Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Even Easier to Use!


One of the guiding principles at PaperRater is to make things simple and painless to use.  No signups, no logins, no payments, no three minute wait for results...  We fancied ourselves rather satisfactory in this regard.  That is, until you told us otherwise.  We were shocked to discover that you do not like squinting at images and typing in crooked letters.  And we were at least a small bit saddened when we heard that you do not share our joy in deciphering blurry house numbers.  So, it is with mixed emotions (and sarcasm) that we officially announce the end of reCAPTCHA for most users of our automated proofreading and plagiarism detection tools.

What exactly does this mean? 
A week ago, all users of our site were confronted with the dreaded reCAPTCHA before submitting text into our automated proofreader or our plagiarism checker.  As of today, it has been removed from these tools.  However...this does not mean that CAPTCHA is completely gone:

  • Other parts of the site may still use reCAPTCHA (e.g., contact form)
  • reCAPTCHA may still be displayed if you are suspected of spamming (either by the content you submit, or by the number of submissions coming from your IP address)
  • We may use a less annoying CAPTCHA in the future (one that is not reCAPTCHA), if needed

Why was reCAPTCHA used in the first place?
CAPTCHAs are used to identify a visitor as a human, rather than a bot.  Bots represent a definite problem for our site because 1) we are free, and 2) our services require a lot of computing power.  In other words, bots cost us more money than they do most sites.  Nevertheless, we have plans to defeat the bots w/o forcing most human visitors to enter a CAPTCHA.

Other news in usability
Perhaps not as celebrated as the end of reCAPTCHA...we have also decided to remove the title field.  For most users, we believe this field is unnecessary and just one more obstacle to a quick and painless submission process.

Thanks for reading this far!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Plagiarism Detection Changes

If you've been a regular user of PaperRater, then you may already be aware that we've been struggling with issues in the plagiarism detection module.  We first ran into problems when using a 2nd-tier search API that powered this feature, but we were able to switch to Google and restore service.  This was great for a time, but led to even worse problems as Google accidentally killed our subscription at one point, and, more recently, they have set a very low limit on API requests, which has caused our plagiarism check to have issues later in the day, while working flawlessly in the mornings.
After temporarily disabling the plagiarism check for the past few days, we are rolling it out again today with the Bing Search API powering it under the hood.  We hope this will yield better uptime, but we have already found bugs with their phrase queries, about which we've contacted them.  Feel free to contact us with any feedback regarding this rollout.  Thank you for the patience you've shown as we continue to work through these issues.  And please continue to spread the word about this free resource.  Our team is working hard to deliver a top-notch product that is accessible to all.  But all funds are currently devoted to development and operations, so we need your help to spread the word!  Linking to our website wouldn't hurt either.  :-)   Thanks!

UPDATE  Nov. 10, 2013:  We received a lot of feedback in the few days after this was posted (thank you!).  We responded to this feedback by making further enhancements to the plagiarism detection, which we released near the end of this week.  Results are not optimal, but the dissatisfaction rate has dropped significantly.  We will continue to rollout other enhancements to the plagiarism checker in the weeks ahead that should help address accuracy.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Printable Summary is Here

Most visitors to our site probably don't notice the small black, vertical tab titled "feedback" on the right side of the page.  This humble button wields a lot of power in determining where we focus our development efforts.  It allows users to vote on ideas or features that they would like to see in our service.  And, of course, you are welcome to create a new suggestion here as well.  For quite some time the request for a "Printable Summary Report" garnered many votes, so we are glad to announce that this has been incorporated into the website.  Just look for the "printable summary report" link under the analysis links.  The printable report includes most of the analysis results from the dynamic report (some were removed for brevity).  Thanks for all who requested this feature.  We welcome you to suggest and vote on new features that you'd like to see offered.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

title validation - how not to write a title

We cleverly wrote our blog post title in all lowercase to highlight the fact that our PaperRater service now includes title validation. 
[loud clapping] 

What does this mean?

In the past, anyone could submit a paper with a terrible title -- too short, too long, not properly capitalized, etc. And yet there would be no word of advice from us.  Today, all this has changed, so beware if you plan on submitting papers with shoddy titles.  We've got our eye on you!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Automated Grading has Arrived

Automated grading of papers has been one of the most requested features and certainly the one that has had our engineers working the most hours.  Consider the difficulty in attempting to grade a paper when...

1) You do not know the assignment topic
2) You do not know the recommended length
3) You are a computer with limited knowledge of the meaning of words

Nevertheless, we've found the Auto Grader to be nearly as accurate as human graders for most papers.  We do note that this grade should be considered a partial grade as it incorporates grammar, spelling, word choice, and style, but not the author's arguments, logic, organization, and ideas.  The latter will still need to be examined by a human.

We do hope some day to provide information into the technical side of this service.  However, for now we are busy adding more features that we hope you will love.  If you would like to suggest a feature, please click here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

New: Speedy Plagiarism Checker

Plagiarism detection has been included in the Paper Rater service from Day 1, but we recognize that some users would like to use the plagiarism checker by itself -- separate from the automated proofreading.  So, yesterday we quietly launched the standalone Plagiarism Checker as our response.  This tool quickly delivers an originality report without the other information provided by the grammar checker tool.

Why would someone want ONLY plagiarism detection?

 Most students prefer to run a complete check of their papers including plagiarism, grammar, spelling, word choice, and style.  However, teachers are often interested in checking only the originality of the document.  The snappy response offered by the Plagiarism Checker gives them exactly what they need.

Comments are welcome...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Improved Plagiarism Detection

We are pleased to announce that significant progress has been made on our most requested feature -- improved plagiarism detection.  Our originality detection service now utilizes improved matching and displays a list of matching sources (if any are found).  This will allow users to see which websites contain information that matches the content from their submitted paper.

How Does Your Plagiarism Detection Work?
We get this question a lot.  First, let me say that papers submitted to our service are NOT used as part of future originality checks.  Sites like TurnItIn collect and store documents as part of their plagiarism detection service.  Instead, Paper Rater searches the Internet to find documents that match the paper that you submitted to us for review.  If the paper that you submit already exists publicly on the Internet, then the Paper Rater plagiarism detection will most likely find it.  And, due to our recent update, any matches will be accompanied by links to the sources, so that you can see for yourself the page(s) that triggered the low originality score.