September 12, 2011

A copycat in every sense of the word

Last week, I had a meeting with Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi, my second supervisor. Obi Wan and I talked about the different types of errors found in my participants' essays and the ways in which I should code them. I got a bit depressed at the thought of coding 130 transcripts but when Obi Wan gave me a software called SALT, I was instantly motivated. FYI, SALT is a very powerful tool that can help me in my research. All I need to do is copy the transcripts into the SALT spreadsheet, code the errors and then let the software do its magic. Excited and fired up, I spent the next 4 days analysing essays.

While I was doing all this boring stuff, I took some time off to read my favourite blogs and some random blogs. I came across one particular blog which I found from links and started reading it with great interest. Since I was still in the SALT-editing mode, I became more aware of the writer's language and style. And for that reason, I noticed that some of the posts were distinctively different from the rest. It wasn't until I had read a couple of entries that I realised something wasn't right. 

To confirm my suspicion, I chose 3 distinct posts which had more subordinate clauses and complex sentences and highlighted the ones which seemed unauthentic. I then started googling these sentences on the net to look for common phrases. Now before I go on, let me set something straight. I know I got a little crazy there and I totally understand if you're creeped out by this but rest assured that all I wanted was to get the truth. Plus, I was bored as hell.

So. What did I find? A shocking discovery.

I found out that the 3 chosen posts were plagiarised from 3 different American blogs; a different blog for a different topic. FYI, the blog I read was written by a local. What I found shocking was that these posts were copied in a wholesale kind of way. Not just a sentence or two but a whole entry. The only changes made were the dates, some addition of sentences and inclusion of photo(s).

I know I shouldn't be bothered cos it is none of my business. Don't I have better things to do? Kerja pun bertimbun so why be a penyibuk kan? As my friend Carol pointed out, I am not the internet police. But then I can't help but feel apalled by this. I'm no expert when it comes to blogging or writing but I know that plagiarism is ethically wrong and illegal.

It is SO uncool!

That's all I wanted to say.

I shared this story with Carol today and she said, "Well Mrs. imitation is the most sincere form of flattery". I guess that's true. But then, how would you feel if it happened to you? Would you be flattered? Would you??

I doubt it. 




21 comments:

Isabel said...

Ugh..that is really uncool to me too. Selalu sy ingat2 ni pasal plagiarism masa buat assignment. But klo group assignment, paling sakit hati klo ada member yg buat part dia and the part is mostly plagiarised. Bulat2 plagiarised and tiada bagi source. Klo jadi grup leader sana la saya kena kasi edit semua.

chegu carol said...

I have came across this before too Liz. This friend of mine sometimes have beautiful and articulately written post today but poorly written entry the next day. When I found this happened a few times, I suspected something fishy but still keep reading her blog until I stumbled and start following this one particular Sabahan celebrity blog. One day, this celebrity posted a very interesting topic that it remained in my head for quite some time. Then a week or two later, I found out the exact, word by word entry posted by this friend of mine, claimed as her original entry. I was flabbergasted...and honestly, look a little bit down on her.

bulat2 bah kena tiru.

unless she quoted me, i dont think i would feel flattered having copycat like that.

Lizeewong said...

Isabel-Kan?? bikin boring kan. LAst year masa balik KK, my colleague minta sia edit students punya research paper. Punya ramai yg copy paste ja :/ Mcm buang masa ja edit.

Carol- Just after a week or two she posted the same entry?! Shocking kan Kay? I've heard people talking bout this issue but I never come across the real thing until a few days ago. What a shocker. Yg funny tu kan Kay, even the About Me section kena ciplak. So the personality may not even be hers. At least acknowledge the source ba.

~KLaRaPaRiS~ said...

Biar la saya punya with lots of grammatical error and ayat tunggang-langgang asalkan sy nda copy others work.. I always quote kalau ada pun.. n and like chegu carol, I've also stumble upon one blogger she did't copy from other blog but from a magazine.. How I know, I bought the same magazine.. haha.. I checked again she had deleted it, maybe like me, some people notice..

debrajill said...

yay! i wonder who would do that well at least "paraphrase" hahahaha.. yeah..i think its very nasty that they did that..i couldnt bear the thought of copy bulat2 ni.biar la teruk my essay as long as i did it by myself.I really hope that one day i could write as beautiful as you..Practice makes perfect ya~ hehe

Lizeewong said...

Hi Klara. Ya ba. At least quote ba kan? From time to time we get inspired by a good post or an article we read in the net, and it's perfectly normal to want to share it in our blog. But I think taking a whole post and claiming it as yours is not ethical. Ya biarpun grammar ada salah at least sia tulis sendiri. Cheers.

Hi Debs. Betul tu. Paraphrase la ba. You write beautifully bah ko ni-you always write from your heart which I like :) Btw, I sent you an sms the other day, just wondering whether you got it. Sent one to Fredo too, tapi dia nda balas. xoxo

Caroline said...

Haha.. you actually wrote about it! Guess it was bugging you huh?

Amanda Christine Wong said...

damn girl! u totally can be the internet police! n what, SALT can detect plagirism? :O (not that i have plagirised in my assignments...much)

Lizeewong said...

Carol- Not really lah :P I just wanted to make a point. That's all.

Manda-Ko ni Manda. Bukan sa mau jd pulis ba tu. Btw the SALT analysis can't detect plagiarism, it does the tabulation of errors saja. But anyway, I didn't use SALT bah. Sia main teka2 ja.

Edith said...

Tdk takut ka dorang tu kana saman. Bgs lagi story2 pasal diri sendiri. Tpi kalau crita personal ada org copy juga xtau lah hehe...
Anyway, A good thought & reminder to those copycatting.

CathJ said...

I also read about some1 yang her entries been copied.. not only the entries.. dgn gambar2 sekali... so creepy...

apa lah dorang dapat tu.. ishh...

CathJ said...

by the way.. entries ni about personal.. yg tunggang langgang punya english.. siap dgn photos.. semua kena copy paste.. yaiksss....

Lizeewong said...

Edith- I guess dorang nda takut kena saman cos teda juga org pi check kan?

Cath- Ya Cath. Sangat menghairankan cos it's not about their lives pun. Yang siap dengan foto tu yg pelik tu ^_^

oji said...

Doi, muhau gia tu...What's the point of blogging then?
p/s: I've been your silent reader for sometime but I swear I'm not creepy.

Gunaqz said...

Saya mengaku saya selalu juga got inspired by other bloggers punya tulisan. Kadang-kadang saya blog idea yang sama juga. Tapi tidak lah bah tiru 100%. Using my own words juga. he he

Saya tahu perasaan kena copy tulisan. Hari tu saya terjumpa satu blog yang tulis cerita pasal diri dia. Masalahnya, jalan cerita dia bulat-bulat sama dengan cerita benar saya. Nama watak yang dia cerita pun sama juga dengan watak yang saya cerita.

I was like ... ok..creepy!!

JIPP said...

Plagiarism ain't cool. :-(

Tina said...

Great post, Lizee! What were they thinking, these copycats? That they could post something they've copied and no one will find out?

As a teacher, I came across countless cases of plagiarism. Some students were even bold enough to 'swear' the work was theirs. But I could always tell. I think readers have this built-in ability to 'sniff out' ciplak writing. You recognise certain styles of writing as Tom's or Gaman's.

If even the 'about me' is lifted from somewhere, bagus lagi jangan ada blog. Not something I'm worried about though because no one will copy mine... unless they want to assume my old, going-to-be-senile identity!

I know I'm repeating myself but... you are an amazing writer!

Lizeewong said...

Oji-You don't sound creepy at all :) Btw, I was over at your blog today. Congrats on your little bundle of joy :)

Gunaqz- Ya sia pun bah. I always get inspired by other bloggers; it could be the subject of the post, the style, the delivery etc. Mcm si Aemy baru2 start that webify me thingy, everyone pun ikut tapi bukan plagiarise. Ok, maybe that's not such a good example but point is, kita nda ciplak ba kan? :)

Wahhh..betul2 la dunia ni kici. How did you find out about the copycat who copied you???

Jipp- You've said it buddy!

Tina - Yeah I think a lot of copycats assume that nobody will ever find out. That's why they do it I guess.

No one would copy my about me section too. It's plain hehe. The one copied was written in a bubbly and witty kind of way.Tu la mungkin kena ambi tu.

Thank you for the compliments Tina. Although I don't think I deserve it, I am very much flattered, especially coming from you, an accomplished writer :)

Enniebelle said...

Woahhh..siuk2 ja ceduk cerita blog urang! the only cerita yg I ever copied were some pictures of celebrities or odd pictures / youtube video from all over the world which I wanted to share with around. And I never forget to give credit to their sources. To copy other people's hard works/ideas is just downright rude and disgusting.

Lizeewong said...

Ennie- Ya moi, tu normal la ba tu ambi pics or youtube video. Nothing wrong with that kan...I am referring to people who take a whole post from another's blog and claiming it as theirs. It's not that I go around checking people's blog, tapi yg ni terngam-ngam sia terbaca. Tekezut ba sia.

Gunaqz said...

Liz: saya check saya punya blog traffic and saw 1 unfamiliar blog link yang kasi refer my blog. Saya pun cek lah itu blog. That's how I found out.

Berani juga itu budak, dia copy tulisan saya bulat2 and kasi taru blog saya di bloglist dia lagi. haha. I confronted her. Instead of offering her apology, she removed/deleted her blog. Aparaaa!
Ketara betul bersalah.