Yeesh. I had changed my mind about writing about this today, but a quick glance at my incoming traffic told me that hundreds of you are poking around by way of The Jet Set, apparently by way of cjane enjoy it.
What follows is my explanation, as briefly as I can (which will be something because, new readers, I don’t do brief very well), as to how an unknown-to-me blogger turned me into Jack Jack from The Incredibles this Saturday.
(hmmmm, short… short… succinct… to the point… do that how?…)
I know! We’ll make it like a play! Oh yeah, this will be fun. Ditch the prose and we’re in action.
(open on Saturday morning when I know better than to check my email…)
Megan: at her computer opening email expectantly… Surely I’ll have heard from Matt Lauer today…
Megan’s email: You’ve been PWNED! (okay, I’m not even that cool and had to look the term up to make sure I was using it correctly. I can’t even pretend.)
Megan: Say what?
email from Onnuh: You’ve been plagiarized by Miss Musing. Here are her posts and here is your post that she stole.
Megan: exhaling wearily because I get weird spam sometimes and so don’t bother to click the links
email from Azucar: You’ve been plagiarized by Miss Musing. Here are her posts and here is your post that she stole.
Megan: Oh no she di’int!
Megan clicks on the links. Megan falls out of her chair.
On the computer screen, the audience sees Miss Musing’s posts:
Megan frowns but thinks maybe it’s only a couple of lines…
She opens the next post:
Megan switches tabs to her own post and turns bright red and possibly grows horns as she appears to morph into Jack Jack at the end of The Incredibles, fireball turned lead weight turned devil:
Megan: Oh. no. she. did. not.
That, folks, is not scraping. That’s not copying and pasting a bit of text along with a link to the original work.
That is plagiarism.
Miss Musing took what I wrote and turned it into two posts of her own. Not as an inspiration, but literally took the actual words and fit them into her own post. The second post, by the way, I am near positive she completely fabricated given the “plot” of my story of seeing a man in the coffee shop I thought I recognized, blah blah blah.
What is all the more infuriating is that she had over 500 subscribers. Hundreds of followers on her Google Friend Connect. Hundreds of twitter followers. And none of her readers had any idea.
The comments! You can read the comments for both posts in the full screengrabs by clicking on the appropriate cropped image above. The comments really kill me. Her readers simply had no idea.
Were you a reader of Miss Musing? Do you feel duped? You should. And not just because she stole at least one post of mine.
She had done this before. And was continuing to do it.
Long story short (you are laughing, aren’t you?), she had plagiarized cjane before and had been caught. Azucar from The Jet Set wrote a post about the entire debacle (with possibly the most clever title ever), which inspired her incredibly resourceful readers to do a bit of sleuthing. The Sherlock Award most certainly goes to Onnuh, who is the Jet Set reader that found the Miss Musing posts plagiarizing me and others.
Now that I think of it, if I’m like Jack-Jack (seemingly powerless, yet able to turn into a bedeviled fireball right before your eyes), then Miss Musing is like Syndrome: Not a real superhero, nay blogger, but rather an insecure sidekick-wannabe replicating the powers of those around her. Manufacturing them in such a way that her onlookers have no idea that it is all a rouse.
Miss Musing’s remote control wrist cuff powers were her abilities to use “cut and paste.”
Until, that is, Jack-Jack went all devil on Syndrome’s ass, leading to the fake superhero’s ultimate demise.
Look, I’m not saying we are superheroes. Bear with me here. I’m trying to have a little fun and needed an excuse to use these photos… which I stole from Google Images, which means I stole from somewhere else. The difference is that I’m linking. Giving credit. Not claiming to have created these images and directing you to exactly where I found them.
That being said, we can not allow for plagiarism.
In many cases, when I find my work on someone else’s site with no credit given, I simply give them a polite warning. Often, it’s a naive new blogger and they honestly didn’t know better. Sometimes it is a scraper (a site that simply copies posts based around a given keyword), but I still give them a warning before I report them to their blog host for removal.
This time, given that Miss Musing had not only been given warning on earlier plagiarism examples but was continuing her plagiarism against an increasing number of bloggers, I gave no warning. I immediately reported her to Blogger and then spread the word on twitter.
Why twitter? Because if she chose to simply delete the posts, nothing would stop her from continuing her stealing and her readers would never know.
Simply deleting the posts and possibly apologizing wouldn’t be good enough this time, as her empty apology to cjane had clearly demonstrated that she had no intention of stopping.
And let’s be honest, it is stealing.
So what did I want to happen as a result of my going Jack-Jack? Ultimately, I wanted the posts removed, if not her blog, yes. But more than anything else, I wanted her readers to know what she had done to them. Girl had a lot of readers. She had violated their trust and trust is just about all we have to work with online.
Aside from talent. But who needs talent when you can cut and paste?!
So what did happen? The details are unclear, but what I do have is a cliffhanger of an ending to our little play:
Enter Megan after a long Saturday at the Crawfish Festival and Family Fair with her family where she didn’t give a single thought to Miss Musing:
Megan opens her email.
Megan’s email: Oh no you di’int! Miss Musing is gone! Her blog has been removed and her twitter account is deleted.
To which Megan responds:
Laptop closes. The end.
Except that obviously, it isn’t the end. We are left with all kinds of questions regarding how we can protect ourselves against the Miss Musing’s of the Internet. And what is to stop her from doing it again on a new blog? To you?
What this post was going to be about was just that: How do we protect our work online? But that brevity thing, I’ve apparently also gone Jack-Jack on that.
So next time I write about this it will be about going Violet on our blogs and creating an invisible yet impenetrable-as we-can-make-it bubble around our work.
And potential plagiarizers? Maybe don’t mess with me. Or my friends. And apparently definitely not cjane because, wow, her readers really like her.