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  1. teechar's Avatar
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    #1

    Opportunist posters

    I've noticed that some people join this forum, post their motivation (or whatever) letter, and delete the content (or request that our moderators delete it), right after one of us proofreads/edits it. This is happening with increasing regularity. I believe that this kind of conduct is nothing short of abusing the forum.

    Therefore, I suggest that a note be added to the Proofreading sticky thread to say that unless a very convincing and valid reason is provided, content should/will not be deleted.
    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/t...7-Proofreading

    I also suggest that moderators undelete removed content, such as in the thread below:
    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/t...ammar-mistakes

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Opportunist posters

    I don't think I've helped with one of those motivation letters for years. If a college wants to get an idea about the student and their abilities, they probably want a letter by the student.

  3. Piscean's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Opportunist posters

    I have not noticed this. You, as one of the few members generous enough to give up their time for this proofreading work, will be far more aware of it. It must be very frustrating to be (ab)used in this way.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your suggestions.

    Most of us who give up some of our free time to respond in forums such as this do so in the hope that our responses may be of value to all members visiting. We do not wish to give a free service to individuals who then selfishly refuse to let others share in what they have learnt.

  4. Piscean's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Opportunist posters

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I don't think I've helped with one of those motivation letters for years. If a college wants to get an idea about the student and their abilities, they probably want a letter by the student.
    Right.

    I'd add to teechar's suggestion the suggestion that motivation letters, letters of application and the like be placed in the same category as homework - something we don't help with. If we offer a proofreading/correction service, we are offering an unfair advantage to those who use the service over those who try to find college place/jobs/etc on their own merits. There is nothing we can do to stop applicants trying to gain an edge, but we should not be part of this.

  5. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Opportunist posters

    One defense against this is to quote the post in its entirety in your reply. They may be able to delete their own post (or edit it to make it ...) but they can't do anything about yours. Then their words remain.

    I have mixed feelings about this. If someone whose first language is Albanian is trying to get into a master's degree of chemistry program in Australia, I don't think helping with her English is a bad thing. However, if the person is trying to get into an English program, or the person's native language is English, I would not help.

    But each should do as they feel appropriate.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  6. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Opportunist posters

    I like Barb's suggestion as the alternative seems to be not to allow people to edit or delete their own posts. I actually tried to reinstate the original post in the most recent example of this, by taking the edited version from post #2 and putting it back into post #1, but removing all the strikethroughs etc. However, I realised that the person who took the time to help had added/changed various words and posted them in bold so I, of course, didn't know what the original said. I gave up on my attempt.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  7. Piscean's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Opportunist posters

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    One defense against this is to quote the post in its entirety in your reply. They may be able to delete their own post (or edit it to make it ...) but they can't do anything about yours. Then their words remain.
    I am generally against excessive QUOTES, but I think, in this case, it's a good idea if we continue to allow this type of proofreading.

    If someone whose first language is Albanian is trying to get into a master's degree of chemistry program in Australia, I don't think helping with her English is a bad thing.

    Hmm. My wife deals with applications from many counties for higher-degree programmes (in English) at a leading central European university. She, and the lecturers delivering the programmes, much prefer to have an honest picture of the applicant's English skills. If the applicant has real potential in the area of study, this usually shines through poor English. But, a certain command of English is essential if the applicant is to have a realistic chance of successfully completing their programme.

    Applicants who are brilliant in their field of study will find a place even with relatively poor English skills. It's the borderline applicants who might, with our help, obtain a place at the expense of more honest (naive?) applicants who worry me. If institutions require a motivation letter in English, then surely one of their criteria for acceptance will be the applicants' command of English.

    If universities choose to reject applicants solely on their poor command of English, so be it. Have we the right to help applicants deceive the universities because we think the universities are being unreasonable? I don't think we have.

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    #8

    Re: Opportunist posters

    Quote Originally Posted by teechar View Post
    I also suggest that moderators undelete removed content, such as in the thread below:
    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/t...ammar-mistakes
    I don't think we can. We can undelete whole posts, but I don't know how to restore edited content. I will look into it.

    I will speak to Red5 about whether we can restrict permissions for the writing folder to make the post uneditable so that this cannot happen in future. Let's see if he can work up a solution for this because it is plain rude.

  8. Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com
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    #9

    Re: Opportunist posters

    Would moving that section of the forum into the member's area help? I ask because I wonder whether this content is being removed because users don't want it being found via Google by prospective employers etc.?
    I'm not a teacher, so please consider any advice I give in that context.

  9. Piscean's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Opportunist posters

    I don't think that wil stop such people removing their posts.

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