Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,604
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.

    Presumption of guilt

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by GingerCoffee, Apr 7, 2014.

    I can guarantee you there are well known quotes in this forum that lack a citation that no one noticed, but that's not the issue. Nor is it a problem pointing out that a lyric or quote lacks a citation. And it is not a problem pointing out a mistake, or a wrong assumption.

    Like @ChickenFreak, @minstrel thought I was arguing about the rule, I wasn't. That was the mistake of his I was referring to.

    Hunting for wrongdoers because you expect to find them is the problem. Assuming people were trying to claim credit for someone else's work was the mistake.

    Why not just ask the person? A simple, "I would have appreciated...", or, "Where is that from?" is a reasonable reply. What's with this presumption of guilt or whatever the need is to find wrongdoing? Does anyone have any reason whatsoever to think forum members are plagiarizers until proven otherwise?

    I made a wrong assumption that everyone knew a very common lyric or would at least recognize it was familiar. I didn't ignore a rule, and as I mentioned in the thread, I probably post more citations than anyone on the forum, so it should have been obvious I wasn't ignoring a rule. Don't you think someone who uses citations in their posts on a regular basis knows that they are supposed to be there without a lecture?

    I read a lecturing attitude there and you later proved me right:

    With a new forum member, did the inquiry have to include an accusation?
    That forum member didn't present that paragraph as their own. It was falsely assumed.

    You don't need a plagiarism checker to find the source of a block of text, unless plagiarism is what you are looking for, hoping to catch some evil forum member in the act. All you need do is search a string of text in quotes.

    The fact you are using a plagiarism checker should tell you something.
     
  2. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
    Offline

    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2013
    Messages:
    2,319
    Likes Received:
    743
    Location:
    Music Room #3
    I agree with you that you shouldn't be looking for trouble in any situation.Just point it out if you see something! But you don't need to go out of your way, you know? You certainly don't need to make people feel unnecessarily guilty. I hate when people do that.

    EDIT: I know nothing about the situation Ginger is talking about, I'm just speaking generally.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014
    GingerCoffee likes this.
  3. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,967
    Likes Received:
    5,491
    I don't accept the idea that enforcing the rules is assuming evil. There were two un-attributed pieces of text that were not written by the people who posted them. That's against the rules.

    It's against the rules whether the lack of attribution is a mistake or is deliberate. Pointing out the rules violation is not the equivalent of making an assumption that the lack of attribution is deliberate, it's just pointing out the rules violation.

    Yes, it might be nice to wrap a lot of embroidery around the mention of the rules violation, to think through and explain, in detail, all the ways that you think that the person who violated the rule might have made an innocent mistake, to sit down and try to recall the whole history of the rule-violator and find evidence for why he didn't mean to violate the rule. And to apologize for pointing out the rules violation.

    But I don't think that it's necessary.

    When the Oregon policeman stops to tell you that you committed an illegal U-turn, he's not obligated to notice that you have California plates, and explain that U-turn laws are different in Oregon, and apologize for making you feel bad by correcting you, and check your driving record for past offenses, and call your friends to find out if you're usually a conscientious driver. He's not even obligated to refrain from writing you a ticket, though from the stories I've heard he probably will refrain.

    When someone violates a rule, even unknowingly, they bear some of the responsibility for the subsequent interaction. The person who is enforcing the rule is not suddenly an offender, who is required to apologize for the rule or for enforcing it.

    Yes, if I had pointed out this particular rules violation I probably would have written a paragraph and a half with sentences like "...I realize that your purpose is hard to achieve if you have to attribute the text, and that's unfortunate, but..." But I'm not obligated to do that.
     
  4. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
    Offline

    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2013
    Messages:
    2,319
    Likes Received:
    743
    Location:
    Music Room #3
    @ChickenFreak, I think that what Ginger meant was that you shouldn't intentionally make another person feel guilty over a little mistake." Just point it out and move on" was her point.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,604
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    It's not. I agree with you.

    Neither of which were evidence of attempted plagiarism.

    I agree with all of your post, except your interpretation I am talking about politely informing a person. It's more than impolite to accuse someone, "presenting philip roth's work as if it were your own is grounds for being banned" [see above quote]. That's not what he did. That's not what breaking a forum rule meant. Leaving off a citation is the mistake, that's the error. The error is not deceit and it's not attempted plagiarism.
     
    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh likes this.
  6. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,967
    Likes Received:
    5,491
    Would you have been OK with the following?

    "This is not your own work. Please add an attribution when you quote the work of others."
     
  7. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,604
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    It's more acceptable.

    Asking why there is no attribution would have been the best approach, given the nature of that OP. He was after all, asking what people thought of a certain paragraph. Nowhere did he say, my paragraph, or my work.
     
  8. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,967
    Likes Received:
    5,491
    I have to disagree, because the rule is that the text is to be attributed, period. As far as I know (I'm frankly too lazy to go look it up) it doesn't say, "Must be attributed unless there's a good reason not to, or unless it's sufficiently clear that it's not yours, or unless..."

    So the reasons don't much matter. We're not talking about a penalty phase here, where someone needs to make arguments to reduce their sentence. We're just talking about a statement of the rule.
     
  9. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,723
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    I actually do not have a problem with a member quoting something under copyright and forgetting to include the citation, so long as, when the rule violation is pointed out, said member apologizes and rectifies the violation.

    But when said member argues against having to follow the rule, I do have a problem. That’s serious. That is asserting, directly or indirectly, that the rules don’t matter and may be violated whenever a member wants to do so. It’s saying that if someone points out a rule violation, or if the moderators take action, then they’re just being dicks who should shut up and mind their own business. It’s saying the forum is a free-for-all.

    Members – especially senior members – should be setting the example for the newcomers. If senior members are telling others that the rules don’t matter, nobody will follow the rules. Then things get dangerous. ("Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world" - William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming ;))

    @GingerCoffee, I checked the Indifference thread and found it was not actually you who made statements like these. It was Michael Collins (though you did like his post).

    And it wasn’t @Bartleby9 who caused the problem in the Opening Paragraph thread. He apologized. The problem was caused by David K. Thomasson, who said he saw nothing wrong with the rule violation and “ignore the Barney Fifes.” (I can’t help thinking of your location, Ginger – Ralph’s side of the island. The moderators are trying to be Ralphs here; it’s the Thomassons who are being Jacks.)

    I didn’t issue warnings in either of these cases. As most of you know, I prefer to handle things in the thread or by PM – warnings are a last resort. If the rule violators just apologize and fix the transgression, there is no problem.

    If they argue, there is.

    So, please, don't fight the rules.

    I do encourage people to make suggestions in our Suggestions and Feedback section if they think a rule is too restrictive and should be changed. The staff members are willing to listen, and if the suggestion has merit and Daniel agrees, the change will be made.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,604
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    I apologize for my outrage but it was not about the rule, it was about conflict with another member.

    While I'm going to have to like this post for the Lord of the Flies reference alone, :p do keep in mind what the undercurrents were/are.

    There was a direct accusation in that thread that @Bartleby9 was trying to pass that paragraph off as his own. Some of us are reacting to that, not to pointing out the rule. I'm trying to get my head around your's and @ChickenFreak's narrow focus on a rule and following a rule, while not appearing to attach any weight at all to the way that rule violation was pointed out.

    Well I hope this thread is seen as trying to work the problem out, but I can't help but notice there is no call there for apologizing for false accusations of plagiarism. And I should also point out, that is a particularly egregious charge against people who consider themselves writers.

    I, for one, am not fighting a rule. It can come across as pedantic or even petty to cite a rule as if the person is a child being scolded. It probably comes as no surprise that rubs my blisters*. But making matters worse by throwing false accusations in, that rips my skin right off them*.



    *Excuse the metaphor practice, I'm multitasking. ;)
     
  11. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,967
    Likes Received:
    5,491
    I feel that you're not getting a correct read of the meaning of the way in which it was pointed out

    I assumed that Bartleby was presenting the work as if it was his own, but NOT in order to take undeserved credit for it. I assume that he was instead trying to elicit criticism of it, and then he would reveal that the work was not his, and he would then be able to discuss the criticism in the context of criticism of a less-well-known writer versus criticism of a famous writer.

    I assumed that from the very beginning. And I read the correction in that same context. I didn't get the vibe that anyone at all was accusing Bartleby of engaging in plagiarism for the usual selfish benefits of plagiarism. There was no presumption of that sort of guilt.

    But it was still plagiarism by implication. For innocent motivations, but plagiarism by implication all the same. He was told this. He apologized. The issue could have been over.

    Edited to add: Yes, the correction could have been a little software, something like "I see what you're trying to do, and I sympathize, but you still can't use someone else's work without attribution." But sometimes finding that balance between a harsh correction, a gentle correction, and seeming to abjectly apologize for being aware of someone's misbehavior, is just too exhausting and you just use direct words.
     
  12. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,604
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    Which suggests we are operating on different underlying premises.
     
  13. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,967
    Likes Received:
    5,491
    Arr?
     
  14. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,604
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    "Arr?"

    I don't know what that means?

    Your underlying premise is that he intended to pretend it was his work.
    My underlying premise is, he did not, he merely didn't say whose work it was.


    I investigated intentional and unintentional plagiarism briefly. It can be unintentional and still called plagiarism. But here we return to the connotation of the accusation.

    Here are @mammamaia's words:
    He did no such thing. He presented Roth's work without attribution to get an unbiased reaction.
    (bold is mine)

    I believe you are saying, pointing out it was unintentional plagiarism was merely being correct, and the rule violation was pointed out as a matter of fact.

    I believe a false accusation of intentional plagiarism was made.
     
  15. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,967
    Likes Received:
    5,491
    But he also said:

    I'm not saying that it was plagiarism in the sense of "This is mine! Mine! Praise me! Pay me! Mine mine mine!" He wasn't doing that at all.

    But I read the above as meaning that he was temporarily trying to mislead for, as I would put it, research purposes. I can see that he had completely innocent intent. But I can also see that the site can't afford to risk letting people violate copyright even when they have innocent intent.

    Edited to add: And the below, too, suggests that he was temporarily, innocently trying to mislead. The writing was mistaken for his elsewhere, but he didn't take any steps to ensure, here, that the same mistake was not made. This suggests that he wanted that mistake to be, temporarily, made.

     
  16. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,604
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    Neither of those quotes say, pretending it was his. The first one says no more than, not revealing the author. The second one says someone else thought he was presenting it was his. But that can mean either:

    Without saying it was his, he was aware some people might make the mistake.
    Or, without saying it was his, he nonetheless wanted people to believe it was.

    I still see no intent to pretend it was his, innocently or not. I see people on the forum making a false assumption it was being presented as his. Your underlying premise remains, innocent or not the intent was to imply it was his. My underlying premise remains, he made no effort to imply it was his, he merely didn't say whose it was (as evidence by tagging the thread, Roth).

    I don't think we are going to reach an agreement here. I only ask that you consider my underlying premises and understand them. You need not agree. I understand yours and I agree to disagree. But at least we hopefully have a better understanding of just what it is we are disagreeing about.
     
  17. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
    Offline

    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2013
    Messages:
    2,319
    Likes Received:
    743
    Location:
    Music Room #3
    Lord of the Flies, right?
     
    minstrel likes this.
  18. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,861
    Likes Received:
    10,036
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    There's not a thing I would add to what Minstrel said. If anything, his eloquence leaves me with a feeling of envy.

    If no one takes anything else away from this conversation, know that all sides of this conversation are almost archetypically representative of the dynamics we mods have to juggle when we find ourselves with situations we have to deal with in one way or another.
     
    minstrel likes this.
  19. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,604
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    So no comment on the apology which a false accusation of plagiarism should call for? ;)
     
  20. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
    Offline

    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2013
    Messages:
    2,319
    Likes Received:
    743
    Location:
    Music Room #3
    Am I a " side"? I think I'm a "side". :D
     
  21. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,861
    Likes Received:
    10,036
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    I do. :)

    I've had plenty of things to say about this situation from the start, but Minstrel was handling it, and as a mod who is part of team, I would never wish to give either to the membership, or to the other mods, the idea or impression that Wrey is the Big Mod. You didn't even come close to saying that, you didn't, but just to put it out there. In this regard, I am a proud, card carrying Socialist. ;)

    As to the false accusation of plagiarism. Sigh....

    Firstly, if one reads Minstrel's initial response and quoting of forum rules, he never made that claim. He simply pointed out the rule that had been broken. He did mention that he was unaware of the origin of the piece, be it published or original content from the OP, but the inflammatory tone and indictment that seems to be the core of this discussion was not his, either technically or in spirit. Had it been, it would have struck me as so out of character for Minstrel, to whom I turn when I feel that my compass of temperament needs checking (whether he knows it, or not) ;)

    People have a right to be dicks up to a certain point as this is part of the paradigm of free speech. I myself occasionally engage in low-level dickery when I feel drawn in. I'm human. This right to dickery has a limit both in intensity and also in frequency. One need only breach one of those limits, not by necessity both, to find oneself on the wrong side of things. With that said, there are without doubt members who are overly quick to remonstrate, or acting out of a sense of misappropriated entitlement feel it's their duty to come with ruler in hand. These members know who they are and they know the sharp side of my tongue. They know (or should know) that this behavior brings them to my attention in a fashion that is not to be envied. But I cannot ask them to have more politesse than they do. I cannot oblige them to come to a situation with a mindset more open than that of which they are capable. I can respond in the thread and give what I feel is a better answer. I can offer the openminded response that I felt should have come. I can even engage occasionally in a light round of the aforementioned low-level dickery that I don't pretend to higher moral ground than the one needed to do so. But until they break the rules or surpass the limits (which tend to be the same thing), then the action I can and should take are those I have described.

    I know that sounds to some like a really long copout. I know. I don't have a ready answer for everything. *shrug*
     
    minstrel likes this.
  22. Lewdog
    Offline

    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    Messages:
    7,530
    Likes Received:
    2,825
    Location:
    Williamsburg, KY
    @Wreybies that wasn't a cop out, this is a cop out.

    [​IMG]
     
  23. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,604
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    Question: Is it A or B?
    Answer: Yes :confused:

    Oh, I was looking at this as a discussion. Whatever you mods do in that dark room of yours ... I don't want to know.o_O

    But I respect the need not to be involved in a debate with other mods in the public arena as a matter of principle.

    Goodness, no one said Minstrel said this or implied it at all.

    From the OP:
    There was never any conflation on my part of @mammamaia's plagiarism comments with anyone but herself.


    Copout or not, you missed the actual question.

    If breaking a rule requires an apology, doesn't a related false accusation of plagiarism reach the same level of wrongness?


    And the other issue is, I'm not arguing with the rule and never was. That seems to be a continuing misunderstanding.
     
  24. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    The way I see it, when someone posts a passage without attributing it, there's no way for me to know whether it was done intentionally (i.e., the poster is trying to pass off the passage as his/her own) or if it was an honest mistake. In Bartleby9's case, it was an honest mistake from what I gather, and he apologized for it, which is great. The problem comes when people try to fight the rule and claim it's OK to post passages without proper attribution. Because we're all writers, I feel like there shouldn't even be a debate about changing the rule. Look at this way: if I took a passage out of your story/novel and posted it on my website without proper attribution, how would you feel?
     
  25. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,604
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    But no one is doing that.

    Think of it a different way. Say you jaywalked. You broke the law. You have no argument with the law.

    But some person who saw it actually calls 911 (or whatever the emergency number of the country) and tells the police the jaywalker walked in front of traffic or almost caused an accident when that never happened. Or maybe that same person feels the need to confront you and begins a condescending lecture about the dangers of jaywalking.

    Your issue is the person's response, not the jaywalking law.

    Now the police show up and start siding with the person who falsely accused you of almost causing an accident. You're not arguing against the jaywalking law because you point out to the officer the person's false accusation or the way they got in your face about it.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page