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Who's Really Responsible for Bad Writing
Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Online, you'll find an endless supply of articles about one thing or another: 'How to bake a cake in 15 minutes,' 'How to learn Spanish a new way,' or, 'How to learn the piano overnight.' The problem with these articles is that many of them are seemingly written just for the sake of writing. They offer no new solutions. It's as though someone decided they could write, and so they set out to prove it. What's worse is that same someone might have actually been paid to write material laden with spelling errors, grammar mistakes, and outright flaws in plain logic.

How? Why?

Bad Writing Answers the Call

Unfortunately, bad writing answers to the ever-increasing call for more and more information. Content-rich websites, article farms, and online companies, whose success is defined by the number of AdSense clicks they get, are often the ones making this call -- paying no mind to what bad writing does to the entire online community.

So what happened?

During my early years as an aspiring online expert, I never saw the type of writing we're all assaulted with now. My first network connection introduced me to the BBS (bulletin board system), where forums were filled with intelligently organized thoughts, downloads were described with accuracy, and even chat logs were void of ESL contamination. So what happened?

Bad Writing Became Acceptable

Instead of questioning what people mis-communicated in badly written emails, newsgroup posts, and everything else sent over the Internet, we assumed to understand. Perhaps from a lack of time or even perhaps from an inflated ego, clarifying what a message really meant, or what a person was trying to say, became a thing of the past in favor of being the first to get access to something or to pretend to know what's going on.

We Don't Demand Better

When people aren't asked to clarify something they've written, they presume their communication skills are on target. They may even be so bold as to presume that they can write. So they try. And they get hired as writers. Because we don't demand better.

When this kind of haphazard writing becomes the de facto, it not only turns the stomach of both real writers and readers, it says something about our own expectations and our own "deservingness." Fortunately, quality reading material, written by professional writers, does exist online. You may have to hunt it down... but it exists. As a writer, you can create it.


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