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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: April ::
Re: Paper Mills
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0755  Tuesday, 27 April 1999.

[1]     From:   Kristen McDermott <
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        Date:   Monday, 26 Apr 1999 12:03:41 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0742 Amazon.com and Paper Mills

[2]     From:   Rick Jones <
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        Date:   Monday, 26 Apr 1999 12:39:58 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0744 Re: Paper Mills

[3]     From:   Jefferson Cronin <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 27 Apr 1999 07:20:05 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0744 Re: Paper Mills

[4]     From:   Naomi Liebler <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 27 Apr 1999 00:29:51 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0744 Re: Paper Mills

[5]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 27 Apr 1999 10:07:14 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0744 Re: Paper Mills


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kristen McDermott <
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Date:           Monday, 26 Apr 1999 12:03:41 -0400
Subject: 10.0742 Amazon.com and Paper Mills
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0742 Amazon.com and Paper Mills

Meg Livingston Wrote:

>Amazon.com sponsors some of these internet paper mills, including a
>site at http://www.junglepage.com/asp/index.asp.  I would like to
>encourage college instructors and other concerned members of this list
>to cease doing business with Amazon.com and to write them at
>
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  regarding their irresponsible sponsorship of
>plagiarism and academic dishonesty.

My impression of the "Junglepage" site is that it offers a link to
Amazon.com (as many sites do), which is not the same as being sponsored
by Amazon.com-although presumably they use the Amazon.com logo with
permission.  However, I could find no way to reach the "Junglepage" site
FROM Amazon.com, which would more clearly imply endorsement or
sponsorship.  No company can really control who offers links to its
site. (This is not, however, meant to be a blanket endorsement of
Amazon.com, which is no more guiltless in the ongoing conflict between
commerce and intellectual property than any other commercial site.  That
said, I use the site frequently and would hate to boycott it for the
wrong reasons.)

Kristen McDermott
Spelman College

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rick Jones <
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Date:           Monday, 26 Apr 1999 12:39:58 -0500
Subject: 10.0744 Re: Paper Mills
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0744 Re: Paper Mills

Bob Dennis's remarks represent appropriate caution, but I still must
disagree.

He suggests that:

>There are legitimate requirements for banks of professionally rendered
>essays, notes, scribblings, etc.  That a student's need for a paper is
>NOT one of those "legitimate requirements" does not give anyone the
>right to campaign against the economic livelihood of Amazon.com, which
>is protected under the Constitution of the United States (privileges and
>immunities clause??).  You have not demonstrated any "irresponsible
>sponsorship ..." of anything by Amazon.com.  A student might purchase
>material in many different places...  Do you boycott bookstores because
>some students buy materials there which they later copy and present as
>their own, or because they offer Cliff's Notes to purchasers?

The site in question IS sponsored by amazon.com: their ad appears on the
site's homepage (I checked!): they don't control the site, but they
certainly could pull their ad if they chose to do so.  The site itself
freely admits that what it is doing is selling term papers, either "from
stock," as it were, or-for a higher price-written to order.  They make
no claims that they are encouraging research, that they are providing
resources, or the like.  They "tell it like it is" (perhaps we should
appreciate their "honesty"?): they'll write your term paper if you pay
them enough.  [Note: they'll only list a bibliography of up to ten
sources, however-perhaps we should all require eleven?]  We have the
legitimate right to campaign against the "economic livelihood" of any
company: the Constitution prevents only the government from doing so;
private citizens, individually or in groups, are not so restrained
unless they engage in libel or slander in the process.  The truth is
always a defense against either of these charges.  It is TRUE that
amazon.com sponsors the site, TRUE that the site is engaged in the
business of selling term papers.

The philosophical distinction between what Meg Powers Livingston has
urged us to do and boycotting bookstores which sell Cliff Notes is very
clear.  Cliff Notes have a legitimate purpose; I've used them myself
without ever generating a paper from them.  Junglepage.com has no
legitimate function.  One might find an analogy in gun control
legislation: it is reasonable to suggest that sport shooters and hunters
should be able to carry guns even though such a weapon might be used to
commit a crime, while at the same time suggesting that sawed-off
shotguns, which have no function other than the commission of crimes,
ought to be outlawed.  Indeed, no one is suggesting that junglepage.com,
much less amazon.com, be outlawed: only that it is hoped they will not
be patronized.  We all engage in similar behavior on a daily basis: I do
not interfere with the "economic livelihood" of the local car dealership
if I tell my friends that an independent mechanic fixed for $120 the
problem the dealership assured me it would cost $400 to fix.  The
reasons for encouraging someone to take their business elsewhere are
irrelevant: providing they're true.  Professor Dennis need not join a
boycott; others may wish to do so.

A side note: a couple of years ago I was employed by a web-based company
designed to give students advice on their papers.  The student would
submit his or her paper to the company, who would then forward it to
people like me.  We'd read it, recommend changes, and send it back to
the student via e-mail (forwarded through the company) in less than an
hour.  We were "open" from 7 pm Eastern 'til midnight Pacific (iirc),
with the various readers taking one or two hour shifts according to a
schedule prepared by the company in accordance with our respective
schedules.  N.B. we would NOT re-write the paper, merely make
suggestions about the relationship between ideas, the need for
subject-verb agreement, and the like.  The fee, if I remember correctly,
was roughly half of what jungle.com charges.  The company went belly-up
before I got my first assignment: apparently there were a fair number of
"hits" on the website, but few if any customers willing to pay for mere
editorial assistance... actually writing the paper, on the other hand,
even at twice the price, seems a more lucrative business.

A further note: I thought I'd check out junglepage.com's search for
writers.  Be assured I have no intention of taking a job there (although
the current job market makes such things tempting for some, no doubt).
I found it interesting that they won't divulge their pay scale for
writers until a prospective employee submits an application, writing
sample, etc.  Somehow I suspect it's not the out-of-work PhD's who are
making the real money... the good news here is that junglepage.com's
prices are still low enough that the caliber of papers is unlikely to be
very high.  It's probably more cost-efficient to write a "C" paper than
to pay $70 for one.

>A certain type and percentage of students have always sought and paid
>for assistance in their assignments.  Some professors REWARD this
>behavior with better grades. I personally know of a case where a
>doctoral candidate failed miserably his oral exams and was later given
>the answers for a re-test by his advisor; he now has his doctorate and
>holds a university professorship.  In another case a woman was caught
>copying papers repeatedly from numerous sources; when discipline was
>instigated, the Dean told me personally, "Some people don't know the
>difference between right and wrong, so we just have to let them go ahead
>and graduate."  She has her college degree on the same parchment that
>many of the others of us do.

The failure of some in the professoriate to exercise appropriate ethical
judgment does not abrogate the responsibility of the rest of us to
behave ethically.

Or such is the view from Cloudcuckooland.

Rick Jones

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jefferson Cronin <
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Date:           Tuesday, 27 Apr 1999 07:20:05 +1000
Subject: 10.0744 Re: Paper Mills
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0744 Re: Paper Mills

If anyone is selling papers or research to be used in a fraudulent
manner, academics have an obligation to take appropriate action to
protect the integrity of the learning process.  Some people will always
seek to abuse the system and cheat.  Some teachers and administrators
will always not give a damn.  We must always be cautious to insure any
complaints are legitimate and action taken is directed specifically at
the responsible parties or entities. The obligation remains the
obligation.

Peace,
Jefferson Cronin

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Naomi Liebler <
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Date:           Tuesday, 27 Apr 1999 00:29:51 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 10.0744 Re: Paper Mills
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0744 Re: Paper Mills

So Bob Dennis thinks that purchasers, not purveyors, of paper-mill
products are the ones who should be held accountable for fraudulent
academic presentations?  Hmmmm. I wonder whether he takes the same view
regarding drug pushers and gun runners: "the problem does not, however,
become the problem of the sellers, who are filling a market of both
legitimate and not-so-legitimate needs," and that the "economic
livelihood of Amazon.com" is "protected under the Constitution of the
United States (privileges and immunities clause??)." Good grief!

Mr. Dennis's e-mail address suggests that he works for some agency of
the U.S.  Government. I'd like to know which agency I'm supporting with
some considerable tax revenues that countenances pushers' rights,
privileges them over buyers' rights, and protects both over and above
those of a professoriate that asks only that students to whom we grant
academic degrees do honest work. Good double grief!  Perhaps he would
argue I cling to a fading hope that he was only joking; if so, it wasn't
a very good joke. My failure to appreciate the putative humor of his
message is doubtless compounded by my expectation of some 70 term papers
in the coming week, and the prospect of having to surf websites for the
real authors of any of those papers. More grief, none of it good.

--Naomi Liebler

fascinated by his claim that the economic livelihood of Amazon.com is
"protected under the Constitution of the United States (privileges and
immunities clause??)."

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Tuesday, 27 Apr 1999 10:07:14 +0100
Subject: 10.0744 Re: Paper Mills
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0744 Re: Paper Mills

Naturally the constitution of the US is a document of repression, but
Bob Dennis surely overstates its nastiness when he writes:

>That a student's need for a paper is
>NOT one of those "legitimate requirements"
>does not give anyone the right to campaign
>against the economic livelihood of Amazon.com,
>which is protected under the Constitution of the
>United States (privileges and immunities clause??).
>You have not demonstrated any "irresponsible
>sponsorship ..." of anything by Amazon.com.

This would appear to imply that we cannot on this list collectively
decide that we prefer, say, companies that begin with the letter 'Z'
over companies that begin with the letter 'A' and mount a campaign to
encourage purchasers to favour that end of the alphabet.

As a foreigner I dare the powerful machinery of the US
military-industrial complex to bring the full force of the US
constitution on my head by saying, in this unprotected forum, let's
destroy Amazon.com!

(No doubt that's my cashmere-sweater export business gone for a burton.)

Gabriel Egan
 

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