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An idea. Looking for participants

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Burning ghost
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An idea. Looking for participants

Post by Burning ghost » October 19th, 2017, 1:18 am

I would really like to start a "topic/s" with the aim of having people, who choose to participate, to write an essay of 500-1000 words on the said topic.

The point of this being as a way of improving writing ability within a limited framework.

The first topic I was thinking of starting with is exactly what this whole process is based on.

So the title of the first essay would simply be "How to write an essay."

I was thinking of setting a certain time limit (likely 2-3 weeks depending on the subject matter) on this and for participants to be willing to not only take critique, but to give it also. Of course if lots of people are interested in this then it will be difficult to read and critique all pieces, but I don't expect more than a few people to be interested in this (if any?)

I am very much committed to expanding my knowledge and improving my general writing ability. I understand that some topics may grab your attention more than others so I would not expect everyone to participate and post an essay for every topic.

I would set out some general rules such as not allowing more than one or two quotes (preferring the essay writer to exercise the use of their own words rather than relying on those of others all the time), but insisting on bibliography of source material where appropriate.

ANYONE INTERESTED??

Note: If this is not considered an appropriate exercise for this forum then I hope the mods will inform me and I can only ask for other members to PM me directly if this is the case.

I was simply thinking of posting something like this in lounge area and something akin to it in General Philosophy Forum where even those who don't wish to participate can at least comment more briefly on the subject and offer their take on this or that essay as they see fit.

Thanks
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Albert Tatlock
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Re: An idea. Looking for participants

Post by Albert Tatlock » October 19th, 2017, 6:11 am

Burning ghost wrote: So the title of the first essay would simply be "How to write an essay."
Well that's me out then, I don't know anything about how to write an essay. I suppose I'll have to wait until you pick a subject I do know something about.

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Burning ghost
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Re: An idea. Looking for participants

Post by Burning ghost » October 22nd, 2017, 9:09 am

I guess this is a sign of the times. Honestly feeling like forums are of less and less use to me :(
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Re: An idea. Looking for participants

Post by Georgeanna » October 29th, 2017, 5:30 pm

Albert Tatlock wrote:
Burning ghost wrote: So the title of the first essay would simply be "How to write an essay."
Well that's me out then, I don't know anything about how to write an essay. I suppose I'll have to wait until you pick a subject I do know something about.
Instead of ruling this out because you don't know anything about how to write an essay, a more productive question might be ' Why write an essay...on a philosophy discussion board?

The reasons given by burning ghost seem to be:
1. To improve general writing ability
2. To have a limited framework: 500 - 1000 words
3. To have a set time-scale: 2- 3 weeks
4. To give and take critique
5. To expand knowledge

I quite like this idea. Who wouldn't want to improve writing - all the better to clarify thought process?
However, an essay of 500 - 1000 words is, I think, too much to ask for.
Also, how many here have the experience/ training/ willingness to offer positive feedback ?
To expand knowledge of what ?
Why do you write?


A desire to be aesthetically pleasing. In rhythm and sound.
A way to think out loud without pre-judgment.
To share facts; speculate on their truth value.
To persuade or prick set attitudes.
To listen and understand.

So, even if we don't end up writing an essay on a philosophical topic, isn't learning the craft of writing important? Why not a mini-essay. An attempt. An effort. No rules.
Could be a basic intro, a main part, and a conclusion.
Or just jump in with an:
I think that writing an essay on a philosophy forum is daft because:

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Re: An idea. Looking for participants

Post by Georgeanna » October 29th, 2017, 5:31 pm

Why a sign of the times ?

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Scott
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Re: An idea. Looking for participants

Post by Scott » December 9th, 2018, 10:35 am

Perhaps we could make a recurring essay contest with different topics each time. I could buy the winners some kind of small predetermined prize. Like an Amazon gift card or a hardcover copy of one of the Books of the Month.
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Burning ghost
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Re: An idea. Looking for participants

Post by Burning ghost » December 9th, 2018, 1:18 pm

Scott wrote:
December 9th, 2018, 10:35 am
Perhaps we could make a recurring essay contest with different topics each time. I could buy the winners some kind of small predetermined prize. Like an Amazon gift card or a hardcover copy of one of the Books of the Month.
I’d be happy with this with or without the prize. I wasn’t really thinking of it as a competition simply as an exercise of exploring people’s ideas without any necessary research involved.

I come up with a question to ask myself two or three times a month and write a little about it. Often I am surprised how much of what I write seems like it’s written by someone more knowledgeable than myself! Haha!
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ktz
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Re: An idea. Looking for participants

Post by ktz » December 9th, 2018, 2:16 pm

I think I'd possibly be interested in participating in whichever format you guys decide. I think half my posts turn into 500-1000 word essays to my expressive detriment, anyway. I do think Albert Tatlock makes a reasonable point -- each of us have different interests, so maybe you could cast a wider net if you allowed for self-directed topics. Or perhaps you could source questions from yourself or other participants as a range of suggested topics to write about. I'll be interested to see what you guys come up with.
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RJG
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Re: An idea. Looking for participants

Post by RJG » December 9th, 2018, 5:45 pm

I think BG's idea is a great idea. We all need to improve our writing skills. Also, I like Scott's idea of making it a competition with a prize, though I don't know how it could be judged, unless it was voted on by the group, but then each person would have to refrain from voting for their own essay.

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JaxAg
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Re: An idea. Looking for participants

Post by JaxAg » December 17th, 2018, 1:24 am

This looks interesting! Where should westart? Here?

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Greta
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Re: An idea. Looking for participants

Post by Greta » December 17th, 2018, 1:56 am

Monologues give people a chance to get things off their chests without the sidetracking that inevitably happens in forum tete a tetes.

If I could make some readability suggestions:

1. Reading online is physiologically more difficult than reading hardcopy. Thus, it's considered to be more effective web writing to use more paragraph breaks than one might do in print. Large slabs of text online that are largely uninterrupted by whitespace turn many potential readers away (especially those with tired eyes from a long day looking at screens).

2. Aside from para breaks, please consider the possibility of a sub-heading or two to break things up.

Cheers.

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Burning ghost
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Re: An idea. Looking for participants

Post by Burning ghost » December 17th, 2018, 2:29 am

JaxAg wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 1:24 am
This looks interesting! Where should westart? Here?
My thinking was to pick a topic (in question form) every month.

If we have say 5-6 people willing to take part in this then I guess starting in January would be a good target. I am not concerned about competitions and prizes - I guess Scott can decide on that.

I also think it would make sense not to use quotes or citations, but to simply express thoughts and musing on a given question rather than have to focus on anything too specific (although that could be an option if the writing group shares some common knowledge).
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Burning ghost
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Re: An idea. Looking for participants

Post by Burning ghost » December 17th, 2018, 2:30 am

A word limit should also encourage self-editting. Plus, like Greta mentions, I’m not inclined to read much on electronic screens because my eyes don’t like it.
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JaxAg
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Re: An idea. Looking for participants

Post by JaxAg » December 17th, 2018, 2:47 am

Greta wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 1:56 am


If I could make some readability suggestions:

1. Reading online is physiologically more difficult than reading hardcopy. Thus, it's considered to be more effective web writing to use more paragraph breaks than one might do in print. Large slabs of text online that are largely uninterrupted by whitespace turn many potential readers away (especially those with tired eyes from a long day looking at screens).

2. Aside from para breaks, please consider the possibility of a sub-heading or two to break things up.

Cheers.
Yep! Short sentences, and short paragraphs, help comprehension and are easier on older eyeballs!

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Greta
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Re: An idea. Looking for participants

Post by Greta » Yesterday, 7:20 pm

I have to admit that I'll leave "How to write an essay" to someone else as my interests are rather more esoteric. Just as long as there's generous amounts of whitespace or, in the case of this forum, pale bluespace or yellowspace :)

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