A letter from the Founder of Writing Commons

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the new site design for Writing Commons, the open education home for writers. Our new design is not only more attractive and accessible thanks to the creative work of Alston Chapman, but it is also much better protected against hackers.

Our new website was precipitated by a recent challenge we faced at Writing Commons: between November 2015 and March 2016, we were repeatedly targeted by hackers who were attempting to profit off of the number of site visitors who visit the site. As a result, we have taken great measures to strengthen our security and eliminate the chance of future threats.

Originally, as I explain in Open Textbook Publishing (Academe 2013), I founded Writing Commons because I was curious to explore the emerging power of the modern author, and I wanted to experiment with DIY publishing, peer production, and mentoring. Remarkably, since launching https://writingcommons.org in January of 2012, Writing Commons has become a popular site for students and instructors worldwide, enabling 4,792,490 readers to view 8,439,962 pages. We have been widely adopted by colleges and universities, including Duke University, The Georgia Institute of Technology, and The Ohio State University. Each day, we host between 5,000 and 12,000 users.

Over the years, thanks to our Advisory Board and our Review Editors (comprised of distinguished English faculty, open education leaders, and writers), we have peer reviewed and published numerous outstanding webtexts that stretch the value of the site to students in a variety of college-level writing courses: composition, professional and technical writing, STEM writing, and creative nonfiction. We have also hosted the distinguished Aaron Swartz Award to celebrate the best webtext each year.

One of the advantages of publishing at Writing Commons is that your work can be widely read worldwide. For example, Jenna Pack’s “Using First Person in an Academic Essay: When is it Okay” has received 168,676 hits. Similarly, Jennifer Yirinec’s “How to Write an Engaging Introduction”has received 142,238 hits. It’s pretty cool that both of these authors were graduate students at the time they wrote those webtexts. Please see ”Contribute” to learn more about our submission and peer review guidelines.

Now that the site has exceeded our original expectations and we see that so many people find value in our project, we promise to redouble our efforts to make this the best possible free resource available to help college-level writers. Recently, to offset costs, we have included a few Google advertisements. Going forward, we want to explore new ways to obtain the resources we need to continue growing the site.  That said, don’t worry: we remain committed to offering Writing Commons free of charge.

Best wishes with your teaching and writing.


Joe Moxley, JoeMoxley at gmail dot com
Founder, Writing Commons