An Open Letter to Both Writers of Quality Articles and Those Having Trouble With Writing

Phyl CampbellStarred Page By Phyl Campbell, 1st Sep 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1wk09pd3/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

Everyone here wants Wikinut to be a successful place people come to learn about diverse topics. But some are frustrated with the low writing quality of others, which sometimes comes from using English as a second or third language, and sometimes has to do with writing difficulties, and sometimes has to do with carelessness. I hope that by addressing the first two problems of quality, we can lead to eliminating what is accepted from careless contributors.

This was suggested in 2011:

Two years ago, Peter Giblett suggested that we find some way to help English learners improve on their writing as they contribute articles to Wikinut.
As a former ESL teacher, I think many writers on the site would be willing to help those who want it, as improved content by all on the site would benefit everyone. If you write well, and would be interested in helping with this, please comment as such so that the Chief Nut can see.
If you are someone who wants to write well, but knows or feels you could benefit from the help of a good writer/editor, whether English is your native language or not, please comment so that the Chief Nut can see.
If no one thinks it is a good idea, and I'm just spinning my wheels, let me know that, too. Or maybe I've got the right idea, but you have a better solution. I am all eyes and ears: please share!!

My suggestions:

The creation of a group of non-moderators who would be willing to edit for grammar, mechanics, and usage?
Anyone could submit an article to be reviewed by someone in this group, and the advantage for someone to do that would be improved quality leading to more star quality articles, which are more likely to be read.
OR
An application where changes could be suggested directly on the page -- for the author to accept or reject with or without resubmitting the file to the moderators?

In closing

While yes, we have the option to comment and yes, we have the option to privately message other Wikinuts, sometimes those options are taken as being overly critical rather than constructive criticism. And the article is already published by that point, so why bother? At the same time, there are articles that don't get published, and the Wikinuts may not know who to ask to get help to make those articles better.

I feel that either of my suggestions might help those who want to improve their writing to do so -- in a non-critical way. By making it voluntary, but encouraged, to seek editorial help, I think moderators would have an easier time in the future accepting quality articles from the English-challenged while being able to screen out that stuff which is not fit for content farms and brings down Wikipedia's credibility.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I enjoy writing for Wikinut, and hope to be doing so well into the future.

Write for Wikinut

If you want to get paid to blog your opinions, follow this link: http://www.wikinut.com/in/wjejeh/

If you are interested in seeing other articles by ME, you might like:
stuff a recliner
international stories
1500 Nutpoints
making videos

Tags

Edit And Finalize, Edit And Fix, Editing, Editing Grammar, Editor, Esl, Second Language, Star Quality

Meet the author

author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- phylcampbell.com -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

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Comments

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
7th Sep 2013 (#)

Good idea Phyl. We all should look forward and welcome ways to improve the quality of our posts and thereby better Wikinut's image - siva

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author avatar Vickylass
7th Sep 2013 (#)

The problem isn´t that for some people, English is a second or even third language and they don´t know it well. It´s that many have discovered a way to earn money writing on-line, but I bet that many of them haven´t written a sentence in their lives. Many of them write on topics that they don´t know at all or tell us how to cure depression without not being a psychologoist or doctor. One can write in any language, provided one masters this language and has a sound education.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
7th Sep 2013 (#)

I agree with Siva. I would be happy to be in the group of non-moderators who edit for the basics if that idea should become reality.

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author avatar chrysolite
7th Sep 2013 (#)

Being German and English being my second language, I find your idea great! But from my own experience I can say that a free spell checker and a free grammar checker usually do the trick if one cares enough to submit a good article. It also helps to follow the Wikinut guidelines! It is not rocket science to write a star article each and every time.

Vickylass has mentioned a very grave problem. There are people out there (and I've seen a few articles by them right here, too) who use a software to spin texts they have never written. They can't even be asked to read through the text again and somehow it gets past the moderators. I really think spun articles should never be published. And yes, one can spot spun articles easily just by looking at the adjectives.

Hope there will be a non-moderator group forming, good luck!

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
7th Sep 2013 (#)

good piece Phyl...thank you....

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
7th Sep 2013 (#)

Phyl, I believe in ways in which we can assist new writers, few writers are supremely talented when they start writing, most need encouragement to improve and become as talented as they are capable, they need to build their skills. I have had provided assistance to new writers on this site by offering an assessment heir works and how hey can improve and these writers have shown great improvement.

One of the greatest problems we face here is poor use of the English language, and this does no just come from people whose second language is English, there are many people from English speaking lands that also need to make great improvements.

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author avatar LOVERME
7th Sep 2013 (#)

on yahoo I edit the guys /gals poetry
when I wish and want to... simply help
and I have observed many r now dropping the first line caps
not needed ...but for the lapstop's demand

graciously many have dropped the caps and their work is worth reading

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author avatar LOVERME
7th Sep 2013 (#)

cAN i EVER BECOME A WIKINUTS POETIC mODERATOR i WONDER

hahaa caps and small unknowingly messed up my lap tops betrays me at times

.......so I spell check like this one see......


can I ever become a wiki nut’s poetic moderator I wonder

haahaa caps and small unknowingly messed up my lap tops betrays me at times

so I spell check like this one see

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
7th Sep 2013 (#)

Thanks everyone, for your comments, and to johnnydod for the star. I was not aware of the software spinning, which might explain some native English user's unreadable content. I know some English natives are not as educated or literate as others, but still have a voice that deserves hearing. I hope if we can stop spinners (the artificial ones) and learners who want help can get it, all with be happier with the increased quality of this site.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
7th Sep 2013 (#)

Actually Phyl if a skilled writer used spinning software to re-write their own words we should not know, because they will sense-check the spun article to ensure it still makes sense.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
8th Sep 2013 (#)

As long as quality of the articles, and by extension the site doesn't suffer, the spinning wouldn't bother me. And that goes back to the judgment of quality, I suppose. Even with reprinted topics, there is so much that can be added, a different angle, more information, etc, that I am surprised someone resorts to artifice -- to me that is a money-maker, not a writer. Yes, I want to make money at writing, but I am definitely a writer first.

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author avatar Authenticme
16th Oct 2013 (#)

I think moderators also need to be able to edit the articles, and those of us who edit (I also teach ESL and edit) can apply to become moderators - on a paid basis. I don't know quite how money is made from this site but I feel sure someone somewhere is earning more than 60p a week from it!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
16th Oct 2013 (#)

Thanks, Authenticme, for your comment. And welcome to Wikinut!
Moderators come from achieving certain status as a Wikinut (and I'm not there yet, likely a year or over 100 articles or something), and though they earn either nutpoints or a percentage of the revenue from the articles they moderate, I think I can say no one is getting rich off of it. The problem with allowing moderators to spot edit is that there comes a fine line between editing for grammar and editing for content. Especially when between the reader's interpretation of words and phrases and the writer's interpretation, there can be lots of words in the middle that end up changing meanings completely.
If moderators were paid more -- enough to make it worth the energy -- I would hope they would point out typos and missing words/extra words, etc, in their comments -- more rejection with a quick fix rather than publish with mistakes or reject with no explanation, but I've yet to see this happen. I've only had two rejections in 72 articles. One with a concrete explanation of fixes was accepted within hours. The other just said something like not acceptable, but after sitting on it for several weeks, I changed the ending, the pictures, and the category and then it was accepted.
Lots of my articles have been published with problems and I didn't realize it until it went live: for example, I know I write with a lot of brackets and dashes, and I've found articles where the brackets were perceived by the program as code so everything inside is hidden. It reads like something is left out -- but the problem is not glaringly obvious. So just things like that.
I hope you will keep writing and stick around long enough to perhaps become a moderator yourself! Enjoy your time here.

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