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  1. #21
    Charles Aidan
    Guest

    Re: Plagiarism vs. Fair Use

    >> If tonight in bed you'll say it to your wife,
    >> she may well say "Oh, Charles, you've such a wonderful
    >> way with words. You're such an original"

    nom de plume--

    I came in here asking legitimate questions, and subtle insults are uncalled for. OK, so we don't agree with your opinion on using 4 words from Nabokov, but it doesn't call for your smart words or insults that I am silly and hint that I am an incompetent, uncreative writer, and good riddance to Charles.

    Here's where I believe you miss my point:

    Universities scare the daylights out of students in respect to plagiarism. Universities now use software that compare turned in work with known existing material, including material on the web. Universities throw a broad, vague definition of plagiarism as "using the words or ideas of others and presenting them as your own." I say "vague" because these warnings never provide for any exceptions or provide any actual examples of what is acceptable and not acceptable. OK, so we all know you don't wholesale copy and paste a term paper, an article, or a paragraph. But never do these university web sites and their warnings talk about small consecutive groups of words, or a phrase, or a partial sentence borrowed from another source.

    >> In numerous posts, people have been pointing this out
    >> in this thread.

    Actually, if you read the posts in this thread you will find:

    1) Guesses
    2) The obvious, such as "Scarlet, I don't give a damn".
    3) Flip-flops
    4) Contradictory responses to Charles
    5) Pointers to web sites that are overly vague or irrelevant to my specific examples
    6) Lots of comments by "nom de plume"
    7) Veiled put-downs
    8) Irrelevant responses, "coprophageous gibbon fancier"

    I don't consider these as definitive and comprehensive answers to my specific questions.

    >> The answer is simple: it all depends.

    That's really comforting to students who are threatened with expulsion from school if caught plagiarizing.



  2. #22
    Jeanne Gassman
    Guest

    Re: Plagiarism vs. Fair Use

    Charles,

    What you are you really describing in your initial post is known as paraphrasing, something high school kids do all the time.

    An example:
    Student is required to write a 10-page research paper with at least 4 independent sources. During his research, student comes across the same facts and conclusions from more than one source. What happens?

    Student is desperate to finish paper, slightly bored and/or overwhelmed, so he begins paraphrasing--taking a phrase from this source, mixing it with another source, and putting them both together with some of his own words. The facts are the same from all the resources, the conclusions are the words of someone else, and the two are pieced together with the words/diction of the student. A good teacher can easily spot this technique, but kids are seldom penalized unless the paraphrasing is excessive. It's up to the teacher to draw the line on what constitutes "excessive."

    Is it plagiarism? Not the kind you can get expelled or prosecuted for.

    Is it ethical? Questionable ethics at best.

    Does it happen with students? All the time.

    Does this answer your question?

    Jeanne

  3. #23
    Charles Aidan
    Guest

    Re: Plagiarism vs. Fair Use

    >> What you are you really describing in your initial
    >> post is known as paraphrasing

    Jeanne,

    First, thanks for the attempt to help.

    To me paraphrasing is an attempt to restate a thought using different words from the original. In the questions that I pose, the "plagiarist" might be:

    A) wholesale copying a portion of a sentence and inserting it between his own words, without a citation/reference.

    or

    B) Taking a sentence from another source, and rewording that one sentence by using synonyms, or dropping from or adding words to the sentence, without citing the original source.

    or

    C) Outright copying without any change of a sentence found in an anonymous forum, such as this discussion thread, or on a newspaper editorial page where no one signs their name to the editorial, or from a caller of a radio call-in show, etc.

    Of course this borrowing (A, B or C) would be limited to one or two instances per "borrowed" author in a large writing project.

  4. #24
    Joe Zeff
    Guest

    Re: Plagiarism vs. Fair Use

    I say "vague" because these warnings never provide for any exceptions or provide any actual examples of what is acceptable and not acceptable.

    Don't ask us what those warnings mean, ask them, because they're the ones who are going to try to enforce them. AFAIK, none of us go clink! as we walk, so we can't be expected to read their minds.

  5. #25
    Anthony Ravenscroft
    Guest

    Re: Plagiarism vs. Fair Use

    Yah, what Jeanne said & so many others have echoed.

    1. It ain't plagiarism, really. Not some little snippet.

    2. But if you swipe someone's well-klnown aphorism & try to sell it as your own, you'll quickly get known as a moron, because even "clever" only goes so far.

    3. And do it too often to a teacher or professor & you'll not only fail the class but be watched extra-close by other instructors, who don't want a bunch of term papers "written" by running some of the key words through a thesaurus.

    4. If you need to constantly filch others' writing, you're not a writer.

    5. I don't have the first clue as to what you're trying to prove, Chuck. Find your spine, take a position, defend it, & run the risk you'll lose the argument. It's an Adult thing.

  6. #26
    Charles Aidan
    Guest

    Re: Plagiarism vs. Fair Use

    >> I don't have the first clue as to what you're trying
    >> to prove, Chuck.

    We're simply trying to educate ourselves and potentially assist others. Pardon our ignorance and desire to learn.

    >> If you need to constantly filch others' writing,
    >> you're not a writer.

    College students turning in papers really aren't trying to be writers. They're trying to graduate.

  7. #27
    Linden Holidae
    Guest

    or... you could just....

    or you could just write your own stuff and not worry about what anyone else wrote. A good writer should never 'have' to borrow anybody else's stuff... knowingly that is.

    that's of course, if they think they HAVE to.. they really don't.

  8. #28
    Linden Holidae
    Guest

    is there an off button?

    it seems to me, charles, that you already have your answer in your mind and are fishing for someone to say what you are thinking... maybe, it was a waste of every ones time for you to respond to everyones INTENTIONs of helping you.

    I think that would be it, if the writers INTENTION is to plagerize, then damn them in the writers world...

    otherwise, what are you so worried about? graduating? I think that's your real issue here, maybe seek some professional help, kiss your mommy and have a glass of milk and cookies, and chill...

  9. #29
    Busy Lizzy
    Guest

    Re: is there an off button?

    Maybe we could help you more, Charles, if you told us what kind of book you are writing.

    I'm confused to bits. - ARE you actually a student fraid of being caught plagiarizing in your paper, or are you writing a non-fiction book or is it fiction?

    From the example you gave us way at the beginning of this thread, I can't see why you just cite the quote properly and fit it in.

    Busy Lizzy

  10. #30
    nom de plume
    Guest

    Plagiarism and Unethical Use

    I exercise my right of free speech (and of wasting my time).

    It seems to me that someone writing a 500-page piece is certainly trying to ... write. This project doesn't appear to be a midterm paper for a freshman sociology class. Hence, the criticism made in this thread that writing presupposes originality (and honest citations of quoted material) is valid.

    The OP keeps on hammering about exactly how many consecutive words (entirely ignoring the SPIRIT of plagiarism rules) he could borrow and whether he could borrow from 40 different authors by slightly rearranging their words. This certainly shows difficulty with originality, an inability to integrate material read and studied into his own thinking and a desire to pass off other people's material as his own and hoping to get away with it. It doesn't matter whether the 500-page project is fiction or non-fiction. They both require originality but if it's non-fiction the citations are all the more important.

    Then he accuses posters of being unhelpful by giving vague and contradictory answers. As if his posts and examples weren't vague or silly!

    His Yuck comment about Nabokov (immediately following his admission he'd never even heard of him) was so absurd that it invited my joke.

    Charles, i wasn't trying to insult you with veiled comments. I told you in so many words what I thought of you!

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