By in Random

Writing Well Doesn't Mean Writing Dry Content

There seems to be a lot of buzz here on Persona Paper because of the talk concerning the new writing standards. People seem to be getting something confused. The new rules will require "coherent English" posts. Somehow people are reading that as "professional" posts, and equating that to dry, unpleasant-to-read content.

First off, professional doesn't mean dry. I read a lot of "professional" blogs that are entertaining, sometimes funny, and have a personal nature. Professional only means that they do it for a living and get paid well. Being a professional writer doesn't mean you're writing textbooks or news. It just means you're good at what you do and you get paid for it.

Second, I don't think any of this is discriminatory to foreign writers. If they want to learn and provide good content, they will. I have seen a few people here, at least three that I can think of off the top of my head, who have English as a second (or third) language and write better than most Americans I see. Having higher standards for grammar and spelling will only drive out people with no interest in learning to write better, American and foreign alike.

Also, people are making "informative" and "boring" synonymous. They aren't. I favor blogs over other sources because I can get detailed information while also getting people's opinions and experiences. I use reference material when I need it, but blogs and personal sites often offer more of what I need. A piece can be incredibly informative and accurate and still be personalized and even downright funny. It's all a matter of the writer's style. You don't need to be dry and boring to be educational.

I think that overall, people need to just calm down. This is not a bad thing for the site or the peope who write here. If anything, it's good. It will hopefully push people, both American and foreign, to finally take some pride in their work and try to make it the best they can. Maybe people will actually try to learn better grammar and spelling and more interesting word use. Intelligence and writing skill are falling sharply in the US, so it's a good thing in my opinion, for a site to hold its users to a higher standard. We could all become so much better from this experience, if we just embrace it.

Image Credit » BrianaBlair

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Ravenmount wrote on June 20, 2014, 5:22 PM

I think not having a minimum writing standard would be diminishing the image of the site and making all the excellent writers on this site seem less professional by association, just as the poor writing and scammy posts do on the Other site many of us are familiar with. Most professional writers who do blog-style writing have a less formal style in their blog posts, because textbook writing is best used in textbooks. Erma Bombeck is a pro, as is PJ O'Rourke and Neil Gaiman, and if you follow them on social media they talk about their personal lives a lot, in enjoyable ways.

IcyBC wrote on June 20, 2014, 6:08 PM

Well said and I English is not my native tongue either!

I used to write for Assosiate Content (now YahooVoice), Triond, Helium, HubPages, Squidoo, etc..The type of content for these sites is a bit more structure and informative. I do enjoy writing these, and I also enjoy micro blogging or personal posts or short blurbs as I like to call them!

As long as the post is readable and the reader can get an idea what it is about, I think it is ok, but there are some posts that made no sense to me, and even I can't make it out.

AdrienneJenkins wrote on June 21, 2014, 10:52 AM

That's just the thing, there's no reason why this site can't have the same standards as other paid writing sites. What I saw on Bubblews is people that look like they took an article they copy and pasted from say a foreign language site then put it into an article spinning program then through a bad translation program. The end result. Junk. Pure junk. Stories that had words strung together that made absolutely no sense. English words yes but strung together like random bits made no sense whatsoever. The posts still made $2/post because it was the likey likey gang. Trash doesn't deserve a place here.

I think it's easy to tell the difference between that kind of junk content and content where English is not a first language but the person is making a genuine effort to communicate. Big difference. I'd say those types of writers who are trying their best and is understandable are always welcome. But if you're writing and expecting to get paid to write for an English speaking site then I think those writers who don't feel confident about their writing should then ask someone who is a native English speaker to proof or review their work.

Ruby3881 wrote on June 21, 2014, 11:26 AM

Erma Bombeck is a perfect example of a professional who is famous for having written about every day things like changing the toilet roll. Her casual and witty style made her books best sellers. I remember my neighbour reading aloud from If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries.... until everyone in the room was laughing so hard we were crying. No dry textbook there!

Ruby3881 wrote on June 21, 2014, 11:31 AM

This is what I was trying to say when I said we need to apply the new standards to existing members, as well as those who will soon join the site. There are some people already here who are breaking rules, most like;y because their grasp of English is not good enough to be writing on a paid site. Simply screening new members from now on won't address the fact that there are people here who probably couldn't pass the test.

Why does it matter? Because a reader should be able to understand any post on this site without effort. If too many posts stand out as having very poor grammar and being incomprehensible, it reflects badly on the whole site.

Ruby3881 wrote on June 21, 2014, 11:41 AM

I have to wonder how much of the concern for "foreign" writers isn't a smokescreen put up to detract attention from those whose first language is English but who are threatened when a site starts talking about writing standards.

People were all threatened on Bubblews when some of us wrote than an image credit should be mandatory. Perhaps some of those very people are here on Persona Paper now, and have accepted that they must provide an image credit without thinking twice about it, Had they been screened when they joined the site, they'd probably take grammar standards for granted, and maybe even vocal in their support of them.

But because the standards are being proposed now and might change the way the site operates, all of a sudden having "good grammar" has become the same as "writing professionally" and writing that is "dry" like a textbook.

I say those who want to get paid for their writing should rise to the challenge, so Persona Paper can earn the higher rating and offer all of us better compensation for our writing.

BrianaDragon wrote on June 21, 2014, 4:05 PM

I do think people feel threatened. If they can get paid for minimal effort they're happy, but once they have to actually try, they put up a fuss. Some people didn't want to do the image credits either, because it takes extra time. I think the talk of discrimination is only partly true.

BrianaDragon wrote on June 21, 2014, 4:07 PM

Yes, current members need to pass screening too. Of course, we're already down by 100 members due to inactivity, we'd probably lose more if everyone was screened.

BrianaDragon wrote on June 21, 2014, 4:08 PM

I don't like to trash anyone, but Bubblews does have too much garbage and I'm amazed they're still in business at all.

I also believe that people who don't have good English skills but actually care about writing will seek help. Even if they don't qualify now, they could improve their skills and try to sign up again at a later time.

JanetHunt wrote on June 21, 2014, 11:36 PM

You can be professional, informative and entertaining in a post. It just takes a little practice! ;)

BarbRad wrote on July 28, 2014, 4:16 AM

Although I'm new here, I'm delighted that there is some kind of writing standard we newbies have to meet. It makes me think I'll be in the company of other proficient writers, and that will make them all look better, and the site as a whole will have more credibility.