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.