Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

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!"):

The second one arrived 14 minutes after the first. Again, it was for an old post from 2008. Again, Sarah shills for the same essay mill. Again, her writing is, er, interesting: ". . . because it teats all the customers with respect and care. . . ." That certainly puts an image in my mind of customers having breasts attached—albeit it carefully and respectfully.

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:

Why Oder indeed? 


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