Times Newer Roman: cheat your teachers with this slightly wider font clone


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/09/18/times-newer-roman-cheat-your.html


I understand why teachers ask for a minimum page or word count but on the flip-side it just forces students to drone on without actually saying something just to eat up space. That in itself is a huge waste of time for everyone involved, i would rather have a smartly written concise essay that’s a few pages long vs reading pages and pages of verbal diarrhea.


Where was this when I was writing my dissertation?


We got a sample of a book written by a semi-famous rapper, and it was like the worst fudged-margins-and-spacing high school paper. Only 200 pages long, larger than normal font, wide margins, and all of the paragraphs are about one or two sentences long.

A kid I knew in high school (who later got accepted to MIT for math) would just type up one or two page essays and take the hit. His logic was “if I write a good logical paper he’s not going to flunk me. How much would he take off for being under the minimum? I’ll take the C- for an A+ paper.”


Can I get a font which makes it possible to submit abstracts longer than the character count allowed by journals and conferences?


Why not?
Messengers have vanishing messages nowadays, why can’t I get appearing characters, words or messages for scientific purposes?


You realize that the only reason that teachers hand out page counts is because they’re trying to teach students how to ballpark what a reasonable amount of information for the topic at hand would be, right? (Also trying to simultaneously prod lazy students who want to do the minimum amount of work into applying themselves a bit more, and overly verbose students who will just drone on and on to become more concise in their writing.)

Page requirements are dumb, but they’re dumb because many of your fellow students don’t know how to write and their teachers are trying to teach them the very basics (like “how long is too long”) and others are incredibly lazy and the teachers are trying to challenge them. And if you’re not in either of those camps and you actually can get stuck in the middle - writing a good concise essay that doesn’t hit the page limits - teachers often can’t really just let it slide because as soon as one of your fellow students finds out that you turned in one fewer page and got a better grade than they did, they’ll bring their parents in to yell at your teacher about how mean you’re being to them and how you’re singling them out and how dare you show preferential treatment and I’ll have your job for this and so on and so forth.

And that’s just what happens in college. I can’t imagine how horrible it must be for High School teachers…


It would be hard to choose whether to fail the conniving kiddo outright or just roll my eyes. Probably depends entirely on time of day, prevailing wind, etc.


For a history class in HS the teacher did not specify the essay length for a specific research group assignment. Me and my friend did all of our research, compiled our notes and then discussed what the most salient and important points were and we came up with 2 or 3 pages of information.

When get got to class the next day we were seriously concerned because people showed up with 10+ pages. Some had something like 20-30 pages. We’re thinking we flunked hard and could not figure out where we went wrong.

Our paper was one of two papers that got an A+. We were surprised and the rest of the class was seriously pissed at us for the brevity of our research, but honestly as long as you’re actually trying and doing the work why should page count matter?


That’s why I used to make a point of teaching my students the difference between a five-page idea and a twenty-page idea. And then I’d make them bring in multiple paper ideas and we’d discuss each idea in those terms (among others), which would give them a lot more confidence that the one they eventually settled on was going to be worth the time and length.


I don’t do page counts, because I can’t stand being forced to read an extra page of bullshit on a student paper. I just tell them exactly what questions their paper should answer, and that almost always leads to a paper of a reasonable size, if they really do it. As far as requiring Times New Roman, I do because then every paper is in the same, inoffensive, and uninteresting font. That way I’m not distracted by my loathing for a student’s font choice (or, less likely, distracted by a more interesting font), even subconsciously, and that helps me be more fair and treat each paper the same. Also, if it’s a ten page paper, and I have thirty students in a class, that’s 300 pages of mostly dull writing I have to read and respond to in less than a week. I find TNR easier to read than, say, Courier. (And this wouldn’t work on me even if I did require page lengths: I haven’t accepted a physical paper in about six or seven years.)


cheat your teachers with this slightly wider font clone

Cheating your teacher is none other than cheating ones self.


I heartily disagree because its teaching the wrong lesson. Padding papers with nothing. The better rubric is to have a list of criteria of what the teacher is looking for information-wise and its up to the student to do the appropriate research, analysis and interpretation to provide the requested information. If the student decides 3 pages is enough and they legitimately provide good information what’s the problem? If a teacher determines not enough information was provided then they can give the student feedback on how to improve, they will naturally try to correct their methodology. When you mainly focus on page count i don’t think it teaches anything because a student will throw everything at the wall.


I bet you’re doing it right now, though. /s


Using page count as a proxy for the complexity of the ideas contained in the paper inevitably results in students trying to game the metrics–but we see this same behavior in business, government, everywhere really. So who says “page counts” aren’t good educational preparation for the real world?


The most difficult assignment I had in college was a critical theory essay that could be no longer than two pages.__


Or… and here’s a radical proposal, I know, do the work instead of spending your time trying to trick the teacher?


Seems like you probably could, if you can type an ellipsis as three characters “…” or as one character “…” then you could probably make/find a font that uses a single character for commons words like “the,” “is,” etc.


I generally go for a page length for things like formal papers and proposals and what not. I don’t think that saying a page for a proposal for this project is unreasonable.

When it comes to something like a reading response, they just need to make it as long as they need to make it to get their point across clearly.


This is the sort of habit that can come back and bite you later:


R o g e r t h a t ! I ’ m c h e a t i n g m y s e l f r i g h t n o w !