Intermin solutions for working with .mellel docs in ProWritingAid

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joseph_anton
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Intermin solutions for working with .mellel docs in ProWritingAid

Post by joseph_anton » Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:28 pm

As some members of this forum are aware, ProWritingAid is an excellent style and grammar checking service, which offers a number of different ways to check and edit a text. For users of Microsoft Word for Windows, there is a plugin that allows for direct checking and editing of the document. For MacOS users, there is a stand-alone ProWritingAid App, which can open and write to various different file formats, including Scrivener files. Unfortunately, .mellel is not one of the supported file types and it does not look like there are any plans to add support for it in the near future.

I have a large Mellel document (80,000+ words) that I hope to check with ProWritingAid before finalizing it. I've made extensive use of features specific to Mellel, such as index markers and cross-references, that I suspect would not survive conversion from .mellel into one of the file types that the ProWritingAid app can work with (such as .rtf or .docx) and then back into .mellel. The other options that have occurred to me are:

1) Export the file to .docx and load it in the ProWritingAid App, while keeping the original open in Mellel and manually making whatever changes are recommended

2) Wait until the document is more or less finalized, export to .docx and proof with PWA app; make final adjustments in Word

Does anyone have any suggestions as to a better way to approach this question?

Icelander
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Re: Intermin solutions for working with .mellel docs in ProWritingAid

Post by Icelander » Tue Jul 03, 2018 6:15 am

I have a large Mellel document (80,000+ words) that I hope to check with ProWritingAid before finalizing it.
This requires a $50 yearly subscription fee. ProWritingAid Free edits only 500 words at a time and is online only. It's also limited to 19 Writing Reports, which I'm not sure what means. Does that mean I can only check 19 times 500 words? And after that I'm locked out if I don't upgrade to premium?

Icelander
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Re: Intermin solutions for working with .mellel docs in ProWritingAid

Post by Icelander » Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:50 am

I can't answer your question, Joseph, but I tested the free option today. My first impression is that the program concentrates too much, perhaps exclusively, on individual words instead of words in context. Therefore most of the suggestions were wrong.

Passive voice is always flagged. The sentence: "Many people were killed when the the airplane crashed" is flagged and you are supposed to write instead:
Something killed many people / They killed many people / It killed many people / Someone killed many people

According to ProWritingAid you should therefore probably write:
The airplane killed many people. :lol:

The sentence, "When you are done, you can go home", was also flagged because it's a passive construction. It's actually an idiomatic expression and as such I think it's fully acceptable. Of course ProWritingAid doesn't like "fully" either. I however believe there is a distinct semantic difference between being "acceptable" and being "fully acceptable".

I don't know whether ProWritingAid is really helpful for academics who all should have received some training in writing …

Oh, I almost forgot, your sentence
I have a large Mellel document (80,000+ words) that I hope to check with ProWritingAid before finalizing it.
was also flagged. They suggest "completing" instead of "finalizing" to enhance the readability. :lol:

Regarding the price: the Thesaurus is only available to premium members, and plagiarism checking is only available for Premium plus members and costs $60 per year for "50 plagiarism checks".
https://prowritingaid.com

ProWritingAid is only for English.

Can anyone recommend an editing service for Spanish, French, Swedish or Danish?

Can 'Antidote' do the same for French?
Last edited by Icelander on Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

joseph_anton
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Re: Intermin solutions for working with .mellel docs in ProWritingAid

Post by joseph_anton » Tue Jul 03, 2018 11:08 am

Thank you Icelander for taking an interest in this question!

To address your first posting first: yes, this is a paid service, but the amount involved is small relative to what it costs to hire an editor. I'm not certain about the limitations of the free service, but it may well be that you are limited to checking 500 words at a time. The limitations are lifted with a paid license, which doesn't necessarily include the plagiarism checks.

Regarding your criticism of the recommendations that ProWritingAid makes, I'm somewhat in agreement. If I used the passive voice somewhere, I probably meant to use it. However, my limited experience using ProWritingAid to check my own writing was that it turned up a fair number of actual mistakes that I was glad to be able to correct.

I wonder about the usefulness of the plagiarism checker for an academic who is sure of the integrity of their own work. Such a checker would need to be fairly sophisticated to distinguish between material quoted with correct attribution from other sources and the body of the text. The only case I can think of in which this would be useful is for finding unconscious plagiarism of the type in which a phrase sticks in one's mind during reading and later turns up in one's own writing.

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Re: Intermin solutions for working with .mellel docs in ProWritingAid

Post by Icelander » Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:40 pm

I'm not certain about the limitations of the free service, but it may well be that you are limited to checking 500 words at a time.
Yes, it's only 500 words. You can paste in more, but everything after the first 500 words will be ignored. This is a bit tricky, because if one is not aware of this, one might think that everything is OK since nothing is flagged. This means, if you have 2000 words, you need to paste 4 chunks à la 500 words each. — Hmm, does "à la 500 words" sound all right in English? Well, it was not flagged. Oh pardon, I mean …, the program did not flag it. That's active voice! : -)
Regarding your criticism of the recommendations that ProWritingAid makes, I'm somewhat in agreement. If I used the passive voice somewhere, I probably meant to use it.
The corrections or the suggestions (such as avoiding the passive voice) are based on rules that can be temporarily disabled, at least some of them.

I wonder about the usefulness of the plagiarism checker for an academic who is sure of the integrity of their own work.
This feature is meant for teachers only, I guess. If a writer strictly follows the academic rules and gives due credit to those whom he or she has borrowed from, then there is nothing to fear.

Plagiarism checkers are obviously quite advanced nowadays. Two spectacular plagiarism cases shook Europe a couple of years ago. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (a former Federal Minister of Defence of Germany, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl-Theo ... Guttenberg>) was forced to resign when Plagiarism checkers found out that his dissertation consisted of little more than quotations he had stolen from others. First Mr Guttenberg declared the accusations were absurd, then he said he was working as a full time politician when he wrote the dissertation, and he claimed, due to this fact, he simple lost track of his citations (!)

I think Mr Guttenberg originally received his degree cum laude. His supervisor had also declared publicly that the dissertation did not contain any cases of plagiarism. To make a long story short, Mr Guttenberg was forced to resign because he lied to everyone, including his supervisor. The latter lost his face forever. Poor fellow.

Annette Schavan (<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annette_Schavan>) who was the Federal Minister of Education during this time (2005 to 2013) had voted for Gutenberg's resignation and said that "intellectual theft" is a serious crime. Such crimes can not be tolerated in academic circles, Ms Schavan said in a formal public statement. Now Joseph, if you have any sense for dramatic events, you can perhaps imagine what followed next. Plagiarism checkers found out and proved that Ms Schavan's dissertation was just as bad as Mr Guttenberg's. Her academic title was officially revoked, and she had to resign as the Minister of Education! Now she is an ambassador to the Holy See, which is quit logical and understandable. The Church has never taken the truth seriously.

The funny thing is, Ursula von der Leyen (the *current* Federal Minister of Defence of Germany) has also been accused of plagiarism. This did not lead to her resignation though, because the Hannover Medical School (<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannover_Medical_School>) assumed she did not cheat intentionally!

Both Ms Schavan and Mr Guttenberg lost their doctorates.
Last edited by Icelander on Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:39 pm, edited 6 times in total.

joseph_anton
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Re: Intermin solutions for working with .mellel docs in ProWritingAid

Post by joseph_anton » Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:01 pm

The stories about people caught out for plagiarism decades after submitting their doctoral dissertation make a strong argument for paying for a checking service like this in case of any mistakes (such as notes that get accidentally incorporated into the text). By my calculations, buying 100 credits for $40 would be enough to check the longest of dissertations (one credit is needed to check every 2000 words).

Jane Goodall is another high profile case of someone accused of plagiarism: https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... plagiarism

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Re: Intermin solutions for working with .mellel docs in ProWritingAid

Post by DanZac » Wed Jul 04, 2018 3:59 pm

I'd love to see a plugin for ProWritingAid in Mellel (ProWritingAid has an api, so perhaps this is really something that redlers would need to decide to do). But to your original question, I don't think you have any other options beyond what you've suggested. If the "finalized version" will end up living in Word because of editor or contributors or publishers, then completing it and moving it to Word might be best. My preference, though, is to always keep it in Mellel as long as humanly possible, so I would export to .doc, open in Word, and use the Word plugin to flag any potential issues and make the fixes in Mellel. Don't leave Mellel until you absolutely have to :-)

joseph_anton
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Re: Intermin solutions for working with .mellel docs in ProWritingAid

Post by joseph_anton » Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:28 pm

Thanks for the input DanZac - I'm very much in agreement with you about the wisdom of keeping work in .mellel format for as long as possible. Ideally, the only version that I will share with anyone will be a .pdf generated in Mellel.

I guess it is possible, as you suggest, that the folks at ProWritingAid could see about developing a plugin for Mellel, given that it has an API. It seems more likely that they will eventually add support for the .mellel file type to their Desktop App for MacOS, if they can be persuaded that the demand is strong enough to justify the work involved.

DanZac
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Re: Intermin solutions for working with .mellel docs in ProWritingAid

Post by DanZac » Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:15 pm

I'm no coder, but I suspect that the initiative will need to be more on Mellel's side, utilizing the api to build a plug-in. I always get a little wary of other apps opening documents that are not their types. Getting PWAid to open a mellel file AND edit it is also hoping that they can save it without disturbing any of its 'internal organs' like the title flows, xrefs, citations, etc.

joseph_anton
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Re: Intermin solutions for working with .mellel docs in ProWritingAid

Post by joseph_anton » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:08 pm

Thanks for that, DanZac. I'm also no expert on the technical side of this question. I do know that if a grammar checker like PWA could plug in directly to Mellel, that would be extremely convenient.

I take your point regarding the potential complications that could be introduced by opening and working with .mellel files in another application. For what it's worth, the Desktop ProWritingAid App for MacOS seems to be able to open Scrivener files and make changes to them while leaving everything else in place.

DanZac
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Re: Intermin solutions for working with .mellel docs in ProWritingAid

Post by DanZac » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:53 pm

Ah, well that is good to know definitely! Gives me hope.

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Re: Intermin solutions for working with .mellel docs in ProWritingAid

Post by shades » Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:30 pm

As seminary professor, the plagiarism feature in ProWriting would be most welcome. But I would not want to lose any of Mellel's features in the process.
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joseph_anton
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Re: Intermin solutions for working with .mellel docs in ProWritingAid

Post by joseph_anton » Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:49 pm

In case anyone else is interested in proofing their work in Mellel with ProWritingAid, I thought I would share the work-around that I'm using at the moment (it requires access to Nisus Writer Pro):

1) Export file as a .doc in Mellel
2) Open file in Nisus Writer Pro and run "Convert Notes to Text" macro to make footnotes available for proofing (I find it easier to place the footnotes at the end rather than inline)
3) Save file as .docx Microsoft Word XML and open with either the dedicate ProWritingAid application for MacOS or in the browser-based editor

Of course, any problems that ProWritingAid picks up will need to be manually corrected in the Mellel document, but this seems like a good start.

Link to the Nisus Writer Pro macro: https://nisus.com/pro/macros/browse.php ... otestoText

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