The maybe-not so dark side of ghost writing

I went into reading the article The Term Paper Artist by Nick Mamatas thinking that I was going to come out of it totally disgusted by the thought of ghost-writing term papers and instead I found it interesting with a lot of ethical issues on both sides.

I am not a person to condone paying someone to do your homework for you and I am not the type of student that would put myself in a position to do so. However, I can appreciate, and I think we all can, the high amount of pressure that comes with large class loads in college. I thought it was an interesting point in the article when Mamatas mentioned that he wrote many last minute papers for people who would have failed a class or not graduated without a passable paper. In that case, term paper writers are doing something worthwhile to help out another person.

I also appreciate the situation of being in a class that is so far from your specialty/major and not feeling able to adequately do an assignment for it. I think as writing students this concept is really hard for us because we do know how to write and we can do it well enough to BS our way through most predicaments in classes outside our major.

For another class I am researching different curriculums in elementary and secondary schools focusing a lot on standardized testing which does not emphasize writing skills in comparison to math and reading. I think if schools really wanted to stop this controversy from happening, they should teach students how to write better.

On a last note from a writer’s point of view, I think you would learn so much if you were a term paper ghost and it would be a really good writing exercise if you wanted to eventually teach writing composition just in the same way that ghost writing Nancy Drew books would be a good exercise for an  aspiring fiction writer.

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