I've had a lot of questions inquiring about IMM. It is not gone for good, it is coming back. It will be later this month... and no, I don't know when. I don't have a date set at this point. BUT it will be back!


Also.... you might have noticed that it's looking a little bit different around here. This is just temporary! The lovely Tawni at Forever Design Studio will be whipping me up a new layout later this month! I'm very excited to get a new look!

Friday, April 16, 2010

My One Piece of Advice

There has been several interesting discussions in the “blogoshpere” lately surrounding negative behavior and actions of book bloggers. The posts started with Presenting Lenore’s “Bloggers Behaving Badly” then it was followed by Persnickety Snark's “Blogger Conflicts.”

And honestly as horrendous as the topics in those posts are, it is nothing compared what has happened recently. It’s one thing to commit an act because you are unaware that it’s wrong. It’s a whole other issue, when you know something is wrong and you do it anyway.

If I could give a new blogger one piece of advice, it would be: Find Your Voice.

It doesn’t matter if your reviews aren’t the most articulate or the best written. That’s something that can happen later, something that you will acquire with practice and determination. But find your voice and make your blog your own.

Which brings me to the topic of this post.

Plagiarism.

Plagiarism is wrong. No matter how you look at it.

There is no excuse... “I didn’t know.... I didn’t mean to... I did it subconsciously.” No, you didn’t. You did know and you did mean to.

Plagiarism isn’t just copying and pasting word for word and passing it off as your own. It can be taking someones work and changing around the sentence structure, getting out your thesaurus and changing a few words here and there... basically taking the central idea tweaking it and passing it off as your own work.

It’s especially frustrating for this to happen in the blogging community. Why would you plagiarize a review? What is the point? Isn’t the whole idea of a blog to share YOUR views on a book. How could you take someone else's review and pass it off as your own? Where is your integrity? You don’t have any. You’ve cheated yourself, your fellow bloggers, your readers, the author who wrote the book, and the publicist that sent it to you.

I have no respect for someone that does this.

My reviews may not be the greatest. I know that on the blogger hierarchy my reviews are somewhere near the bottom. (Which is probably why, as far as I know, no one had plagiarized my reviews.) But at least I can say in all truthfulness that they are my own thoughts and ideas.

I was outraged to find out earlier this week that the same blogger not only plagiarized the reviews of one blogger but three! And possibly more! I can’t express how hard it is for me not to call this person out and let them be reprimanded for their actions.

The three bloggers that were violated are some of the most talented, respectful and intelligent women. Adele, Steph & Tirzah write some of the most wonderfully expressive reviews. I am envious at their abilities. And furthermore, I am devastated that this issue was unnecessarily inflicted upon them.

The bottom line is, plagiarism is wrong. There’s no excuse for it.

This community is one of the things I love the most about blogging. But in the recent weeks I’m almost embarrassed to be a part of it. I hate feeling that way.

Before you decide to take the “easy” way out and use another persons work as your own. Think about the person you are really hurting.... yourself.

Read more posts about Plagerism:

Adele of Persnikty Snark
Tirzah of The Compulsive Reader
Steph of Steph Su Reads
Lenore of Presenting Lenore
Liz of My Favourite Books

42 comments:

-k said...

This is something I really don't comprehend - WHY wuold you take the time to create a blog in which you intend to review books or whatever, only to steal someone else's material? I thought that the entire point of a blog in the first place was to express what you have to say no matter what it is.
The entire situation baffles me...

lanna-lovely said...

I concur.

I've been plagiarized before (more than once), but it was stories I had written, not reviews (which hurt even more than it would to have someone copy my reviews, but that would still piss me off too because I've had people copy my "about me" sections on sites and those were big "WTF?"/"Oh no she di-nt!" moments).

I'm a member of a few anti-plagiarism groups on livejournal but that's more about plagiarism against writing - I've seen people steal art and writing (as in fiction/poetry) and call it their own but I was shocked to find that some people actually copied reviews.

Plagiarism in general is just pointless... really, they can't honestly feel good about themselves when people compliment their work because they know they don't deserve it.

And with books... if you read a book, how difficult is it to say what you like and didn't like about it and why you liked or didn't like it? That's basically the point of reviews, it's meant to be your own opinion and even if the plagiarists agree with the stuff written in those other reviews they could still find a way to put it in their own words instead of copying/rephrasing someone elses.

I disagree about what you said at the end though, that they're only hurting themselves - I've talked to plagiarists before (because of the whole LJ community thing, when someone is found plagiarizing we basically call them out on it and have the work taken down) and some of then genuinely don't see what they're doing as wrong (one girl who copied a story, a story that was 8 years of hard work by a great author, and turned it into a fanfic had the nerve to say that if people put stuff on the internet then they should expect people to copy it) and there are plenty who have been caught plagiarizing again even after they've been called out on doing it the first time and been kicked off of whatever site they were posting on.

The ones that end up being hurt at the people they copy from and the readers that have trusted them and complimented them on their words only to find out they were stolen from someone else.

Wow, I totally just lost my train of thought (it's nearly 5:30am, haven't slept yet). But basically, I agree and it makes me lose a little bit of faith in humanity that people even need to point out that plagiarism is wrong... it's like a basic thing that people should know already.

Hannah S said...

I don't understand this either.
If anything, I AVOID certain blogs so that their opinion's won't influence my own. Let's say I was in middle of reading... Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott (completely random) and I noticed your newest review was of that title. I wouldn't read your review on it until AFTER I've written my own.
It only makes sense... right?
Love, Hannah

lanna-lovely said...

**and WHETHER you liked or didn't like it (sorry, annoying OCD-ish habit, if I notice a typo, I have to fix it)

*facepalm*

A Journey of Books said...

Wow...thats depressing. :( Luckily for me, I think I'm too rambly for anyone to plagiarize. I can imagine how much of a violation that must be though.

Trini said...

Clearly the person who is plagiarizing is not passionate enough about reading and blogging if they have to copy someone elses review. It also seems they are blogging for the wrong reasons. I have found blogging to be very hard work but also very rewarding when you have a follower comment about enjoying a book you have recommened. Maybe they should rethink why they have a blog in the first place.

Liz said...

First of all, I enjoy your reviews.
Second of all, I totally agree with you that a blog should express the blogger's opinions, not someone else's. Great post.

librarypat said...

What a shame. It is so unfair to those who put the effort into reading the books and giving an honest opinion of it. It sound like someone wanted a blog so they could get a lot of free books from publicists and publishers. If you are not going to bother reading them, why get them?
Something should be done. If a blogger is known to plagiarize those bloggers whose work was used should let the offender know they are aware of it and notify fellow bloggers. It it doesn't stop, it should be made publicly known in blogs who is doing it. We who visit sites and read review could then boycott the offending blogger. I know you get into legal issues here, but since there is no regulatory body for blogs, what other way is there. I won't support a blogger who does this and I don't think many others would either.

Jami said...

Well said Kristi! If someone doesn't intend to write their own review, well then They shouldn't be reviewing at all.

And I love your reviews Kristi! They are very real.

Lizzy said...

I totally agree! I found out a few months ago that my posts (not just reviews, memes too) were being copies and pasted onto another site. Another blogger was kind enough to email me and let me know what was going on. I know my reviews aren't that well written, but I take the time to write them...I contacted the web host directly, because all the other posts were plagarized as well (copy and paste, it wasn't even paraphrasing).

What's the protocol when it's another blogger? If it happens should we email them and ask for the post to be taken down?

Sarahbear9789 said...

Kristi, I agree with you. Plagiarism is a horrible thing to do. I can't imagine why someone would take someone's review and put it off as their opinion. Seriously, reviewing is about putting what you think out there and not manipulating a review with the same concept and adding fluffy words.

Pam said...

Great post. I agree completely.

Lizzy yes email them a nice post quietly and ask them to stop. Explain that you have a copyright on your words and they are breaking the copyright. If it continues then contact the host.

FICTION STATE OF MIND said...

Wow so strange. Are they hoping good reviews will get them more books? I had no idea this went on. The individuality of bloggers and their review styles is what gave me the courage to start reviewing. Kristi I Love your review style it's you!! If bought 3 books so far based on your reviews and loved them all!

Rheanna said...

That is so horrible. I would hate if that happened to me (it probably won't because I write like I talk....badly hehe) and I cannot see the point in starting a blog for your thoughts and then stealing others work. It takes a truly low person with little integrity to steal someones hard thought words. And I hope the women who were palgiarized know that although their words may have been stolen the heart and soul behind their thoughts can never be taken by another person!

~Jennifer~ said...

Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't get the point of plagiarizing reviews. We aren't getting paid for our reviews, so if you can't bother to think up and write your own post, why review at all?

I won't even read reviews of books that I have read but haven't written the reviews for yet. I want to be completely certain I don't repeat any other reviewers thoughts, even subconsciously.

Ari said...

God this is all just getting out of hand. I mean I love the fact that anyone can start a review blog, or else I wouldnt be doing it, but some people dont deserve it. I think its sickening that there are people out there doing this solely for a chance of free books from publishers, and authors. And to sink so low as PLAGIARISM!Thats just repulsive! God I know I sit there some days trying to make my review longer then a hundred words! We have to work so hard. Its sad, and wrong that some of these bloggers out there are doing these things.

blueicegal said...

yeh my reviews are all over the place and utterly random to, but i think thats just so ridiculous and horrible, why in the world would you even blog if you cant write your own damn reviews! it just doesnt make sense! and heyy i love reading your reviews girl have faith :)

Splendibird said...

Gar. This sounds horrible. I am just about to start a YA blog - I haven't ever blogged before - and have been quite excited about it. But having read this post and also Lenore's and PernicketySnark's posts on etiquette I'm starting to get a little bit scared! I'm not at all worried about someone else plagiarising what I write (I don't think anyone would want to copy my ramblings ;-)) but have concerns re. memes. I'd like to take part in memes and even start one of my own but am super worried about stepping on people's toes with out even realising I'm doing it. Any advice from anybody out there would be most welcome....

Sabrina M. said...

Plagiarism is just wrong!
It's theft and I can't understand why people blog and then don't publish their own reviews.
My reviews may not be the best and I don't write that many but they are my own and reflect my thoughts and feelings.

Kate said...

I'm not sure I understand why. How can someone steal an opinion? There is no right or wrong answer. It is one thing to read reviews and absorb the content then create your own review, but steal it? It is not like we are getting paid for this or getting a grade. I think it is ridiculous and I hope it all ends here.

Jodane said...

Wow, that always blows. I've learned (from participating in fandom, where plagiarism happens a lot, but mostly by younger authors who don't know better/think they can get away with it--re: Jennifer's comment, it's not a money thing, it's a recognition/comment/hitcount thing) that while it may feel really awful, you can't let a couple of plagiarizers undermine your enjoyment of the community you're participating in. Most of the time calling them out is all you have to do to get rid of them, because as it turns out, they never had anything to say anyway.

Diana Dang said...

Completely agree. I was actually quoted a couple of times and I was glad the bloggers linked back to me though I do wish they told me beforehand.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Awesome review! SO true! I know this sounds a bit wicked but I wish you would out the plagiarist so we can all keep a look out for our reviews.

Liz B said...

Hey, but look at the authors who say its ok! It's just a mashup, inspired, etc. (see: Helena Hegeman). Seriously, I'm not surprised to see that attitude in all areas: books, school, and now, yes, blogs.

Which also brings me to a pet peeve that may be sort of related to those who don't see such cut & paste & change every fifth word as plagarism.

The number of bloggers who use jacket copy / publisher description in a review and do not indicate the source or that its not their original work (by quotes, italics, links, the usual). I can see how a blogger, seeing the same paragraphs over and over on blogs may think anything from a blog is fair game.

Meaghan said...

I can't believe that someone would do that!?! I am just starting out in this world, but even as a newbie I know that plagiarism is wrong. Actually, when I am reading a book I specifically avoid other blogs that have posted about it so I do not know what others think and I have my own voice when I review it. I am sorry that this is happening to so many people and I hope whoever is responsible would stop and use their own words.

bookaholic said...

I totally agree-plagiarism is never acceptable..I do not know how people can even do such things! It seems such a silly,no-brainer task!

WonderBunny said...

Wow! That is just awful. Don't people learn over and over through school that you can't copy? I would think that in this day and age (I remember before the internet so I think I can use that phrase), that people would realize the plagiarism is even harder because people love google and access to information is so much easier. I love reading others reviews (although I tend to skip those of books I have yet to read but own). I would never think of coping another comments though. If I love a review about a book, I know how to link to it. It is the same thing about images, if it isn't yours, link to where you got it from unless it was free image. I do not believe that someone doesn't know that copying another work is wrong. Because of that, I sort of wish you had said which blog it was that was doing this so I can make sure I'm not a follower.

fredamans said...

HERE! HERE!

Anonymous said...

I agree The Story Siren's reviews are horrible, she can't write properly and the reviews appear to be very childish and immature. She doesn't write well for her level, very overrated.

sharonlovescats said...

haha looks like you are getting more meany anons. At least have the guts to sign in!

Michelle Harrison said...

To 'Anonymous', there's a great post here, that was written just for you: http://greenhouseliterary.com/index.php/site/sarahs_blog/2009/08/

To the Story Siren, keep up the good work.

Sonora Moon said...

I completely agree. It makes no sense...the whole point of a blog is sharing your opinion. And who cares if you don't write great reviews! That's how you learn! We all have to start somewhere. My reviews are pretty awful too but at least I can say their mine. : D

Anyway, thanks for the great post and love your site!

Michelle said...

Wow, I had no idea this was going on. What a terrible thing to do. Like you, I can't really comprehend why anyone would do this also. The whole point of having a book blog like you said is to share your own opinion on the novels you've read. Also, some of the comments you receive are just so rude much like anonymous above me who didn't have the courage to insult you with their user name. A lot of bloggers really have to put up with a lot. Thankfully, everyone I've come in contact with have been nothing but extremely nice.

Heather said...

I am a grad student who read your Evermore review today for an assignment I am working on. Even though I didn't use a word of your review, I must cite you because I read your review. Just the point that I had your work in my knowledge base before I wrote my own must be cited. Original authorship is so important!
Thanks for your posts, reviews are hard work and you are doing a great job!

Emily said...

I'm glad that the plagiarist was caught; it's crazy to think about how many out there willingly rip-off others and get away with it.

That said, plagiarism is a huge issue with the internet, one of the downsides I think. I'm currently a college student majoring in English, and I know that they have lots of problems with kids downloading essays from online and handing them in. =/

This is different though. Blogging is optional. For me, it's fun and something I do in my leisure time. Why would someone copy someone else's review for something that is supposed to be fun?

Texy's bookself said...

I don't understand it neither. Why would you want to take someone else's review and copying and paste it saying it yours. That's just straight up stupid in all honesty. What would you do if you hated the book , take someone else review on how they "Loved" it and post that? Truthfully it makes no sense what so ever. I know I would be mad if I knew someone was taking my reviews passing it as there own so I really feel bad for the people it's happening to. PLus why make a blog if you are going to express your own ideas?

Kat Hooper said...

I've left this comment at some of the other blogs who are discussing this:

At FanLit, we've been affected by plagiarism, too, but there seem to be several culprits out there, which is very upsetting.

I wish I had time to start some sort of group where bloggers/readers could report and discredit bloggers who plagiarize. If someone would be willing to do that, please let us know.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Since so many people already commented, I won't say much. Just that it's a shame.

Lauren said...

Plagarism can get you kicked out of school. Besides morals, which everyone should have, isn't that a big enough of a red flag on the "no-no" list?

Swimmer said...

That is horrible! How could some one do that i mean you are right a blog is supposed to be your own little opinion journal.

By the way your reviews are great!

Morgan said...

I could not agree more with this post. Thank you for bringing this up. I think playgarism is so wrong and people should only use their own ideas.

Charlie said...

I'd much rather read a review that was badly written with lots of errors than one taken from elsewhere. In the first you get the person's opinion and that's what ultimately matters. Nicely written reviews are all well and good but the primary focus is opinion. Blogging may be a big way of becoming popular nowadays but you can't assume you won't be found out if you copy because it's also a big way of finding out things.

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