The $F=ma$ competition is the largest physics competition in the United States, and took place online the afternoon after this Meta question first appeared. It is a multiple choice exam with tricky mechanics problems.

In the past, Math.SE has had problems with cheating on similar competitions. Please be on the lookout and do not blindly answer mechanics questions, especially if they are clearly screenshotted from an online exam. Many $F=ma$ questions are conceptual in nature and thus would not be closed under the homework policy, but they should not be answered until at least $2$ hours after posted, when the exam has ended.

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    $\begingroup$ I've edited the title so that it makes sense while it still appears on the "hot meta questions" sidebar on the main site. However, regardless of whether there's a well-known physics competition running somewhere, it's always a good idea to resist the impulse to rapid-fire an answer to a low-hanging homework-like question, for the kinds of reasons suggested by this question. Food gets better if you let it marinate; so do ideas. $\endgroup$
    – rob Mod
    Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 21:19

1 Answer 1


The exam is over now! Thankfully, nothing went awry on this particular site.

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    $\begingroup$ Did you spend your afternoon carefully watching all questions here for the whole afternoon? ;p $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 19, 2021 at 20:06
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    $\begingroup$ @NorbertSchuch I was continually monitoring a lot of sites for 2 hours. There were problems, just not here... $\endgroup$
    – knzhou
    Commented Feb 19, 2021 at 20:48
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    $\begingroup$ Phew, busy life! Physics competitions used to be so much easier to manage 20 years ago! $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 19, 2021 at 20:53
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    $\begingroup$ I wish SE would implement a block (if only temporary) on screenshots. Dunno how this could be done but this kind of “post exam questions online and wait for answers” is getting out of control. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 17:36

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