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We have a close reason which tells people to use "alternative websites" for proofreading:

Proofreading questions are off-topic unless a specific source of concern in the text is clearly identified. See: Alternative websites for proofreading

The accepted answer on this meta post directs people to Lang-8 to ask their proofreading questions:

Lang-8 is a website where you can write a journal post in English, and have your entry corrected by native speakers of English.

Unfortunately, Lang-8 is no longer accepting new users. If you try to sign up, this text box pops up, telling you to try HiNative instead:

Screen shot of a text box that says "We are stopping new registrations. Please check our new service HiNative."

So we shouldn't really direct people to Lang-8 anymore. Is HiNative a suitable replacement? I'm not sure. Ooker's answer to our meta post says:

If you just need to proofreading a single sentence, you can use HiNative. It is available in web and iOS. It is a product of Lang-8.

But we use this close reason when people post significantly longer text for proofreading as well. If Lang-8 is closed down and HiNative isn't appropriate for this sort of thing, then we probably shouldn't send them to either site.

I think we can do one of two things:

  1. Update the close reason and make a new meta post. If we don't have anywhere to send these users to, we'll probably need to write up a new meta post to direct people to. We can use this post to explain what we count as proofreading, and what we don't count as proofreading.
  2. Update our existing meta post. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if there are any sites that can replace Lang-8 at the moment, so I don't have anything useful to post there myself.

What should we do?

  • 3
    I like the idea of explaining how to turn a proofreading question into one that is on-topic. – ColleenV Mar 9 '17 at 0:09
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    How about italki? I think it had been suggested as well. I've never used it myself, but the suggester had said that the suggester used it from "time to time" (meta.ell.stackexchange.com/a/264/46453). – Teacher KSHuang Mar 9 '17 at 8:15
  • 3
    Teachers are the best people to (proof)read essays. That's what they are paid for. They should be reading their pupils' work, not someone else's. – Mick Mar 10 '17 at 6:43
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    @Mick If teachers were perfect, I would agree, but alas, almost all of them are human like the rest of us :) It's not just students with teachers that need help though. We see requests for important letters, CVs, and other non-homework writing. – ColleenV Mar 10 '17 at 18:41
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    I'm guessing any site that offers proofreading from a community of volunteer native speakers (i.e. is free, which is what people coming here want) is going to be volatile and eventually disappear. I say this for the same proofreading is off-topic here: it's a lot of work, not particularly rewarding, and only ever helps one single person. Which means there's not a lot in it for the volunteers, which means they're not incentivized to stick around. So my take (being of the curmudgeonly ELU sort) is the Meta post simply say proofreading is not offered. – Dan Bron Mar 11 '17 at 16:45
  • I think a comment alluding to HiNative might be fitting. – J.R. Mar 14 '17 at 17:57
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    @DanBron No kidding. I'm currently taking a course dedicated to L2 reading and writing when it really should be about 4 courses worth of content. Not a lot of people are willing to do such time-consuming work for free. Lang-8 even gamified the process and apparently, it didn't work out. Frankly, it's unfortunate because the website was very useful... I guess now I'll have to develop my own site? – Chris Cirefice Mar 15 '17 at 3:08
  • @DanBron You should write an answer saying that. Voting can judge it along with other responses. – user3169 Mar 16 '17 at 2:14

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