My First Try at Using an Article Spinner

An article spinner is a resource or device whose primary function is to rewrite text (such as an article or blog entry) so that the overall message and meaning are left intact while the wording is changed significantly. It is commonly used by content creators, website/blog administrators, and marketing agencies in an attempt to imitate the success of existing content while appearing original. The term can refer to either a person who rewrites existing content or (increasingly) automated software that performs said task. (techopedia)

So I thought I would give it a try. My original plan was to use a natural language generation program, which I had written about last week, but I couldn’t find a free one. Plus, they looked too complicated (i.e., it wouldn’t give me a blog post in the next 30 minutes).

But article spinners looked quick and dirty, you just copy some text from somewhere, hit a button, and it rewrites the text.

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an article about the best way to plan a route for optimal results. Think UPS drivers, school bus drivers, and your weekend trip out to do four errands. What is the best order to do those trips in?

So here is one of the paragraphs from the article:

Finding the shortest route for my errands is known in mathematics as the “traveling salesman problem.” The salesman has a list of towns to visit and must find the shortest route to finish and return home. The scenario also applies to routing school buses or transmitting electronic data via different routers. One possible algorithm is to start by going to the nearest place and then to keep picking the nearest location you haven’t yet visited. This is called the “nearest neighbor” algorithm. It’s simple to do but doesn’t necessarily pick the best route.

I entered this into the article spinner at Spinbot, and this was the result:

Observing the most limited course for my tasks is referred to in math as the “mobile sales rep issue.” The sales rep has a rundown of towns to visit and should track down the briefest course to get done and get back. The situation additionally applies to steering school transports or sending electronic information through various switches. One potential calculation is to begin by going to the closest spot and afterward to continue to pick the closest area you haven’t yet visited. This is known as the “closest neighbor” calculation. It’s easy to do yet doesn’t really pick the best course.

A couple of the highlights for me:

  • “traveling salesman problem” became “mobile sales rep issue”
  • “routing school buses” became “steering school transport”

I thought I’d try one more paragraph:

Another type of algorithm is called an “evolutionary” algorithm, inspired by the evolution of living creatures. Those algorithms start with a plausible solution and then repeatedly “mutate” it to see if better solutions arise. You might not find the best solution, but you will find progressively better ones, and you can decide how long you want to invest in finding a better solution before just getting on with implementing it.

and here’s the article spin result:

One more kind of calculation is called an “transformative” calculation, motivated by the advancement of living animals. Those calculations start with a conceivable arrangement and afterward more than once “change” it to check whether better arrangements emerge. You probably won’t track down the best arrangement, yet you will track down continuously better ones, and you can conclude how lengthy you need to put resources into tracking down a superior arrangement before continuing ahead with carrying out it.

A couple things I noted here.

First, I guess you would have to go back and change “transformative” back to “evolutionary” since that is the real name of the algorithm.

Second, the spun article is much more confusing to read.

Article spinners seem to be a crude use of technology to help people create “new” content in a short amount of time. I don’ think it does a great job, plus to me, it seems like plagiarism.

I wonder what the courts would have to say about someone who just uses an article spinner to copy news articles from sites such as WSJ or CNN, and posted them to his site like they were his own.

I’m asking for a friend.

Or as SpinBot translated that last line: “I’m requesting a companion.”

*image from Facebook

82 thoughts on “My First Try at Using an Article Spinner

      1. Reminds me of an EEO case I was once involved in, during my union steward years. I made a discovery request with the postal service’s EEO attorney. He denied it using some confusing legalese language. Then he made a discovery request on me. So I plagiarized his legalese language, and used it to deny his request. Needless to say, he was left rather flummoxed.

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  1. The program could be easily improved by not changing terms in quotation marks. It is only a matter of time before issues like that are solved. It ties into to your posts about language generators and people losing jobs to AI. On the other hand, this program only seems to do what people do when they take information from one or more sources to write their own content. The program just doesn’t do it as artfully… yet. If this gets perfected, just imagine all of the spam blog posts we’d be bombarded with.

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  2. Another method would be to Google translate the passage from English into Chinese; then translate the Chinese into Turkish; then translate the Turkish into English. If you hadn’t first given the original I would have been hard pressed to know what the spinner version was talking about. But then, I’m relatively thick. A most interesting experiment!

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  3. Human writers make word choices from an extensive vocabulary and with great purpose. These choices are inherent to context and concept. Arbitrarily changing a word here or there does not improve upon the original. In fact, as you have noted it makes it all sound a bit messier. Although the bots do this in record time, you get exactly what you pay for.

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    1. I wonder how much research is going into these sorts of programs to try and make them better and better.

      but I agree, right now, these bots don’t have that human touch.

      I also wonder if I ran Shalespeare through Spinbot if it would actually become more readable 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This sounds potentially scary – how will anyone be sure that I really did write the rubbish on my blog without tech help? And beware your students using it for essays: it shouldn’t be too hard to spot as it seems to me that all it does is complicate a piece of writing with bigger and less relevant words. (PS I wrote this comment all by myself).

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      1. There are plenty of sample essays on the web, so I’d expect some will take those and put them through the Spinner. I think there could be money to be made in creating an app that identifies those who do that!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m not a fan of robots in general, I just want them to run free and not doing our work, unless it is cleaning the cat litter. would they be able to handle using all lower case letters as I like to do? what can they do with my made up words? how would they have translated the. name of the closing item I accidentally created in my post called – “maxi-skirt/chaps?” what would they do when the wp happy engineers change the platform again? something is sure to be very lost in translation and people will have those bots in court with their bot lawyers in no time. )

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    1. well here is what your comment would look like when run through Spinbot:

      I seriously hate robots as a rule, I simply need them to run free and not taking care of our responsibilities, except if it is cleaning the feline litter. could they have the option to deal with involving all lower case letters as I like to do? how would they be able to manage my made up words? how might they have interpreted the. name of the end thing I inadvertently made in my post called – “maxi-skirt/chaps?” how might they respond when the wp cheerful architects change the stage once more? something makes certain to be exceptionally lost in interpretation and individuals will have those bots in court with their bot attorneys right away. )

      seems like it didn’t change too much…

      hmmm… how do we know you are not a bot? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The one thing about spinner and AI in general is….neither are intelligent 😉 I do see an improvement from some tools over the years but nothing beats a human being who practices writing on a daily basis. Thanks for sharing Jim. Keep up the great work with your blog.

    Ryan

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  7. Spinbot – or how to make your writing less efficient and more awkward. I suppose, if for some reason, a parent was trying to sound more like their uneducated kid, it might be useful.

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  8. Great experiment here. I actually think that’s where AI writers have the edge, because they actually generate content based on keywords instead of fed content. Maybe you could look into platforms like Simplified AI and see if that fits the bill!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I had high hopes for this bot. Unfortunately, it seems that it just swaps words for synonyms without really changing the sentence structure, arrangement, etc. I guess that’s good because it means that writers are not obsolete. Yet.

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  10. It happens all the time. I hadn’t figured on a generator; I thought content writers were reading a legit article and stealing the information themselves.

    I’ll do a search for a metal term and the top three say the same thing!

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  11. This is similar to the methodology I used at one of my jobs where I did a lot of writing and wasn’t always sure how far up the food chain any single memo would have to go before it reached the sweet approval spot. More than one of us worked on the same top level program/project so the boiler plate introductory info was pretty much the same in nearly every instance. For this reason, I leaned and employed often, throughout my career after that, the adage voiced by the lead on that project, whose work was of course most often re-used by everyone else. Why reinvent the wheel?

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