Writing Commons is a peer-reviewed encyclopedia for writers. Writing Commons hosts 1100 articles that were peer reviewed by staff, review editors, and advisory board members.

We are a community of writers, teachers, and researchers who are passionate about helping people realize their potential as writers, collaborators, researchers, and thinkers.

Welcome. Thanks for giving us a look.

Below is a summary of our

  • Mission
  • Readership
  • Masthead
  • History.


Our mission at Writing Commons is to help people communicate more effectively in school and work contexts.

To help writers, we provide peer-reviewed articles on Collaboration, Courses, Design, Editing, Genre, Information Literacy, Invention, Mindset, Organization, Research, Revision, Rhetoric, Style, and Writing Studies.

As technorhetoricians, as scholars of rhetoric and writing technologies, we aim for our content to be responsive to changes in literacy practices. These are exciting times for writers. Writing spaces are changing, evolving. In response, we need to help students author in emerging digital writing spaces (digital media) and engage in critical literacy when they face new situations, exigencies for writing.


Between 2012 and 2019, 9,198,1957 users consulted 16,698,704 pages at Writing Commons, reading 1.52 pages/session. 70% of our users were from the United States. (We did not keep usage statistics between 2008 and 2012.)

Writing Commons is used by both professionals in workplace contexts and students in undergraduate composition, business, STEM/Technical Writing, and creative writing courses.

Screenshot Date: 12/31/19



Chief Technology Officer: Alston Chapman
Editor-in-Chief: Cassandra Branham, Embry Riddle University
Founder and Publisher: Joseph M. Moxley

Advisory Board


Ownership and Publisher

Writing Commons is owned and published by My Reviewers LLC.


4th Edition

The fourth edition, the current edition, was launched January 2020. This edition represents a substantive rewrite. Like its predecessors, the fourth edition constitutes a work in process.

We were happy 9 million people consulted the 3rd edition for help. However, we were troubled by the high bounce rate (80%) and average session duration (1:20).

Additionally, we were aware that we had created a digital version of Stephen North’s House of Lore.

To improve upon the user experience, we

  • moved from the genre of textbook to that of an encyclopedia
    • developed a taxonomy to categorize articles
    • organized articles alphabetically under major sections.
  • wrote new articles
  • changed the site’s software (we moved from Joomla to WordPress)
  • reconceptualized the site’s architecture and navigation.
  • started Courses.

3rd Edition

The third edition was published between 2012 and 2019 at http://writingcommons.org.

This edition opened the project to peer production. Initially Joe Moxley but subsequently Quentin Vieregge led an effort to

  • extend the intended audience beyond composition courses in U.S. institutions
  • establish an Advisory Board and Editorial Community
  • oversee peer reviews of articles
  • publish a monthly newsletter for the Writing Studies community, unCommon News
  • publish student editions and provide a showcase to publish student writing.

2nd Edition

The second edition was published as College Writing Online at http://collegewriting.org from 2008 to 2012.

This edition was published in Joomla, a content management system.

1st Edition

The first edition of Writing Commons was published in 2003 by Pearson Education under the title College Writing Online.

This edition was awarded the 2003 Distinguished Book Award from Computers and Composition. 


4th Edition

We thank

  • Janice Walker for her ongoing consultanship regarding the organization of our encyclopedia.
  • Jenifer Paquette for her ongoing leadership on the Style sections.
  • Jennifer Yirinec for her help with the conversion of texts from Joomla to WordPress.

3rd Edition

We could not have developed the third edition without the wise counsel of our advisory board: Linda Adler-Kassner, University of California, Santa Barbara; James P. Gee, Arizona State University; Graeme Harper, Oakland University; Susan Lang, The Ohio State University; Charlie Lowe, Grand Valley State University; MC Morgan, Bemidji State University; Mike Palmquist, Colorado State University; Alex Reid, SUNY at Buffalo; Howard Rheingold, Stanford University; Shirley Rose, Arizona State University; Kristin Sainani, Stanford School of Medicine; George Siemens, Athabasca University; Taku Sugimoto, Chiba Institute of Technology; Gregory L. Ulmer, University of Florida; Janice Walker, Georgia Southern University; Martin Weller, Open University; Bronwyn T. Williams, University of Louisville.

Quentin Vieregge, UW-Eau Claire, led the effort to develop the third edition. Under Quentin’s leadership we focused more broadly on the needs of students in professional and technical writing courses. As Editor-in-Chief until 2018, Quentin oversaw the editorial process, working with our review editors to conduct blind reviews of hundreds of essays.

We are deeply indebted to our review editors of the third edition for their professional service, including E. Jonathan Arnett, Kennesaw State University; Matt Barton, St. Cloud State University;  Matt Balk, Ball State University; William Carney, Cameron University; Joel Friederich, University of Wisconsin; Tamara Girardi, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Andrea Greenbaum, Barry University; Heidi Skurat Harris, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; Stephanie Hedge, SUNY Potsdam; Mitchell Ray James, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Christopher Justice, The University of Baltimore; Amy C. Kimme Hea, University of Arizona; bonnie lenore kyburz, Lewis University; Jennifer Lee Novotney, MMI Preparatory School; Angela Eward-Mangione, Hillsborough Community College; Jennifer Marlow, College of Saint Rose; Patricia Portanova, Northern Essex Community College; Daisy Pignetti, University of Wisconsin-Stout; Abigail Scheg, Elizabeth City State University; Andrea Scott, Pitzer College; Lars Söderlund, Wright State University; Todd Taylor, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill; Ryan Weber, University of Alabama-Huntsville, Susan Youngblood, Auburn University

Thanks to the hard work of our review editors and advisory committee, the third edition doubled the size of Writing Commons, expanding from about 700 articles to 1400 articles. We peer reviewed many submissions and published original works from university and college faculty related to fiction, creative nonfiction, business writing, scientific writing, and technical writing. Over 9 million users accessed Writing Commons between 2012 and 2019. We were used by the first English composition MOOCs, sponsored by the Gates Foundation, Duke University, Georgia Tech, and the Ohio State University.

1st Edition

Our thanks to Joe Opiela for serving as our editor for the first iteration of this text, which was published by Pearson Education.