Writing Center Journal


Especially in the wake of the recent pandemic, asynchronous consulting has become increasingly central to writing center work. Yet writing center scholarship has little attended to the significant impact writer input can have on asynchronous writer-consultant exchanges. Drawing on asynchronous consultation data collected before and after our 2019 redesign of our writing center’s asynchronous system, this comparative study examines the specific effect of the writer appointment form on the nature of both writers’ requests for feedback (RFFs) and consultants’ resulting comments. Our findings suggest that differently designed appointments forms can scaffold significantly different kinds of asynchronous writer-consultant exchanges, especially visible in the different emphases writers and consultants put on issues of correctness, clarity, organization, and the writer’s rhetorical situation. We argue that, particularly in the case of asynchronous consulting—which can easily devolve to a “fix-it” model of consulting—it is important for writing center administrators to design asynchronous platforms that encourage both writers and consultants to more explicitly consider how the specific rhetorical features of a writing task can shape revising goals.