Let’s Promote Dialogue

Discussion Post Stars

Though everyone seems to think they know what plagiarism is, there are shady areas in the process of citation and attribution that can not only confuse writers and bloggers, but also create sources of tension.  Previously I addressed what might or might constitute plagiarism of another blogger’s work and Briana wrote on the topic of stealing images, which many bloggers do, despite a widespread understanding among bloggers that one does not simply steal another person’s words.

Interestingly, despite the seemingly widespread image theft in the book blogosphere, bloggers tend to advocate for a stricter definition of plagiarism than is accepted even in academia.  When one writes in academia, the common metaphor used is that of a person entering a conversation; one person writes an article, then another person responds.  The initial author may then write back.  Other voices will probably join in.  And all of these voices are also constantly referring back to even older voices, citing scholars from the past or authors long dead.  In the book blogosphere, however, this type of conversation is frequently shut down on the basis of “plagiarism.”  That is, book bloggers often seem to feel that if they post about a topic, they now have proprietary rights to it.  Because they wrote about how to balance blogging and life, for example, no other blogger can write about the blogging and life balance because they decided to write about it first.

Before we go any further, let me assure you that I detest plagiarism.  It is unacceptable to steal another person’s work or idea and pretend it is your own. It is not an act without consequences, even if you make no money from what you did.  You have still victimized someone. You may have even caused them a loss in profits or in followers.  Imagine someone taking a photograph they want to sell as an exclusive print–but then it’s posted all over the Internet by bloggers who think they can do so because their blog is just a hobby and they get nothing from it.  Now the print is no longer exclusive and the artist lost his or her livelihood.  Plagiarism is sloppy at best, criminal at worst.

Speaking about broad topics, however, is not plagiarism.  Just as more than one person can write a review for the same book, so can more than one person chime in to the conversation on a general topic.  Not allowing others to speak on a topic we have addressed is counterproductive, even dangerous.   Imagine the following hypothetical scenarios:

  • A blogger writes that The Legend of Korra should be banned because the protagonist is bisexual.
  • A blogger writes that they are glad Agent Carter has been cancelled because they’re sick of the PC-police forcing us to have female leads on television.
  • A blogger writes that children should not be allowed to watch Disney princess movies because they are “anti-feminist.”

In academia, scholars would respond to these arguments and broaden our understanding of tolerance and of the importance of the media in promoting equality.  They might begin interesting discussions about what “feminism” is.  The original blogger who dislikes Disney princesses might think you can’t be a feminist if you get married.  Perhaps the responses would argue that feminism encompasses the choices of all women, even those who wish to have a traditional romance and marriage.

In the book blogosphere, however, unusually strict definitions of plagiarism might mean that the original writers ask other bloggers not to respond.  Talking about sexuality and feminism in The Legend of Korra or in Agent Carter is “their thing.”   They thought to do it first, so now no one else is allowed to broach these topics.  But do we really want one voice to control the conversation?  What happens when we shut down discourse on the basis of “plagiarism”–a definition of plagiarism that even a university would not recognize?

Opening the conversation to a wide array of voices can only be beneficial.  No perspective is entirely unbiased and the way a white middle-class woman raised in the suburbs responds to a topic may be very different from the way a woman of color raised in the city responds.  Allowing different perspectives to interact with and respond to each other not only broadens our understanding of the topic but can also help us become more empathetic individuals.  Would the average white American ever have recognized the issues that led to the Black Lives Matter movement if Black voices had not been raised and spoken to the lived experiences of Black Americans?  How could a white American begin to understand another perspective if that perspective continues to be silenced?

Of course, in many ways the conversations book bloggers have tend to be of lower stakes.  Trying to claim the sole right to talk about when to comment on a blog or how often to schedule posts is not the same as silencing minority voices on matters of representation.  However, shutting down small conversations still creates an unnecessary power dynamic where one person becomes the interpreter of what it is acceptable to do and not do to on a blog.  And shutting down small conversations can lead us to shutting down larger conversations.  Bloggers often speak about diversity in books and media, for example, because we recognize that representation matters.  But why should one person get to arbitrate what counts as fair or equal representation?  Are we comfortable with one voice speaking for us all?

If we want to engage in interesting conversations, if we want to create knowledge together, if we want to ensure that previously silenced voices now receive representation, we need to open up our dialogue.  We need to embrace those who respond to us; those who challenge us; those who show us ways in which our ideas can be extended, adapted, and modified.  We need to talk.

Krysta 64

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44 thoughts on “Let’s Promote Dialogue

  1. La La in the Library says:

    Well hello there. Yes! Thank you so much. I was trying to make someone understand that when an issue pops up in the blogosphere (such as why it isn’t a good thing for bloggers to get paid for reviews by an author or publisher), just because they posted about it first (it originated in a Twitter chat conversation) doesn’t mean no one else can post about it. I never did get them to understand. I have also seen screenshots of reviews that were supposedly plagarized, when in actuality both bloggers had paraphrased some of the Goodreads synopsis, not each other. I am glad my reviews are informal and severely freeform so no one thinks I copied them. I have also had blog posts sitting as drafts for months, and right before I am ready to post, someone else does a similar post. I will usually reschedule it for the following month, in fear of confrontation, but I always feel I shouldn’t have to. I would love to link this post in my Around the Web section of my weekly wrap-up. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana says:

      On the post about image copyright that Krysta links here, I credit someone’s tweet who inspired to me to write the post–and you can see that she left a comment that indicates she is upset I wrote about something her tweet is about. We talked it out on Twitter DM because I stated that the topic of image copyright is a common topic anyone can write about. In addition to that, I pointed out that she had never indicated on Twitter that she was planning to write a post about her own tweet. I apologized because I did feel bad that maybe I preempted her or something. Except that then she clarified that she was not going to write a post, had never intended to write a post–but still thought I should have asked for her permission to write about image copyright.

      I’m explaining this 1) because I left her comment on the post, so it’s public information and 2) frankly, I’m still baffled by what it was I supposedly did wrong. I am sorry she was upset about the whole thing, but I have to stand by the fact that image copyright is a common subject many people do write about and, honestly, even mentioning her tweet would not have been necessary in order to avoid “stealing” the idea. I tried to credit her tweet to abide by what appears to be blogosphere expectations for crediting, and it still resulted in a mess.

      Liked by 2 people

      • rantandraveaboutbooks says:

        I remember reading that comment. I also didn’t understand what she was so upset about. You could’ve said I saw it on Twitter without mentioning her. Instead, you chose to acknowledge her, which I thought was nice, not something for her to make a big deal out of.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Briana says:

          Yeah, as I said we talked it out, but I’m still confused. I actually removed the post briefly because I really didn’t want to preempt her if she had been planning to write a post. But then she said she wasn’t planning on writing a post but thought I should have asked her anyway because she might have been planning to or might want to write a post about it months in the future, so I put the post back up because I wasn’t really sure what the problem was in that case. I do read and like her blog so I’m still disappointed I offended her somehow.

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          • rantandraveaboutbooks says:

            I wondered the same thing when I decided to write a post about blogs to follow. I was going to post it, and then I saw that comment around the same time and decided to ask everyone if they were okay with it. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. I remember thinking I hope they don’t say no. I’m completely okay with bloggers linking my posts or trying out their own take on my posts. I would never claim that I have a propriety right over an idea or discussion topic. Now if someone stole my book idea, that would a different story. That’s partly why I’m so hesitant to talk about my manuscripts, even though I really want to talk about them. I’m afraid the name of my book will all of a sudden be on Goodreads under another name or my ideas will somehow make their way into a self pub book. I’ve read horror stories about that. The Internet is a scary place. 😉 I would hope by now she’s over it. But I don’t see anything wrong with writing a post and mentioning where you saw it. Unless she wrote copyright law, which established the basis of the conversation to begin with, she has no right to be mad. Though I know some people are more sensitive than others.

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            • Briana says:

              Unfortunately that’s a valid fear about your book idea. I have a professor who’s hesitant to talk about his works in progress/running theories in his lectures to undergrads because he thinks the ideas might be stolen before he can publish his work on them. While I have some trouble believing his ideas would be stolen by an undergrad and not a colleague or at least a grad student, I understand his caution. It happens to people.

              I do that think that’s why many people will mention on Twitter that they’re planning to write about something they’re talking about on Twitter. Of course if someone says “I’m thinking of writing a post about this. What are your thoughts?” I would totally let them write the post and not run off and try to publish my own version before they published theirs!

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            • rantandraveaboutbooks says:

              I don’t blame him. It’s very common with self pub books to see an author’s work copied by another with only slight modifications to the names and places. I’ve been warned about sharing work without a copyright, but I don’t think people realize it takes about 8 months to get one, and even then, people still plagiarize others. And at that point, the author has lost sales to the person who stole their work. I noticed people mention post ideas on Twitter, and I’d never think to write about any of them. I agree with you on that. I often wonder why they bother to announce it ahead of time. Is it so they can lay claim to the idea? I think some bloggers are a bit extreme about their posts. It’s not like we’re writing some Pulitzer worthy story here. It’s for fun, nothing more.

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            • Briana says:

              Well, then we get into the weird territory of whether other people even saw your tweet and “knew” you were going to post about it. I think trying to be respectful of each other’s ideas is all we can ask for here. I think most people are acting in good faith, and that should be taken into account, unless they pretty obviously plagiarized and didn’t just write something that seems to be on a similar topic as someone else’s post.

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            • rantandraveaboutbooks says:

              That’s true. I read there’s about a 1% chance someone will see your tweet, so it’s likely they never saw it to begin with. That would also depend on the frequency at which they use social media. Someone who checks their phone once a day or even a week would be less likely to notice one tweet in a sea of others unless they subscribe to your notifications. I try to focus on things that interest me, keeping in mind what I’ve seen lately so I don’t write anything similar. I’ve had a lot of ideas where I saw a post right before I was about to start writing and scrapped it completely. The idea that bloggers are getting crazy about this is so bizarre to me.

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            • Krysta says:

              Wow. I had no idea plagiarism was so prevalent in the self-published market. That’s terrifying! I would definitely keep all my ideas close if I were you. Of course your work is still copyrighted once you’ve written it, but I guess people don’t understand that. Better to get the official copyright and be safe. 😦

              I think people don’t mind being linked back to as it theoretically gives them traffic, but obviously they tend to be less enthusiastic about people reblogging their work, so the original author is no longer getting those page views. I haven’t seen this happen recently, though. I think WordPress makes it so if you reblog something only part of it shows up on your blog, so your readers are forced to follow the link back to the original post. Quite a smart decision on their part.

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            • rantandraveaboutbooks says:

              Yeah, apparently it happens all the time with self publishing. I read some articles where authors showed direct quotations from their books with different first names of the characters and nothing else. That takes some nerve to do that and publish it on Amazon as if it’s your own book. I was so appalled. I like indie authors, but I’m very cautious of which books I read. It’s a shame it takes so long for the copyright. It’s one of those gray areas. I often wonder what would happen if I were to publish on Amazon while the copyright is still pending. I’m still trying to go the traditional route, but that thought is always there. And even if you can prove that someone stole your work, the chance of getting anything out of it is rare. The person would have to pay whatever money they made from the book, but if they don’t have the money and can’t pay, you’ll most likely never see that money. It happens all the time with civil suits. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of reblogging. Some bloggers never write their own posts and only reblog others, which to me, is pointless because it defeats the reason to blog, and now they’re getting credit for your post. I noticed how WordPress only shows a small portion. A few bloggers have reblogged my posts (one of which asks every time, while the other two don’t), and I didn’t notice any real increase in traffic from it, which makes it a little more frustrating. When I see more comments on my post on another bloggers site than when I posted it on my own, that irritates me a bit. A retweet is different. I like when people retweet my posts because I do the same for others to spread the word to my followers. But a reblog makes it look like they wrote the post. It’a very misleading.

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            • Krysta says:

              Yeah, unfortunately, I think a lot of criminals assume most victims have neither the time nor the money to pursue a case against them. It’s unlikely another indie author would be able to commit to lawsuit or that they would want to, considering they might not get much out of it.

              We have very little traffic from people reblogging us or linking to us. Even when we guest post we don’t get any traffic back. If two people follow a link to our post I am surprised.

              I have seen people point back to our work, though, and then everyone posts on their blog instead of ours about our post and I find it confusing. I would want to interact with the author of the content.

              I don’t understand just being aggregator for blog posts. I like when people link around to other cool posts, but I guess I like creating stuff too much to ONLY point out what other people are doing.

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            • rantandraveaboutbooks says:

              I read about a few authors who were copied by the same person and Amazon took the royalties from the person’s illegal books and paid it to the real authors. They also removed all of the books from the site, and as far as I know, you can’t buy them anywhere. They really lucked out with Amazon coming through for them. Most people are probably forced to deal with it because lawsuits are expensive and not worth the time. Most lawyers would advise against pursuing a copyright case unless they had the money to burn. That’s so weird. I always check out the blogs mentioned in another bloggers posts. And I leave separate comments on each blog. I would’ve thought linking to posts or mentioning other bloggers would help increase traffic. I’m surprised a gust post doesn’t help draw some traffic. I was wondering if guests posts are a way to generate new interest or if it only benefits the blog it’s posted on. Still, I’m completely okay with guest posting. It’s good to mix things up. Another thing I often wonder is if the people are even reading the posts. Yeah, they like them and I can see someone viewed it, but did they actually read it? I feel the same way. I wrote two posts on other bloggers, but I enjoy writing about my own reading and writing habits a lot more.

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            • Krysta says:

              Maybe guest posting helps other bloggers, but it hasn’t really helped us. But i have seen less guest posting happening over the years. Maybe people are thinking it makes more sense to save their great idea for themselves so they get the page views. I still think guest posting is fun, though.

              I think that’s part of the reason comments are so great. You can tell someone actually read the post (or, okay, sometimes you can tell they only read the title of the post) and didn’t just click on it, think “Wow, that is literally the most boring thing I have seen today,” and then leave. 😉

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            • rantandraveaboutbooks says:

              I was going to do a guest post on another blog when I first started, then realized I didn’t like the vibe of the blog enough to use a good post idea. Yeah, I’m excited about doing the classics post on The Iliad. 😉 I already started plotting out the discussion. I think if it’s the right blog and I’m on the same page as the bloggers, it’s a lot of fun. The one I was going to do before just felt like someone who ran out of content and needed help. I didn’t feel like it was worth it in that case. Comments are the only way I truly know if someone read the post. Some days I’ll get a like three seconds after I posted and I know there’s no way they read 1500 words that fast. I started writing a post on reblogging after having this discussion. Would you mind if I mention this discussion post? I mean unless you’re planning to write one on the same topic. I can delete the post if you are.

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            • Krysta says:

              I think typically people ask for guest posts if they need to be away for awhile. We usually have posts scheduled way in advance, though so we’ve never had to ask someone to fill in our blog for us.

              Certainly you can mention the post! I don’t mind; I am very flattered!

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            • rantandraveaboutbooks says:

              That’s what I do, too. I always schedule in advance. Okay, great. Thanks! Now that I’m noticing more reblogs from people who never write anything that is their own it’s really annoying me. And then for someone to tell them nice post when they didn’t even write it further irritates me. I’m curious what other bloggers think about it.

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  2. Stefanie says:

    I don’t understand this phenomenon. Are people afraid that their opinion will be invalidated by the fact that someone else has a different view? Are people unwilling to be confronted with people who see it differently? Or is it an extension of what regular plagiarism does, in that bloggers are scared that someone else posting an opinion about something they themselves have written will take away the views and comments from their blog? (which would be a silly thing to think in my opinion, it would do both bloggers good to link to each others blogposts and gain more traffic that way).

    It’s not like you’re taking the exact same idea, you are taking a general idea and giving your personal view on it, building on something someone else has said. If we are going to have to pay attention to this I think there’s a lot of content that would just disappear altogether. If you’re never allowed to talk about anything which has already been talked about by someone else, how much are we even allowed to talk about anymore? Probably not much. That would be a very sad day if it came to that (it won’t I know, but it’s scary to think about).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      I always thought people were being protective of their page views and worried their blog won’t be as “original” if both they and someone else posts about the same topic. But it’s getting ridiculous. Just because one person talks about how often they comment back doesn’t mean no one else can! And the person complaining that other people are talking about comments isn’t even the first person to talk about comments, so how can they claim it’s their personal topic no one can ever touch again? And what of all the people who never read or even heard of their blog, but post about commenting? They certainly didn’t copy the idea and you could never prove that they had.

      The thing I am not sure about is whether some people really believe talking about the same thing constitutes plagiarism or if they’re just being overly proprietary–but if talking about the same thing did constitute plagiarism, then we’d all have to divvy up books to make sure only one person ever talked a certain title. Which is obviously ridiculous. But it’s getting to the point where, every time I put up a discussion post, I wonder who’s going to send me an angry message about how they posted about [random topic] three months ago and I ought to have known it and never shared my thoughts. It hasn’t happened to me yet, but it feels like it’s only a matter of time.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Stefanie says:

        I think that would really suck if it started coming down to this. It would take away so much of the conversations happening online if people started to fear backlash even before posting something to a degree where they might not even post certain things. I hope that this phenomenon will fade with time or that it stays contained to a certain group of people. Just as long as it doesn’t spread!
        I find this a pretty warm community overall, and it would be really disheartening if this killed that warmth.

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    • La La in the Library says:

      When you think about it, most bloggers don’t even have the same follower base. Of the blogs I visit regularly we usually have no more than a handful in commoin if that, so they wouldn’t be shorted on many blog views, if any at all. And as you said, if you link their post they will be getting more page views, not less. Plus, I think the more popular the subject the more blog hits everyone’s post will attract.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Krysta says:

        That’s quite true and I often wonder why people think the idea must have been stolen from them. I don’t want to sound like I’m not really excited to visit everyone, but I only have time to visit a limited number of blogs and I can’t do that all time. There are tons of blogs I’ve never heard of much less read. So it seems odd to assume that everyone writing on topic X necessarily got it from you. How do you know they even read your blog?

        And, yes, when I go on blogs I see the same group of people commenting, usually. So I assume that most people stick to the few blogs they like the most, since they presumably have a limited amount of time to blog hop.

        But more conversation on a topic would presumably only benefit everyone, especially if you link back to any relevant posts you can think of.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Stefanie says:

        Exactly. I’ve had that happen so often that I read a discussionpost about something and that I get so interested that I start looking out for posts that also discuss this same topic to see what other people’s view on the topic is. That’s great for all the blogs that have already posted on this topic, especially if these are like older posts that are just there, gathering dust. Maybe that could kick off a whole new section of commenting on this or whatever. I think there are just a lot more pros than cons to this story which makes this plagiarism-thing even more understandable to me.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ellen @ Quest Reviews says:

    This is a subject that I find largely baffling, and I think it’s inconsistent throughout the creative practices (visual art, literature, music, etc.). In art school (college level), we were taught that “sampling” other images for paintings and drawings was not only okay, but absolutely the thing to do. We did artist copies all the livelong day. We were inspired by and took example from other artists’ work all the time. In art history, we learned about visual quotation and how it ties into artistic legacy. “Plagiarism” was a word that never came up.

    Then the other day, I read that post on digital image stealing on the internet and blogosphere and was stunned. I just had no idea. My mindset from art school was so formed around this idea that once a piece of creativity is out there, it’s there to inspire others and to be shared. But I see now that this isn’t always the case.

    I get where people are coming from regarding plagiarism. But I also can’t shake my art school mentality.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      Yes, I think you’re right that practices can vary by discipline and there is some kind of magic level of reference where one is assumed to be alluding to rather than stealing another person’s work. Kind of like how you can paraphrase Shakespeare or some other famous author and the response becomes worthy of a footnote like “An allusion to [name and title]” but if you paraphrase someone else it’s wrong. I don’t know if the difference is based on whether the referenced person is dead/no longer receiving money for their work or based on their fame–would you be considered a plagiarist if you “alluded” to a line from some little-known science fiction writer?

      Even in academic papers I see authors all saying the same thing without citations, but I can’t figure out at what point everyone agrees that an argument has become so commonplace that it no longer needs to be cited. Wouldn’t it be better practice just to add a footnote saying the topic has also been covered by X authors?

      I think maybe in art it’s acceptable to be inspired by or take elements from famous works sort of like it’s now acceptable to write a story inspired by Hamlet. But, again, you’re going to have to figure out where the line between inspiration and copying is. I’m guessing that, as in literature, however, you wouldn’t want to be too “inspired” by a living artist, too, since they’re still collecting money for their work.

      I do think we need to talk more in general about the different practices in different disciplines and how we transfer crediting practices to digital media. The Internet does encourage a sort of “It’s there for everyone!” mentality, but maybe we need to be thinking about what that means in terms of how we cite and share. We still have people citing stuff with “not mine,” for example. Even if an artist doesn’t mind their stuff being shared, I assume they mean shared with their name on it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. alilovesbooks says:

    Thankfully this hasn’t happened to me so far as I really don’t understand it. I don’t think there really are any original or unique ideas or topics that anyone can lay claim to. Unless you are directly copying someone else’s work I think everyone should be allowed their say on a topic. Surely it’s good to get a bit of discussion going and helps both blogs anyway?

    I did one of the Blogging U courses on wordpress and they actively encourage you to look through other peoples blogs, comment, and take an idea from it to develop your own post.

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    • Krysta says:

      True, it is difficult to claim that you were the first one to write on something like how to schedule blog posts or sexism in media. It’s certainly been done before by someone somewhere.

      I had no idea there was a Blogging U! That sounds kind of fun! And it does make sense to look at what other people are doing. You have to get a grasp on what is working for other people, what people expect from a blog, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Stephanie B says:

    I really don’t have much to add to this but I did want to say that this post is so important. I couldn’t agree more that we need to open discussions and stop closing them off to each other. This is such an important topic and element to incorporate into our community. We really do need to allow ourselves to have conversations and not paralyze each other into silence for fear that someone will accuse us of plagiarism.

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    • Krysta says:

      Yes! I’m worried that we are afraid sometimes to post because you never know when someone is going to come along and say they posted about this broad topic before. You may never have heard of their blog, but they’re going to expect you to take your post down. It’s getting ridiculous! There is room for all of us to have opinions!

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  6. jennielyse says:

    I had no idea this was even happening. I’m baffled really how anyone would think talking about a broad topic is plagiarism. That’s like telling all paranormal romance writers that they’re plagiarizing each other because they have a non-vampire girl meet a vampire male and they fall in love.

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    • Krysta says:

      Every now and then I run across someone complaining that they wrote a post about X and now someone else has. Well…the original topic wasn’t that original to begin with. It’s not strange that two people decided to talk about why they like Harry Potter, you know? I think the best way to look at it is to 1) be happy other people are also interested in having a conversation you thought was important and 2) use the moment as an impetus to think about ways to constantly transform your blog for a great reader experience.

      After we started doing personality quizzes, I saw other bloggers start to do the same. Did they see our blog and think it was a great idea or were they inspired elsewhere? Who knows. It’s not important, though, because personality quizzes aren’t something you can claim is only yours. It just gave us motivation to keep coming up with more original features. And I am pretty sure the market for personality quizzes is big enough for us all to share. I can’t say we lost noticeable traffic when other people began. Now the world just has more personality quizzes for people to take. I’m sure the quiz takers of the world do not object.

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  7. rantandraveaboutbooks says:

    I must be completely oblivious because I haven’t read one post or tweet where I saw someone claim they wrote an original post before someone else. 99% of the topics out there have been talked about by bloggers or someone with the background and credentials to articulate on the topic, so I think it’s hard for someone to say they were the first to post about diversity or sexism or any topic that’s been addressed in educational institutions and on the Internet for longer than the Internet’s even existed. I think that’s completely ridiculous. I’ve seen a few posts lately where I was thinking of doing something similar so I skip it and write something else, but I’m not delusional in thinking that I came up with the idea. Even some of the best books were inspired by the work of others. If anything, writing about an idea that someone posted is flattering. I wouldn’t be thrilled if someone copied my entire idea down to the very last page, which did happen to me about a month ago, but I shook it off, didn’t bother to say anything, and it hasn’t happened since. I tried to look at it as though the person really liked my post and wanted to try out their own version. I’m okay with that. It’s not like my post didn’t already go up.

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    • Krysta says:

      I see it happen every now and then and it always baffles me. Surely people don’t really think they were the first person ever to post about which blogging platform they prefer or about how often to comment back? And yet they still get mad when they see other people writing on general topics.

      I agree, though, that if I were to see a similar post, I’d probably not write that post or at least wait a bit on it. It seems courteous somehow, even if not strictly necessary. On the other hand, if I wrote a post and someone else wrote on a similar topic around the same time, I think that could be a great way to start a broader conversation about the topic.

      Oh, I’m sorry someone copied your idea! That’s definitely not okay! I haven’t noticed anyone plagiarizing me lately. Someone plagiarized Briana and it was awful, though. And I know someone is at least guilty of academic misconduct with my content as they just pasted it wholesale with a link back at the end, no quotation marks or anything to indicate the words are mine and not theirs. But I couldn’t find any way to contact anyone, so I had to let it go. I’m not happy about it, though. I know it doesn’t affect my traffic or views, but it’s just wrong!

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      • rantandraveaboutbooks says:

        Yeah, it happened over a month ago. I haven’t seen any duplication since. I was telling Briana about it on Twitter, and she shared what happened to her. I then unfollowed that person the second she told me. I can’t believe that happened to so many bloggers. That must’ve been odd luck that you stumbled upon your work. I remember professors having a database they used in college to check for plagiarism. Is that how you found it? It’s a shame there’s no one at the school or whenever the information is being hosted that you can contact. You can track an IP address to a person or company if you know what site it’s on. If it’s a legitimate business, they should have a minimum of an email address for the administrator.

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        • Krysta says:

          Briana told me about both cases. I think she checks sometimes. There are free tools that you can run your work through and see if there are any links back. Unfortunately, all such tools have their limitations. Even the ones used by colleges tend to pick up common phrases as “plagiarism” (like “She was born on Feb. 1.”) and sometimes miss actual plagiarism.

          The one with my work on it is on Prezi and I couldn’t find any information about the person who made the presentation. I guess she tried to cite it, so there’s that, but I can’t believe her school would accept something that sloppy.

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          • rantandraveaboutbooks says:

            That’s a shame there’s no recourse. The person probably already got their A on the paper and went home happy, not caring that they stole your work. The Internet is a wonderful, yet horrible place all af the same time. I remember this one guy in college getting in a lot of trouble because the teacher ran his paper through some site and the whole thing was stolen. I keep telling myself my posts are limited to WP when in reality the link is always out there.

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          • Briana says:

            I started running some of our posts through plagiarism checkers after that incident. I think I only found that she stole my review because there was already some backlash on Twitter. So I went to her site and noticed she had plagiarized a review from me, too. I’m not sure I would have noticed otherwise. I think she also stole the review from Goodreads, not here, and basically had no idea who I am at all.

            There’s no way to check all our posts for plagiarism because we have so many, but I check some of the most popular ones sometimes because it seems statistically they’d be the most likely to be stolen. I think positive reviews are also plagiarized more often, too, because if people want to lie about having read a book they apparently want to say nice things about it, not mean things.

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