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Old 11-18-2008, 07:57 PM   #265668  /  #26
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I would say that copyright violations are small beer and easily fixed. Plagiarism isn't about copyright violations, it's about misattributions, specifically, claiming other people's words and work as your own. But it's closely related to putting your own words in other people's mouths, another thing I happen to feel rather strongly about
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Old 11-18-2008, 07:58 PM   #265672  /  #27
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I'd really like to hear stretchkev's side of things before passing judgment. He is new here, and given that

1. This is not a strict academic environment, just a casual discussion board
2. There are no written rules here about what constitutes plagiarism. Does copying an accepted online definition from a non-copyrighted source of a term constitute plagiarism?
3. There are no written rules about what the consequences of plagiarism should be.

Not trying to downplay the negative side of real plagiarism if it happened, because it's always a good idea to cite your sources. Still, I'm inclined to give stretchkev the benefit of the doubt, just like we once gave Dave Hawkins until he repeatedly proved himself to be a willfully dishonest coward and liar.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:02 PM   #265676  /  #28
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I should add that I'm merely arguing forcefully as devil's advocate, I'm not trying to directly insult anyone, not even if they think it's directed at them. If I want to insult directly, I'll do so. This ain't such a time.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:03 PM   #265677  /  #29
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Why do you have to do anything about it, other than point it out in-thread?

You're trying to express some moral disdain for plagiarism but you fail to do that by making Stretchkev's posts look like they were not plagiarised.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:03 PM   #265678  /  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Occam's Aftershave View Post
I'd really like to hear stretchkev's side of things before passing judgment. He is new here, and given that

1. This is not a strict academic environment, just a casual discussion board
2. There are no written rules here about what constitutes plagiarism. Does copying an accepted online definition from a non-copyrighted source of a term constitute plagiarism?
3. There are no written rules about what the consequences of plagiarism should be.

Not trying to downplay the negative side of real plagiarism if it happened, because it's always a good idea to cite your sources. Still, I'm inclined to give stretchkev the benefit of the doubt, just like we once gave Dave Hawkins until he repeatedly proved himself to be a willfully dishonest coward and liar.
There's a thread where discussion of those issues would be much appreciated:

http://www.talkrational.org/showthre...602#post265602

In terms of specifics, as one example, stretchkev copied pretty much vertabim this essay from page 16 to 32 (the link downloads a word file):

http://www.lordibelieve.org/wbrown.doc

He simply copied and pasted vast tracts of texts (with the odd minor adjustement to try and conceal this) on a number of occasions. I'm not really sure where the benefit of the doubt could be given here.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:04 PM   #265681  /  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Occam's Aftershave View Post
I'd really like to hear stretchkev's side of things before passing judgment. He is new here, and given that

1. This is not a strict academic environment, just a casual discussion board
2. There are no written rules here about what constitutes plagiarism. Does copying an accepted online definition from a non-copyrighted source of a term constitute plagiarism?
3. There are no written rules about what the consequences of plagiarism should be.

Not trying to downplay the negative side of real plagiarism if it happened, because it's always a good idea to cite your sources. Still, I'm inclined to give stretchkev the benefit of the doubt, just like we once gave Dave Hawkins until he repeatedly proved himself to be a willfully dishonest coward and liar.
Well, saying that the words you are about to type are your own is pretty clear plagiarism to my mind. Failing to attribute the source of a quote is one thing; accidentally using a few verbatim sentences from a relevant source is also one thing, but wholesale copying of entire somewhat undigested chunks of someone else's substantial effort and claiming them as your own, is rather another. IMO.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:06 PM   #265684  /  #32
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Plagiarism IS a big deal and because I stay out of Town Hall after arguing MY case for doing things (from months ago) and being stonewalled and ignored, I'd assumed that people in charge would actually have the brainpower not to overlook such major issues when framing rules. That turns out not to be the case, and as others have noted (even back then, when I was bitching months ago) , this allows far too much leeway to mods while depriving users of clear ideas of what they can and cannot do. It allows for selective biased "justice" and favoritism.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:08 PM   #265692  /  #33
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IMO, plagiarism is a special case of copyright violation from the perspective of our rules. It is a bigger deal than garden-variety failure to attribute. And I suppose it also involves a sort of trollery.

That's what it is.

What we need to discuss is how it should be handled/responded to.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:09 PM   #265696  /  #34
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Also, what was the point of vanishing Stretchkev's posts entirely in favor of replacing them with links to the (allegedly ) plagiarized materials? Shame? Convenience? Saving face?
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:10 PM   #265697  /  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mac_philo View Post
Why do you have to do anything about it, other than point it out in-thread?

You're trying to express some moral disdain for plagiarism but you fail to do that by making Stretchkev's posts look like they were not plagiarised.
It's been painstakingly pointed out, in thread, and links to the original sources provided. They don't look as though they were not plagiarised, and the plagiarism is being discussed in the Peanut Gallery to the thread.

The thread was also locked while the editing was going on.

And yes, I think we have to do something about it. I think we need to signal that posing as the author of expert words that are not yours is not something this board will tolerate. I don't see any reason why we should. I don't think it's a reasonable way to treat other members.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:11 PM   #265700  /  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deadman_932 View Post
Also, what was the point of vanishing Stretchkev's posts entirely in favor of replacing them with links to the (allegedly ) plagiarized materials? Shame? Convenience? Saving face?
Vanished?

I thought they were edited to replace them with links?
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:12 PM   #265701  /  #37
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Now that the issue has come to light, it does want specifically mentioning in the rules, even accepting that it is somewhat covered by the copyright rule.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:12 PM   #265704  /  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deadman_932 View Post
Also, what was the point of vanishing Stretchkev's posts entirely in favor of replacing them with links to the (allegedly ) plagiarized materials? Shame? Convenience? Saving face?
They weren't, I don't think, vanished entirely, but those who did the cleanup can come in on this. AFAIK, the plagiarised portions have been replaced by links to the sources, and stretchkev's words remain.

As for the reason - it restores the words to their rightful owner, and avoids copyright violations, without removing the context of the other posts in the thread.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:14 PM   #265706  /  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deadman_932 View Post
Also, what was the point of vanishing Stretchkev's posts entirely in favor of replacing them with links to the (allegedly ) plagiarized materials? Shame? Convenience? Saving face?
It seemed appropriate; he'd simply taken huge slabs of other people's work and was passing it off as his own. We could have left it but clearly marked as plagarized I suppose. I prefer the former, but am not averse to the latter.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:14 PM   #265708  /  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deadman_932 View Post
Plagiarism IS a big deal and because I stay out of Town Hall after arguing MY case for doing things (from months ago) and being stonewalled and ignored, I'd assumed that people in charge would actually have the brainpower not to overlook such major issues when framing rules. That turns out not to be the case, and as others have noted (even back then, when I was bitching months ago) , this allows far too much leeway to mods while depriving users of clear ideas of what they can and cannot do. It allows for selective biased "justice" and favoritism.
Well, I don't think there's much selectiveness involved in detecting that large chunks of posts have been lifted from another author without attribution and presented as the poster's own.

Sure we have fuzzy lines sometimes, and I know you don't like fuzzy lines (I like fuzzy lines), but this one seems as clear as lines can be.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:15 PM   #265709  /  #41
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I don't see a big difference between copyright violation and plagiarism (from the standpoint of an internet forum). Here's what I think the procedure should be.

1) Edit the plagiarized text out of the post(s).
2) Provide a link to the original text.
3) Note in the thread the poster's actual words that claimed it was their work.

That's it.

The only difference between plagiarism and copyright issues are that only the part of the text over 20% is removed for copyright violations, and we don't make a big deal out of it.

In either case, if it happens repeatedly, the response should pretty much be the same.

There are more ramifications in terms of the poster's credibility with plagiarism, but I don't think it deserves any more 'official' reaction than copyright issues.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:15 PM   #265711  /  #42
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Plagiarism need not always be a form of copyright violation. Attribution is the key to plagiarism, and the use of stolen direct quotes, or stealing ideas and dressing them up when it's determinable that the ideas themselves were stolen. (imagine someone claiming to have "discovered" General Relativity prior to Einstein but only writing about it after Einstein published...the old Soviet Union was notorious for this sort of theft)

Sometimes that can be a copyright violation, sometimes not.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:17 PM   #265715  /  #43
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Quote:
Plagiarism is not copyright infringement. While both terms may apply to a particular act, they are different transgressions. Copyright infringement is a violation of the rights of a copyright holder, when material protected by copyright is used without consent. On the other hand, plagiarism is concerned with the unearned increment to the plagiarizing author's reputation that is achieved through false claims of authorship.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:17 PM   #265716  /  #44
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While I agree that plagiarism is a serious offence, I am uneasy about this suspension, because as plagiarism is nowhere explicitly forbidden I would expect a first offence to get a severe warning rather than a suspension.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:18 PM   #265717  /  #45
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As far as I know plagiarism isn't even a legal term. Unless some lawyer here gives some informed opinion I don't see any benefit to discussing this in legal terms. We are talking about a case of battle-the-creotards on an internet forum.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:20 PM   #265721  /  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Febble View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by deadman_932 View Post
Plagiarism IS a big deal and because I stay out of Town Hall after arguing MY case for doing things (from months ago) and being stonewalled and ignored, I'd assumed that people in charge would actually have the brainpower not to overlook such major issues when framing rules. That turns out not to be the case, and as others have noted (even back then, when I was bitching months ago) , this allows far too much leeway to mods while depriving users of clear ideas of what they can and cannot do. It allows for selective biased "justice" and favoritism.
Well, I don't think there's much selectiveness involved in detecting that large chunks of posts have been lifted from another author without attribution and presented as the poster's own.

Sure we have fuzzy lines sometimes, and I know you don't like fuzzy lines (I like fuzzy lines), but this one seems as clear as lines can be.
Well, then you should be overjoyed, because you like fuzzy lines -- you have the fuzziest lines possible in this case. They simply don't exist at all as far as I know. And I can rightfully assume that not even all university students are born with an innate knowledge of plagiarism.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:25 PM   #265737  /  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deadman_932 View Post
Plagiarism need not always be a form of copyright violation. Attribution is the key to plagiarism, and the use of stolen direct quotes, or stealing ideas and dressing them up when it's determinable that the ideas themselves were stolen. (imagine someone claiming to have "discovered" General Relativity prior to Einstein but only writing about it after Einstein published...the old Soviet Union was notorious for this sort of theft)

Sometimes that can be a copyright violation, sometimes not.
True. The theft/misappropriation of ideas seems more suited to rebuttal in a message board environment, as well as in real life.

Theft/misappropriation of words is probably easier to remedy on a message board.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:26 PM   #265744  /  #48
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Have to agree with deadman, here. I think a suspension isn't the appropriate response, at least not for a first offense; requiring a public apology would be fair, though.

I haven't read all the threads on this incident; has Stretchkev responded or signed on, so that we're sure he is aware we know about it?
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:27 PM   #265746  /  #49
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I once had a nice sorority girl come into my office because I knew she plagiarized. The thing is that this girl, raised in the U.S., placed in the best schools by her wealthy Japanese buisnessman father, privy to the BEST education prior to UCLA...didn't have a clue about plagiarism. NONE. She didn't even know that what she did was wrong, and damn near tried to kill herself in dishonor and shame. HER FATHER CAME TO ME AND OPENLY WEPT, as did she. (Oh, and this was AFTER I had already seen she was sincere and agreed not to mark her down).

Now, I don't think any mods here are telepaths and can read minds. So I am willing to err on the side of caution and assume that MAYBE this was jumping the gun. Instead, what I see is BAM, suspended, fuck you, let's justify it.

And I attribute THIS to the "fuzziness" of the whole rules-writing process.
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Last edited by deadman_932; 11-18-2008 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:27 PM   #265749  /  #50
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How do you require a public apology?
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