So, now that things have wound down for the day, there’s a topic that Keeva at Tree Bark Jacket has been talking about over the last few days. I didn’t have time to talk about it before now, so I wanted to highlight a couple points:
- It’s okay to quote someone else’s work ONLY when you give them credit for it.
- It’s NOT okay to copy someone else’s work and claim that it’s your own.
Simple enough? Copying parts of someone else’s work without proper quotation or citations is plagiarism, and just like plagiarism was bad in school, it’s bad in the world of blogging.
Someone recently took pieces of my 4.0.1 healing guide, Keeva’s healing guide, and parts from a couple other blog posts and made “their own” guide out of it, without giving credit to any of the original authors. That kinda just sucks. Why? Well, because Keeva got mad & fought back to defend the honor of the work we did (and rightfully so). That same blogger also had several other plagiarized posts, and even their “about” page contained plagiarized material.
However, Keeva and I are not unreasonable. We understand that people also want to use our awesome guides to make sure that their guild members. So, Dreambound Druid wrote about how to Not plagiarize. Mostly, how to not plagiarize involves giving people credit for the work that they do, and not stealing.
If you want to copy huge chunks of my guides and post them somewhere, first of all, you should ASK me. I usually say yes, but it’s nice to know how & where my guide is being posted. It makes me feel good when people ask permission. You can e-mail me to ask at email@example.com. If you do re-post parts of my guide, you do need to put proper quotation marks or formatting indicating that you are quoting someone else’s work, and say where it came from (ie. link back to the original blog post).
In fact, I got an e-mail earlier today from someone wanting to translate the healing guide into Russian. I thought that was an awesome idea. My only request was that I was given credit for the work I did, too.
Even better than copying parts of my guide is just making a resource list telling people where to get information (with the exception of people who want to translate our guides into other languages, which is awesome). An example of a resource list can be found here. One reason for providing a link to a guide without copying the text directly is that the class abilities change fairly often during an expansion transition, and it is often better to link to the original so that your copy won’t likely be an outdated version. I haven’t done any recent updates in the last few days, but I probably will soon, and anyone who copied & pasted the guide always runs the risk of becoming outdated – BUT the links will always go back to the most recent version.
To learn more about plagiarism, I would now like to send you to a link I share with my students who struggle with plagiarism in the course that I teach. For anyone that ever writes papers, blog posts, or anything… The OWL at Purdue has a great set of writing guides (I don’t work at that university, they just have the BEST writing guides). It talks about when something is “common knowledge” or not. I think you could consider names of healing spells in a healing guide would be common knowledge )though wowhead links are useful for them anyway), but describing how to use those spells is more likely someone else’s opinion – and something each blogger is going to disagree about. If you use that opinion in writing your guide, you need to give credit to the person where you got the info from.
So, what is the lesson for today? Well, if you get any info from another source, say what that source is, be clear about what info came from that source, and add a links back to your sources. We appreciate that you all enjoy our guides, but stealing our stuff (without giving us any credit for the multiple hours of work we put into one guide) just makes us /sad pandas.