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Mal83

Have you seen this? Essay service scams.

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I'm guessing some students can afford to buy papers because they take out loans from the Bank of Mom and Dad. If someone comes from a well-to-do family, I'm sure they can buy A's with purchased reports or paying off professors if the amount is right. But I also understand that sometimes circumstances may arise where a student feels their very very last resort is to cheat. I'm sure for some, that's not an easy choice to make, but maybe they feel like they have to. And then there are the ones who are just too lazy to do the work expected of them and cheat without even attempting to do any work themselves.

I honestly don't know if plagiarism just means copying things from published (print or web) sources verbatim and calling it your own words, or if it also includes paying someone to write a paper and putting your name on the top. I also wonder if a really determined student could sue one of these essay scam sites if their paper got them a failing grade, or they were found to be cheating and were thrown out or punished in some other way. Unfortunately, while buying an essay might be against student conduct codes, it's not illegal. So people won't stop doing it (and even if it WAS illegal, it still wouldn't stop many). But as said, just copying and pasting off the web is easy to discover...on the other hand, if someone writes something more original, the professor can only act upon whether or not they are familiar enough with the student's writing style to accuse them of cheating.

All I can say is if there's a rule, someone will figure out a way around it. Schools probably know they can't catch all the cheaters, so they just do things in order to catch the worst of them. I won't question the ethics of any of it because I'm not getting into a debate over personal opinions on how ethical or unethical something is.

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I honestly don't know if plagiarism just means copying things from published (print or web) sources verbatim and calling it your own words, or if it also includes paying someone to write a paper and putting your name on the top. I also wonder if a really determined student could sue one of these essay scam sites if their paper got them a failing grade, or they were found to be cheating and were thrown out or punished in some other way. Unfortunately, while buying an essay might be against student conduct codes, it's not illegal. So people won't stop doing it (and even if it WAS illegal, it still wouldn't stop many). But as said, just copying and pasting off the web is easy to discover...on the other hand, if someone writes something more original, the professor can only act upon whether or not they are familiar enough with the student's writing style to accuse them of cheating.

All I can say is if there's a rule, someone will figure out a way around it. Schools probably know they can't catch all the cheaters, so they just do things in order to catch the worst of them. I won't question the ethics of any of it because I'm not getting into a debate over personal opinions on how ethical or unethical something is.

Plagiarism means wrongfully appropriating someone else's words or ideas and passing them off as one's own (or at least, this is what I tell my freshmen). It can be done intentionally (copy/paste) or unintentionally (not citing sources properly).

By the definition above, the act of putting your name atop a paper you haven't written can be considered plagiarism at worst and academic dishonesty at best. Schools have formal codes prohibiting both.

No one has said it's illegal. It's unethical, pathetic and contemptible, but no has said it breaks any laws.

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I'm guessing some students can afford to buy papers because they take out loans from the Bank of Mom and Dad. If someone comes from a well-to-do family, I'm sure they can buy A's with purchased reports or paying off professors if the amount is right. But I also understand that sometimes circumstances may arise where a student feels their very very last resort is to cheat. I'm sure for some, that's not an easy choice to make, but maybe they feel like they have to. And then there are the ones who are just too lazy to do the work expected of them and cheat without even attempting to do any work themselves.

I honestly don't know if plagiarism just means copying things from published (print or web) sources verbatim and calling it your own words, or if it also includes paying someone to write a paper and putting your name on the top. I also wonder if a really determined student could sue one of these essay scam sites if their paper got them a failing grade, or they were found to be cheating and were thrown out or punished in some other way. Unfortunately, while buying an essay might be against student conduct codes, it's not illegal. So people won't stop doing it (and even if it WAS illegal, it still wouldn't stop many). But as said, just copying and pasting off the web is easy to discover...on the other hand, if someone writes something more original, the professor can only act upon whether or not they are familiar enough with the student's writing style to accuse them of cheating.

All I can say is if there's a rule, someone will figure out a way around it. Schools probably know they can't catch all the cheaters, so they just do things in order to catch the worst of them. I won't question the ethics of any of it because I'm not getting into a debate over personal opinions on how ethical or unethical something is.

It's plagiarism as runonsentence has said, even if you were to call it something else, you are still duping a professor into thinking you did the research, you had the ideas, you had the skills necessary to compose an academic paper, and that by doing so you've successfully completed a requirement for the course. That's called lying, cheating, and academic dishonesty. And I'm not sure what else besides the unethical nature of the pay-for-essay service and how to combat it, there is to talk about revolving this issue. We all know that people cheat, lie, and steal, and all of them will never be stopped, that's a matter of fact, but shouldn't we get into how unethical, wrong, and dishonest this is? It's a valid topic of conversation just like any other and directly relates to education, which is why we all frequent this forum. You tried to get into the business yourself so it's obvious why you wouldn't want to. Your lack of judgment for the accused could be understandable in different circumstances. But we're not talking about stealing a loaf of bread to feed your starving family, which I think just about anyone would do. We're talking about a complete and utter lack of respect for higher education, it's a privilege to get an education beyond a high school diploma, no one needs a BA, MA, or phD to make a living and lead a productive life. If there is truthfully a degree of desperation on the part of the student then they should realize that coming clean to the professor and accepting the consequences is the honest and mature way to handle the situation. These people, students and "writers" alike are making a mockery of this privilege and weakening the code of academic honesty and integrity that most of us respect.

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Pretty common and a lot of people work through different websites. There is usually a middleman who mediates between the students and the writers and keeps a commission. Most people relying on these services are ESL students (particularly from the Middle East). And though the practice is unethical, I think most academicians know that these writing services exist and a lot of students "seek help" (read: get the entire paper written) from writers coming from low economic countries.

A colleague of mine once tried writing a report on the issue for the newspaper we work for but since most of the activities take place online, there could be no substantiation or attribution to the story, hence it got rejected by the editors.

As for what you said, 

These people, students and "writers" alike are making a mockery of this privilege and weakening the code of academic honesty and integrity that most of us respect

 

I can't agree more!

Edited by Sarah Bee

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I googled myself + thesis topic recently to quickly pull up my paper (published on my school's library webpage) because I didn't have the file with me, and I found MY MASTERS THESIS listed for sale on www.ukdissertations.com website. My name and some of the figures were removed but the rest was all my thesis. The website actually markets itself as a place to purchase dissertations, written by experts, tailored to your specific topic. How is this allowed??? 

Edited by lunarem

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I googled myself + thesis topic recently to quickly pull up my paper (published on my school's library webpage) because I didn't have the file with me, and I found MY MASTERS THESIS listed for sale on www.ukdissertations.com website. My name and some of the figures were was all my thesis. The website actually markets itself as a place to purchase dissertations, written by experts, tailored to your specific topic. How is this allowed??? 

 

Gah, that's terrifying. You may want to get in touch with some higher-ups at the program where you completed your thesis for some legal advice and help there...

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I once tutored a college student, and it was a disaster. Originally I was helping her write an essay on three books she hadn't even cracked open - I guess she never heard about Cliffs Notes. Turns out she was buying all of her essays online, and *not even reading them* before turning them in - she got D's on all of them because they were complete gibberish, with no transitions in between paragraphs or even within sentences. The references were incorrectly cited and very strangely sourced. I had to draw the line about my role, than I wasn't going to participate in writing anything for her, but her expectations for other people to do her work were so overwhelming that I stopped working with her.

 

It seems students do this when they're overwhelmed with deadlines, because they put off everything until late, or were sick or had some issue during the semester. They do it because their friends do it. Some even pay a monthly subscription to these sites to get a discount on individual papers. The non-scam sites work so well it's scary - you get a watermarked copy and can request changes, and even get an entire dissertation (of gibberish) written.

 

To excuse it with laziness or the free market is to miss the point. If someone is lazy and doesn't want to clean their dorm, they can hire someone to do that. But when in college there is the expectation (and requirement) that your work should be original. But more importantly, if you get used to fudging the rules in college, where does it stop? When you're employed, is it acceptable to pass off someone's project or work as yours? Or write a report that's copy and pasted from somewhere else? Or, if the deadline is approaching, can't you just mix up some numbers and balance out the account?

 

I understand there's a spectrum between getting help and lightly borrowing ideas, but I've seen some pretty blatant essay purchasing. And to not even read it before handing it off as your own...

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I don't understand the motivation to forge material or buy material in order to complete a degree. The degree is useless if the individual holding it lacks the relevant skills and expertise. Seems like a sure bet for failure in future endeavours.

How does this seem sensible to anyone?

Edited by Roll Right

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Roll Right - In the country where I come from, having a degree is like having a key to a thousand doors. Everything from job offers to marriage proposals are based on a person having a "degree". That is why everyone is willing to do whatever's in their power to get their names on one. And, unsurprisingly, those with large pockets or access to other resources try to get them by unfair means. The situation is so bad that a few years ago when the supreme court ordered the national education commission to carry out an investigation into the submitted educational records of the country's parliament members, more than two-thirds of them were found to have forged or fake degrees. So what I'm trying to say is that in a society where so much emphasis is placed on getting your hands on a piece of paper that endorses your skills rather than spending the time and money on actually developing those abilities, things like this are bound to happen.

Edited by ahlatsiawa

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You might find this article interesting: http://chronicle.com/article/The-Shadow-Scholar/125329/ It's the story of a guy who sells papers.

It happens. A lot. Students get upset when I make them write thesis statements and outlines in class, in handwriting (rule 1: if I can't read it, it's wrong), on paper, and turn them in, and then get more upset when they submit a draft that has nothing to do with what they turned in during class and can't get any credit for it.

I tell them the story of Piper High School and the fallout the non-cheaters have faced from it. That cheating, even if they didn't do it, devalues the credibility of everyone's degree. Not that they care that much, but there ya go.

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i actually knew someone who paid through her undergraduate writing other people's essays/doing their homework. when i asked her if she ever felt bad or weird about it she said the only thing that made her mad was knowing that the people she was writing papers for will probably go on and have a more successful life than her, because they were wealthy enough to pay hundreds (or thousands) of dollars to get their courses done for them in the first place.

 

if you ever hang around a certain website that starts with the word 'freelancer' you'll see  A LOT of people offering money to have their homeworks done, particularly in math/stats. 

 

i remember the founder of the website (an Aussie) even did an interview (i think it's on youtube) where he found funny that a physics student from Harvard got his coursework done by an engineer in Pakistan for a little over $200.

 

over the years i've just learnt to shrug at it. not much we can do about it.. 

Edited by spunky

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A high school classmate of mine bought his history coursework online, but it got sent to the exam board as part of a sample (my school is very careful about their image with the exam board, so they check all randomly selected samples for plagiarism, and though in this case they "forgot", I think they just got so sick of him that they wanted an excuse to get rid of him). Anyway, it got sent to the exam board, the exam board found it was plagiarized, and banned him from exams. The school then had to expel him, one month before final exams, because they couldn't give him a leaving certificate if he didn't pass his exams.

His dad paid $7 million for Brown's swimming center, so he's now at Brown. All's we'll that ends well.

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His dad paid $7 million for Brown's swimming center, so he's now at Brown. All's we'll that ends well.

 

It would be hilarious if all his son got for that was a free pass to the Brown swimming center. If only karma existed.

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These scams are a mess.

 

They advertise themselves to freelance writers, editors, or tutors -- guaranteed work, especially if you're good. And instead of helping someone polish a paper, you get the topic, page requirement, and a deadline -- completed papers only. It's BS.

 

I'll stick with actual tutoring and editing.

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