Monday, April 30, 2012

"Don't be The Story Siren" or "Write your own stuff and don't plagiarize"

I'll warn you, this is old news. If you're reading this, you've probably already read one of a wide score of blogs about The Story Siren and their plagiarism. I think that Gossamer Obsessions said it best in their blog entry where they boiled everything down to "Plagiarism is wrong, no matter what the circumstances, and apologizing doesn't make it any less of a bad thing". They even made a list of the arguments against the popular cries going on in the various threads and forums. And I want to say that just because it's computer programming type stuff doesn't mean that it's automatically OK to copy a site's code verbatim. Yes, there's a tendency to use the same codes, but there's also sites that code in a particular way and don't want to have their stuff copied. That's why you ASK and if they say yes, why you mention where you pulled the info from. If you didn't write it, don't pass it off as your own. Even if you're the worst writer in the world, don't steal. 

Look, it doesn't matter if she was a popular blog or a nobody blog. Plagiarism is wrong and I can't help but think that many of the defenders are defending her because they've never had anything stolen from them. Yeah, styles and tips entries aren't that exciting but this stuff still takes just as much work as the blog entries like this- if not more so. What makes it worse is that you have this popular blog that's taking all of the credit for YOUR hard work and getting accolades and even a little pay for it. All those books that TSS gets? They pretty much get all of them for free. And that's not including the money they're getting from ad placement. They probably aren't making enough for the blogger to retire on, but they're still getting paid for your hard work. Think about it this way: you wrote a graduate paper. It's awesome. A while later you open up a magazine and see that your professor has published your paper under her name. No mention of you at all. She even used the illustrations that you drew and included that funny story about that cousin of yours. But your professor can't draw worth a lick and she has no cousins. Yet she's still the one getting the attention from your stolen work. 

What I think makes me the maddest about this is that TSS is going to come out of this mostly intact. Most publishers don't tend to care too overly much about plagiarism or quality when you're popular. Just look at certain infamous reviewers that continuously get books despite them predominantly quoting book jackets (and getting them wrong on top of it). 

What we need to do is boycott the site for the time being. Not forever, but enough to let them know that plagiarism will not be tolerated. After all, if she comes out of this with the idea that she can plagiarize and still keep her reading public, then how long will it be until she does it again? Maybe she will, maybe she won't, but history has shown us in many different situations that people who get away with something tend to do it again because they know/think that they can. 

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