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Post Reply Is Ghostwriting Ethical?
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27 / M / Louisville, KY
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Posted 9/3/15
No, it's not ethical, but it could be moral depending on the reason.
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Posted 9/3/15 , edited 9/3/15
One day when you hire a doctor expecting him or her to tell you whether a disease is currently curable BECAUSE IT IS AFFECTING YOU or you hire a lawyer expecting him or her to provide you with competent legal advice BECAUSE IT IS AFFECTING YOU.
And you find out that they did not study or research at all or did not research deeply during their university times, resulting in incompetent advice, then you'll realise the depth of your sins. After all, for these professions, or in general any other business, it is likely that they'll cause someone to suffer loss or distress due to their incompetence before they ultimately get struck off. The question then is, how many people can they hurt before they get found out, if ever.

But of course, it's likely to be someone else's problem right?
But of course, the sweet voice will come: 'what has the world or your country done for you; why should I care or prevent others from suffering losses? I can make a business and living out of this!'
And you can be justified for that, morally, because you also are a human being, living in this unequal world.
But ethically, I would argue no, you cannot be justified.
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Posted 9/3/15
I think being a 'ghost writer' and writing a person's term paper for them is not the same thing.
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27 / M
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Posted 9/3/15 , edited 9/3/15

FirzenExpert wrote:

One day when you hire a doctor expecting him or her to tell you whether a disease is currently curable BECAUSE IT IS AFFECTING YOU or you hire a lawyer expecting him or her to provide you with competent legal advice BECAUSE IT IS AFFECTING YOU.
And you find out that they did not study or research at all or did not research deeply during their university times, resulting in incompetent advice, then you'll realise the depth of your sins. After all, for these professions, or in general any other business, it is likely that they'll cause someone to suffer loss or distress due to their incompetence before they ultimately get struck off. The question then is, how many people can they hurt before they get found out, if ever.

But of course, it's likely to be someone else's problem right?
But of course, the sweet voice will come: 'what has the world or your country done for you; why should I care or prevent others from suffering losses? I can make a business and living out of this!'
And you can be justified for that, morally, because you also are a human being, living in this unequal world.
But ethically, I would argue no, you cannot be justified.


Having had law school experience and having also many friends in the medical field, I can tell you with complete honesty that the university studies are almost totally useless in these grad school classes. These programs also rely on huge exams that can't really be cheated on with the help of a ghostwriter, unless that ghostwriter was an A student in law school and an A student in medical school with great knowledge of the gadgetry required for such a feat, which begs questions pertaining to why this insanely smart person would write $15 pages when there are much more lucrative things to do, but I digress.

Every result is the end and beginning of a chain of causation. Where you break the links is up to you, but I would not say I would be solely or directly responsible for a consequence like a death resulting from another's decision to use my work to cheat in class despite how I expressly and clearly tell them not to do it.

I do see your point, though.
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Posted 9/3/15 , edited 9/3/15
Honestly, I don't think ghostwriting is ethical and I don't see point in helping lazy students, that don't care to do their work and/or don't care to learn how to write moderately well, to cheat.
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Posted 9/3/15 , edited 9/3/15

Morbidhanson wrote:


FirzenExpert wrote:

One day when you hire a doctor expecting him or her to tell you whether a disease is currently curable BECAUSE IT IS AFFECTING YOU or you hire a lawyer expecting him or her to provide you with competent legal advice BECAUSE IT IS AFFECTING YOU.
And you find out that they did not study or research at all or did not research deeply during their university times, resulting in incompetent advice, then you'll realise the depth of your sins. After all, for these professions, or in general any other business, it is likely that they'll cause someone to suffer loss or distress due to their incompetence before they ultimately get struck off. The question then is, how many people can they hurt before they get found out, if ever.

But of course, it's likely to be someone else's problem right?
But of course, the sweet voice will come: 'what has the world or your country done for you; why should I care or prevent others from suffering losses? I can make a business and living out of this!'
And you can be justified for that, morally, because you also are a human being, living in this unequal world.
But ethically, I would argue no, you cannot be justified.


Having had law school experience and having also many friends in the medical field, I can tell you with complete honesty that the university studies are almost totally useless in these grad school classes. These programs also rely on huge exams that can't really be cheated on with the help of a ghostwriter, unless that ghostwriter was an A student in law school and an A student in medical school with great knowledge of the gadgetry required for such a feat, which begs questions pertaining to why this insanely smart person would write $15 pages when there are much more lucrative things to do, but I digress.

Every result is the end and beginning of a chain of causation. Where you break the links is up to you, but I would not say I would be solely or directly responsible for a consequence like a death resulting from another's decision to use my work to cheat in class despite how I expressly and clearly tell them not to do it.

I do see your point, though.


Dude, have you never taken those "paper only" exams? Like I bet there are students who intentionally pick classes, from 1L - 3L, that decide your grade solely on class participation and the final paper. Actually, there's probably also a midterm paper there. But point being - two papers. Obviously, they'd charge premium for those, but I've seen those sites around where they'll write your course paper for you, as well as write your personal essay... inter alia. I mean, there are law students on craigslist trying to get secondary income by advertising that they'd write briefs and memos or use their free LexisNexis or Westlaw accounts to do legal research -- all under the table of course. I mean, given all that -- I'm pretty sure there are some lawyers who don't mind making extra cash writing a thesis or memo/brief/etc. I mean, compared to time-sensitive actual motions and whatnot, writing a mock memo/brief/motion/paper is probably like walking on CLoud 9 for them. Plus, they can charge premium for those too.

But med school is different, they don't do papers there, so yeah that one you can't "outsource" your way out of.
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Posted 9/3/15

FirzenExpert wrote:

One day when you hire a doctor expecting him or her to tell you whether a disease is currently curable BECAUSE IT IS AFFECTING YOU or you hire a lawyer expecting him or her to provide you with competent legal advice BECAUSE IT IS AFFECTING YOU.
And you find out that they did not study or research at all or did not research deeply during their university times, resulting in incompetent advice, then you'll realise the depth of your sins. After all, for these professions, or in general any other business, it is likely that they'll cause someone to suffer loss or distress due to their incompetence before they ultimately get struck off. The question then is, how many people can they hurt before they get found out, if ever.

But of course, it's likely to be someone else's problem right?
But of course, the sweet voice will come: 'what has the world or your country done for you; why should I care or prevent others from suffering losses? I can make a business and living out of this!'
And you can be justified for that, morally, because you also are a human being, living in this unequal world.
But ethically, I would argue no, you cannot be justified.


Honestly, if you're good enough to have never written a paper in your whole entire life, and make it from high school to med school/law school, and then graduate and pass the bar and MSLE or whatever the graduated med students take... Then no, I wouldn't be worried about going to that lawyer/doctor. Why? They're not suddenly going to be a dumbass. They're going to obviously research your disease or whatever, the way they've been pulling off since grade school. I'd probably be even more comfortable with these doctors/lawyers, cuz they're careful enough to find the answers that get them A's rather than most students who just "hope to do their best".
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18 / M
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Posted 9/3/15
I dont care as long as the end product is good.
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27 / M
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Posted 9/3/15 , edited 9/3/15

lambofgenesis wrote:

Dude, have you never taken those "paper only" exams? Like I bet there are students who intentionally pick classes, from 1L - 3L, that decide your grade solely on class participation and the final paper. Actually, there's probably also a midterm paper there. But point being - two papers. Obviously, they'd charge premium for those, but I've seen those sites around where they'll write your course paper for you, as well as write your personal essay... inter alia. I mean, there are law students on craigslist trying to get secondary income by advertising that they'd write briefs and memos or use their free LexisNexis or Westlaw accounts to do legal research -- all under the table of course. I mean, given all that -- I'm pretty sure there are some lawyers who don't mind making extra cash writing a thesis or memo/brief/etc. I mean, compared to time-sensitive actual motions and whatnot, writing a mock memo/brief/motion/paper is probably like walking on CLoud 9 for them. Plus, they can charge premium for those too.

But med school is different, they don't do papers there, so yeah that one you can't "outsource" your way out of.




Papers only classes are few in comparison to other types. Sure, you can pay your way out of those if you have the money but that will affect your exam scores when you're unable to write anything on the fly because you can't issue spot for beans. There are also essay-only tests that you have to be in the classroom to take. You get 3 hours to write about a hypo the professors give you. Good luck paying your way out of those since you must either write by hand or do them on your computer with a special program designed to make it nearly impossible to cheat. Additionally, professors might be looking for things they mentioned in class that your ghostwriter doesn't know about unless you take good notes. Doing well on a test often means knowing what the professor wants in addition to knowing materials covered in class. You won't get credit for stuff that you weren't taught and the time is ticking the whole time. I wrote 14 pages on my Criminal Law final and still felt like I needed 2 more hours.

Also, since curves are brutal in second tier law schools, where students actually need help the most, making a mistake like wasting 10 minutes writing about something unimportant can cost you a letter grade. And, there's more. Professors will teach the standards that they believe are right. You might open three different supplements and they might say three slightly different things. Using "and" instead of "or" and using "must" instead of "may" can destroy you.

I spent around 12 hours in the law library each weekday and I felt like I was still struggling.

If you don't have any practice actually writing and you learn nothing in class, I don't see how you can pass those. And you'd have to do it at least 10 or 12 times before it's all over. Many fields of law are also intertwined. You fail to learn one and you'll never catch up. Legal writing and the stuff you did from junior high to college are two totally different beasts. It's not uncommon to see 4.0 students earning 2.5s in law school. And even if, by some miracle, you graduate, you now have to deal with the BAR exam. Yup. Good luck. If you have the money to pay your way all the way through and the brains to execute the plan efficiently, you have no reason to be a lawyer.
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Posted 9/3/15 , edited 9/3/15
I'm not talking about grade A. The reality is that for many units, you do not have to get A to pass. The bare minimum is enough. That means even just 51%. The problem with this is that, it assumes you have done at least some work deserving of it. Unfortunately, some people (who use your service or others) will be able to pass their degree to detriment of the general public, because they won't know who they are really contracting with as the person would just quote their degree (without reference to the mark they got).

Even 'paper only' ghostwriting without research develops critical thinking. It's a skill especially important for a lawyer. If you find this skill worthless, well, I don't have much to say except enjoy uncritically accepting whatever is thrown your way, which is also a valid way to live. But, if you are dealing with peoples lives and property, don't you think ETHICALLY (not morally), you have an obligation to have done the work while in University and know what is needed to help your client?

But I do not think the only objective of a University degree is to assess your marks. It is a place to learn and develop skills, so the person can go out into the world feeling confident of themselves while the public can be confident in them.





mrya21 
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Posted 9/3/15
I thought you meant ghostwriting as in the people who write all those grocery store novels under one author's name, and was very confused for a moment as to why that would be unethical. Then realized you meant academic papers.
Having someone ghostwrite a paper for you is damn lazy, and in my opinion cheating. If I was cheating I would not take it lightly. I managed to pass all my math courses even though I'm terrible at it, I hated every minute of it and had hours and hours of homework. You have to do the work required of the class. There are tutors available, often free through the university. My school had a special tutoring section devoted entirely to helping with writing. It was free and flexible hours.
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Posted 9/3/15

FirzenExpert wrote:

I'm not talking about grade A. The reality is that for many units, you do not have to get A to pass. The bare minimum is enough. That means even just 51%. The problem with this is that, it assumes you have done at least some work deserving of it. Unfortunately, some people (who use your service or others) will be able to pass their degree to detriment of the general public, because they won't know who they are really contracting with as the person would just quote their degree (without reference to the mark they got).

Even 'paper only' ghostwriting without research develops critical thinking. It's a skill especially important for a lawyer. If you find this skill worthless, well, I don't have much to say except enjoy uncritically accepting whatever is thrown your way, which is also a valid way to live. But, if you are dealing with peoples lives and property, don't you think ETHICALLY (not morally), you have an obligation to have done the work while in University and know what is needed to help your client?

But I do not think the only objective of a University degree is to assess your marks. It is a place to learn and develop skills, so the person can go out into the world feeling confident of themselves while the public can be confident in them.



Actually no, in the US, for all of grad school, you can't graduate unless you have a C average. That's 75% or something around there, or a 2.0 GPA.

And if a lawyer or doctor knows who to hire to do their papers (I'm sure they've amassed a lot of experience in this if they've been cheating since grade school and still passed all the way up from college to grad school), then it's not too hard for them to find the right people to research their cases/patients.

Also, unlike school, in the real world lawyers and doctors are placed on a standard. Which means, if they show extreme incompetence, i.e.: not knowing something so basic like the elements of a tort, or the anatomy of the body, then the patient/client can sue the lawyer/doctor for so much $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ it's not even funny.
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Posted 9/3/15 , edited 9/3/15

FirzenExpert wrote:

I'm not talking about grade A. The reality is that for many units, you do not have to get A to pass. The bare minimum is enough. That means even just 51%. The problem with this is that, it assumes you have done at least some work deserving of it. Unfortunately, some people (who use your service or others) will be able to pass their degree to detriment of the general public, because they won't know who they are really contracting with as the person would just quote their degree (without reference to the mark they got).

Even 'paper only' ghostwriting without research develops critical thinking. It's a skill especially important for a lawyer. If you find this skill worthless, well, I don't have much to say except enjoy uncritically accepting whatever is thrown your way, which is also a valid way to live. But, if you are dealing with peoples lives and property, don't you think ETHICALLY (not morally), you have an obligation to have done the work while in University and know what is needed to help your client?

But I do not think the only objective of a University degree is to assess your marks. It is a place to learn and develop skills, so the person can go out into the world feeling confident of themselves while the public can be confident in them.




Legal research and writing is totally different from the stuff people do in college. I can say with confidence that all the writing I did up to after college (which is a whole damn lot) did not help me do legal writing. It only helped me to not make any grammar errors. And I still attribute that more to my love for reading than to doing my homework.

I do agree with your thoughts about the purpose of going to a university, though. Although, I must say, when I am doing work to help a client, I aim to actually help them, not to try to help them. I don't just take money for attempts, I earn money by producing results. If I don't think I can do it, I tell them to find someone else.

Yes, I do think it is not ethical for a professional with so much relying on him to not put in the work expected of him, but that is up to the recipient of my papers. As far as I'm concerned, I put in my work and even go out of my way to warn clients that my work is not for direct submission but for use as a source from which they can draw inspiration for their own writing.
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Posted 9/3/15
I personally don't have anything against it in general.

I would never have someone ghostwrite my lyrics/stories/etc. tho. I would be open about using references/whoever helped me write/etc.
But that's just me.

I also think that sometimes ghostwriting allows creative materials to come to reality, when it might not ever have.
Some people can write a great song, but they might be a bad singer, etc. I know you can always give credits, but for whatever reason some ppl might not, which is whatever.

I also think it's 100% natural for people to feel "betrayed/disappointed" if you find out that artists/writers you respected never really wrote their own stuff. Obviously a levelheaded person would never think that every main stream popstars write their own songs.
But I guess it could hurt more as a fan when you find out like an underground artist has ghostwriters, depending on which songs has been ghostwritten, etc.
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Posted 9/4/15

lambofgenesis wrote:


papagolfwhiskey wrote:

In the school setting I think it's unethical. Plagiarism to be exact. If someone else did the work why are you getting the mark?


It's not plagiarism if the student buys the paper for full rights.

I sell my articles online and it would make no sense if my customers didn't own what they're buying.

So it's no longer the ghostwriters' paper but the student's


But they didn't write it. It's like hiring a ringer to come in a take their tests. or copying homework. I really don't see the difference in the school setting. No shame on you perhaps you're just supplying a demand. The purchasers of papers not written by them however, ARE cheating.
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