A question on ethics and citation in a modern blogging world


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A question on ethics and citation in a modern blogging world

Postby Drax » Nov 9th, '12, 12:12

I'm in the process of switching routines at work, which is giving me a lot more free time -- and I've been thinking about what I want to do with it: a blog, a record of exploration, a guide, etc (and not necessarily about tea).

On a whim, I was looking through some tea blogs, and I ran across one that absolutely shocked me -- the author did a complete copy-and-paste of published scientific articles without any citation (only a vague mention of finding the information on the web). The only reason I was suspicious was that the prose suddenly turned very erudite for this particular author.

I understand that somebody copying-and-pasting another's work is not exactly a rare crime on the internet, but I guess I am just as surprised that nobody has apparently called out this bad behavior. Well, it's more than that, from my academic upbringing, we called it plagiarism.

When I get in a mental conundrum like this one, I usually take a pause and ask, is it just me? So that's why I'm writing here to see what other people think about the practice of copy-and-paste with no citation. If you have a blog, have you done it? Or have you had somebody do to you? I would just appreciate some general feedback and discussion here on the topic. Thanks!
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Re: A question on ethics and citation in a modern blogging world

Postby Chip » Nov 9th, '12, 12:22

... not just blogs, what about vendor sites ... OMG.

I was just checking out a site yesterday that was clearly a lot of copying and pasting sans any citation. Not to mention the clearly contrived false testimonials they used. Actually they have a blog too, but I did not check it out yet.

Sorry ... a bit off subject ... and on topic too, it really bumped up my blood pressure.

I am with you on this. If someone does the work, a blogger or whoever should give proper credit and even linking to the author's site is nice. But then who is the author ... there has been such dilution in the original articles that it is hard to know.

I sometimes cringe at the massive copy and pasted articles even on TC. There should be a sensible limit to what is copied and pasted even with citation.

But there are no commonly used/known rules to follow. It is seemingly whatever you can get away with until called out.
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Re: A question on ethics and citation in a modern blogging world

Postby Drax » Nov 11th, '12, 14:31

Well, either you're the only one who cares, Chip, or nobody really looks down at this blog section of the board. :mrgreen:

Either way, I appreciate the thoughts. I suppose vigilance is also part of the environment, too, then!

I think I have a good idea of what I want to do at this point, and I think it would be relatively useful for some people. I guess we'll find out when I get rolling...!
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Re: A question on ethics and citation in a modern blogging world

Postby AdamMY » Nov 11th, '12, 15:29

I had written a somewhat long response to this but ended up scratching it. To condense everything I was writing:

Yes they should cite their sources. Heck they should also try and reference their inspiration if possible. But from my perspective teaching at a University, its amazing how many people have no idea what actually constitutes plagiarism, or they honestly just don't care.
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Re: A question on ethics and citation in a modern blogging world

Postby rdl » Nov 11th, '12, 17:30

drax,
oddly it seems the legal system hit a big bump in the road when all this new technology changed the way information is used and disseminated. many previous laws of course still apply, but the final draft for rights and reproduction use is still being negotiated. words, images, ideas, all have become new commodities once they encounter a digital rebirth. and with the enormity of material and outlets to monitor, and the laisser faire nature of internet users, i agree with your feelings but unless the citation is of such importance or from someone of such importance, i think you will have to live with your assessment of the web filled with plagiarism. most of it i would guess is not done with bad intent (posting a video on line of you but you happen to have the radio on and it is playing a song that is protected from use without permission). and so much is just sloppiness, disregard. but you are correct: anyone seriously using the web to blog or post must be aware of what is, and how they use, the material.
i may gone a bit wider with this reply than you intended. i could have just said, yes, it's appalling the amount of plagiarism out there.
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Re: A question on ethics and citation in a modern blogging world

Postby edkrueger » Nov 11th, '12, 20:06

Drax wrote:Well, either you're the only one who cares, Chip, or nobody really looks down at this blog section of the board. :mrgreen:

It is not that I don't care, but I don't think there is anything to say. The statement "Plagiarism is wrong" is almost true by definition.
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Re: A question on ethics and citation in a modern blogging world

Postby Drax » Nov 11th, '12, 20:42

Good point, ed, though that's also why I get so head-scratchy confounded when I see it happen... especially when it's so EASY to link a URL. My goodness, that's like ten times easier than what you have to do in Word to cross-reference.

Adam, rdl, thanks, too. I get the sense we're all feeling the same thing -- there's a lot you could say, but it really boils down to a simple issue.
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Re: A question on ethics and citation in a modern blogging world

Postby Chip » Nov 11th, '12, 21:52

... can I quote you on that? 8)
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Re: A question on ethics and citation in a modern blogging world

Postby Drax » Nov 11th, '12, 22:10

No comment, this interview is over....!! :lol:
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Re: A question on ethics and citation in a modern blogging world

Postby Chip » Nov 11th, '12, 23:03

... actually I can ... but I may not. :wink:
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Re: A question on ethics and citation in a modern blogging world

Postby Alex » Dec 20th, '12, 06:40

I sometimes cringe at the massive copy and pasted articles even on TC. There should be a sensible limit to what is copied and pasted even with citation.

But there are no commonly used/known rules to follow. It is seemingly whatever you can get away with until called out.
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Re: A question on ethics and citation in a modern blogging world

Postby AlexZorach » Dec 21st, '12, 17:26

Forget "there should be a limit", there is a limit. From what I know of copyright law (i'm no lawyer, but I've gotten quite a few plagiarists of my work shut down), extensive cut-and-pastes are solidly illegal. There is a limit to what can be used by fair use. Copying work without identify the source, or copying too much of a work, breaks the law.

Not to mention that it's unethical according to most people's value systems, and is a sure way to alienate bloggers.
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Re: A question on ethics and citation in a modern blogging world

Postby Chip » Mar 18th, '13, 18:06

http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=12775&p=239789#p239789

#10 has been added today to cover plagiarism. This will be at the discretion of moderators/administrators ... but this does not diminish the seriousness.

Have a great TeaDay,
Chip
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