Due to the large readership of my previous post on plagiarism, I wanted to re-touch the subject now that I have taken a few steps back from the situation that prompted my first post. When I wrote the original I was somewhat peeved at the response of both those supportive & those condemning Kristi of the Story Siren for being found out to be a plagiarist.
First, my thought was that the situation was handled between all the parties involved & an agreement made that the matter was over with & to be kept quiet. For me that was enough because an agreement was made between the parties who were directly affected & the agreement was upheld by everyone within it. And it was enough because I never considered myself to be in the same blogging category as Kristi. However, what is enough for me, is clearly not enough for others & I think I can more understand why now.
But before I get into that -- plagiarism. The practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own. There are other, more in-depth aspects to it, but that is plagiarism in a nut shell. And it's not just an instance. It's a practice, a habit. Something that is done more than once! It's the process of stealing over & over while getting positive recognition.
When I really looked into it, thought about it, let it settle in my mind, I finally understood the major outcry when it was leaked to the rest of the YA book world & the inability of so many to accept Kristi's two apologies. In affect, what she had done as a major representative of the YA book blogosphere was to communicate to the publishing world that even the most successful of us aren't creative enough to generate our own unique content -- we have to steal it from another medium.
For me, Kristi's site was the largest inspiration for me to create my own blog because I had seen an article mentioning her in Writer's Digest one day at Barnes & Noble. The fact that someone could reach a wide audience about what I loved to read was a large factor in my own blog coming to fruition. But I have never felt that Kristi was an inspiration beyond that. Her blog is a review & contest factory whereas mine is more thoughtful with articles as well as a few reviews sprinkled here & there. So when the plagiarism blew everyone out of the water, it didn't bother me too much because my blog has always felt different to me.
But I didn't want to come down on the side of people who couldn't just let it go & felt the need to scratch the scab every day with spiteful comments, tweets, & blog posts. So I distanced myself & in the time since it happened I realized I shouldn't have distanced myself but spoken a bit louder. What happened was wrong & it put YA book bloggers in a very bad light.
What Kristi did was cut our feet out from under us. Then she tossed out a few apologies that sounded confused about what was going on, stirring up the mud to try to fog out the issue rather than face it head on. Then she went back to business as usual. Except plagiarism is a practice. It's a habit. And if the only negative for the plagiarist is that she has to put up with the brunt of some angry bloggers for a little while & then everything can go back to normal... Well, I'm with Parajunkee. There's more that can be done. I will not quote her here, but read her article here because she's right.
For those of us who sit & ponder & fight writer's block & reader's block & overcome it all to put unique, interesting content into our blogs I wish a stand could have been made in a larger, more appropriate way. Because plagiarism is not okay. Neither is letting the plagiarist off the hook. But it has to be done the right way. Boycott. Leave the scabs alone. Just put the whole person & their entire brand out of your life. It's sort of sad to say that about the blogger who inspired me to create my own blog, but there you have it.
Update 5/28/2012: I removed a bit of this post because it was written carelessly & put the fashion bloggers who were plagiarized in a bad light. I wrote a statement based on something I could swear I read in the myriad posts, comments, tweets, etc. during the time Kristi's plagiarism exploded. But as I cannot find it again now, I must remove it. Also, I feel it should be removed anyway because the wording was just rude & that's the last thing I want to be, especially to the gals who were the victims in this whole thing. I apologize to them & will make a concerted effort to be more careful when I write something when I'm irritated with one person that I do not drag anyone else unintentionally through the mud too!
Thank you to B from Beautifully Invisible for bringing this to my attention. It's humbling but I appreciate the chance to improve myself.