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August 21, 2012
5:31 pm
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writefix
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It's been fun and instructive and I hope you enjoyed uploading and reading the many essays here, but I have to scale back work on this forum. I will try to comment on a few more of the essays that are already here, but very soon I will be drawing the forum to a close and not accepting any new essays.

The essays and comments from all the essays over the last nine months will still be here – I just won't be adding my comments to any new essays. Even editing and fixing up titles and tags and keeping it all maintained is a lot of work, so that will keep me busy.

Thanks very much for all your essays and comments. Almost 500 essays- the good, the bad, and the wonderful!

And a huge thanks to everyone who commented and helped everyone else and thousands of people who came by the website. Hopefully, we've made IELTS writing less scary!

August 22, 2012
3:22 pm
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Dear Writefix,

Thanks for creating this greate place for all of us to practise. 

May I know how we can comment and help each other in the future if the website closed and not accepting the new essays? It reeeeealy help us to improve the writing skills, hope it won't be closed 🙂

August 25, 2012
7:02 pm
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Hi Christyzhongs and thanks for your very kind words. I really appreciate all that you and others have done here in commenting and sharing essays. That was exactly what I hoped would happen!

I hope the closure of the forum will be temporary, not permanent. I'd like to look around for other solutions to help people more.

Here's some of the reasons for closing it at the moment.

What's happening more and more...

When a new person comes to the forum, they look around for a very short while and then post. Usually they haven't commented on someone else's essay first, although some brave people do!  (A small number of people just sign up, post immediately, and demand a response with a band score. Sigh!)

But very often the problems with new member's essays are the same problems other people had with their essays a few days, weeks or months ago. That means I'm repeating, and repeating, and repeating.... and repeating. I'm going over the same problems again and again. 

Classroom teachers are used to repeating themselves (and students are used to hearing them!), Eventually, the dripping water wears away the stone, the students do the test or exam and graduate, and the cycle repeats next semester. Fine!

But in this case, new people are coming online all the time - which is great, but very tiring and boring for regular members.  Individuals improve and go off and do the IELTS, but there doesn't seem to be a logical beginning or end or a logical approach to dealing with the most common errors.

Discussion forum: Format to blame?

The format of a discussion forum is not very helpful. It's not realistic to go back and look at many threads or discussions.  It's hard to find information that seems to match for your essay. So many new people just go ahead and post without really looking around or seeing if others have had the same problem.

Forum format: Hard to find information

At the moment, the forum is arranged by topic. Looking back, this was not the best way to arrange it. It would be better arranged by problem -  word count, sentence length, topic sentences, thesis sentences, articles, standardized phrases, paragraph layout, subject-verb agreement, fragments and run-on sentences, coherence and cohesion.

I have a lot of ideas floating around in my head for changing the forum and for making it easier for people to contribute. But I can't do them right now -  I have to work on something else for a couple of months.

Forum format: Hard to comment and reply

Another problem with the forum is that it's very difficult to comment. The internet crashes, you lose your comment. There aren't any easy ways to insert commonly-used comments (e.g. word count or sentence length or even just 'well done!'). It would be great to have a template or a set of tools in a toolbar which would have ready-made comments, perhaps color-coded,l or with links to places where you can read more about a problem.

Forum format: Very time-consuming

As a result of this awkward forum format, it takes me 40 minutes to an hour to write one response to an essay. Every week or so I tidy up essay titles, delete spam, add tags, tidy up formatting, check questions, and do other maintenance. That takes a couple of hours as well. It's very time-consuming. And that's not counting the time it takes to read the comments of all the great people who help out!

Forum format: Comments are confusing

Another problem is that it's sometimes hard for writers to understand other people's comments. Should you quote? Highlight? Underline? Rewrite? Change the color? You can see sometimes that people spend a long time commenting, but the original writer doesn't understand the comment. 

Time to think of alternatives!

So until I get around to coming up with a better solution and until I finish up another project I'm working on, the forum will be closed to new essays.

But I really hope to have something bigger, better and faster back up soon!

Where to in the short term?

There are other websites, such as the amazing essayforum.com, where you can comment on other people and upload essays. (Once on their website, search for IELTS, because there are lots of other kinds of writing there.) I know that they would be very happy to have some of the talented writers from here.

Thanks again...

Again, thanks for all the contributions - the essays, the comments, and the questions. They will stay here so you can refer to them. One thing I might do is to try to categorize them by errors, so that visitors can sort by errors. I don't know if that's a good idea or not - sounds a bit negative!  Suggestions welcome!

Your contributions have been very useful and very helpful. Please check back from time to time to see if I've had any good ideas yet. 

August 26, 2012
12:28 am
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Hi, Writefix, thanks for your detail explainations above. Really thanks for your time to help us. Hope we can continue to improve ourselves in the forum you suggested.

No time to look into detail on that webside, just check I can open it in China:p(You may know, there are lots website blocked in China, like the facebook, youtube. etc.). May I know if you would active at the essayforum.com in the coming days?

August 26, 2012
1:30 am
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I don't see why that website (http://www.essayforum.com) should not open - it's a really great website, nonpolitical and only about writing (college application essays, research papers, stuff I can't advise on, and some good IELTS stuff. ) 

So I see no reason why it should be blocked unless out of over 50,000 posts there is one negative post about China. That would be an over-reaction. It really puts our amateur site in the shade: we have 2000 posts here - they have over 115,000 post. Amazing.

Check it out, and let me know if it is blocked. Add Topic

August 26, 2012
1:50 am
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Some of the people who post here must be web-savvy, or know people who can make stuff happen.

There is no website that I know of on the internet that makes it easy for people to comment online on other people's writing. 

What I am thinking about is this sequence of events:

  1. Someone posts an essay. (It could also be a research paper, a paragraph, a sentence, a book, or a webpage.)
  2. People comment on it (using drop-down or very-easy-to-access-and use standardized comments, such as "You need to watch your subject-verb agreement" OR "You need a thesis statement" OR "Your organization is OK, but you need some topic sentences" OR  "Check this link for information about articles - a, an, the"  OR "I really like this part, but..." )
  3. The original poster can see his or her original post, and by clicking can hide or show the many, many comments.
  4. The original poster can see how many people have commented and said the same thing. The poster can see the major areas of weakness - or strength - with their original post. A click of a button summarizes the comments of multiple people.
  5. The original poster makes some changes.
  6. People can see the change.
  7. The whole thing takes seconds to understand. Anyone coming new to the revised essay/paragraph/research paper can compare the original with the comments and the revised version. 
Potential:
  • Across the internet, it is so difficult/impossible to comment quickly and efficiently on other people's writing.
        
  • There is no incentive to comment, because there is no way for the commentator to accumulate karma or points or reputation. Who wants to spend an hour on someone else's essay or paragraph or term paper? At the moment, it takes far, far longer to comment online than it would for a teacher to comment using a red pen on a physical piece of paper.
        
  • Millions upon millions of students write essays every single day - in English, in Chinese, in Shona, in Welsh, in Guarani, in Spanish, in Arabic and in Hindi and in hundreds of other languages. But even after almost 20 years of the internet, it is still so difficult to comment online in an (a) aesthetically pleasing and (b) informative format. 
        
  • The world needs a way to comment on essays and any other form of writing that is easy to read for the original poster after a few comments have been made: easy for the person who is commenting, and easy for the original poster to rewrite.

Any ideas?!

August 26, 2012
11:45 pm
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Hi, writefix, thanks for your comments and suggestions.

I think it would be more efficiency for you if your print out the essay then use red pen to write on the phisical paper. Then take a photo and upload to the website. But it is not eco-friendly.

Another thing is that I think you can buy a computer pen with a sensor board. After that you can capture the essays as an image, then you can work on the comments by the computer pen on the drawing software, just like drawing/writing something on the real paper.

August 28, 2012
3:57 am
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Thanks Writefix.. for your wonderful work..

It was really very helpful.. would thank other members who had helped me..

Sorry.. I was not in touch with this site for quite while...I have applied for a reevaluation.. hope some thing great happens..

Again Thanks Enda..

August 28, 2012
8:26 am
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It is a sad news,Enda. Really appreciate your effort and guidance. TQVM.

August 28, 2012
3:38 pm
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I am appreciate for all your hard word. Enda.

 

Here's my opinion. New comers need to post at least 20 comments before they paste their own essays. The comment should be useful, not just it's great bla bla bla. If they do it, just post meaningless things on the forum, it won't account.

 

I guess the most efficient is ask someone to correct their essay, then they will improve by themselves. I don't think you need to evaluate all of them. Just read the comments of others, if it is useful, you could just say I agree with you. It can safe you a lot of time.

 

Everyday I write an essay, but I just paste here once a week. The reason is that the writing skills cannot improve dramatically in 2 days, and I should give the chance and help to others. Hope everyone can get that. Not paste their essays here in a rush. Sometimes, the questions are all same questions.

 

I think the problems of most people are the long sentences and overdued phrases. The grammar skills of most people is good, at least better than me. Despite the grammar of mine is not so good, I improve my skills through the comments from you. Just add the normal mistakes to show everyone, let new comers know.

 

In terms of comments, the more the better, and I guess this is the best way. BUT it is unfair to give you this huge work. Why not just add a structure. If we want to add new essay, we need cost virtual money in this forum. For instance, the prize for each comment is 10 dollar, if you think this comment is good, you can give extra 10 dollar to this guy. Adding new essay cost 100 dollar. In other words, if you wanna paste essay, you need to help others first.

 

This forum is a place to improve ourselves, more importantly, this is a place to help others. Hope it helps. I will think more and write my suggestions here.

 

Big thanks to you.

 

David

August 28, 2012
3:41 pm
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I need to say this forum is the best place to improve writing skills ever.

 

Thanks to anyone who give me the huge help. I hope this forum will re-open sonner or later. My exam is close which is on Sep 1. I hope I can do more to this forum.

 

Regards

August 28, 2012
11:57 pm
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Hey, David, I think your idea of using the credit points is great.

I can see you spent lots time to post your comments for others, really helpful.

BTW, did you get your exam result? All passed?

 

Another good thing is that the forum is not fully closed, at least, we still can 'Add Reply'. I am just thinking if it is proper to work on the existing essays. We can add our essay in the existing essay topics if we like--Writefix said that's 500 topics here, cool enough! I think we still can help each other not only for correcting the gramma, structure..., we can get more ideas from the same topic if we contribute on it which we can call 'Brain Storm':)

 

Dear Writefix, how do you think on our suggestions?

August 29, 2012
2:24 pm
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I think chrystyzhongs' suggestion is plausible. We can still use the "Add Reply" to help each other. I have passed the IELTS,  getting the band that is required, and I think this forum has done me a great favor for improving my writing although my writing is only 6.

 

Today I just want to come here to thank writefix and everyone who once commented on my essays, but sadly find that the forum has been closed. Really, it's a great burden for writefix to make some comments on all the essays. We really need to find a   more efficient way.

 

I don't know whether only writefix yourself operates this forum. One possible way, I think, is that you could set up a group-a group that operate the forum together. However, how to found the group needs more considerations. Now I don't have any good ideas, but I'll take some times to think about it.

 

Anyway, I hope one day this forum will be re-opened, and the time is not too long, because I have not found a better forum than this one if I want to improve the skills of writing.

 

Best Wishes!

 

Chenyu

August 29, 2012
2:28 pm
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By the way, the web(http://www.essayforum.com/) can be opened.

August 29, 2012
6:24 pm
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christyzhongs said

Hey, David, I think your idea of using the credit points is great.

I can see you spent lots time to post your comments for others, really helpful.

BTW, did you get your exam result? All passed?

 

Another good thing is that the forum is not fully closed, at least, we still can 'Add Reply'. I am just thinking if it is proper to work on the existing essays. We can add our essay in the existing essay topics if we like--Writefix said that's 500 topics here, cool enough! I think we still can help each other not only for correcting the gramma, structure..., we can get more ideas from the same topic if we contribute on it which we can call 'Brain Storm':)

 

Dear Writefix, how do you think on our suggestions?

 

Hey, Christy,

 

I am going to take my exam on Sep 1st, well, a bit nervous. I know that Chenyu's essay is better than mine, so I just worry about my writing and speaking part.

 

Last time I just got 5.5 in writing, so I need to retake. Hope I can get my dream score in each part, although it is really hard to me.

 

David

August 29, 2012
6:56 pm
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Hey, David, Good Luck~~! I believe you can make it!

I am also nervous for the speaking part....terrible experience last time... Not sure if I can improve it in a shot time.

August 31, 2012
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Good luck with both of your IELTS tests!

September 1, 2012
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Dear Writefix,

I'd like to acknowledge all your effort to create such a great place to exercise and hope to see the new forum soon.Your are completely write-there are many places and works which can be modified to have a better forum.

 

Mzahed,

September 4, 2012
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Hi Mr.Enda,

 

Id really like to continue sending my essays and correcting other essays. As Ive already said it's kind of habit to me to come here and take a look at this site now and then. By the way I guess it would be good if you put emphasis on sending essays regardless of visitors leave comments or not .  However, great thanks for that efforts.

September 7, 2012
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Hi Mr.Enda,

 

I dont know whether  you have a look at this site or not.. But I think it would be better you would keep " Add Topic" open to those who want to send their essays and for others who like to put comments on them.. I know that you are really busy enough to reply too many students/candidates here, but I guess this at least makes your site alive! such a forum that allowa us to struggle with our essays.

 

Best Regards,

September 7, 2012
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Hey everyone,

 

I really miss this website so much, hope everything just like several weeks ago. Adding essays and giving advices to the host of the essay.

 

Hope everything goes smoothly. I have been so busy these days, that's the reason why I lost for several days.

 

Best regards

September 8, 2012
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dear Mr Writefix, 

i feel sad to hear that the forum is closed. i really hope that the forum will be opened soon. 

 

i have some opinions to improve the forum,  

 

- the forum takes you too much time and effort, but you can save time by establishing a group of members who have abilities to give comments for others' writing. and you dont need to give comments for all of the essays.

- all the essays which are commented should be rewrite, and MR Writefix will give comments for improvement.

- the topic should be provided by the forum. people will post their essays about the topic in a given time, then the essays will be commented. 

- members should give comments for other writings about the changes to better expressions and structures...

- it would be better to divide into groups of members according to their level for examples bank 5, bank 6, bank 7, bank 8...., each bank should have a group leader. 


they are some ideas come up in my mind, i hope  they are useful.

..........move forward and succeed.............

November 7, 2012
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