Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Alleged Plagiarism In Chris Anderson's New Book

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the hyperlinks-don't-stick-to-dead-trees dept.

Books 138

ScorpFromHell writes "Blogger Waldo Jaquith alleges in his blog that Chris Anderson, Wired magazine's editor-in-chief and writer of The Long Tail, has apparently plagiarized content from various sources without attribution for his soon-to-be-published book. 'In the course of reading Chris Anderson's new book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price, for a review in an upcoming issue of VQR, we have discovered almost a dozen passages that are reproduced nearly verbatim from uncredited sources. ... Most of the passages, but not all, come from Wikipedia.' When questioned about the similar passages, Anderson responded, "All those are my screwups after we decided not to run notes as planned, due to my inability to find a good citation format for web sources... As you'll note, these are mostly on the margins of the book's focus, mostly on historical asides, but that's no excuse. I should have had a better process to make sure the write-through covered all the text that was not directly sourced. I think what we'll do is publish those notes after all, online as they should have been to begin with.'"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

first plagiarised post (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454055)

Blogger Waldo Jaquith alleges in his blog that Chris Anderson, Wired magazine's editor-in-chief and writer of The Long Tail, has apparently plagiarized content from various sources without attribution for his soon-to-be-published book. 'In the course of reading Chris Anderson's new book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price, for a review in an upcoming issue of VQR, we have discovered almost a dozen passages that are reproduced nearly verbatim from uncredited sources. ... Most of the passages, but not all, come from Wikipedia.' When questioned about the similar passages, Anderson responded, "All those are my screwups after we decided not to run notes as planned, due to my inability to find a good citation format for web sources... As you'll note, these are mostly on the margins of the book's focus, mostly on historical asides, but that's no excuse. I should have had a better process to make sure the write-through covered all the text that was not directly sourced. I think what we'll do is publish those notes after all, online as they should have been to begin with.'

Re:first plagiarised post (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454655)

Whoever modded this troll is a pedophile.

Re:first plagiarised post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28456903)

Whoever modded this falamebait is a terrorist.

It's not plagiarism... (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454065)

It's a "mashup"...

Re:It's not plagiarism... (4, Funny)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454215)

Plagiarism is copying from one source. Research is copying from many.

Re:It's not plagiarism... (4, Insightful)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454365)

Plagiarism is copying from one source. Research is copying from many.

Another snappy witticism on slashdot. But it's wrong. And not in a nitpicky killjoy technicality kind of a way, but just plain wrong. So inaccurate, that it's not funny is what I'm saying. Plagiarism is when you directly copy, or reinterpret with significant similiarity, the work of another without citing the original author. It's got squat to do with how many places you take from. And it's perfectly fine to build on the ideas of others - hell that's the foundation of academia - as long as you don't pass off that work as your own.

Re:It's not plagiarism... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454643)

Plagiarism is copying from one source. Research is copying from many.

Another snappy witticism on slashdot. But it's wrong. And not in a nitpicky killjoy technicality kind of a way, but just plain wrong. So inaccurate, that it's not funny is what I'm saying. Plagiarism is when you directly copy, or reinterpret with significant similiarity, the work of another without citing the original author. It's got squat to do with how many places you take from. And it's perfectly fine to build on the ideas of others - hell that's the foundation of academia - as long as you don't pass off that work as your own.

Re:It's not plagiarism... (1)

cenc (1310167) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454687)

More accurately, it is representing another's SPECIFIC work or idea as your own.

Only a slight variation from your point, but important clarification I believe. For example, If I give you permission to copy word for word something I wrote and to publish and use it without citing the source, there is no plagiarism.On the other hand, common knowledge within a particular circle (i.e. the readers will recognize the source) is also not plagiarism.

Not trying to pick a fight, just clarifying.

Re:It's not plagiarism... (1)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454887)

If I give you permission to copy word for word something I wrote and to publish and use it without citing the source, there is no plagiarism.

You raise an interesting point, but I think that even permitted reproduction of ideas would be considered plagiarism if it was done without actual citation. Remember, this isn't a copyright issue, it is related to giving credit. If you don't give credit then it may well constitue plagiarism even when done with permission.

Plus, to steal a great quote without citation, "Who is The Journal Of Quantum Physics going to believe?"

Re:It's not plagiarism... (2, Informative)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455269)

It's still plagiarism even if it's allowed by the original author.

For example if you were a researcher in some university, and the original author gave you permission to plagiarize and publish his work as yours, it's still plagiarism and it's still wrong, and you should still be punished.

Students get in trouble if they get someone to take their exams for them.

As long as there's misrepresentation going on, even if the original person gave permission for the misrepresentation, it's still a form of deception.

It's pretty simple. The "warning bells should ring" whenever deception is involved.

If the misrepresentation was unintentional then that's different, but then one should not be so careless either especially when creating works in certain fields.

Re:It's not plagiarism... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28456141)

For example if you were a researcher in some university, and the original author gave you permission to plagiarize and publish his work as yours, it's still plagiarism and it's still wrong, and you should still be punished.

That is in academic environment where a Student Handbook will clearly outline rules regarding plagarism and the submission of work not your own (or your team's work). In a commercial environment with ghost writers, editors, and acceptable pay-for-higher precedents, I think it is a different story. There may be areas where atribution is undesirable. A corp may want a single author for a manuel, not more and not less. Yet completing the manual accurately and on budget may require using a multitude of internal sources - perfectly OK. Maybe then "compiled and written by" is more suitable than "by".

Re:It's not plagiarism... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28456559)

Ghost writing? That's like doing a milli vanilli in my book ;).

As for the many-internal-source manual in your example, they can just have the corp as the author[1], which would not be misrepresentation. Many manuals do not have a person's name on them as author.

In many cases only a few authors/compilers would be doing much of the work - they'll talk to the internal sources and write stuff down.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&search-type=ss&index=books&field-author=Inc.%20Cisco%20Systems [amazon.com]

Re:It's not plagiarism... (2, Informative)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#28457317)

That is in academic environment where a Student Handbook will clearly outline rules regarding plagarism and the submission of work not your own

Plagiarism has no meaning outside of an academic institution. It's an academic offence, not a legal one[1]. That's why you can't sue someone for doing it.

[1] It may be copyright infringement too - but in that case that's what the law would be interested in.

Re:It's not plagiarism... (3, Informative)

winwar (114053) | more than 4 years ago | (#28456699)

As there is no "-1 Wrong" moderation, I'll respond instead:

"It's still plagiarism even if it's allowed by the original author."

You are wrong. It is called authorized copying. There may also be some legal issues if the author wasn't allowed to get permission.

"Students get in trouble if they get someone to take their exams for them."

This is called cheating. Not plagiarism.

"As long as there's misrepresentation going on, even if the original person gave permission for the misrepresentation, it's still a form of deception."

Deception is not plagiarism. It may be considered unethical but that does not make it plagiarism.

"If the misrepresentation was unintentional then that's different..."

It doesn't matter. Now the penalties, if any, may be lower.

Re:It's not plagiarism... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28457177)

important clarification I believe. For example, If I give you permission to copy word for word something I wrote and to publish and use it without citing the source, there is no plagiarism. Not trying to pick a fight, just clarifying.

No, you're just being plain old web 1.0 WRONG, so shut the fuck up.

Re:It's not plagiarism... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454755)

I hereby cite Merriam-Webster:

joke

Pronunciation: \ËjÅk\
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin jocus; perhaps akin to Old High German gehan to say, Sanskrit yÄcati he asks
Date: 1670

1 a: something said or done to provoke laughter ; especially : a brief oral narrative with a climactic humorous twist b (1): the humorous or ridiculous element in something (2): an instance of jesting : kidding c: practical joke d: laughingstock
2: something not to be taken seriously : a trifling matter â"often used in negative constructions

Re:It's not plagiarism... (-1, Redundant)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455613)

One GIANT Whooooosh!!!

Moron! MORON! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28455801)

You do know what "snappy witticism" means, don't you?

GP knew it was supposed to be a joke but didn't think it was a good one. Parent should be modded down for being a smug, pompous twit who can't read.

Re:Moron! MORON! (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#28457373)

He's German, he can't help it. You insensitive clod, etc.

Re:It's not plagiarism... (2, Funny)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454659)

Plagiarism is copying from one source. Research is copying from many.

Another snappy witticism on Slashdot, but it's wrong, and not in a nit-picky killjoy technicality kind of a way, but just plain wrong. It's so inaccurate that it's not funny is what I'm saying. Plagiarism is when you directly copy, or reinterpret with significant similarity, the work of another without citing the original author. It's got squat to do with how many places you take from. It's perfectly fine to build on the ideas of others - hell that's the foundation of academia - as long as you don't pass off that work as your own.

WHOOSH!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28456683)

I'm thinking most of you are not recognizing this unattributed quote?

Re:It's not plagiarism... (2, Funny)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454343)

It's a "mashup"...

Re:It's not plagiarism... (1)

DrGamez (1134281) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454947)

Took me a second but now I wish I had a few more points to give you.

I thought piracy was okay? (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454729)

I'm confused. I thought copyright was evil and should be abolished, so why should we care if he copied anything? Slashdot posts daily pro-piracy, anti-copyright articles, so forgive me if I'm a little perplexed by the double standards [slashdot.org] around here when it comes to which situations where you suddenly want copyrights enforced.

Re:I thought piracy was okay? (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455145)

I was angling for a quick and easy "funny"; but I'll answer anyway:

Norms of academic citation have basically nothing to do with copyright. Whether or not you cite something has no bearing on whether or not it constitutes copyright violation(except in the specific cases where citation is a license condition; or, possibly, in influencing a court's subjective judgment of whether use is "fair" or not). Also, whether or not something is copyrighted has no bearing on whether or not you are expected to cite it. Inserting an excerpt from a public domain text into your text would, without citation, count as plagiarism to exactly the same degree as an uncited clip from a copyrighted work; but could not possibly constitute copyright infringement.

I'm not sure I buy the "double standards" argument(since slashdot isn't a hive mind, the fact that different comments say different things proves nothing, unless it is further demonstrated that the same commentators say different things under different circumstances); but that is tangental to this case.

I don't think that I've ever seen an argument on Slashdot in favor of abolishing citation or attribution as a norm.

Re:I thought piracy was okay? (3, Insightful)

afabbro (33948) | more than 4 years ago | (#28456501)

since slashdot isn't a hive mind

Try posting something positive about Microsoft here...

Re:I thought piracy was okay? (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#28457205)

It's not about copyright, it's about attribution. Most folks on Slashdot generally support giving credit where credit is due.

I wonder if he didn't cite Wikipedia as a source because he was embarrassed to admit he cribbed from a source that even 7th graders are told not to use on school research assignments.

Re:I thought piracy was okay? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#28457429)

Information only wants to be free if it was created by J.K.Rowling, Evuhl Korparatiunz and that old guy that wrote "Farenheit 451". Pirate their works all you wish.

Otherwise, kill all the leeching bastards!

Re:It's not plagiarism... (1)

DevoidOfWindows (1577459) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455289)

"Plagiarism is copying from one source. Research is copying from many." Ah, another snappy witticism on Slashdot. More accurately, plagiarism is representing another's specific work or idea as your own. Allow me to demonstrate. Now, if I give you permission to copy, word-for-word, something I wrote and to publish and use it without citing the source, there is no plagiarism. Right? I'm not trying to pick a fight or anything; just clarifying. Anyway, I think that even permitted reproduction of ideas would be considered plagiarism if it was done without actual citation. And, clearly, it's perfectly fine to build on the ideas of others -- as we all know, that's the foundation of academia -- but only as long as you don't pass off that work as your own. If you don't give credit, then it may well constitue plagiarism, even when done with permission. Plus, to steal a great quote, without citation, "Who is the Journal of Quantum Physics going to believe?" Well, I suppose you could always say that it's a "mashup"...

Time Warp! (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454169)

I found the February 20th, 1875 article [nytimes.com] online that both Anderson & Wikipedia excerpted and it was actually pretty interesting to read. In college I had an English composition teacher that had us dig up old Microfiche and select an interesting article and write an essay on it. I found one that was an article of the execution of a slave convicted of rape and murder. It was amazing to find out that the details of the rape and murder obviously sold newspapers then just as much as they do today.

What is really interesting is that even though this article is 140 years old, they still ended the soft articles on a light note (maybe I notice this because the Onion mocks it so often?). The last few sentences:

I related to Mr. Lacoume the conversation which I had overheard between the old Frenchman and the waiter, and asked him if he had many discontented customers. "Oh yes," he replied laughing, "there are at least a dozen old fellows who come here every day, take one fifteen cent drink, eat a dinner which would cost them $1 in a restaurant, and then complain that the beef is tough or the potatoes water." Mr. Lacoume confirmed the statement that thousands of people in New-Orleans live on free lunches.

Inability to cite web??? (4, Insightful)

clifyt (11768) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454171)

"All those are my screwups after we decided not to run notes as planned, due to my inability to find a good citation format for web sources"

Really...because almost every form of writing style has web formats as a cite style these days.

Hell, I use APA style, but it isn't much harder in MLA (the two biggest styles)...and it isn't hard to find even more...

I wouldn't call this plagiarism, just lazy...and honestly, I know I've been lazy myself at times and screwed up (as I double check my thesis before handing it in tonight to make certain this hasn't happened to me!!!)

Re:Inability to cite web??? (2, Insightful)

sys.stdout.write (1551563) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454275)

Try arguing that in school: "I didn't plagiarize my paper, I was just being lazy!"

Using Wikipedia entries as if they were your own is completely unacceptable in all contexts.

Re:Inability to cite web??? (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454419)

Using Wikipedia entries even if they're properly cited is unacceptable. If he wanted to use Wikipedia as a research tool, that's fine, but he should have read through the materials cited by the Wikipedia article itself and used them as his sources, with proper citation. If the Wikipedia article cited no sources, then it shouldn't have been used at all.

Re:Inability to cite web??? (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454819)

Why shouldn't you use information from Wikipedia with no cited sources? Why can't Wikipedia be the source? Does the same go for citing from Encyclopedia Britannica?

Re:Inability to cite web??? (2, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455035)

Of course it does. Citing from encyclopedias, whether Wikipedia or any other, is not an acceptable practice in any sort of research I've ever heard of.

Re:Inability to cite web??? (2, Interesting)

sorak (246725) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455311)

Why shouldn't you use information from Wikipedia with no cited sources?

I hope you're being sarcastic. If you have a source, then you have accountability. You may not be able to sue someone or have them arrested, but you at least have a name, and a person's reputation being staked on the accuracy of the work. In the case of Wikipedia, you MAY have a citation.

Why can't Wikipedia be the source?

Think of it this way. Someone publishes a paper or a college level manual, or conducts an interview. The person is the primary source of information on what they did. As such, which would you rather have, their account, or a summary of their account? Wikipedia is, at best, secondhand information.
.
Don't get me wrong, I use Wikipedia all the time, but if I were doing a research paper, I would use it only to get a grasp on the basics of the subject.

Does the same go for citing from Encyclopedia Britannica?

Yes.

Re:Inability to cite web??? (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 4 years ago | (#28456199)

Why shouldn't you use information from Wikipedia with no cited sources? Why can't Wikipedia be the source? Does the same go for citing from Encyclopedia Britannica?

I suspect you're confused about what's being cited. Of course, it's perfectly reasonable to say, "Wikipedia says that the moon is made of red donuts and bubblegum." This is a statement of fact, and if it were true that Wikipedia said that, it would certainly be a very interesting fact indeed!

The confusion comes about when you are not reporting on the content of an encyclopedia, but on its topic. In that case, the encyclopedia stops being a primary source and becomes, at best, a secondary source. Secondary sources are ideal for writing about perception (Wikipedia encourages secondary sourcing as it's condensing the consensus view, not the unfiltered primary sources; e.g. they're rather you cite a book that talks about how multiple academic papers were received and what impact they had on the field than the papers themselves). However, primary sources are much more valuable to research works, and typically you only cite secondary sources when you're establishing broader issues that support a core conclusion after citing your primary sources.

To sum it up simply: when you're writing for an encyclopedia, it's appropriate to cite secondary sources. When you're writing a more focused work that aims to distill a topic in detail, you should cite primary sources nearly exclusively and secondary sources should NEVER be cited to support your central points.

Re:Inability to cite web??? (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454877)

Using Wikipedia entries even if they're properly cited is unacceptable. If he wanted to use Wikipedia as a research tool, that's fine, but he should have read through the materials cited by the Wikipedia article itself and used them as his sources, with proper citation. If the Wikipedia article cited no sources, then it shouldn't have been used at all.

This is what every teacher needs to be emphasizing to students. Wikipedia is not a source. It directs you to potential sources.

Re:Inability to cite web??? (1)

XnavxeMiyyep (782119) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455413)

Instead, many just say, "Don't ever use Wikipedia! It is full of lies and deceit!"

Re:Inability to cite web??? (2, Interesting)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#28456257)

Wikipedia at face value is just as valid as a source as any other collection of research. Wikipedia takes information from sources and condenses and analyses them for the reader, just like any other encyclopedia. It is perfectly viable as a quality source, as long as you take into account the quality of the sources cited by each encyclopedic article.

For example, if you are writing a "general knowledge" sort of essay/book/whatever, directly sourcing Wikipedia is probably fine unless the cited sources of the wikipedia article are complete hogwash. Usually Wikipedia itself notes these sorts of issues, but you should at least peruse them yourself.

However, if you are conducting academic research, Wikipedia is probably at best going to give you a basic understanding of the subject and point you in the direction of some research sources. It should probably not be used as a source itself. There are, however, a few very high quality editors in some of the subjects, so even this shouldn't be completely discounted.

It sounds like Scott Adams used the Wikipedia snippets primarily as the former, in sidebars as general clarifications for the uninformed - something encyclopedias are very, very good at. It would be perfectly acceptable to source Wikipedia on this, especially if Wikipedia's sources are confusing compared to the article.

Basically, anything can be a valid source - hell you could source a comic strip and it would be valid. What matters is your purpose, how you use the sourced information, and the quality of the source you are using. This goes for ALL forms of research. Nothing should be discounted simply because of where it comes from, but on the other hand nothing should be accepted for no reason other than the source.

Re:Inability to cite web??? (4, Insightful)

TerranFury (726743) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455619)

Using Wikipedia entries even if they're properly cited is unacceptable.

When I hear about this statement I wonder if it has more to do with fundamental truth or social convention. Are "authoritative sources" truly more authoritative? As a pragmatist, I simply avoid citing Wikipedia because I know there are people with strong opinions who would disapprove if I did.

But let me give you an example:

Suppose I need to look up a mathematical identity which is not obvious. I go to Wikipedia and find it there. Then I sit down, verify it myself (math has that advantage), and use it. Now I have a dilemma. Do I,

1 - Use the identity without citation.

2 - Cite Wikipedia.

3 - Cite the source cited by Wikipedia without reading it.

4 - Cite the source cited by Wikipedia after wasting my time slogging through it to get to the punchline that I just verified myself.

Option #1 is fairly safe, but does nothing to help the reader, and moreover represents someone else's idea as your own (even if it is "common knowledge"). Option #2 makes your paper more transparent and accessible, and is honestly the most helpful, but it makes you look bad. So you might be tempted to do #3; that's somewhat helpful to your readers (but less so than #2) but also not entirely honest; it's also slightly risky because it's entirely possible that the unread source doesn't actually contain the tidbit you used. Option #4 is by far the safest, but it is a tremendous waste of time -- and since it asks your readers to slog through the same dense paper, it is less helpful to them than #2.

Of course, this kind of use of Wikipedia is only really justified for things that one is in a position to verify oneself, like math. But I think that the standard debates about "authoritative sources" tend to neglect this angle, assuming that truth is necessarily generated by authority and is not observable directly from nature. For those cases where I can verify myself that what Wikipedia says is true, I'd sort of like to be able to cite it. Being a pragmatist, however, I refrain!

Re:Inability to cite web??? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28455989)

My professors (at Cornell) include links to Wikipedia in their lecture notes when they want to a kind of "read more" link (as opposed to citing specific information -- which one does not tend to do in lecture notes anyway). I suspect most of them would just link Wikipedia in that situation. Take that as you will.

Re:Inability to cite web??? (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#28456593)

Of course, this kind of use of Wikipedia is only really justified for things that one is in a position to verify oneself, like math.

That's poppycock. You don't need to be an expert in anything to verify a wikipedia article. Basic research, even simply checking the wikipedia article's sources, will tell you if this is something that is consistantly agreed upon, or if it is somewhat contentious. That's why Wikipedia cites sources!

The "Wikipedia is not a valid source, ever" idiocy comes from people who misuse wikipedia. These same people would misuse the Encyclopedia Brittanica or ANY academic research comprised of collecting and condensing data from multiple sources. Most academic research is done exactly the same way Wikipedia articles are, but being academic they tend to be more thorough, more rigorously investigated, and more directed to their target audience.

In order to judge the quality of research, you must judge the quality of the sources. By definition, Wikipedia articles aught to be lower on the totem pole (high school research paper level stuff), but there is plenty of research in academia that is hogwash, and there are also many very solid and verifiably true Wikipedia articles.

Basically, if you're going to use a research article of any kind (and Wikipedia articles are research articles by definition), you must verify that article as appropriate to your subject matter and purpose. If all you need is some basic information about a subject, Wikipedia is great without bothering sources. For something more specific and technical, you should verify the sources of the Wikipedia article. For something that must stand up to rigorous investigation, you probably shouldn't use Wikipedia for anything more than a place to find sources, and you should perform the analysis of the source yourself.

Your math example is a good example of the latter - if you want to actually use the information in the article for something that will be scruitinized OR must be made to work correctly, you should perform your own verification. If you're just looking for cool maths, that's not necessary (unless you really want to see it in action :)).

Re:Inability to cite web??? (1)

winwar (114053) | more than 4 years ago | (#28456951)

"Suppose I need to look up a mathematical identity which is not obvious. I go to Wikipedia and find it there. Then I sit down, verify it myself (math has that advantage),..."

You probably don't have to cite it. Especially if it would be considered "general" or "basic" knowledge in the field of study. That doesn't mean YOU didn't know it.

In geology, for instance, you don't have to cite where you got the chemical formula of a mineral or the general characteristics of a rock, etc. even if it is rare or you have to look it up. Now if you had to go to the original source or close to it, you should cite it in some way.

It generally won't hurt to cite it but if you cite everything, you really haven't done any research... And you look like a clueless idiot.

Re:Inability to cite web??? (2, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#28457069)

None of the above: use option 5, which is including your verification as a lemma, and also referring them to the work described in option #4.

Re:Inability to cite web??? (2, Informative)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 4 years ago | (#28456135)

Unacceptable? This isn't his dissertation or a thesis. It's a non-fiction book. It's not peer reviewed, and it's not subject to defense.

He did the wrong thing. But let's not go OTT here.

Re:Inability to cite web??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28456767)

Using Wikipedia entries even if they're properly cited is unacceptable. If he wanted to use Wikipedia as a research tool, that's fine, but he should have read through the materials cited by the Wikipedia article itself and used them as his sources, with proper citation. If the Wikipedia article cited no sources, then it shouldn't have been used at all.

Pardon me if this opinion is wrong, my engineering PhD predates wikipedia. In general, if you USE a source, you ought to site it. This includes background information or general introductions to the topic. For example, many academic and journal papers have a "why this matters" "introduction". I say "introduction" because although it comes first, it is often written last and based on advisor recommendations. It may be a pedestrian piece that sites common facts (or factoids) and not intended to be the basis of the research. If you don't want to site the wiki for your factoid (e.g.,"50 million people in the US consume from a plastic beverage container each day"), then you either DIG UP the original source or you cannot site that information.

For an equation fundamental to the work - like the heat equation or some other PDE - you can certainly find the info on a wiki, but it may be best to site a published, reviewed source. I am not a teacher, but if I was, I would encourage students to read wikipedia, site it, and GO BEYOND or more in depth. I fear your position is the worst of two possible outcomes. Students don't learn to use wikipedia(s) or students use wikipedia but plagarize by not siting it. Even if you dig up every original source on a wiki and re-write the whole damn thing, then that is still plagarism. It may be harder to spot, but plagarism it is.

Were I you, I'd focus on integrity not repeating misunderstood platitudes. An encylopedia or wiki is often the start of research and is usually inadequate. Nonetheless, standards for referencing these works exist and should be used when appropriate.

Re:Inability to cite web??? (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454951)

Using Wikipedia entries as if they were your own is completely unacceptable in all contexts.

Using any text from a source verbatim without identifying it as a direct quote is still plagiarism, whether or not the source is identified.

Re:Inability to cite web??? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455203)

Some twit said:

Using any text from a source verbatim without identifying it as a direct quote is still plagiarism, whether or not the source is identified.

Entirely self contradictory.

When you identify a source, you do it for each section quoted. And if you don't, then you haven't identified the source.

Re:Inability to cite web??? (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455901)

I mean that it's possible to cite a source and yet still plagiarise. for example:
When you identify a source, you do it for each section quoted. And if you don't, then you haven't identified the source. (Hognoxious) would be plagiarism, because I did not identify as a direct quote. However:
"When you identify a source, you do it for each section quoted. And if you don't, then you haven't identified the source." (Hognoxious) is the proper way to direct quote. Alternatively, I could rephrase what you said and cite you as the source. However, direct text passages must always be identified as a quote.

Re:Inability to cite web??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454607)

Only idiots cite Wikipedia anyway.

Re:Inability to cite web??? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454773)

Hell, I use APA style, but it isn't much harder in MLA (the two biggest styles)...and it isn't hard to find even more...

Yeah, Chicago style, ALWD (a major style in legal works) have citation styles for web sources; in fact, I'd be surprised if there is a serious modern style manual that doesn't cover web citations. The excuse offered is ludicrous on its face.

Re:Inability to cite web??? (1)

JimFive (1064958) | more than 4 years ago | (#28457253)

I don't think it's ludicrous. How are you supposed to cite a Wikipedia article (or really, any web article) in such a way that when someone goes to research your sources the article hasn't been altered to remove the bit you cited? With Wikipedia you at least have the history of changes to look at, but it's still a problem.
--
JimFive

Slashdot covers own ass (allegedly). (4, Insightful)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454267)

Nice cover with the 'alleged' in the title and all... but accidental non-citation is still plagiarism, I do believe. Therefore, since he's admitted himself, it's pretty much not 'alleged' any more. I don't care to share an opinion on the act, but I think we can safely call a spade a spare.

Re:Slashdot covers own ass (allegedly). (4, Funny)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454535)

but I think we can safely call a spade a spare.

I like bowling too.

Re:Slashdot covers own ass (allegedly). (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454581)

Why don't we just call it a spade?

Re:Slashdot covers own ass (allegedly). (1)

cathars1s (974609) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454601)

Couldn't we just call it a spade?

Re:Slashdot covers own ass (allegedly). (1)

eples (239989) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455737)

Or they could do what Fox News does: put a question mark at the end.

"Obama having affair with the Ayatollah?"

Re:Slashdot covers own ass (allegedly). (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28456721)

accidental non-citation is still plagiarism

If I'm writing something, how can I make sure that I don't accidentally non-cite?

Re:Slashdot covers own ass (allegedly). (1)

Changa_MC (827317) | more than 4 years ago | (#28457437)

By NOT reading a source, copying it verbatim, and then saying "oops!" when you get caught?

Who cares? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454285)

I mean really, WHO CARES?

This is some blogger's book, not some scientific journal. Nobody doing any serious scientific research is going to use his book as a source and have to verify the data. And the people he's "stealing" from are some random Wikipedia guys who put their work out there for free for people to use how they see fit. Is anything on Wikipedia copyrighted? No.

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter one iota if this guy cites his sources or not.

The only people that care about this kind of thing are academics who want attention.

I hope you don't get modded to oblivion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454443)

but I do agree with you. Who cares.

Web citing made easy (5, Informative)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454309)

Anderson responded, "All those are my screwups after we decided not to run notes as planned, due to my inability to find a good citation format for web sources... "

Zotero [zotero.org] , brother: a plugin for Firefox. Makes citing online sources a breeze in any format you care to mention.

Re:Web citing made easy (3, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454567)

He didn't say it was difficult, he said he couldn't find a good format. So a tool that makes it easy to do in any format, wouldn't have helped much. Still, its a lame excuse. Its like saying I didn't pay my bills because I couldn't decide on the right signature.

Re:Web citing made easy (1)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455749)

I'm curious to know what his criteria for "good" are. The professional societies that declare the citation formats have wrestled with the same issues for much longer than he has. Either they've hit on a solution he's not buying, or whatever quality he's trying to capture in his citations isn't important enough for the pros to bother with.

Pick one and go, I say. At least he can show a good faith effort that way.

I like the bill paying metaphor, by the way. I think I'll use that, depending on how this incident shakes out...

Re:Web citing made easy (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#28456339)

Assuming that his stated reason is correct, I suspect it went something like this. "I don't really like the APA or MLA style for online citations. I'll look for some other style that I like, so take it out for now, we'll put the online citations in later."......Months later the book is published and everyone forgot to go back and put the citations back in.

Students - try Zotero. (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454577)

Seriously - if you are a student who writes anything of any length, check out Zotero. It's not just web citations, it can pull information from your library database, online databases like EBSCO, HeinOnline, etc. Use the word processor integration as well, it will save you hours of work.

Re:Web citing made easy (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#28456459)

This is silly. Almost every web page that is expected to be cited has the proper citation listed on the page.

Specifically Wikipedia has a cite this page [wikipedia.org] link in the left nav. For instance we can cite the article on . Once on the cite page, we can choose from any number of common citation formats. Just choose one that is acceptable. Saying they are all bad is pretty much aaying that any method of citation is bad. [wikipedia.org]

This is just a typical case of not wanted to cite a source. This is typical of casual writing. No wants to take the time and resources to cite where the information came from.

Plagiarism (1, Interesting)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454325)

The term is largely meaningless if you accept all works are derivative.

Seems its only use is as writer's equivalent of gorilla feces-pitching.

Re:Plagiarism (4, Insightful)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454475)

The term is largely meaningless if you accept all works are derivative. Seems its only use is as writer's equivalent of gorilla feces-pitching.

No, the meaning is utterly clear. Don't pass off the work of other people as your own. Anything you add to the foundation is your contribution, and others wishing to build still further should cite you for that. Plagiarism is, in fact, when you *don't* accept that all works are derivative, and take credit for the whole body of work, not just the ideas that you added.

It's not a copyright issue.

An open-source equivalent would be if I created a cute little font switching extension for Firefox, and then claimed to have singlehandedly coded the browser, standardised HTML, and come up with CSS whilst I was at it.

Re:Plagiarism (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454737)

Assume the premise. Then, "the ideas that you added" is also derivative work whether or not you are aware. What then is the meaning of term?

Re:Plagiarism (1)

SquirrelsUnite (1179759) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455431)

Um, that's what he said. Almost all works are derivative. Hence the need to cite one's sources. It gives credit to the original author and allows the readers the better evaluate the extent of your contributions. Plagarism is simply not citing your sources. Copying paragraphs from wikipedia into your book is not plagarism. Not citing your source is. Of course if he did cite wikipedia he might have been exposed as a lazy hack. But that's much better than plagarism.

Re:Plagiarism (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454929)

I agree. The term is largely meaningless if you accept all works are derivative.

Seems its only use is as writer's equivalent of gorilla feces-pitching.

Re:Plagiarism (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454989)

Stop throwing that shit at me you god damn ape!

Re:Plagiarism (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#28457355)

1) IF ... big if. If all works are derivative, where did they all derive from?

2) Lifting sizeable chunks of text verbatim is stretching the definition of "derivative"

3) Even if a work is derived from others, the proper thing to do is state the source of any unoriginal material.

4) Never underestimate the entertainment value of poop-throwing.

Incredible Insightful Comment (0)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454445)

To utilize one source is Plagiarism.
To utilize two is Research.

I just plagiarized from Tom Lehr.

Moron! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28454627)

If you utilize two sources without citing them, it's still plagiarism. But of course, on Slashdot you get modded up for idiotic comments anyway.

Re:Incredible Insightful Comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28455029)

To utilize without citation is Plagiarism. To utilize with citation is Research.

Re:Incredible Insightful Comment (1)

Nixoloco (675549) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455779)

I just plagiarized from Tom Lehr.

I think you are doing it wrong.

Wikipedia? (4, Insightful)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454497)

I can understand problems with trying to cite a web source. Things like Wikipedia, you'd have to refer to a page in the history; the content is always being changed. ... and vandalized.

My objection to the author would be more along the lines of "why didn't you look up the sources used by wikipedia? Where IS the research?" As Wikipedia has a policy against original research, anything reliable on it is by definition at least second-hand. Is there a reason besides laziness that the author would not have indicated at least the sources given by wikipedia, if he could not do the research himself?

Re:Wikipedia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28455399)

The way I've always been required to do web citations is to list the date on which I viewed the page (I would usually print to pdf so I have a copy of the source and most browser print the date so I know when the snapshot is from). That would make it fairly easy to cite the wikipedia source and unlike a lot of web sources, with wikipedia the person would have a chance to look at previous version and possibly verify the citation or to see if something was taken out of context.

Re:Wikipedia? (1)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455677)

I've only used MLA and APA formats myself, but when citing a web source, the citation format explicitly provides for a retrieved-on date. It's a concession to the fluid nature of the web. I expect any other contemporary citation format worth its salt will do the same.

Some web sources are primary, by the way. There's no paper copy of my own web works, so if anyone thought I'd written something worth citing, they'd have to use a URL to cite it.

Plagiarism without attribution (4, Funny)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454665)

Chris Anderson ... has apparently plagiarized content from various sources without attribution

As opposed to...?

Re:Plagiarism without attribution (1)

Attack DAWWG (997171) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455627)

Attributing yourself?

Only one way to respond (2, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#28454705)

Boycott buying hard copies of the book, and make electronic copies widely available via bittorent. Simple test: If all the copied text was in quotes or italics, I would say he actually intended to attribute it. If not, it would appear that he was trying to claim it as is own, and only made up an excuse after he got caught. Which is it?

Re:Only one way to respond (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28455707)

TFA shows some pretty damning images of the passages in question.

Apparently I am a Book Author (1)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455005)

I am cited as a minor author in this C# book [google.com] just because I edited a Wikibook entry on C# Programming, and then it got published later.

I received no money but at least I got credit.

I am trying to write my own book or books, I forgot how to use the APA format for web citations, but I will do research to learn it all over again, I hope. But my book is a work of fiction and parody, so maybe citations are not needed? What say you Slashdot?

wkipedia guidelines (1)

zmnatz (1502127) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455199)

I thought wikipedia was free to use however people want as long as the people who use it do the same? Wouldn't this fall under that situation since the guy is offering the digital copy of the book for free. Correct me if I'm wrong which I probably am.

Re:wkipedia guidelines (2, Informative)

zxjio (1475207) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455539)

No the author has ignored the terms of the license and stolen their work. To be okay, he would need to have given its authors credit, and said that it is licensed GFDL/CC and so you too can use it. He can charge for a reproduction if he wants, cost is not relevant; but freedom and acknowledgement are necessary.

Re:wkipedia guidelines (1)

zmnatz (1502127) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455925)

Sorry, that's what I meant. I've listened to Chris Anderson a few times and it always seemed like he supported the whole free for anyone to use thing. When I said free that's what I meant, not as in price.

Citations will be online? (1)

Xelios (822510) | more than 4 years ago | (#28455339)

I had no idea you could put your citations somewhere other than with your work. Next time I hand in a term paper I'll just tape the citations to my door, should be fine!

Umm...Free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28455479)

The great irony here is that it seems the book isn't freely available online, unlike Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture.

So a book about how information should be free is, itself, not freely available. Hey, it costs money to tell you how everything should be free.

APA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28455507)

I recently finished my degree, and the issue of citing the web always came up, because of changing content or the deletion of content, etc.
But we were OK, so long as we cited the content, which is why our professors made us use APA formatting...it provides a simple and easy way of citing the web as a source.
I am surprised that a Writer doesn't know that...
or that an Editor would let it slide...

cite or incite.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28455597)

to neglect to cite a site from something worthy to recite shows little insight. I do not mean to incite but this will likely be modded out of sight... anyway

Publisher didn't use TurnItIn. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#28456221)

The publisher should have used TurnItIn [turnitin.com] .

Re: (1)

clint999 (1277046) | more than 4 years ago | (#28456229)

Took me a second but now I wish I had a few more points to give you.

SO? (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#28456355)

We are building an entire world from the ground up where everyone believes they are free to use (borrow, steal, whatever) anything they can find on the Internet in whatever way they feel like.

Music, movies, books, software, whatever. The idea of creative ownership - I created this and therefore nobody else can use it unless I say so - is rapidly disappearing in younger people's minds. The result of this is of course there will be lots of "unattributed use" because when nobody respects this kind of ownership, there isn't any reason not to.

So plagiarism is just the first step. Expect to see more.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?