Friday, 28 February 2014

Plagiarising donkeys, and why they graze

I've been wanting to write a post about this for a few months now, and finally I have found the time to write it with my friend Hawwa, who you might know from It Was Lovely Reading You. We co-wrote this post.

So, what is this post about,’ I hear you ask, "Donkeys?!" Nope. We started calling plagiarists 'plagiarising donkeys' and somehow it stuck. "What is this post really about, then?" Well, it’s something that has affected me and Hawwa a lot, as well as millions of other bloggers. Plagiarism. The word that sends shivers down every blogger's spine. The word that instills fear in the blogging community. The word that forms cracks through the blogosphere if the ‘news’ gets out like a mirror shattering into jagged pieces. Some bloggers don't seem to understand how devastating it is to be plagiarised, to have your hard work stolen with the click of a mouse. How hard is it, really, to write your own blog post? To use your own words, your own ideas, your own mind? It’s not. Plagiarism is lazy. You can’t take pride in it, and why would you want to use what someone else has worked on anyway?

You've seen that someone got a particularly high number of comments or views on a certain post, so you decide to copy the post in an attempt to get the same response. Guess what? According to Leonie Dawson, "You will never get to the same level of success by copying someone." That’s a fact.

Seriously, if you don’t have the brainpower to create your own ideas and posts, why are you blogging? To be a blogger you need to have the ability to handle pressure and stress when meeting review deadlines, you need to be able to gather inspiration of your own to write into blog posts, and you need to find your own ways of gaining readers and followers - you can't just steal someone else's...unless you have the morals of a warthog.

You think plagiarism is just when text is copied word-for-word? It also counts as plagiarism if you take someone's blog post idea without credit, or if you take an extreme amount of 'inspiration' copy someone's blog design. Plagiarism is also when you copy and paste text and then re-word it ever so slightly. It's still blatantly obvious to the original writer that you have stolen it. Plagiarists: You understand legal action can be taken against you, right? Just saying. There's only so many second chances you'll receive before you go too far.

So, what do you do if you see your own content on someone else’s blog? 

1) Don't panic.
You may be angry seeing how someone has shamelessly ‘’borrowed’’ your own ideas and opinions, and the worst thing you can do is to email them in a fit of rage. Calm down and assess the situation.

2) Make a word document. 
Paste in the copied 'subject' (your own), and paste the plagiarised content underneath. Then, highlight the copied sentences in the original, and the plagiarised item (in the same colour). This means you can then send them proof of their actions if they try to deny it. (You can also highlight sentences that are ‘vaguely’ the same. Make sure this is in a different colour to the other highlighted sections.)

3) Now email them. Consider this a cease and desist letter; a legal document.
Be calm, rational, and explain the situation. Attach the word document, ask them to take the post down and/or ask them to change it. Then... wait for a reply.

Now, here is the part where you will grow restless and increasingly frustrated. Why? Because you don’t know when they’ll reply, or even if they’ll reply at all. If they have any shred of decency, they’ll reply sooner rather than later. But, here's the thing: they probably won't apologise, and they probably won't take any responsibility for it. A blogger I know was plagiarised a while ago, and the plagiarist tried to place the blame on someone else. It was a lame and transparent excuse. Another time, I was the one who was plagiarised, and this plagiarist completely denied it, even though, y’know, I have eyes. If a blogger contacts you because you have plagiarised them, the best thing you can do is apologise, take responsibility, and do what they ask of you.

We have both been blogging for a long time, so we have had plenty of time to observe why bloggers do things and when they usually do the said thing. For example, I (and many other bloggers, according to Twitter) have noticed that bloggers who plagiarise are usually the ‘newbies’. I have NOTHING against new book bloggers, and I know it's not all of them. And yes, sometimes the plagiarists are older, more established bloggers (that's when shock really ripples through the blogosphere). I suppose new book bloggers think they can get away with it. Maybe, they've just started reviewing books that have a deadline, and have a couple of books on the go. What do they do if they're stressed, don’t have time to write a review, or maybe they don’t know what to write? They read other people's reviews. They think 'Oh, that's a good sentence to include, I like that turn of phrase, I'm sure they won't notice if I use that paragraph as my own….' and with a click of their mouse, they've become a plagiarist.

Plagiarism is disrespectful. It is rude, it is lazy, it is illegal, and we do not need it in the blogging world, yet some people don't seem to be getting the message. You want to have a successful blog? Take time to think of your own ideas, because if you plagiarise from a blog you like, not only are you building a bad reputation for yourself, but you are also completely diminishing any chance you might have had at connecting with the blogger.

Please have a look at this post by Ashley at Nose Graze and this post by Kelly at Effortlessly Reading. Ashley's post will help you deal with plagiarists, while Kelly's perfectly sums up how me and Hawwa feel about plagiarism. Definitely worth a read!

Have you been plagiarised? How did you deal with it?


  1. PREACH WOMAN PREACH. Oh wait. I am one of the bloggers that wrote it..I think i did a good job to be honest..*flips hair*
    Anyway, seeing as I wrote this there's no point me commenting on it other than to reiterate what we said..which is...ALL YOU PLAGIARIZING DONKEY'S NEED TO GO FIND SOME OTHER FOOD. :P

    1. You wrote some of it. I still get to PREACH WOMAN PREACH, right? ;P Peaches.

    2. Maybe...;p OMG I LOVE PEACHES HAVE YOU GOT SOME? *looks around*

  2. Absolutely loved this post; you two need to collaborate more often! Your posts are so creative!
    I hate Plagarism. I never check to see if my work has been copied as I'm always too scared to. I know I would panic if I saw that it had been; and of course, I would probably freak out and spend the day sending emails!
    I don't think people who copy should be blogging, like you said it's about creativity, but I also think it's about being yourself and not worrying about being the best(although this one is slowly changing recently). If I think someone has written an amazing post, and I want to recycle what they have done, then I always ask. I would hate it if someone did this to me and didn't link(which I always do).

    Fab post!

    -Sophie :)

    1. Thanks Sophie! You could check using CopyScape. All you have to do is put in your URL and it will come up with other URLs which have used the same text as you. It's not very reliable though...all of the times I've been plagiarised (twelve times so far) I've found out from another blogger telling me about it, so if no one's said that to you then hopefully your work is still very much where it should be! :)

    2. TWELVE TIMES. FUDGENUGGETS. every time i hear that number i freak out. Hmm yes, the 'just be yourself' part of blogging is slowly evaporating which is sad, but yes, i do that too Sophie, if i see something i love, for example a line that someone has written about a book i am currently reviewing, I may use it in my review, but I CREDIT THE ORIGINAL WRITER etc. ;) I see nothing wrong in taking inspiration, as long as it's not blatant plagiarizing or if you ask permission, and accepting a 'no sorry but i'd like to keep that just for my blog' if that's the answer..
      hashtag post in a comment. <3

  3. Brilliant post, you guys! <3 Really sums up everything! I've been plagiarised a few times, even multiples times by the same person. I get it through blogging and schoolwork... It's awful. You guys did a brilliant job on talking about everything! Write more co-postssss;)
    -Gee :D

    1. I've been plagiarised by the same person multiple times too. It really sucks, especially when they had several warnings. How did you find out you'd been plagiarised and how did you deal with it, out of interest? I get it through schoolwork too - it's even worse when the teacher thinks you copied someone else when it was the other way round... Thanks Gee! We might...;)


    Perfectly this so a perfect post. Obviously, I agree with everything you guys said. When I was plagiarised it made me feel so bad. Not only does being plagiarised affect your feelings, but it affects your confidence and your enthusiasm towards blogging, and I have to admit, being plagiarised really turned me off blogging for a while. Even now, I shudder at me experiences. Plagiarisers need to know the affects they're actions have on the victim. They need to think twice and put themselves in our position. And you're right, there is no excuse. No matter if you're a newbie bloggers, or a popular one, the result is still the same.

    The steps you mentioned are perfect. When you've been plagiarised, being professional is the best way to go.

    Thanks so much, you guys, for writing this post! It needed to be done. And I think it's gonna help a lot of people. :)

    No.1 cabbehj

    1. *Lorde ;)

      I know how you feel. In fact, I think being plagiarised is making me go off blogging now, even though the last time happened a month-ish ago. :(

      Thank you! I really hope it helps at least one person :)

      No.1 comedianz and macaron

      well. *flips hair* I did write those steps so of course they're perfect. ;)

      WHAT AM I..

      No.1 marionette sized awesome alter ego aka. zuzana. :p

  5. This is the best idea for a post. I luckily haven't come across anyone plagarising my work but I have seen posts that are similar to mine which is frustrating as hell. But I will definitely keep your advice in mind since it's a really smart idea. I know someone who got copied badly, meaning they copied there whole blog! Even the spelling mistakes which I find outrageous.

    Btw I really like your title, it's a smart one haha.

    1. Woah! That's ridiculous. It would take longer to copy an entire blog than to write their own post. Thank you! :D

    2. WOAH. the whole blog?! WITH spelling mistakes? hashtag some people. -_-

  6. Some ideas have been around so long you don't really know who started it though... Like which author, blogger etc. started dream casts? Could've been Steinbeck. Oh, I want X to play George in Of Mice & Men. Nobody knows...
    And discussion posts... The amount of times I've had the thought for one & then it pops up in my feed. I'm like, do I write it as a response? Do I mention them? That's the only thing that gets to me: Why must others have similar ideas to me? XD

    1. Answering what you said about whether to mention someone or not, I'd say you should even if you had the idea first. For example, this post has been sat in my scheduled posts for a really long time and before it was published, Ashley and Kelly (who I linked to in my post) published posts about plagiarism, so I added them in 1) because their posts were awesome and 2) it just seemed like the right thing to do. Totally know what you mean though, if it's a really, really, really original post idea and then someone else does it around the same time, it's annoying xD


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