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Post Reply Is Ghostwriting Ethical?
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Posted 9/3/15 , edited 9/3/15
Do you believe ghostwriting is okay, wrong, or is the rightfulness and wrongfulness dependent upon the circumstances?

Having been employed as a ghostwriter for a few years before, I've heard both sides. Some friends were happy for me and said whatever the recipient decided to do with the paper was on them. Others told me I was helping people cheat.

I always told my clients that my papers were not to be submitted verbatim and that they should give me prompts ahead of time so that they themselves had the time to ensure proper citations and rearrange ideas based on what their instructors expected, that my essays were references for their own essays. Although I didn't say anything more if given an essay to proofread and revise, I almost always included my disclaimer when writing an essay from scratch.

I'm aware that more than a few people have submitted the stuff I wrote verbatim and I do not encourage academic dishonesty but, at the same time, I recognize that some people need help with their writing and that they do try hard on their papers before giving them to me to revise.

I may once again take on a temporary job as a ghostwriter since the pay seems to be alright. On a good day, I'm able to churn out ready-to-use 4-page essays in less than an hour, and I'm being offered $15 per page. The rate increases as the deadlines shorten, with an essay due in 24 hours or less going for up to $30 per page. At the moment, I've offered the company 3 days of my time per week with 12 hours of available time per day.

Thoughts?
Posted 9/3/15 , edited 9/10/15
i find nothing wrong with ghost rider unless you're talking about the Nic Cage movie, in which case no amount of alcohol will erase that memory from my brain
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Posted 9/3/15

_prey wrote:

i find nothing wrong with ghost rider unless you're talking about the Nic Cage movie, in which case no amount of alcohol will erase that memory from my brain


That movie was awful but it was very fun to watch. Sort of like Van Helsing.
Posted 9/3/15 , edited 9/3/15

Morbidhanson wrote:


_prey wrote:

i find nothing wrong with ghost rider unless you're talking about the Nic Cage movie, in which case no amount of alcohol will erase that memory from my brain


That movie was awful but it was very fun to watch. Sort of like Van Helsing.


ha, true.

as for a real answer i see nothing wrong with it. politicians, singers, etc all have material written for them. it's on the person accepting that work to present it in a ethical manner. in the case of school it's up to them to take that risk, you're just providing a service. nothing wrong with getting paid B.
Posted 9/3/15
That's pretty good money. Isn't it hard to write about things you don't really know things about? Or do the clients not care as long as they have something to hand in
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Posted 9/3/15 , edited 9/3/15

_prey wrote:

ha, true.

as for a real answer i see nothing wrong with it. politicians, singers, etc all have material written for them. it's on the person accepting that work to present it in a ethical manner. in the case of school it's up to them to take that risk, you're just providing a service. nothing wrong with getting paid B.


The pay can be surprisingly good. I remember writing an 8-page essay and getting $300 for it a few years back.


haikinka wrote:

That's pretty good money. Isn't it hard to write about things you don't really know things about? Or do the clients not care as long as they have something to hand in


When I was active before, I didn't work as an independent contractor, it was all just me. It seems that they only want a paper that's better than what they can write themselves most of the time. I always tried my best and heard about people getting As most of the time.

If the essay prompt is not something I think I can adequately satisfy with my writing, I try to turn it down. If the person is desperate, I warn them about my lack of extensive knowledge in the topic and charge a slightly lower rate. So far, I haven't gotten many essay prompts that were very problematic. Not that many essays go that deep into a subject.

My two conditions:
1. NO RESEARCH ESSAYS. If I take on a research essay, the client is responsible for the citations and bibliography as well as supplying me with the sources. I'll indicate what quotes I used and where I got them, but the format will be wrong. I hate citations and bibliographies. I make it very clear that I'm not responsible for improper citation if I get any prompt that requires cited work.

2. No next-day essays. I feel that I might not be able to write as well if I happen to have a busy day and need to rush an essay. Prompts must be given at least 2 or 3 days in advance. Although I do not get credit for my writing, I have some pride in my writing, so submitting something I know is complete crap is unacceptable to me.
Posted 9/3/15

Morbidhanson wrote:

Do you believe ghostwriting is okay, wrong, or is the rightfulness and wrongfulness dependent upon the circumstances?

Having been employed as a ghostwriter for a few years before, I've heard both sides. Some friends were happy for me and said whatever the recipient decided to do with the paper was on them. Others told me I was helping people cheat.

I always told my clients that my papers were not to be submitted verbatim and that they should give me prompts ahead of time so that they themselves had the time to ensure proper citations and rearrange ideas based on what their instructors expected, that my essays were references for their own essays. Although I didn't say anything more if given an essay to proofread and revise, I almost always included my disclaimer when writing an essay from scratch.

I'm aware that more than a few people have submitted the stuff I wrote verbatim and I do not encourage academic dishonesty but, at the same time, I recognize that some people need help with their writing and that they do try hard on their papers before giving them to me to revise.

I may once again take on a temporary job as a ghostwriter since the pay seems to be alright. On a good day, I'm able to churn out ready-to-use 4-page essays in less than an hour, and I'm being offered $15 per page. The rate increases as the deadlines shorten, with an essay due in 24 hours or less going for up to $30 per page. At the moment, I've offered the company 3 days of my time per week with 12 hours of available time per day.

Thoughts?


You should just laugh at the people who say your helping people cheat, like is that really even worth justifying as "Cheating". That sounds idiotic for someone to ridicule someone's job. Same type of people who make pornstars feel crappy because their work doesn't correlate with their ideals.
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Posted 9/3/15
I think that it should always be made clear when something isn't written by the person who delivered it (be it a musician or a politician), and it is essentially cheating in schools (both parties are in the wrong)...I don't really see a situation in which I would consider it to be a good thing.

Except for the movie. The movie was really good.

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Posted 9/3/15 , edited 9/3/15

sirisaacbeans wrote:

You should just laugh at the people who say your helping people cheat, like is that really even worth justifying as "Cheating". That sounds idiotic for someone to ridicule someone's job. Same type of people who make pornstars feel crappy because their work doesn't correlate with their ideals.


Well, I sort of understand where they are coming from. A few times, I knew they were going to submit it despite my disclaimer but I willingly supplied them with a work, anyway. Sort of like selling a gun to someone I knew was going to commit a crime with it. Although it is much less severe, of course.

Since all my work is original and I do not submit it to any database, there's no good way to actually prove that they are plagiarizing short of looking at the exchange of information between me and the client. The disclaimer is sort of just there, I realize.
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Posted 9/3/15
I've got no problem with revisions or helping people with their work. As long as the person is involved in the process, it's fair for them to claim some credit for it. In the same way, I've got zero problem with someone writing an essay based on points provided by the person who should be doing that essay. Not everybody can turn a phrase, and I don't think that difficulty expressing oneself should be an obstacle in getting credit for your own ideas, so I'm strongly for ghostwriting of that sort. Conversely, I'm strongly against the type of ghostwriting that allows the client to take wholesale credit for ideas and arguments that are just plain not theirs. The idea is sacred; the expression of ideas is a skill, so there's no problem with commoditizing it.
Posted 9/3/15 , edited 9/3/15
I think it's okay it you enjoy it and feel you have the the time for it. You're not doing anything bad.
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Posted 9/3/15 , edited 9/3/15
Ooc, how'd you get into ghostwriting? How does one 'become' a ghostwriter?
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Posted 9/3/15 , edited 9/3/15
As a fellow Ghostwriter, I get into this bit with folks a lot.

Generally, I'm working along the same lines as you, where I don't generate the idea or sources, but simply put ideas to paper for the client to make their own.

I do make it clear up-front that this is their assignment; I'm just helping with the bulk of writing. Never had an issue with anyone not wanting to put in effort, but maybe I'm lucky.

As far as ethics go, that's more of a personal question. If you feel that your work isn't being abused and that you are adequately paid for your time and effort, then you shouldn't feel bad about it.

Personally, I enjoy the challenge and work involved, and I also enjoy the idea of helping someone who may not be so good at getting thoughts on to paper.
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Posted 9/3/15
in this age and era...nothing is original anymore...all of its is paraphrasing..same goes with music..the inventors of msic are long gone...now we reused the same formula..so i find it hard to believe there are new ideas......
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Posted 9/3/15 , edited 9/3/15

narutoshippudenwatcher wrote:

Ooc, how'd you get into ghostwriting? How does one 'become' a ghostwriter?


I started with true academic dishonesty. I wrote papers for struggling acquaintances who had problems writing in exchange for favors or money. Eventually, through word of mouth, I had people coming to me for various writing needs. I didn't have a set price back then, so it was all negotiable. Some people paid as much as $30 a page, some as little as $6, some just gave me money per assignment. I did this for like 2 or 3 years toward the end of college and a while after. I was doing philosophy and creative writing at the time and needed something to do when I wasn't doing my own writing. Business was sporadic since I wasn't advertised. When it was good, I'd be getting $1000+ in a short amount of time. When it was slow, I'd be writing nothing for weeks. I proofread for friends for free in my spare time occasionally. As things went on, I started developing my own rules based on my experiences and it became more businesslike.

I wasn't relying on this for money. It just allowed me to pad my pockets a little in my free time. Want me to do something? What do I get out of it?

The deal I'm looking at now involves becoming an independent contractor for a company. You just have to find an ad that is looking for writers to pay per page and contact the poster.


Juinichi wrote:

As a fellow Ghostwriter, I get into this bit with folks a lot.

Generally, I'm working along the same lines as you, where I don't generate the idea or sources, but simply put ideas to paper for the client to make their own.

I do make it clear up-front that this is their assignment; I'm just helping with the bulk of writing. Never had an issue with anyone not wanting to put in effort, but maybe I'm lucky.

As far as ethics go, that's more of a personal question. If you feel that your work isn't being abused and that you are adequately paid for your time and effort, then you shouldn't feel bad about it.

Personally, I enjoy the challenge and work involved, and I also enjoy the idea of helping someone who may not be so good at getting thoughts on to paper.


I suppose it's not that they don't put in effort, since people usually came to me out of desperation, but that they lack the skills to write something their instructor would consider good. People who turned in my work verbatim were often simply incapable of making any meaningful changes to the work that would improve their grade.

I, too, enjoy the challenge of writing about many topics. It's often pretty rewarding when someone comes to you gushing praises about how they got an A and you saved their life since they aren't any good at writing.
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