Sarah Hill Shill?
|This picture of Tanner sleeping has nothing to do with this post's content.|
Every so often, I get some spam comments submitted to this blog. Usually they're for recent posts, but when they're for posts from several years back, I get suspicious. When the same person comments on two old posts, I get more suspicious—as I did for these two posts from Sarah Hill, who is no doubt a shill for a scammy essay-writing service.
The first comment is for a two-sentence April 2008 post about a bird's nest. It has NOTHING to do with student writing. Plus, I haven't taught writing since 2007. And Sarah could use a little writing help herself ("As for it looks great!"):
Now for a bit of irony. Sarah, bless her heart, just happened to reply to a post wherein I warn against essay mills. I even give an example of how bad the essays are by marking up a now-non-existant mill's offering.
I became aware of essay mills a few years ago while I was teaching Freshman Grammar & Comp. If a student's essay looked suspicious, I'd Google a phrase from it and see what popped up. My favorite was a descriptive essay in which a female student "wrote" about driving through fields of bluebells in Texas in 1995 with her boyfriend. (Let's see, an 18-year-old freshman in 2005 or 2006 would have been how old in 1995?) I Googled and found the essay posted on a professor's website at some Midwest university. He'd used it as a good example of a descriptive essay, and my student figured she couldn't go wrong with something like that, except . . . .
Now, teachers have more sophisticated means of detecting plagiarism, such as Turnitin and other plagiarism checkers. Odds are good, if a company sells an essay once, they'll sell it again.
When I checked out the site that shilly Sarah was touting, I found this right smack dab on the main page: