It Doesn’t Solve the Problem

Work continues with Citation Machine. There were a number of features that got left off of the new version, and I have certainly been hearing about the ones that were most sorely missed. Mainly, folks don’t like reading the instructions that I included, for formatting multiple authors. So for most of the sources, you can now click a plus symbol to add an author or a minus to subtract one in the template. In some of the sources, you just click two, three, four, or five to produce a template with that many author textboxes.

I get it. People aren’t using this because they want to read.

yahoopapermill.gifI’ve also run across a couple of blogs, people talking about Citation Machine, ..and apparently, some folks on a listserv are grumbling about my putting Google Ads on the tool. By the way, Google Ads work. I’ve calculated that if the the load on SOCM were to continue through the year, I could make just about as much money as I did my first year teaching. Of course, my first year teaching earned me less than $7000. The problem is that upgrading to a dedicated server is going to cost a lot of money, like a car payment — a really nice car, car payment. So Google Ads, stay 😉

But to be fair, it wasn’t really the Google Ads that bothered people. After all, schools can get Son of Citation Machine without the ads. The problem is that Google can detect the content on the page, and pick ads that are relevant to the content, and I had no idea that there were that many research paper mills out there. Yes, that’s the problem. Just about every five ads were places where students can pay five to twelve dollars a page to have the company write your essay for you.

OK, I’ve done some research and learned how we can block specific ads from our Google Ads box, and Brenda and I have been configuring our account to block the ads sites as we discover them. Plus I am working on a way to aggregate some news, movie, and music RSS feeds into Son of Citation Machine, so that there will be much more content for Google to select ads on.

moretyping2.jpgBut hey! I’m really beginning to second think this. The problem isn’t that the kids don’t know about paper mills, and hiding them doesn’t solve the problem. The problem is with students who think they might just get away with turning in a purchased paper. They should know, be told, that we know about the paper mills too, and that we know how to detect them, that we have ways of telling when a student wrote it and when someone else got payed to write it. Students don’t plagiarize because they’re smart. They plagiarize because they’re lazy. We’re not lazy. We’ll catch them. They need to hear that in their schools from their increasingly tech-savvy teachers.

I guess that the most interesting thing about all of this is that I’m picturing educated Chinese college students, sitting in their apartments, getting payed a nickle a page to write research papers for lazy U.S. students. It could happen!

Plugimi, “Su Typing.” Plugimi’s Photos. 26 Jun 2005. 7 May 2006

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.