Monday, July 12, 2010

"Copy and Paste" - The Road to Perdition...

"If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all!" ...Grandma Martin  and many other people... 

Those are good words to live by and I try to abide by simple, basic rules.  Here's a spin on that old adage - "If you don't have anything original to say or write, make sure you credit your sources!"

I plagiarized once.  I left a grade 12 geography essay to the last minute.  Working with only 1 or 2 references, I "borrowed heavily" for a few paragraphs.  Sure enough, the essay was returned with a red circle accompanied by the comment, "I think you may not have used your own words here."   That my teacher had actually cited an original part of my essay didn't matter to me; I knew that I had cheated elsewhere.  Rather than heap "hypocrite" on top of "plagiarizer", I made no comment.  I can still feel the remorse I experienced on that occasion and I've not been tempted to opt for an expedient route since.

Thanks to the Internet, plagiarism is more rampant than the common cold.  Thousands of websites pander to intellectual parasites. 

Sites like The Essay Directory (right click and select "open in a new window)

That's like child porn - something that decent people don't tolerate!

I would like to think that the majority of this stuff gets caught.   Checks and balances also abound on the Internet with sites like;

The source of my little rant is 2 experiences I had in the past year - 1 last fall and 1 yesterday.  The first was from a speaker I have some personal acquaintance with.   She delivered a speech for a humorous speech contest.  Formerly unimpressed with her style, I had to congratulate her effusively on a performance that had definitely been kicked up by several notches.  I made a point of conveying my delight in hearing such a compelling and entertaining speech.   A week or two later, I watched a YouTube video forwarded by a friend through email.  It featured a stand-up comic delivering very nearly the exact speech with which my acquaintance had won her contest!  I was dumb-founded, shocked, incredulous, crestfallen, angry, affronted and dumb-founded (again!) (right click this and select "open in another window" to see how I really felt!)

I'm over that one... 

After all, the insult was perceived by me but not directed at me.  Yesterday's incident had significant  differences.  The principal involved was a random contact from a dating web site I had just signed up with (and have now left!)   After seeing my profile - or perhaps only my photo and highlights - he sent me a message with a tasteful measure of flattery and a heavier dose of rhetoric on topics he'd obviously gleaned were of interest to me.  I was impressed but hesitant to use the telephone number he had shared in his email.  I re-read his words this morning.  They were good, but - you guessed it - a little TOO good...

I selected a few very unique constructions and pasted them into my Google search line and sure enough it returned an immediate "hit."  It turned out that I had nearly begun a discussion not with "x" from whoville but with  Kierkegaard from beyond!  That drove me to something I am loathe to employ - bold, red capitals!  I was REALLY PISSED OFF!  I sent a brief reply, including the link with his unquoted text, told him that I wouldn't be needing his phone number and I cancelled my account!

At this juncture I have an important decision to make - wine or meditation!!  A penny for Y-O-U-R thoughts???

Posted via email from juddzz's posterous