Regarding the Use of School Essays on Devtome

I will be the first to admit that I have used a number of school essays as Devtome submissions, particularly when I was new to the site. These essays were already written and researched, and were original content that I was free to release to the public domain. Many other new members of Devtome choose to submit essays along similar lines to Devtome. As an open source wiki that welcomes virtually all kinds of legal and public content, it is perfectly fair that we allow people to upload these essays, rather than crack down on the kind of content that is submitted to the wiki. But really, if you are going to upload some previously written piece of work to this wiki, you need to take some steps to make sure that it actually adds something to the wiki. If people upload essays that are literally useless without the specific context in which they are written, then they are only padding their word counts and taking away shares from writers that are more deserving thereof. So please, if you are going to use extant essays here on Devtome, take some of the following quality control steps in to mind:

Step 1 - What is this Essay About?

Most of the essays I remember writing in college and even high school relied on fairly open prompts on topics ranging from world history to specific facets of ongoing scientific research efforts. As such, the essays could take myriad forms and were not bound to a specific strain of thought. Certainly, a prompt would be given for many of the essays to initiate the writing, but the prompt itself should not be integral to the understanding of the essay. If you are writing a piece that you want to upload to Devtome or really anywhere on the internet, then it needs to be able to stand on its own. Your opening paragraphs should underscore the message you intend to get across and why it matters. If you instead begin your essay or Devtome work by answering a question that was never asked, then you occlude the source of your reasoning from the reader.

When reading the prompt is integral to understanding what you are writing, please do not upload this content to Devtome in this form. Instead, take the time to add an introductory paragraph outlinign your reasoning and why the reader should care about the topic at hand. I should be able to identify your thesis and get a sense for what you intend to convey in the start of your article. If I am instead faced with a numbered list of items that seem to have appeared from nowhere, then your article will make no sense to me. It may have made sense in the context of the course for which you first wrote the essay, but on the internet without its accompanying content, it instead looks like the ramblings of someone talking to their imaginary friend. These essays do not contribute to the Devtome community in a positive manner, as no one will be able to take away anything from them beyond insight into the author's own conceits.

Step 2 - Formatting. Seriously.

When you wrote your essay for your course on Shakespearean literature, you were probably told to make a nice 5 or 10 paragraph essay, which, when printed out, would look quite spiffy. You now choose to upload this same essay to Devtome. On the internet, however, ten paragraphs of solid text looks more like a tidal wave of information ready to overload the reader than an informative commentary on Much Ado About Nothing. If you are going to transfer a hulking essay to the internet, please, have the common courtesy to format it first. Devtome may accept previously written comment to which you hold the rights, but it isn't a dumpster where you can dispose of your ill formatted word vomit. Add subheadings to your essay in logical places, perhaps indicating where the reader might find your conclusions and adding subtitles to the various segments that discuss changes in the topic of focus. If you can take the time to find a relevant image to add to the site then this will be even more beneficial, although this is not always easy or necessary for many types of essays that you may have on hand.

Formatting is an easy step you can take to make your essay, on which you no doubt already spend a significant amount of time, look more professional and web friendly. This will improve the experience of the end user who may choose to learn about how Malvolio is a metaphor for British Imperialism in Twelfth Night. It will also help you out in the long run, as it will allow you to make a more positive impact on the Devtome community. This will be rewarded with higher ratings for your articles, resulting in more shares being paid out to you at the end of the round. If the articles is well written and well formatted, then you may be able to draw more viewers to it as well, which can only serve to help you ratings and your earnings in the process.

Step 3 - Make the Transition to New Content

Too many users of Devtome seem to pop up for only a single round and then are never heard from again. These users by and large seem to upload content that they had previously written, so that they can be paid for this work without needing to put in any extra effort to produce new work. As a result, much of Devtome seems to be a graveyard filled with the corpses of illl conceived analyses of the intricacies of Romeo and Juliet's fateful relationship. Yes, you can use Devtome to try to turn a quick buck, but this is highly discouraged. In the end you will do nothing but hasten the downfall of word counts as a means of determining share allocation, and you will be seriously damaging the integrity of Devtome and of Devcoin as a whole.

Instead of tossing out your extant works and hitting the road, consider sticking around and adding original content to the wiki. Only original and well thought out content has a chance to make Devtome a viable source for opinions or information on the internet, and this chance at legitimacy is the best hope we have of making Devtome and Devcoin viable in the long run. If you can provide Devtome with new and interesting content, you can potentially benefit both the community and yourself (by boosting the value of the currency due to increased interest and other factors). If you choose to turn your back on the Devtome wiki, however, the coin will simply continue to lose value and the project will deteriorate. This wiki was not created to be a repository for old college essays that can be readily plagiarized by a lazy undergraduate. Certainly, there is a place for previously written essays on this site, but we need more. And if you are adding old works to this site, seriously - take the time to format them and make them readable for the end user. No one wants to hear your absurd ramblings.

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