype we've been working on for almost two weeks is due tonight, and the meeting with him was yesterday.

We went and did work last night and I just couldn't work late and I couldn't really explain that it was so I didn't fuck up my sleeping patterns. So I went home and left them to do work. I can't do work today because I'm running on deadline for a guest lecture in the class I'm TA'ing.

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Res, hope your lecture and program presentation go well today.

I know you are under a lot of pressure but try to not create more perceived self responsibility than is fair. I'm sure we have all had professors to whom we had to tailor our papers to meet their personal views. This guy obviously has specific ideas and guidance on what he wants. If it isn't illegal or unethical, then its better in the long run for your education and sanity to play ball.

From experience I know that prospective customers often don't know what they want from software/hardware, and even when they do can't understand the ramifications and difficulties from trying to implement specific details. As a designer we end up using best judgement and "poetic license" to create the best fit between what the customer "thinks" he wants, what we think he needs and reliability. As long as everybody knows what you are doing and why, then there shouldn't be any questions or recrimination at the end. You may want to keep a log of design directions the prof has given your team to document his changes (I've done that before).

Try to not take this personally. In the end, you are working for your professor.

Best, a.m.

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