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Garry Platt

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Plagiarism in Blogs?

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I was reading the blog of a quite high profile player in this industry when I read a section that looked familiar. A quick search using a plagiarism checker revealed that 95% of his posting was a direct copy taken from another web site. (Not a blog on TrainingZone I might add.) In a blog should we make it clear when are quoting somebody else? Is it more acceptable in the blog format to borrow other people’s words or should we always be scrupulously clear on these issues? I’m interested to know other peoples thoughts on this issue.

4 Responses

  1. Plagiarism in Blogs?
    Like any written work we should always acknowledge those who have gone before. Those who have contributed, knowingly or unknowingly. While studying we are constantly reminded to “quote” sources and then list our reference materials at the end of any written work. Not that I advocate this type of attention to detail in a blog but we do have to give credit where it is due.
    A blog is no different to saying I was reading such a writer and this is their thoughts on the subject and then these are mine. I regularly deliver speeches and here to I have to give acknowledgements for quotes and inspiration even though time is tight. Even during training sessions I have been known to constantly quote from other training sessions, books, magazines or directed people to blogs I have read.
    Use quotes, but becareful that your sins may find you out. If you do not know what your source is and you are later confronted with someone who has read what you have written and tries to argue against it can you back up your argument strongly, if you are using someone elses work the chances are you could be left high and dry.

    LJ

  2. Making the link is important
    Hi Garry
    There is a chance you will get a wide range of responses to this as each blog owner/write will have set their own standards. However, for what it’s worth, I am happy to share how I do it.

    I think one of the most valuable aspects of online networks, including blogs, is that one person’s writing or comments can inspire a whole wider post on that theme . When that happens I connect using my blogging programme with a link directly to the original source and my own readers can follow that though.

    Sometimes though I only want to quote part of what was written and will do so but still link to the general blog or other site so that the reader can have a look at that writer’s body of work. If it is a quote from a book then I quote both author and book.

    Online it is easy to link to give credit – and indeed wider exposure to the work of the original writer – and that is my preference. The blogging programme I use shows me when someone has linked my own work and I can follow it back to see how they used it. Coincidentally this happened yesterday from a site I did not recognise . I knew a friend had quoted my original post in the body of his and this appeared in its entirety on this other site. Turns out my friend guest writes for that site and that post should have been attributed to him – which it wasn’t in this case thus causing confusion.

  3. copying in blogs
    Hi Gary – an interesting point…

    I (usually) confirm all my posts to my blog using copyscape, especially when I use elements of content from my hard-drive – one can never remember where everything originally came from. And I admit to occasionally using the odd paragraph from someone else if they explain something very well (it is not always easy to fully attribute).

    There are some people that lift whole articles – what they do not realise is that by publishing them they are in fact doing longterm harm to their site – as the search engines know when something is original or not and this impacts their SEO positioning over time.

    One of the problems I have found in the past is that many people change the URLs on their sites – so linking back to a page that no-longer exists is not good news – hence the reason why I now may quote but rarely give a link back.

    One or two paragraphs may be ‘fair game’ – but 95%…..

  4. Plagiarism is theft
    Always quote source, even for a small snippet, unless you have re-written (and even then quote the source of your research).

    I find this quite a problem in the training world, often people use research and materials they they don’t always accredit properly. An insurance company I know said their biggest claim issues from trainers are when they are prosecuted for copyright infringement.

    I am glad you raised this point – the internet is a wonderful resource, but it is soooo easy to ‘cheat’ and not come up with original work.

    On the writers forum I moderate on (www.mywriterscircle.com) we often find people – for some bizarre reason – posting a piece of a published work and saying ‘what do u think? I’m trying to rite a novel’. We have enough well read members to spot them and boot them out PDQ – but as the information world expands…. oh boy!

    Make sure anything you write that is original, is logged somewhere as your own work. Might be an idea to get some ideas on how we can do this to protect ourselves from plagiarism. (or at least shake a fist at the thieves).

    Carolyn

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Garry Platt

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