Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Being a teacher, I read a lot of student papers. Since the dawn of the age of the internet, plagiarism has run rampant. The internet made available an abundance of text that can be acquired with a simple copy-paste routine. The temptation to plagiarize is great. What students don't seem to understand is that plagiarism is really easy to detect. Although we all use the same language (in my classes, anyway) and attempt to follow the same grammatical rules, everyone has their own distinctive writing style. Changes in style stick out like a sore thumb. When you read something that has been plagiarized using the old copy-paste trick, it is obvious.

There are other forms of plagiarism, such as using another's work or ideas without attribution. Whenever I quote something on this blog (if somebody really said it) or am inspired by somebody else, I always make a point of providing citation or link. It is common courtesy, the honest thing to do, and standard accepted practice. Why do I bring this up?

Well, last week, I posted a little something about entry angle, which was inspired by something EB of the Thumbhole Chronicles shared with us from Bowlspot.com. This Bowlspot tip of the month, was inspired by a USBC study. (See, that's four citations in two sentences.) I was somewhat surprised when I was directed to this month's Bowlspot tip of the month, which is in substance essentially exactly what I had written, although the BM Report received no citation. Now, perhaps this is a coincidence. I don't know. You could see this a couple of ways.

For example, maybe somebody wrote to Charley Wilson of Bowlspot asking him to explain what exactly does a 6 degree entry angle mean. Or maybe, this question came to him independently. Or maybe, just maybe, Charley saw my post, read it, and used it as inspiration for his. I am going to be fair and assume it was a case of "Great minds think alike", but if it wasn't, a citation of the BM Report would only be the right thing to do.

6 comments:

  1. I assure you that I didn't ask him (Charley); besides, I still don't know what the question means. I defer all the technical stuff to the team doctor. Then I just smile and nod.

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  2. I am going to guess that it could be considered demeaning to one's own website to give credit to a blog with a scatological name.

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  3. No for us, brother-- there are BM groupies on this side of the blogosphere!

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  4. So what the f***! I even recognize the graph - or did we borrow that from some website. It doesn't look like a Movement 2 graph, so I'm guessing we borrowed it - but where is the reference to that Charley?

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  5. That's his first post. Look at the february tip of the month. Compare that to my "bowling puzzler I" post.

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  6. ...but copying, like stereotypes, make life a lot easier.

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