Stealing is always bad

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 lissanna70@gmail.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.

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15 Comments

  1. Posted October 23, 2010 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    Great post, sums it all up nicely.

  2. Posted October 23, 2010 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    I will never understand people who steal content, especially in blogs. I’d rather point my readers to the useful post/posts, since not only will they get the info they need, but they might also find a new blog to read. Heck, that’s how I’ve found many of the blogs I enjoy, including yours and Keeva’s.

    Even if your post does nothing to stop this particular person, hopefully it will prevent others from doing the same out of ignorance.

  3. Posted October 23, 2010 at 3:07 am | Permalink

    *thumbs up*

  4. Rezznul
    Posted October 23, 2010 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Nice post! Where do I get my 1 credit for the class. <3

    Seriously, though… it's amazing how so many people don't understand how to attribute and quote properly.

  5. Vyncent
    Posted October 23, 2010 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Just to add to this. I have been proofing material for years as part of an Anime group that awards good works. Many have been the times that Plagiarism as been a problem. It should be kept in mind that you should ALWAYS ask permission. While many authors are willing to give approval for their work to be copied, (emphasis on) as long as they are given credit for the work shown, there are some authors, who are steadfast AGAINST ANY of their work being used, or copied in any form for any reason.

    Although this is not World of Warcraft, a perfectly good example is Anne Rice, author of the Vampire series. She is SO strict about what can and cannot be done with her work, that she has legal copyright protection against ANYTHING of hers, even just the names of her characters, being use for any reason by anyone. In fact, many websites will immediately delete anything of hers being quoted, or reference, except by ‘link referral’, and in many cases banning the poster, in order to avoid any potential legal ramifications for such actions. The penalties are EXTREMELY stiff.

  6. Shiftwork
    Posted October 23, 2010 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    That really is unacceptable. Always use links to the original content if you want to reference it. Just makes sense, and may also help the reader get even more info on similar topics of interest to them.

  7. Bennet
    Posted October 23, 2010 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Yay for resource lists! I don’t know how many good blogs I’ve found that way that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise – being able to introduce your readers to blogs you like is another reason not to just copy and paste source material, even when attributed.

  8. Posted October 23, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    This is very serious stuff! In the RW I am a songwriter, I have seen much plagiarism. This very bad!.

  9. Healinore
    Posted October 23, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    I am so sorry to hear that this happened! It is not at all fair to steal another person’s work. I greatly appreciate all the work that you do for amateur restoration druids like myself! Blogs like yours are what makes my experiences playing WoW as a druid all the more valuable, fun, and just plain awesome! I have so much respect for the hard work you do! Thank you!

  10. whocares
    Posted October 24, 2010 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Ummm does it really matter? your blogging for a damn computer game liss, maybe you need a reality check? chill da out already over this nonsense.

    • Lissanna
      Posted October 24, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Actually, it does matter. For the person who copied things from our blogs, they eventually had to take down the blog site, apologize, and had to live with the bad kharma that came from stealing other people’s blog content. The blog readers aren’t stupid, and eventually people figure out what blogs are stealing content, or lieing in some major way (ie. Ferraro’s identity theft debacle). Cheaters eventually get caught. So, reminding people that plagiarizing blogs is still plagiarism (and just as bad when you plagiarized on school papers) leads to fewer people wanting to put themselves in the position where they would undergo scrutiny from their peers.

      This kind of thing happens more often than it should, honestly, and it ends up being bad for the people who get caught and have the blogging community turn against them. Also, since Keeva has been defending me a lot in her blog posts, I felt the need to support her in her efforts to explain what happened in this situation – with my focus on this post being to teach people how to avoid the problems in the future.

  11. Tsudrats
    Posted October 26, 2010 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Of course it matters whocares. I appreciate the time and effort that authors such as Lissanna have spent putting together their knowledge and experience into a form that I fine very useful. The fact that what they are writing about is a ‘damn computer game’ is neither here nor there; the value of their work is not less entitled to being respected and acknowledged because their chosen topic is just a ‘damn computer game’.

  12. cobaco
    Posted October 29, 2010 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    While I completely agree with you on proper attribution, can we please stop calling it stealing?

    stealing is where your property is taken away so you’re deprived of it
    copying is where your property is imitated somewhere else

    the 2 aren’t even remotely similar on an ethical level

    • Lissanna
      Posted October 29, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      I only used it in the title because it’s catchier than saying “plagiarism is bad”

  13. whocares
    Posted October 30, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    Whatever either way your getting excited over nothing.