Enlightened Conflict

do you actually know how difficult it is to NOT plagiarize? (as an online writer)

February 12th, 2015

——-

writing deep thoughts cursive

“Be Impeccable With Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.

Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”

=

Miguel Angel Ruiz

———

 

 

Ok.

 

plagiarism  wordle_600

 

One of my favorite thinker/writers, Fareed Zakaria, is being skewered for plagiarism <once again>.

 

 

Now.

 

 

In his situation … we are not talking about plagiarizing ideas … or thinking … but rather background to support his points/ideas.

 

===

Several blogs, such as conservative media watchdog Newsbusters and the National Review online, spotted similarities between parts of Zakaria’s column and a piece on the same topic in an April issue of the The New Yorker.

The paragraphs in question largely involved descriptions of historical events and context about gun control in America and do not seem anywhere near as serious as other famed plagiarists – such as Jayson Blair at the New York Times and Stephen Glass at the New Republic who made up entire quotes, people and incidents.

But as media websites picked up the story and asked Time for an official comment, Zakaria issued a statement and confessed to his error:

 

 

 

“Media reporters have pointed out that paragraphs in my Time column this week bear close similarities to paragraphs in Jill Lepore’s essay in the April 23rd issue of The New Yorker.

 

They are right.

 

I made a terrible mistake.writing an editing

 

It is a serious lapse and one that is entirely my fault.

 

 

I apologize unreservedly to her, to my editors at Time, and to my readers.”

 

 

Fareed Zakaria

 

 

 

====

 

 

Ok.

 

 

Here is the deal.

 

 

The harsh Truth as it were.

 

 

If you write a lot and share thinking it is extremely difficult to not plagiarize.

 

Let me say again.

 

 

Extremely difficult to not plagiarize.

 

 

Now.

 

 

I am not talking about copying someone’s ideas or thinking. And I am not talking about not sourcing a huge gob of research or writing done by someone else.

 

I am talking about the snippet or paragraph.

 

 

How does it happen <you may ask>?

 

 

When you research a topic you will inevitably review a large number of articles, some research, certainly some other written pieces and maybe even some blog thoughts from people.

 

writing the first-draft

 

Sometimes in building your draft you will copy some of the content into a draft document so you don’t lose the thought.

 

 

 

Sometimes you write a thought down using your own words <although sometimes another writer says something so well it is difficult to say it any better>.

 

 

Sometimes the words get used as is. Sometimes you source … and sometimes <without thinking about it too much> you think the thoughts, and words, are so common sense they become almost a ‘public domain’ type thought in your mind.

 

 

Sometimes in writing your own thoughts in the final piece you know you will publish you lose track of what is your words and what may have been used by someone else … not with bad intentions but simply because the thoughts seem so unoriginal … it just seems like ‘shit anyone and everyone would say or know.’

 

 

I say all this not to justify any sort of plagiarism. I say this simply to say it is sometimes very very difficult to NOT plagiarize <in some form or fashion>.

 

 

Here is what I do know for sure.

 

 

It is extremely difficult to say something in an original way. Somewhere someone has articulated what you say … in almost the exact same words.

 

 

I know that may seem extremely difficult for some writers to accept, or believe, but it is true.

 

 

Unless you are a poet … I struggle to think of completely original use of words when someone writes shit like I do on a blog <or even some semi professional writing if you do a lot of it>.

 

 

 

Well.

 

At least original in a consistent way.

 

I think anyone who writes a lot stumbles across a unique grouping of words to articulate a thought on occasion.

 

 

I also tend to believe other writers take not of that momentary flash of word brilliance … and credit you.

 

 

But that’s not what I am talking about.

 

The common is easily ‘plagiarized.’

 

 

That’s it.

 

I was thinking about it.

 

I wrote a very long detailed thought about plagiarizing before:

 

 

==

< http://brucemctague.com/the-black-white-and-gray-of-plagiarism >

==

 

 

I take plagiarism seriously <always have>.

 

In addition, I personally, studiously avoid plagiarizing.

 

 

That said.

 

 

I am also quite sure that I have at some point <unintentionally>.

 

 

Hence the reason I wrote and published my caveat on images and words on my site:

 

==

http://brucemctague.com/spam-and-images >.

writing shit down

==

 

There is no excuse for plagiarizing.

 

But.

 

Everyone should note how difficult it can be to NOT plagiarize.

Enlightened Conflict