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Online Plagiarist Sues University

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the now-that's-one-way-to-approach-things dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 693

raistphrk writes "The Reg reports that an English student at the University of Kent has sued the university after the university caught him ripping his papers off the Internet and kicked him out of the English program. I guess the stakes are now being raised for universities that use services to check for plagiarized papers."

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I stole (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290378)

I stole someone else fp. I couldn't figure out how to write my own.

Wow next thing you know... (5, Insightful)

Coolmoe (416032) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290379)

Burgulars will start suing homeowners for unsafe conditions. Oh wait ... nevermind

Re:Wow next thing you know... (4, Funny)

Soporific (595477) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290443)

He should try this on secret service by plagiarizing some currency and see how far he gets.


Re:Wow next thing you know... (5, Insightful)

Coolmoe (416032) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290535)

Totally agreed most people think it's ok as long as I don't get busted. This guy deserves to lose the money as he already got his warnings during orientation and im sure that there is a clear outline in thier student handbook. So in my opinion he was already adequately warned.

Re:Wow next thing you know... (2)

KevinKnSC (744603) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290547)

Wow, finally a thread where all those "In Soviet Russia..." message are on topic!

Huh? (3, Funny)

arcanumas (646807) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290381)

Are you *sure* this is in England and not in South Park Colorado?

Re:Huh? (1)

leerpm (570963) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290490)

I think you are confused. The article summary never stated he was British. He's an English student.. you know, BA Major in English?

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290512)

Mod me down. I am the wrong who got it wrong. Ah.. it's going to be rough day.

Re:Huh? (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290522)

It states he went to the University of Kent, which is a very well known university located in Canterbury, England.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290534)

that doesn't necessarily mean he was English, but he probably was.

unbelieveable (4, Insightful)

chachob (746500) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290386)

this reminds me of that woman that sued mcdonalds for "making her fat" could this guy not realize that copying papers and turning them in as his own is wrong?
should have stopped him?! The world is going downhill when people begin to reject common sense in favor of outrageous accusations such as this one.

Re:unbelieveable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290439)

This guy might not realize in the same way that some of my students do not understand that Google is not citable source of information. (Yes, they cite google for the web pages spit out to them).

Re:unbelieveable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290567)

Not really,
our 'Great' leaders are giving the (bad) example.

(rejecting common sense in favor of outrageous accusations: WMD's).


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290387)

g_______________________________________________g_ _
o_/_____\_____________\____________/____\_______o_ _
a|_______|_____________\__________|______|______a_ _
t|_______`._____________|_________|_______:_____t_ _
s`________|_____________|________\|_______|_____s_ _
e_\_______|_/_______/__\\\___--___\\_______:____e_ _
x__\______\/____--~~__________~--__|_\_____|____x_ _
*___\______\_-~____________________~-_\____|____*_ _
g____\______\_________.--------.______\|___|____g_ _
o______\_____\______//_________(_(__>__\___|____o_ _
a_______\___.__C____)_________(_(____>__|__/____a_ _
t_______/\_|___C_____)/______\_(_____>__|_/_____t_ _
s______/_/\|___C_____)(C)2004|__(___>___/__\____s_ _
e_____|___(____C_____)\GOATSE/__//__/_/_____\___e_ _
x_____|____\__|_____\\_________//_(__/_______|__x_ _
*____|_\____\____)___`----___--'_____________|__*_ _
g____|__\______________\_______/____________/_|_g_ _
o___|______________/____|_____|__\____________|_o_ _
a___|_____________|____/_______\__\___________|_a_ _
t___|__________/_/____|_________|__\___________|t_ _
s___|_________/_/______\__/\___/____|__________|s_ _
e__|_________/_/________|____|_______|_________|e_ _
x__|__________|_________|____|_______|_________|x_ _

Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Re: What? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290390)

He admitted he's plagiarized... There should be no problem.

The Only Problem... (2, Interesting)

Doc Squidly (720087) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290503) that many countries no longer have public canings.

Like they do in Singapore []

Re:The Only Problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290577)

I think I think, therefore I think I am.

Cogito cogito, ergo cogito sum....

Gah. Stupid university. (1, Troll)

Rodrin (729362) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290392)

I actually agree in one way or another. I think that the university probably wanted to suck him dry and then take his degree. They kicked him out on his LAST day? He had been cheating the entire time before that.

Re:Gah. Stupid university. (1)

Sarhosh Amiral (772139) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290409)

It doesn't matter, there must be some university law kind of thing that clearly states cheating or plagiarizing in any way can result in disciplinary action. This is like a murderer saying they should have warned me earlier that I will kill a person and go to jail?

Re:Gah. Stupid university. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290475)

As a student of "English" he should have been able to read the course handbook that ALL students get at this university (I got one!!).

Anyway, it clearly states there that such behaviour will not be tollerated.

Midn you, he was probably too stupid to read it.

Tough luck getting caught but its quite simple realyl - if you quote someone then you MUST cite the reference, otherwise its plagarism. Being too stupid in the first place as not to be able to write the essay without copying anything means that he deserves to lose his degree.

Gah. Stupid comment. (1)

mark99 (459508) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290416)

Your joking right? That's like not swatting a mousquito because he has already been sucking for a minute or two and it wouldn't be fair.

Re:Gah. Stupid university. (3, Funny)

thoth (7907) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290430)

Heh, the University should say they only found out about the problem on the last day, and that they decided to award an honorary degree to the service he used, and a F to the student.

Re:Gah. Stupid university. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290431)

So? Its not illegal for the university to do that. Education is a business. You cant claim to be downloading pirated material on Comcast's network, then claim they should have stopped me when you get busted.
Its just another typical example of people today trying to put the blame on others for their mistakes.

Re:Gah. Stupid university. (1)

}{@wkmooN (101161) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290451)

I think he's better off now, he got kicked out on last year, which means all the other years that he cheated before, he will have credits for, and he'll only have to do his last year again. Of course, nobody would have known he was cheating since day 1. But because he started suing left and right, we know he cheated since first year, which is pretty sad for him.

Re:Gah. Stupid university. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290502)

UK universities don't work on credits or whatever. Well, the ones I know of don't.

This guy is fucked - he's 12,000 in debt, I'm sure that the government (well, his Local Education Authority) has a reasonable case to sue him to get the money they spent on his education back as well (although they won't).

Re:Gah. Stupid university. (1)

luckyguesser (699385) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290455)

article didn't really say... but did the university provide any "evidence" from a considerable time back? in that case, it might be suggestive that they had been watching him. then again, the University could always claim that they only discovered the previous accounts of plaigarism once they knew of the problem.

Re:Gah. Stupid university. (5, Insightful)

arthurs_sidekick (41708) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290481)

Right, because as everybody knows, (a) the first time you cheat, it's immediately known (b) it's always a good idea to accuse somebody of something unethical on the merest suspicion, and finally, (c) all public universities make money off of their students through tuition, that undergraduate tuition is every university's biggest cash cow. Especially in the UK [] . Yeah, providing the infrastructure for an undergraduate, paying all of his instructors, etc., yeah, that's sure covered by (roughly) 1800 dollars. Why, I bet Mr. Nightingale probably sleeps naked on the pile of money he's sucked out of Michael Gunn.

OTOH, nice troll.

Re:Gah. Stupid university. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290520)

The university is hardly a monolithic creature. There is no "the university". He got busted, and now he's crying because he almost got away with it.

BSD (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290397)

lunix is dead.!!!! long GHAILZ BSD

They Took His Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290398)

Now he will have to save up to buy a degree.

maybe he should... (3, Funny)

shagrat (82945) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290399)

sue his parents, and anyone else he has ever interacted with, for producing either an idiot or a liar, whichever he is.


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290404)

This is version 0.65 of a troll HOWTO. As a draft, comments and criticism are always welcome, if not appreciated :) By version 0.7, sections on karma whoring, conning the Slashdot users in to clicking your links, and how to beat the other trolls to the punch. If you would like to work on the ./ Troll HOWTO, please by all means modify it as you see if, please post the new version of your howto as Unofficial until I can come and pick it and merge the the two together. Make sure to make your version a minor release, as I will be in charge of posting all new major releases.

Section 1 - Trolling techniques

There are techniques used by successful trolls to elicit the maximum amount of responses from unthinking /.ers. This section is dedicated to explaining how to use these in the course of your trolls. Remember though, a great troll can break any or all of these and still be successful..

* Timing

Because you're posting as an AC, your troll will generally be ignored in favor of posters using their accounts, and so getting in early is essential. A good guideline is to get into the first 20 posts, so that people reading the article will see the troll before it is swamped out. One way of increasing the speed with which you get your troll into play is to prepare them beforehand, and then quickly customize them for the current article. This is easier than it sounds since /. typically repeats stories with small variations and runs lots of similar stories.

Note that this is why Jon Katz stories are pretty worthless as trolling material - by the time you've found the article and prepared a troll there's already 50+ posts on it, most of them flaming Jon Katz anyway :)

* Exposure

Once you've got your troll in, you need people to actually read it. You also want replies - /.ers are more likely to read your troll if it starts a large thread. You also want to remember that some people have set their comment thresholds to values higher than 0 - to get the attention of these you either want to get your post moderated up (see Style, below) or get a reply which gets moderated up to 4 or 5, in which case your troll becomes visible to all.

* Accounts

An alternative to the time-honored tradition of AC trolling is that of creating a troll account. This gives you the advantage of posting at 1 rather than 0, and slashbots are more likely to take you seriously, especially if you at least sound reasonable. If you do this, try to avoid posting stuff where it is obvious you're a troll under the account - post it anonymously instead - some slightly more canny readers actually check your user info before they reply. Not many though :)

The ultimate goal of the troll account is to secure the +1 bonus, which is currently received once you hit 26 points of Karma. To get there, employ the techniques of karma whoring that we see every day on /. and watch the karma roll in. And of course once you get the +1 bonus, the world is your oyster in terms of /. Posts made at a default of 2 hit even those people with the threshold of 2, are more likely to get moderated up even further if they are at all coherent, and people tend to lose their critical thinking abilities in the face of the +1 bonus. Milk it for all it's worth.

* Layout

To get people reading it a troll needs to be easily readable. Make sure you break it down into easily digestible paragraphs, use HTML tags where appropriate (but always make sure you close them properly) and use whitespace appropriately.

* Size

Generally a troll shouldn't be too short, otherwise it'll get lost in the crowd. A workable minimum is a couple of medium paragraphs. Conversely, it shouldn't be too long, or no-one will bother to read it. Keep it to a happy medium.

* Spelling

Whilst spelling is important if you want the troll to be taken seriously, key spelling mistakes can draw out the spelling zealots, especially if you mis-spell the name of a venerated /. hero, like Linus Torveldes or Richard Strawlman (thanks dmg). Related to this is the use of the wrong word, explaining an acronym as being something it isn't or making a word into an acronym even when it isn't.

* Subject

The subject line needs to draw attention to your post without making it obvious that it is a troll. A simple statement of the main point of your argument can work here.

* Style

Once you realize that most moderators don't bother to read past the first paragraph or two, you can use this fact to craft trolls that can be moderated up as Insightful (note that I mean this in the /. sense rather than the real-world sense). Start off fairly reasonable, making statements that are /. friendly and not being too controversial. As the troll goes on, make it more and more controversial, building it up for the coup de grace in the final paragraph.

* Linking

As we all know, a post with links is considered informative by the /. crowd. Moderators love it, and they rarely check the links, so be sure to include as many as possible. And make them wrong - a link to the Perl website should instead point to the Python website instead, and vice versa. The other alternative to incorrect links is useful links to places like and i.e. places /.ers could never have found on their own :)

* Feeding

The ideal troll requires no feeding - it runs on its own, generating flamewars between clueless /.ers for your amusement. But often a troll requires some help and so you should consider feeding it. Feeding is best reserved for people making either completely clueless responses, people making responses with holes in, or those wonderful people who write a 2000-word point-by-point rebuttal of your troll.

* Know your audience

Always keep in mind the kind of things advocated on /. so that you can play on and against them. This is why anti-Linux, creationist, gun-loving, pro-corporation trolls work well - the vast majority of /.ers hold the opposite viewpoints. And if a few people agree with you, so much the better - it merely validates your viewpoint in the eyes of readers.

* Arrogance

Be arrogant. You, as a troll, know that you're right. No other explanation could exist. The more wrong the fact, the more assertively you should state it. Make it clear that you are better than everyone else - you know the truth and they are just too stupid to realize it. Use plenty of sarcasm, and use quotes to show it to people too dumb to realize.

* Offensiveness

Being offensive in your initial troll can be counter-productive - it causes moderators to mark you down as flamebait in general. But if you're feeding, then you can get away with calling /.ers all kinds of things. Make broad generalizations about /. readers - call them long-haired Linux zealots, socialist open-source bigots or whatever. Stereotyping is encouraged - people always want to think that they're an individual, and will point this out to you given half a chance.

* Indifference

Great for articles with a political or social bent, this kind of troll expresses complete indifference to the topic at hand, wondering who on Earth cares about it. An alternative method is to say that the topic only concerns a certain group of people - criminals, idiots, hackers (always use this instead of crackers) or whatever group you want to offend.

* Sympathy

Appear to take the same stance as the people you're trying to troll - claim you're as much a fan of Linux as the next man, but... This way you can make all kinds of claims in the sure knowledge that you actually know what you're talking about. A great phrase to use here is In my experience. Remember to act like all the things you're pointing out are unfortunate but true.

* The common touch

Always accuse /.ers of being elitist. This is an easy thing to do seeing as a lot of them are. Claim that is their grandmother couldn't use it, then they are just into it to feel better than Joe Sixpack rather than doing it for the average user. This is always great for working into anti-Linux trolls - attack command-line tools and poorly designed desktops.

* The 31337 touch

The opposite of the above. Claim that technology or whatever is only for the elite of society and that any attempt to open it up for everyone is wrong, an attack on intellectualism and possibly even dangerous. If people were meant to understand these things then they would, and it's their fault if they're too stupid to learn.

* Contradiction

Never be afraid to contradict yourself, even in the space of a single sentence. The phrases I am a top programmer who codes in VB or I am a supporter of open source who uses NT at work and 95 at home will be sure to get a response from some weenie smugly pointing out the contradiction. Confuse the issue more by engaging in contradiction when you are feeding - this will confuse /.ers who will then make even more stupid replies, leaving them even more wide open for response.


If you're feeling brave, give the reader clues that this is an obvious troll. The classic example here is dmg's stock phrase I am often accused of trolling (whatever that is), but also feel free to use phrases like I have not read the article, and I don't know much about XYZ but I feel I must comment. If anyone responds to a troll with these kinds of clues in it, feel free to bask in the glow of knee-jerk /. responses.

* Denial

If you're unlucky someone will accuse you of being a troll (surely not!) and try and ruin it for you. If you don't want it all to end there, then be sure to counter it by accusing them of being small-minded and petty, saying that it's easier for them to say it's a troll than to accept that people have different opinions. Be sure to say this in the subject line, especially if their subject was the infamous YHBT. YHL. HAND.

* Claiming credit

Given that /. has its community of regular trolls (hi guys!), it's only polite to publish your troll on one of the so-called hidden forums for all to see and admire. This way, you get to bask in the praise of other trolls, they get to contribute to your's if they want to, and you get an easy way to find the troll later on when you want to check on its progress :)

As for when to post it, that's a matter of opinion really. You can either post it straight away or leave it will after people start biting. Remember that the troll forum is also frequented by non-trolls, and sometimes you may get a self-declared troll-buster try and expose you. But remember, /.ers always post before thinking, and often it doesn't matter at all.

There is no real current forum at the moment thanks to various spammers hitting the sids, but try trolltalk, the original troll sid started by 80md and osm way back in the day. Generally all postings are done there as an AC, with your name at the end of the post. Include a link to the troll somewhere in the text, which ideally will be directly to the post and its replies - click on the #XX link in the thread to get there.

* Ending the troll

Sometimes you just get bored with a troll, or people start posting genuinely thoughtful stuff in reply (it does happen). When this happens it might be time to own up to the troll with a helpful YHBT. YHL. HAND. post. Sometimes people will carry on a discussion of the issue, and if you're really lucky (and it was a great troll) they will completely fail to believe you and carry on arguing. If that happens, pat yourself on the back for writing a great troll :)

* The cheap $3 crack

Finally, when all else fails and your troll gets moderated down to (-1, Troll) within ten seconds of you posting it, the only honorable thing to do is to accuse the moderators of smoking the cheap $3 crack (again) and give up :(

Section 2 - Types of troll

1. The Maniac

Probably the most popular kind of troll, the Maniac holds an opinion on something, and won't budge from that opinion no matter what evidence to the contrary is presented. If challenged, the Maniac will simply get more and more agitated and abusive, deriding his opponents as idiots, wrong-thinking, dangerous and subversive. Generally the Maniac takes a position that opposes the prevalent /. beliefs, but a similar effect can be achieved by taking a typical /. viewpoint and pushing it to ridiculous extremes.

Maniacs can be crafted for practically every article /. posts, although some are more obvious targets than others. Civil liberty articles, especially on things like censorship, DMCA, UCITA that really get /.ers riled up, are usually extremely fruitful grounds for a well-crafted maniac. The other obvious type of article is anything which could possibly involve religion, especially evolution :)

Here are some fruitful avenues to explore:

* The Right-Wing Maniac

Always popular, the right-wing maniac (RWM) is a God-fearing, gun-toting, flag-waving American, and proud of it. They don't care about the rest of the world, unless it's to prove that America is better than everything else, and they cannot stand liberal whining over civil rights. They hate the moral decay of America and want it to revert into a nation of heterosexual, Christian whites like it was meant to be. Woe betide anyone that dares to suggest otherwise.

* Religion

There are two ways to approach this kind of maniac. The harder to pull off is the militant atheist, but this is quite common amongst /. posters and you would have to be very offensive to get this to work. Of course with religion trolls, the argument can go on for ever once it's started... The more common approach is the Christian fundamentalist. They are ignorant, intolerant and bigoted in the extreme. For them the Bible is the inerrant word of God revealed to man - it contains no flaws and no contradictions. Thus they are strict Creationists - mentions of evolution or cosmology will set them off on vitriolic rants. Flaming denunciations of anyone daring to contradict the Word of God are the way to go, and any kind of proof can always be ignored by appealing to secular humanist brainwashing. And let's not forget, the USA is the greatest nation on Earth because it has the righteous power of Jesus Christ behind it.

* Ideology

Pick a philosophy, any philosophy. This troll is a troll with a cause - they have found some kind of ideological truth, and are out to expose every other philosophy as a sham. Whether it be libertarianism, objectiveness, communism or capitalism, this troll will point out the obvious flaws in any other philosophies, whilst spouting dogma about their own. And the best thing is - you don't even need to know that much about what you're spouting - making doctrinaire mistakes will get both sides of the argument flaming you, adding to the fun.

* Software

This is an old favorite and crops up in many forms, covering the gamut from OS maniacs (Linux zealots, MS-apologists or embittered BSD fanatics), language maniacs (Pascal vs. C, C vs. C++, C++ vs. Java, Perl vs. Python, VB vs. everything), application maniacs(GIMP vs. Photoshop, Netscape vs. IE, vi vs. emacs) and also includes people who complain about how technology should only be for the 31337 hackers.

* Guns

Americans love their guns, and will always fight passionately for their Constitutionally guaranteed rights to bear arms and shoot people. Even the slightest hint of criticism of this will bring down the wrath of a thousand and one enraged gun-owners on you, so it's always a great point to work into a troll :)

2. The Expert

The Expert is someone who is savvy in their particular field, and is perfectly willing to give their opinion on any topic even vaguely related to their field. The Expert is most likely to be from a field which /.ers as a rule despise - the classic example is dumb marketing guy, but try consultants, lawyers, politicians, lobbyists, executives, journalists (just think Jon Katz). With this kind of troll sweeping statements with little content are the norm, along wire dire portents of future catastrophe and dark hints of insider knowledge.

Some possible angles to exploit:
* Industry knowledge

The expert knows the computing industry from the inside - as a long-term pro, they can dispense knowledge knowing that they can speak for the industry. Their smug self-satisfaction is bound to annoy, as is any suggestion that things aren't the way that /.ers would like it - saying Linux requires the rock-solid guarantee of a trusted company like Microsoft or Apache cannot be trusted for mission-critical enterprise platforms is guaranteed to get you denials explaining exactly why you're wrong, in excruciating detail.

* Helpful hints

With their tech-savvy (or law-savvy or whatever) experience, the expert is obviously the best person to point out what's wrong with things or to give out useful factual information. In fact this probably works best with lawyer trolls - for all that /.ers protest IANAL, they certainly seem to think they could be, and any mistakes you make will send them rushing to prove themselves by correcting you.

3. Offtopic Trolls

Not really a troll in the strict Jargon File sense of the word, but they certainly should be included here :) This category includes parodies, offtopic weirdness any all kinds of amusing stuff. Not really my area of expertise, this stuff is mainly done by gnarphlager and opensourceman. Thanks to gnarphlager for this section.

Offtopic trolls, like any other, come in almost as many colours as an iMac, but generally not as cute. But then again, a good offtopic troll can affect more people than a repulsive little gumdrop on your desk, because you need to have someone SEE your desk before they can react. Simple? Moreso than even my overblown prose could indicate. Some basic examples:

* The serial troll

Write a story. Keep expanding it. It doesn't matter what article you post it under, so long as it's high up. If you want people to recognize you, pick a couple themes or symbols, and carry them on throughout the story. Other alternatives include back linking or including the entire story, but adding more each time. Be funny if you want. Or if you don't feel like being funny, just be really weird. Someone will react.

* The random troll

This has nothing to do with anything. Be it a stream of consciousness rant, or a description of the corner of your desk. Another favorite is a monologue, read as if spoken from any one given entity to another. The more outlandish, the better (a pair of socks talking to a mousepad, for example). If you really wanted to be artsy, work in an actual metaphor or legitimate meaning behind it, but it's not necessary.

* The vaguely related troll

Start out with a comment about the article. Have a definite opinion of it. Then, after a little while, disintegrate into randomness. All roads eventually can eventually lead to cheese (yum), Natalie Portman, cannibalism, toasters, squirrels, futons, you name it. All it takes is a little bit of creativity. Oh, and feel free to use other trolls' motifs. Open source and all that ;-)

General tips:
* If it's funny for a fleeting moment, then it's worth posting.
* Puns. Puns are only less vile than mimes, but it's hard to mime on /. So feel free/obligated to litter your offtopic and random bits with puns. Hurt the bastards. And if they're sick enough to laugh at them, then they'll eventually end up here ;-)
* Obscure cultural references and in jokes are always good. SOMEONE will get them eventually.
* Several drafts of a serial or random post are common, but true elegance is being able to come up with something on the spot that still makes the top 40 posts (on a post-heavy article)

Section 3 - Useful trolling links

The following links contain background information useful for trolls needing quick quotes and expert opinions to include.

1. General purpose links

* [] - How to deal with USENET trolls - learn your enemy :)
* [] * [] - USENET troll HOWTO
* [] -
* [] - Fielding's DangerFinder - A guide to what and where's dangerous

2. Religious links

* [] - God Hates America
* [] - The Creed of Christian Reconstruction
* [] - How to cast out your demons and do spiritual warfare
* ngs.htm [] - Things Creationists hate
* [] - Institute for Creation Research
* [] - Operation Clambake - The fight against Scientology on the net
* [] - Citizens for the Ten Commandments
* [] - The difference between Catholics and Christians
* [] - Bible quotes by category

3. Political/economy links

* [] - The Ayn Rand Institute
* [] - Libertarian site
* [] - Right-wing stuff
* [] - Excellent site for all kinds of right-wingery
* [] - Web economy bullshit generator

4. Crackpot science links

* [] - The Earth Is Not Moving
* [] - The Journal of Irreproducible Results

Section 4 - Troll Examples to Get You Started

First post
Every time a new story is posted on Slashdot, comments may be posted discussing it. Because of this, there is often competition between Slashdot posters to post the first comment on a story. Some first posters try to make a short insightful comment to avoid being moderated down. The more immature first posts often consist of a subject saying first post! or FP and have no body, and sometimes people deliberately post first post messages a ridiculously long time after the original story has been submitted (Example [] ) as a parody of the first post. There are many other variants of the first post. Example 1 [] , Example 2 []

Natalie Portman, naked and petrified with hot grits
Natalie Portman is a popular target for the affections of many Slashdot trolls. When referring to her, they frequently profess their love for a statue of the petrified actress, preferably covered in hot grits. Naked and Petrified is now such an infamous troll that it virtually epitomizes Slashdot trolling, and is often referred to and parodied in Slashdot comments. Other incarnations of the troll suggest that Natalie Portman pours hot grits into their underwear. Example [] (lengthy)

Comment explaining the origin of N&P []

*BSD is dying
Quite frequently (especially for BSD-related Slashdot stories) a comment will be posted detailing the manner in which BSD operating systems are dying. These comments are generally all identical, following to the letter the form of this comment [] . Parodies of this troll have also been posted, such as this comment [] stating that Slashdot is dying.

Beowulf clusters
When a story mentioning a new gadget is posted on Slashdot, it will invariably be proposed that the power of a Beowulf cluster of the new gadgets would be incredible. Such comments are generally prefaced with Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these things! This type of troll actually began as a parody of sincere posts frequently made in stories about new computers back when the concept of Beowulf clusters first entered the technological mainstream. Example 1 [] , Example 2 []

Stephen King is dead
This needs little explanation. This troll merely posts a comment stating that the author has just heard on the radio that Stephen King has been found dead in his Maine home. A good example of this can be found here [] .

Business plans
This troll is based upon a fictitious business plan concocted on the animated television show South Park, in which a community of underground gnomes have a three step business plan, consisting of:

1. Steal underpants
2. ???
3. Profit!

where none of the gnomes actually knows what the second step is, and all of them assume that someone else within the organization does.

For Slashdot stories where an individual or organization is alleged to have performed some controversial action, an anonymous wag will invariably post a false business plan based on this template, with the controversial action as the first step. Example []

Penis bird
These troll comments consist of a nonsensical or provocative subject line and a body consisting of a crude ASCII representation of a bird perched on a penis by its claws.

Penis bird ASCII art and a picture of a parrot perched on an erect penis are hosted at and can be found here [] .

In these posts, trolls usually begin their comments with the subject IN SOVIET RUSSIA... (all capitals) and typically proceed to reverse the order of words in that story's headline, usually changing the verb slightly to maintain subject/verb agreement and changing the object of the sentence to the second-person YOU!. So, [subject][verb][object] usually becomes IN SOVIET RUSSIA... [object][verb] YOU! Example 1 [] Example 2 []

The phrase In Soviet Russia... is a signature of the jokes of Russian comedian Yakov Smirnoff.

Reigniting flamewars
Popular on software and development articles, this troll tries to explain why a particular operating system, programming language or other concept is inferior to others, in a way intended to annoy. This type of troll will either make an outlandish and obvious claim or subtly use a valid criticism of something in an aggravating fashion.

For example:

* The K in KDE stands for Krap.
* Why would I want a desktop with a smelly foot on it?
* Linux has immensely poor SMP support.
* My BSD machines have much better uptimes and stability than my Linux machines.
* Object-oriented programming is difficult to use and doesn't increase productivity.
* Open source software has poorer levels of QA than proprietary solutions.
* Python scales up for large projects better than Perl.

This type of post is usually moderated down as flamebait, but sometimes causes a flamewar to begin amongst those who reply and the troll gets his 'bite'.

Movie spoilers
This is generally a significantly subtler trolls than most. The spoiler type of troll is usually, for the most part, a genuinely insightful comment split into several paragraphs, with the middle or penultimate paragraph containing a movie spoiler in the middle of a sentence. Example [] (contains what appears to be a spoiler for The Matrix Reloaded, but is actually not)

Homosexuality is one of the most versatile and so common trolling devices utilized. In its simplest form it may be used on its own in the form of a homophobic insult or as a feature of a pornographic troll featuring common Slashdot topics and celebrities.

This can be done manually or via an automated script; multiple copies of the same message are posted many times over with slight variations in order to avoid being filtered. Scripted crapflooding attacks can be very effective: a troll known as Sexual Asspussy has created a Perl script to crapflood Slash sites [] and utilized it with some success in stories such as this [] .

Troll organizations
Periodically, individual trolls will come together and form organized groups. They will usually post common variations of popular Slashdot trolls with their organization's name attached in some way. While somewhat uncommon, these organizations can become quite famous among Slashdot regulars; the most prominent of these being the Cabal of Logged in Trolls or 'CLIT' and 'Trollkore'. The various groups often fight it out in a battle of slander and competition to achieve first posts. In summer of 2003 the most frequently mentioned troll organization was the Gay Niggers Association of America. It boasted its own logo and IRC channel, and encouraged people to join by first watching a Danish low-budget movie Gayniggers from Outer Space or to register their support by upwardly moderating GNAA comments.

Article text trolls
Sometimes considered an effective sanitization of those who post comments consisting of a linked article's text for positive moderation, these trolls consist of the linked article's text with a phrase or paragraph covertly inserted or modified to form a subversive or offensive message not present in the original article. These can be in the form of film or book spoilers, amongst other things. Example []

Combinations of trolling techniques
Various aspects of the above techniques may be combined: []

Changelog -

0.65 - Added Examples Section

0.61 - Cleaned Howto

0.6 - Debut on /.

Minor quibble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290485)

Who is Jon Katz and what is he doing in this HOWTO? (OK, I know who he is, but the reference to 'Jon Katz stories' is a bit outdated nonetheless)

There is an issue here (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290405)

I'm a student at a university in the UK, and was recently done for plagarism, on the basis that I had lifted a paragraph from an internet source. I freely admit that yes, I did lift the paragraph from the source, but the unreasonable part is *I WROTE THE SOURCE*. That's right, they stuck my essay in google, my website came up, with an old, largely unrelated essay on it, and, because the essay is on the internet, it's copying from an internet source, in spite of the fact that it's my own site.
There's catching people who are attempting to plagarise, and just being silly.

Re:There is an issue here (3, Interesting)

elid (672471) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290442)

But many universities consider using a single essay of yours for two different assignments to be plagiarizing, so why should your case be any different?

Re:There is an issue here (3, Insightful)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290491)

Because he had never submitted the original for grading?

I'm not sure if this is the case (I'm not the above AC), but I don't really see a problem with submitting work done outside of class for later class credit. It's a bit on the edge to submit the same assignment for multiple classes, but fairly unlikely to happen in a University setting (and usually out-ruled anyway).

Sometimes the sentence you wrote 6 months ago is just the best way to say what you want to say. That being said, I've never done anything like this. But it's an interesting case.

Re:There is an issue here (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290494)

The usual rule is that you can only not re-use material you wrote for another reason if someone else owns the copyright (i.e. you sold it) or you have already been awarded course credit for it (on any course, even at another institution).

Re:There is an issue here (4, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290560)

Plagiarizing: To use and pass off (the ideas or writings of another) as one's own.
To appropriate for use as one's own passages or ideas from (another).

Now a university is supposed to be a institution to pass on knowledge but when they can't even get simple English right, its a slight problem. If you wrote it you have the right to use it where ever you would like to, well unless you gave away the rights and such.

Re:There is an issue here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290450)

So what was the outcome, once you proved that your own website was the source?

I think that there are core issues with plaigarism detection software, not least of which is that if there are thousands of essays online for a certain topic, then chances are any essay on the same subject is going to appear to plaigarise, even if it doesn't.

Re:There is an issue here (1)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290467)

In most places, using all or part of one of your own pre-existing works without proper citation is grounds for being brought up on charges of academic dishonesty.

It pays to completely read and understand your University's academic standards.

Re:There is an issue here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290501)

that's the kind of retardedness you get for doing humanities.

Re:There is an issue here (2, Informative)

mscheid (318333) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290587)

They're probably a bit touchy at the moment...
Even the UK government published parts of an old forgotten PhD thesis as their report on Saddam's WMD arsenal, mind you :-D

Re:There is an issue here (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290588)

Did you cite yourself?

Regardless of whether the academic guidelines require you to do so, it's good practice to cite not only sources written by other people, but also the sources you wrote yourself. In the academic community, proper attribution both gives credit where credit is due *and* provides the reader with a way to find more information on the subject.

I realize, though, that this is a sticky issue, and most students probably aren't aware that they need to cite themselves if they use their own previous works as sources. To be honest, post-secondary institutions should educate their first-year students on citation requirements, because a lot of students don't learn much of anything about attribution before then.

And the basis for his suit is ??? (2, Insightful)

the_rajah (749499) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290406)

Discrimination: You singled me out. All the other students are doing it, too, and you didn't kick them out.

This guy should have to pay his own legal fees plus all the cost incurred by the university.

"Do the Right Thing. It will gratify some people and astound the rest." - Mark Twain

No... RTFA (4, Informative)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290454)

No it isn't. Read the article.

The basis for the suit is: "I've been plagarizing for 3.9 years, and right as I was about to graduate, you told me I couldn't. You shouldn't be allowed to kick someone out for plagarism after they pay you for 4 years of education."

This is a very silly argument, but if the student can find some evidence that the administration had knowledge of the plagarism scheme, led him to believe he would graduate, he paid all his fees, and *then* they pulled the plug, that would probably be just as immoral as the plagarism itself.

Lets be honest with ourselves. Who plagarizes anymore and thinks its okay?

Re:No... RTFA (2, Insightful)

Jhon (241832) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290550)

This is a very silly argument
Yes it is.

If it works, maybe they can use this argument in criminal court. Serial killers could sue local governments for incarceration using the arguement that they should have stopped him earlier and told him the consequences if he continued.

Hyperbole? Yes. But sometimes the ridicules helps to illuminate it's ilk.

This person is a complete retard (5, Insightful)

hattig (47930) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290408)

I saw this a couple of days ago (at a site with more details).

How any person can get to university without realising that plaigarism is wrong is beyond me. How an *English* student can try to argue that he didn't know what the word meant (as per the student handbook that explained this) ...

This person is so stupid that he doesn't deserve a degree. I think how he got his A Levels (pre-university exams in England) is also rather doubtful as well.

Re:This person is a complete retard (3, Insightful)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290461)

Having gone through engineering school, I have become very suspect of "perfect" people. Behind many 4.0's are a pile of lab partners who were shortchanged, lifted papers, cheating on exams, and behind the scenes dealings with professors.

They just get innured to special treatment.

Re:This person is a complete retard (1)

M0nkfish (620414) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290530)

I think he knows full well that plagiarism is wrong. However, his point is that the university waited until the last possible opportunity before kicking him out. By this time, they'll have already collected all the fees off him.

If he had been copying all his papers from the internet, then I'm sure the university must have known he was doing it for quite some time. In which case, why did they wait before kicking him out?

Re:This person is a complete retard (2, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290543)

I wonder if serial killers will try this? "Well, you should have stopped me before #27. How was I supposed to know it was wrong?"

Re:This person is a complete retard (2, Funny)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290586)

I wonder if serial killers will try this? "Well, you should have stopped me before #27. How was I supposed to know it was wrong?"

Well actually that's called the insanity defense.

Need Yet Another Warning Label? (4, Interesting)

stienman (51024) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290410)

His problem, then, is not that he was caught, but that he was caught too late. He argues that the university should have warned him of the consequences earlier.

* CAUTION: Coffee is hot, do not store between legs while driving.
* DO NOT stop chainsaw with HANDS.
And new to this category:


Re:Need Yet Another Warning Label? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290444)

> * CAUTION: Coffee is hot, do not store between legs while driving.

CAUTION: Coffee is served at unsafe temperature capable of causing 2nd to 3rd degree burns. Do not contact with body for 30 minutes after purchase.

Oh, and she wasn't driving, she was a passenger.

Check your facts next time.

Re:Need Yet Another Warning Label? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290453)

There's still enough motion and bumps in the passengers seat that common sense dictates not to drink anything hot, super-hot, medium-hot, or whatever.

Re:Need Yet Another Warning Label? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290506)

Could be, but the car wasn't moving at the time.

The larger point is that, while McDonalds knew they were serving coffee too hot to drink safely, they claimed in their defence that they believed most people would wait to drink it at their destination. It came out in trial, though, that they had done several studies over the years that had shown them without doubt that people intended to consume the coffee immediately, and that they had been quietly paying off severe burn victims for about 10 years prior to her suit.

Re:Need Yet Another Warning Label? (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290519)

Three years, not four.

He knew the consequences... (2, Insightful)

QangMartoq (614688) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290420)

According to the article:

"I can see there is evidence I have gone against the rules," he concedes. "But they have taken all my money for three years and pulled me up the day before I finished. If they had pulled me up with my first essay at the beginning and warned me of the problems and consequences, it would be fair enough."

University authorities wouldn't comment directly on the case stressed that the university is very clear on the subject. David Nightingale, the deputy vice-chancellor said: "All students are given clear guidelines as well as practical advice and support as to what constitutes plagiarism. These spell it out that it is not acceptable under any circumstances."

I'll admit that I've never been to a university, but I have to assume that like any respectable organization, this university made it clear to the student when he enrolled that plagarism was not acceptable. I'm sure there's a signature of his on a form somewhere in his records stating that he knew that well in advance.

Re:He knew the consequences... (5, Interesting)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290469)

At my school a student was kicked out for cheating. The parents came to complain to the headmaster. "How could you do this, after $X of our money?" they argued with him. He responded by nothing that since most of his tuition had actually been paid from the endowment, the school had actually paid $X+Y of their own money, and were also sad to see it go to waste -- but not as sad as they were that they couldn't have given his spot in the class to an honest student. The parents backed down.

Re:He knew the consequences... (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290487)

Hey, this is a guy who has probably spent 4 years explaining to his professors why HIS answer to the exam was correct.

Re:He knew the consequences... (1)

loyalsonofrutgers (736778) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290553)

I don't know about anyone else, but I was a bit concerned about the existance of a "deputy vice chancellor." Is it really surprising that plagiarism is so rampant when these universities are becoming so big and impersonal that there's a bureaucrat for everything? At my university there's an entire campus devoted to the administration (and of course it's old campus, with all the nicest oldest buildings). Aside from that there are three additional large "Administrative Services Buildings," 5 or 6 additional deans' offices (Not to mention dozens of deans in and of themselves) and an ungodly number of sattelite "student services."

When you bring on a giant student body and build a giant impersonal administration to match, this sort of thing is inevitable. Something tells me if there weren't so many 400 person lecture halls at these universities, where the professors only know the names of a dozen or so choice students, we wouldn't have nearly as big a problem with plagiarism as we do. This is a massive, systemic problem with higher education (at least in America, not necessarily strictly related to the case at hand), that requires a solution larger than google checks on individual papers.

HA! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290422)

I love it when you faggots mod me down as Flamebait because you don't like my opinions.

Well guess what? Hitler was right, Jews suck, DOWN WITH ZIONISM!

Penalties for getting caught (4, Insightful)

KoriaDesevis (781774) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290423)

Where I went to college, the Art department chair was caught many years after that fact for plaigarizing his dissertation for his Ph.D. He lost his doctorate and his job, and probably faced legal actions as well.

Better to get nailed for plaigarism before you have your degree like this guy at the University of Kent did than to build a career around a falsehood like the department chair.

Re:Penalties for getting caught (2, Interesting)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290465)

Yeah, I know of similar instances, a professor was found plagerizing many years later after he got his Ph.D when a student did research on him. He was fired, his Ph.D was invalidated, and all the student he taught had to retake that class or their degrees would also be nullified. That guy was probably sued for millions by his students.

Suing the University... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290424)

...because even though he plagiarized from teh get go, they waited until teh day before he graduated to kick him out, in effect, leaving him with no degree, and them with all teh money.
It doesn't say wether he wants money, or his degree, or whatever, and it doesn't say how long teh Uni knew about his plagiarism before giving him teh boot.

Does anyone familiar with UK courts think he can win this ridiculous case?

Re:Suing the University... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290471)

as much as I hate to side with the guy, I kind of agree with him. It almost seems like entrapment or something. if he was cheating all along and they knew, they should have busted him as soon as they knew. imagine if a cop started following you when you left your house for work and made a note of each traffice violation you did, then pulled up and handed you 20 tickets when you got to work.

Re:Suing the University... (2, Insightful)

hattig (47930) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290556)

I suspect (as the plaigarism detection system is new in that university, and is due to be used full time from next year) that they were testing it on some papers from this year. His came up as plagiarised. They (sensibly) decided to check all of his papers. Ding! All copied. They then contacted the authorities, and he got 0 on all papers.

I wouldn't be surprised if this is all stuff detected within the past month.

His own damn fault. (4, Interesting)

ebbomega (410207) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290425)

Welcome to the Real World, kid. You break the rules, you get caught, your own damn fault.

Plagiarism is an offense in which nobody wins. People who actually do the work are hurt because they won't rank as high (most Universities run off bell curves). The University gets themselves discredited and the value eof everybody's degree goes down if it happens too often. Everbody ends up with paint on their faces.

Only person possibly standing to benefit from it is the Plagiariser. So if you go down, it's your fucking problem.

This kid really needs to grow the hell up.

Re:His own damn fault. (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290529)


Spoken as a bitter college dropout, who was screwed by just about every lab partner, and ended up doing the heavy lifting on all the "team" projects, before running out of money my Senior year.

No, I'm not bitter that these wankers were getting scholarships renewed off my work. Not a bit...

The services have nothing to do with it (2, Informative)

idesofmarch (730937) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290426)

The crux of the lawsuit is that the student was punished too late, to his detriment, and, arguably, the university's benefit. There is no question that whatever method was used to catch the plagiarism did produce an accurate result.

This shouldnt be that difficult (2, Insightful)

obey13 (731453) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290435)

Its totally irrelavent as to when the school noticed/stopped him. The guy is asking for a degree based on work he didnt do. He cheated. he got caught, and now is just fishing for a way out.

Theres no way on earth he could have thought the university would be thrilled with his plagerism.

Re:This shouldnt be that difficult (1)

luckyguesser (699385) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290474)

as far as i can tell from the article, he's asking for his money back, not a degree

Maybe he sucks at english.. (3, Funny)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290436)

On the other hand, hes top of the class in his law module!

I hate people who sue for stupid stuff (1)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290441)

I'd like to know all of the schools he went to before college, because no one should go to these schools because they obviously don't teach their students that plagiarism is wrong. It's common sense that you shouldn't copy.

The author of the works that he copied should sue this guy for copyright infringement. That will show him.

Re:I hate people who sue for stupid stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290582)

"It's common sense that you shouldn't copy"... You don't mind if you check your hard drive now do you?

Now hold on a minute here... (4, Interesting)

Vthornheart (745224) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290456)

I was about ready to tear the kid's head off too, and then I read the blurb. Although I don't think he would ever win a lawsuit, I do think that, if they knew that he was plagarizing earlier, they should have kicked him out instead of letting him wade through 3 years of school and then opening up the history of his plagarizing.

The analogy to that would be seeing a burglar in your house, and sitting there as he took almost everything (and he knows that you're there watching and not saying anything about it). When he goes to take the last valuable item in your house, THEN you pull out your gun and shoot him in the face.

Now granted, what the kid did was stupid, and his excuse is lame ("I didn't know it was wrong"). But if they knew that he had been plagarizing the past 3 years (as the article incinuates), then they should have kicked him out immediately. Doing otherwise does kind of look like extortion, or rather making someone pay money under false pretenses.

That being said, I don't feel sympathy for the kid. You lost money? Too bad, you shouldn't have been plagarizing. You're 21 years old, you should know better.

Re:Now hold on a minute here... (1)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290531)

Well, a better analogy might be, watching the burgler tip-toe up the steps, check to see if anyone is home, whisper to his partner, "Okay, if we see anyone, we scram!", open the front door, tip-toe up to your vase, and then... plug him with a shotgun in the back, when you know full well that the situation could have been averted by just yelling, "Hey, get out of my house!"

But, I think this is supersupersuper far fetched. Come on. The administration of schools aren't interested in hurting their students.

University is running a pilot scheme (3, Informative)

mikewas (119762) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290579)

According to the BBC [] article:

The University is running a pilot scheme which uses plagiarism detection software to analyse student work.

So it's not like they knew all along and were stinging him along. They just got smart, started using the same technology he was using to cheat, and finally caught him.

This was the English department after all. It took them awhile!

It's official. (0, Troll)

Blaede (266638) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290457)

England has now become the USA.

Re:It's official. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290596)

You stole that quote off the internet!

Plagarism in English! (0, Flamebait)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290458)

The whole basis for the degree is that you read a book or play written by someone else, listen to your lecturer and then write a critique of something written by someone with miles more talent than you have.

The whole basis of an English degree is ripping off other people's work and using it to justify your grades.

Lets put it this way, if that "Linus stole Linux" paper had been submitted as literary critisism it would have got an A.

The guy was a prat, he cheated, he was caught. But cheating in English... damn that is a waste of time. What jobs come out of that ?

What jobs? Well, waiter, to start. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290504)

Other jobs for English grads:

1) barrista
2) Kinkos clerk
3) Sears salesman
4) babysitter
5) dog groomer (lesbos only)

Re:Plagarism in English! (1)

michaelggreer (612022) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290557)

Do you really believe that there is no point in reading good books, thinking about them, and then collecting your thoughts in writing?

I will assume you meant to criticize po-mo literary criticism, not the very idea of writing about literature. That would be a reasonable criticism.

Take responsibility (1)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290470)

"A student who was booted off his degree course for plagiarism is to sue the university. He says tutors at the University of Kent should have spotted what he was doing and stopped him sooner"

Sure. Blame someone else for the consequences of your own actions. Sheesh! Grow up and take some responsibility.

The crux of the matter.... (2, Insightful)

Magus311X (5823) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290473) that the university didn't warn him that they knew he was plagiarising papers for his courseworks, but instead let him keep going until the week of the final exams and then told him there wasn't any point in him taking them, as they wouldn't let him pass anyway, thus letting him build up debts of $15,000+.

There are two other possible options they could have done at the first time they he was plagiarising text:

(1) Throw him out immediately.

(2) Follow standard industry disciplinary procedures:
. . .A verbal warning first, then a written warning; and finally suspension or being expelled.

Given that the university stated that plagiarising won't be tolerated, why didn't they warn him? If a students wasn't getting some topic and constantly getting wrong answers, wouldn't the department have told him? If someone decided they wanted to become a pilot, attended flying school, but lacked the concentration/attention span required to learn, would the instructors waste their (and his) time stringing that person along only to tell them that they shouldn't bother attending the exam?

There are standard punishments for this type of behavior. To allow someone to build up this amount of debt is purely vindictive and would probably amount to a "cruel and unusual punishment". It seems to me, the department were only interested in collecting as much money from him as possible.

Re:The crux of the matter.... (2, Insightful)

Coolmoe (416032) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290505)

Im sure that the only warning that is needed is the one you get in orientation. How about the rules in the student handbook. See now that is 2 warnings right in the door. Stupid of him to risk it anyhow and im sure he was aware that this could happen.

Re:The crux of the matter.... (3, Insightful)

Sarhosh Amiral (772139) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290532)

I did not see anything in article suggesting that university knew he was plagiarizing earlier. It's what the student is assuming which may not be true. It might very well be the case that university just found out he was doing this. That's enough I guess.

Coursework (3, Insightful)

Nick Harkin (589728) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290483)

All I know, is that whenever I hand in a single piece of coursework, however minor, we are always given a sheet to read and sign, stating that the work is entirely our own.

And I'm a student in England.

I hope he doesn't win, if he does, I'm going to feel really silly for the hundreds of hours I've put in on work over the years, when I could have done this.

/Me Rolls Eyes.

I'm missing the logic (3, Insightful)

YAJoe (740850) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290492)

If they had pulled me up with my first essay at the beginning and warned me of the problems and consequences, it would be fair enough."
Isn't it wrong every time? And not just the first time? I don't get this logic, but maybe it's because I'm a CS student. Those English people are a different breed. I'm glad they caught him: I've been putting up with his types at college for the past two years. At times I feel like I'm the only one *learning* something.

It seems to be unfair punishment indeed (0, Troll)

erroneus (253617) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290493)

Upon first detecting the offense, they should have booted him.

The University's behavior was clearly out of line in that it was unduly cruel and unusual. Further, it was a drain on resources they were not entitled to since they had decided from the beginning they were not going to give him the degree he was spending time trying to acquire.

His method of acquisition was inappropriate but punishment should fit the crime. The punishment itself, in this case, was fraudulent since they decided from early on that he would be removed.

He should have a complete refund awarded to him though of course he should receive no degree since he didn't earn it.

Well, what I would do ... (1)

petabyte (238821) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290497)

if I were the person he plagurized, is to sue him for copyright infringement. I mean in the off chance he actually wins anything, have the person that actually did the work sue it off of him again.

I wonder if he took any of my stuff ...

i'm sure no one 'plagurized' your stuff (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290517)

'nuff said.

Solution? (5, Interesting)

Potor (658520) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290498)

I am an university instructor, as well as an admissions officer. Feeding everyone's papers through a plagiarism detector is probably going help, especially since the process itself will act as somewhat of a deterrent. But my own simple rule is as follows: if an essay sounds professional, it probably is. The writing standards of most undergraduate students are so low that anything well written really stands out. I simply run these through google. It is amazing how many of these turn out to be plagiarized (right now, in a program of about 60 students, I am dealing with three plagiarism cases - this does not include the handful of applicants who submitted plagiarized writing samples).

As a corollary, it is amazing how stupid today's plagiarist is.

Wow (1)

jmt9581 (554192) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290499)

His problem, then, is not that he was caught, but that he was caught too late. He argues that the university should have warned him of the consequences earlier.

What an imbecile. He was clearly warned in the student handbook that plagiarism was unacceptable. I don't know about his particular classes, but my teachers always make a point of defining plagiarism, explaining why it's unacceptable and clearly outlining the consequences. If his argument is that the school should have checked his work for plagiarism sooner, then whatever lawyer agreed to file this suit should be ashamed of himself.

Re:Wow (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290539)

Ashamed? A lawyer feel ashamed? Don't they have that part of the brain that feels shame surgically removed before passing the bar?

This guy should be a law student (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290521)

He's already got the morals of a lawyer. The suit should be a good start to a new vocation.

Use Google! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9290549)

As a lecturer, I've found the level of plagerism from the internet as worrying. I've always warned my students that I will take random sentences from their reports and plug it into Google to check for unreferenced and unmodified sources.

Turning a blind eye to plagerism devalues the quality of degrees. I feel no pity when cheats are caught out.

compiling (1)

master_gilbert (729239) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290558)

ummm a

i think he may only win because hes compiling information off the internet and getting it to the teachers satisfaction for the context they like it in

The lamest generation ever (1)

kyoko21 (198413) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290580)

Yep, as this weekend we celebrate the greatest generation ever, it is stories like this that reminds me this is the lamest generation ever.

Instead of taking responsibilties and accept full blame, he points the finger at someone else for his lack of moral compass and honesty.

"Oh I admit that I am a shop-lifter but I am going to sue the store because they should have caught me long time ago and set me right on my way so I would learn my lesson." Apparently he knew what was right and wrong and chose the wrong path to follow.

If you can't do the time then you shouldn't do the crime.

Getting caught arguement (1)

funk_phenomenon (162242) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290583)

I know that the university lawyers are actively searching out if he had talked about the fact he plagarised, and he knew it was wrong, anywhere prior to the event of getting caught. His whole arguement hinges on the fact he didn't see that his plagarism wasn't a problem if he didn't get caught.

Also the fact that his signed onto a school with a contract of rules, even if was ignorant to the fact there were rules.

I watch far too much Law & Order.

Please!! (0, Flamebait)

robert899 (769631) | more than 10 years ago | (#9290590)

There is no reason to discuss this kid. He should be killed.
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