Today I was invited to interview for a job assisting a student with applying to graduate school. This is really common work -- students need help gathering their thoughts for the personal statement, determining which information would be appropriate to include and which information would be superfluous. They also need help with editing and proofreading drafts. This doesn't mean writing a statement for the student or otherwise engaging in unethical behavior; it simply means offering guidance during the brainstorming phase and offering editing and polishing after the initial drafts have been completed.
Seriously. This is REALLY COMMON. There are entire companies built around providing this service. (Some even have niche markets, like providing this service to international students -- in fact, I'm interviewing for a position with one of these companies now, via Upwork...and that job hasn't been deemed "inappropriate" even though it's for the exact same service.) I have provided this service on Upwork numerous times. I have even be recruited by Upwork Talent Specialists to provide this service. Clearly, Upwork is OK with this service.
But this particular job has been removed by Upwork for being inappropriate. I can't figure out why this one is "inappropriate" when all of the others haven't been. The requirements don't seem to be any different. Now, I've lost work (she specifically sought me out because I was recommended to her by another of my clients) and Upwork has probably lost a client. She is going to be frustrated -- this is an urgent job because her deadline is fast approaching, so the time it'll take to sort this out is going to make it difficult to complete the task.
I've encountered this same problem in other venues. I co-own a small LSAT prep/law school admissions company, and many advertising platforms automatically kill anything that mentions essays, even though the context makes it clear that we're not writing essays for them.
Upwork takes down a legitimate job for consultation on application materials, but leaves in place hundreds of "do my homework for me" posts.
I shouldn't be surprised.
Though false positives may rise as screening becomes more stringent, this case underlines a more fundamental flaw in Upwork's approach to screening for academic fraud. There has never been any indication that the review of questionable jobs is done by an academic specialist who is familiar with the canons of and strictures on assistance with academic work: what activity is clearly prohibited as fraudulent and what kinds of professional help are, depending on context, allowed.
Douglas Michael : YES, YES, YES !!!
And, too, there is reason to believe that those who ARE doing the screening apply quite inconsistent standards, such that even "Job A" would be taken down by one screener/Upwork employee, yet would be left active by a different screener/Upwork employee.
Definitely agree, Michael & Janean, and this problem extends beyond the academic field. This lack of knowledge/understanding of the issues in play also appears to be the reason that Upwork allows the active solicitation of the unauthorized practice of law. Each of us recognizes these issues within our own areas of expertise, and I suspect that there are many others that we aren't even aware of.
Signe and others,
The team has been communicating with the client and provided clarifications regarding the notice that was sent to her.
If you come across jobs that appear to violate academic integrity, please flag them as inappropriate and the team will review them as soon as possible.
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