A moderator explains: the plagiarism rule and what is still allowed
and for all others who may not have read the rules yet and may not understand it either. And for all who are just curious what I have to say.
Oh my dear readers, even having these rules in place since late in November – and they are actually not really new, just a bit rephrased – every day a moderator still feels like Don Quixote in his fight against those 133 windmills which seem to be active all day and night.
Is plagiarism new?
I never thought about the word before, I had no Latin in school, I just learned from Wikipedia’s article about Plagiarism that it means kidnapping, a Poet kidnapped the verses from another Poet. Remembers me somehow on the SCN coffee corner blogs which are one reason that this topic became so elaborated in the RoE.
Chance mistaken. Could have been a German word. But the early German moderators were so strong that not even the word survived. It must have been a hard time for all those cave painters without own ideas.
In the Middle Ages thousands of monks copied books, but this was not plagiarism, without their doing the knowledge could not be obtained and spread. There was no Internet to get the original from wherever you are. And Brother Tuck did not paint his name on the cover of The Iliad, the credit was still with Homer, even he was already more years dead than he spend alive.
Plagiarism is more an ethic than a legal thing, but in any case something what we do not want in SCN. If someone just copies content from SAP’s help.sap.com and posts it as blog or document or just as own answer to a discussion then this is morally corrupt.
The positive thing we get to know from that is: there is a guy (or girl) who knows? how to find the good things in the web. And he/she wants to become a mother soon and is already testing spoon feeding. However, in SCN has a MoM a higher reputation than a mother.
Trust me, it is quite easy to identify copied content. My browser has already an app for that. I only need to mark a part of a sentence, an entire sentence, or even the end of one sentence and the beginning of another sentence, do a right mouse click to search for it with Google. Believe me, it is less effort for me to find the source than for the cheater to create a document in SCN. Still I would like to avoid this game at all, as it has no winner. It creates a lot trouble, takes the time away from the moderators to create valuable content in SCN and the cheater loses the points, the badges, the user ID, the reputation, eventually even outside SCN, and this can hurt like a blow with a club from my stone age idol.
But when does a moderator start thinking (yes we can) that something could be plagiarized? If someone posts answers in a broken English with a lot errors like: How much quanity you are trying to Post the Inovice. May be you are given more than wrong. and this person is then bringing a document in fluent English. This is actually bringing back my hunting instincts. There is certainly more what triggers this sense, but I don’t want to educate the cheaters to avoid such mistakes.
The better way is to be original, be yourself, use your own writing style, like many said in the comments to the poll, just representative for many others I am quoting Rohidas Shinde Nov 29, 2013 4:30 AM: Just share your own think. Don’t copy others…..
What is allowed?
Let me add a picture, I had it already prepared before I saw something similar in the plagiarism wiki in Wikipedia, **** happens. It is my own work, hence I am adding it here, sometimes it may happen that 2 invent the same like Graham Bell and my neighbor Philipp Reis.
The first is representing own created content quoting a phrase – you see the green color. This is certainly allowed when the it is clearly visible that it is not the writers own content, along with making proper quotes to the source
The second is the-getting-quick-10-points-copy-paste-document; here is nothing at all own-made by the publisher. This will be deleted immediately. And even the person add a quote at the top or the bottom, saying copied from: **********.com No, this is not what we want as content in SCN.
The third, half of the content is just copied, rest is filled up with own content or screen shots. No, no matter if properly quoted or not, that is too much external content.
The forth has just one link to a source to emphasize what the poster wrote himself above and below – Yes this does not make any issue. I have even given a number in discussion I had after I rejected some content, and I will post it here too, let us go for a 95:5 ratio, and we will not have any problem. The 95% means own content, just in case this wasn’t clear. And I don’t mean 95% used space like it might be when enhancing a SAP help file with 20 screen shots.
Another thought is ” getting permission” all the time would delay responsive time too. It might effect on SCN.
Getting prior permission would be good ( but it is not practical).
I totally agree, it is not practical. It looks like artificial but is more a legal hurdle. If you want distribute other peoples (copyright) content, then you have to have a permission. If you don’t, then better refrain from doing it, as this is what SCN wants, we want stop this copy and paste behavior. It is not about being quick with an answer, it is more about being good with an answer. Ahh, by the way, I did not ask the 3 people for their permission to republish their comments. If you have an issue with that please click abuse and I will take it off.
Someone asked if posting a link as answer is still allowed. Hmmm. Do not send the person into the jungle by just posting a link as answer, phrase your own answer, then you can add a link to emphasize what you said from your knowledge. Just posting a link without giving context is not desired anyway. Of course you can post a link, it is usual practice in the Internet (please not entire link farms). But make the link nice, the more nice it is the less problems will arise with a moderator. Even moderators can be attracted by nice looking content. Take this blog as an example, I have more than 10 links in here, still it doesn’t look like a link farm.
If someone is giving a link to another discussion in SCN and you can get the answer from this link, then it would be good if you give credit to the person from which you actually got the solution. Complicated? Ok, I try it with an example. A mother is actually a spoon feeder to her baby, so she gets the smile 🙂 , not the farmer. We are no longer babies, we are professionals here. If you get spoon feeded with a link, then do not just give a LIKE to the feeder, LIKE the answer from the farmer too, this gives credit to the source.
Isn’t it actually strange that someone answers with a link to good content but did not even give a LIKE to this good content himself?
If you have still doubts about plagiarism, then please read it on wikipedia: Plagiarism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
By the way, I donated Wikipedia to keep it alive as a good source of information.
Actually I am at the end of this blog. When I started this morning, before I learned about the history of plagiarism, I had a story in my mind which I would like to use as a hanger for this blog: A Murder, a Mystery, and a Marriage from Mark Twain. He wrote about a person who came to a prairie village and accused Jules Verne as plagiarist. (Mark Twain envied Jules Verne, because he could live from his writing)
And I would never know about this story if there was no copyright violater, because I actually got it as audio book from YouTube. But in moment I wanted to give credit I just got this:
It means the account of the poster got disabled.
You see, SCN is not the only place where plagiarism and copyright violation is subject to penalties.