Author Topic: "Plagiarizing is a worse sin than masturbation."  (Read 3802 times)

Croghan27

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"Plagiarizing is a worse sin than masturbation."
« on: May 18, 2009, 01:27:30 PM »
'Twas at a bar one time with a fellow who (said he) was a reporter for Canada Press. He dismissed the utility of any blog save the personal/family (cousin Arnold got accepted at Queen's) kind or the social/association (make sure you turn out for the social nest week) type. He had never heard of Dawg's Blog, Galloping Beaver or Creative Revolution or any of the great local or regional blogs; had no clue what Informed Comment with Juan Cole or who Glenn Greenwald was.

He gave me an email address - which was returned as a false address when I sent a letter. Given his professional judgement on blogging I took that as indicative of the future of his career.

Today the 'Merican blogisphere is alive with  talk of another main stream media type who never reads blogs. It seems that our good friend and Bush enabler Maureen Down has somehow channelled the ubiquitous Josh Marshall in one of her articles. It was not that she found an idea then followed it and came to the same conclusion, or even what evolutionists call parallel development that is expressed in the same way - it was wholesale cobbling - what would get your essay rejected college. A friend of mine in first year plagiarized an essay in a history class one time and got back the comment: "Plagiarizing is a worse sin than masturbation." (and this was a Catholic university  :shock: ).

Quote
"More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when the Bush crowd was looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq."
from Marshall's TPM piece

and from Ms. Dowd's NY Times article:
Quote
More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when the Bush crowd was looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq."
is not an OOPs - silly me accident.

Here is Glenn Greenwald's take on the matter. (Since I began writing this I see Dowd has written to the Huffington Post admitting she may/possible'could have lifted a line from Mr. Marshall.) I quite enjoy Mr. Greenwald as he faithfully footnotes his sources. (That the slightly narcissistic Greenwald tends to mainly reproduce passages that mention him, is of no consequence.)

Josh Marshall, the founder of Talking Points Memo, naturally takes a dim view of Ms. Dowd's action.  

The scandal if it is one - I suspect it is more the "outing" of a practise rather than a shock to anyone, is still developing - I see that Mr. Dowd has a B.A. - maybe she managed to get by with some Freshman's antics there, but in the Times she is destined to be exposed. .... Anyway, drop by some (some??? any!) the 'Mercan bloggers - the story is still developing.
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

matttbastard

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Re: "Plagiarizing is a worse sin than masturbation."
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2009, 01:57:14 PM »
Great round-up, Croggy. One minor correction: Josh Marshall has yet to offer comment on Dowd lifting the paragraph.  The TPM post you've linked to is by Joshua of The Joshua Blog, who initially broke the story (and is currently trying to come to terms with his new found net fame  :lol: )
I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth, and I am a citizen of the world.

matttbastard

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I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth, and I am a citizen of the world.

Croghan27

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Re: "Plagiarizing is a worse sin than masturbation."
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2009, 02:56:16 PM »
Quote from: matttbastard
Great round-up, Croggy. One minor correction: Josh Marshall has yet to offer comment on Dowd lifting the paragraph.  The TPM post you've linked to is by Joshua of The Joshua Blog, who initially broke the story (and is currently trying to come to terms with his new found net fame  :lol: )

 :oops:  I should take a page from emptywheel's book and start reading the fine print - I saw the Josh, missed the 'ua' and surged (a loaded word these days) ahead.  :oops:
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

skdadl

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Re: "Plagiarizing is a worse sin than masturbation."
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2009, 03:32:14 PM »
It's quite funny that Josh hasn't said anything, isn't it? He must be enjoying this.

Greenwald's column is interesting. Actually, I think that what the Economist did to him in that one example he traces is plagiarism too, or at least it is something that a litigiously minded person could pursue. The rules speak not only of copying, which Dowd plainly did, but of strikingly similar and sustained development of ideas. I don't know how the law would put this, but teachers watch for that sort of thing, and depending on how bad it is, they might impose penalties. If you can see that someone just took someone else's work and rewrote it a bit, point by point, without credit, adding little or nothing except a different choice of some words, then that may be considered plagiarism.

arborman

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Re: "Plagiarizing is a worse sin than masturbation."
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2009, 12:36:11 AM »
I certainly hope it is a worse sin.  I would never plagiarize...
The pleasures of the table are for every man, of every land, and no matter what place in history or society; they can be a part of all his other pleasures, and they last the longest, to console him when he has outlived the rest.

skdadl

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Re: "Plagiarizing is a worse sin than masturbation."
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2009, 05:36:29 AM »
:lol:

pogge

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Re: "Plagiarizing is a worse sin than masturbation."
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2009, 10:27:04 AM »
Josh Marshall: Very briefly on Dowd

skdadl

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Re: "Plagiarizing is a worse sin than masturbation."
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2009, 11:35:03 AM »
He's a nice guy, eh? And that's a very graceful gesture.

He's also a very serious guy, so the gesture is believable. I doubt he wants this kind of fuss distracting people from stuff that really counts.

skdadl

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Re: "Plagiarizing is a worse sin than masturbation."
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2011, 08:05:08 PM »
Such an old thread and I haven't read through it all, but I just had to say this:

Many young people just do not get the whole plagiarism thing. Like, they do not get it. They will put some things from other people in quotes but not others. It doesn't seem to bother them, and they don't seem to understand why anyone else is bothered.

I think this is a fairly widespread problem in the blogosphere -- every once in a while I read a post that brings me up short for some reason, seems to be referring to some context not natural to the blogger, and then I click through to source and discover that blogger has just copied source. Usually I just think that's regrettable and surf away -- but try being an editor who is supposed to be herding a few youngsters who think that way, and you will go teh nuts! They do not understand why you are being so mean.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 08:06:46 PM by skdadl »

Antonia

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Re: "Plagiarizing is a worse sin than masturbation."
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2011, 09:24:02 PM »
When my niece was staying with me as my amanuensis during my fractured wrist phase, she was marking papers. (She teaches college level sociology.) She had to fail no fewer than 17 students for plagiarism, ie. unattributed quotes etc.

This despite repeated warnings about plagiarism and what constitutes plagiarism.

What's weird is, that teachers like her are provided with software that checks for this. You'd think that the kids would be smart enough to get that they will be caught by the same tech they used to write their papers. 
It is when we all play safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity. It is when we all play safe that fatality will lead us to our doom. It is in the "dark shade of courage" alone that the spell can be broken.
-- Dag Hammarskjöld

skdadl

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Re: "Plagiarizing is a worse sin than masturbation."
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2011, 10:51:24 PM »
I think that at least some of them truly do not understand why we insist on knowing who wrote what. I am struggling to comprehend that mindset. I acknowledge that they are struggling to comprehend mine. The difference is that mine must win out in the end, or civilization dies! ;)

Holly Stick

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Re: "Plagiarizing is a worse sin than masturbation."
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2011, 01:08:32 AM »
When I was a history TA, one of the other TAs showed me a paper she was worked up about because just about every line was in quotation marks.  A block quote, however, was not in quotations and we figured out that the student must have understood the TA to say you don't need quotation marks for block quotes but you do for everything else.  So the student carefully put them around every line in the paper whether it contained a quotation or not.
Economics is a human creation, borders are human creations and nature doesn’t give a damn about these things. - David Suzuki

skdadl

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Re: "Plagiarizing is a worse sin than masturbation."
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2011, 06:55:25 AM »
*lulz but eyerolls too*

The literal-mindedness! That's what I don't get -- they aren't even attempting to grasp the actual problem; they're just handing back to you a mirror of your instructions in the abstract. "Will this be on the exam, Miss?"

I don't think they mean ill; they're just behaving as though they were parrots, not people capable of internalizing the analysis of a problem and then appreciating an elegant solution.

I learned to do much of this stuff just by reading. You see someone you like do something and you think, "Aha. So that's what you do with that issue." And then you do it. But what matters first is the grasping of the issue.

brebis noire

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Re: "Plagiarizing is a worse sin than masturbation."
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2011, 08:16:28 AM »
Well, that kind of response to instructions stems from years of having to read and follow specific instructions, which, if not followed to the letter (because often there's no "spirit" to them) points are lost. If the issue isn't explained or grasped independently at some point, then a response like that can almost be expected from someone who follows rulz to the point of neurosis.  And what about students who are perfectly convinced that nothing they write actually comes from their own independent thinking? They're not necessarily wrong...

 

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