Today on Blogcritics

Plagiarism

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Last March, blogger Steven Den Beste was the victim of plagiarism. Blogs seem to be an easy target for plagiarism; there are thousands of them and the internet is a very big place, which I’ll bet looks really inviting to those who would otherwise not dare if they thought getting away with it wasn’t going to be easy.

Now it has happened to me.

It was ages ago that I signed up for the mailing list of the “Ulster Protestant Movement For Justice“. Over time, I’ve grown increasingly disgusted with the UPMJ, as their agenda seems to be more motivated by anti-Catholic and anti-Irish bigotry than any real interest in “justice” for anyone in Northern Ireland (note: this is merely my own personal judgement. Feel free to follow the link and decide for yourself). This is not to say that I don’t think the Protestants of Ulster deserve justice; it’s just that Unionism, and especially Loyalism, are not without their deadly bad apples, and I don’t trust anybody who would spend as much energy obsessing over keeping a tally on the number of times that members of Sinn Fein have farted in church (disclaimer: the UPMJ don’t literally do this, though in my eyes, they nearly might as well), without even addressing the shortcomings within their own communities.

This is why I delete ninety-nine percent of their dispatches from my inbox. Today, I had some extra time and thought I’d check in with the UPMJ to see what the circus was offering these days. Aside from the usual “the Protestants of Ulster are the Most Oppressed People on Earth” introduction (suggestion to the UPMJ: check and see if sinnfeinwatch.com hasn’t been parked. It would be perfect for you), there was an article from an Emily Barrett calling herself a “28 yo Retail Executive from Florida” – Vero Beach, even – chiding Americans who supported Sinn Fein and the IRA. I agreed with nearly all of it, even if I would re-write a few things different and change the tone here and there if I had the chance today.

That’s because I wrote it myself, over one year ago (second post from the top).

I’ve written a letter to a Mr. Tim Anderson, who seems to be the fellow navigating this mailing list, curious about his friend Ms. Barrett. I’d really like to give him and the UPMJ the benefit of the doubt, the first reason being that I can’t allow myself to believe that somebody could actually be stupid enough to steal the work of a person on their mailing list and then send it to them in a newsletter. The second being that it’s not impossible that somebody sent this to them as their own and they published it in good faith against their own knowledge, in spite of the fact that “Emily Barrett” claims to be a longtime friend of Mr. Anderson in her introduction. In either case, it speaks volumes as to the character of the members of the UPMJ.

As I’ve promised on my own site, if you would like me to forward you the original newsletter, either drop a note in the comments section or e-mail me at bamacritter – at – earthlink.net and I will be happy to oblige.

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About Emily Jones

  • http://www.templestark.com/blog Temple A. Stark

    Someone stole my whole blog (not my current one) with very few changes and passed it on as their own for a few weeks before I found it in a search engine. I had a few of my non-digital friends digitally bully him/her into not doing it. That was fun.

    PS If you signed up for that newsletter expecting anything but extremism, well ….

  • Emily

    Temple — indeed I sign up for newsletters expecting, for the most part, nothing but extremism. Somebody’s got to keep an eye on ‘em, no?

    I’m sorry to hear about your troubles with your own blog. If memory serves, web design goddess Sekimori had someone do exactly the same thing to her.

  • Eric Olsen

    Very disturbing Emily – people are weird. I am trying to figure out what is gained by in essence borrowing someone else’s life?! Thanks and good luck with it.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    I don’t see how someone could expect to grab big chunks of stuff to put on a web page and think that it would NOT be noticed. It’s going to turn up in search engines and such, just as Temple describes.

    Same thing for students copying term paper material off the net. It is entirely easy for a professor to do a search on a couple of distinctive phrases from a suspect paper.

  • Emily

    Thanks, Eric.

    Al, to be fair, I’m not sure they ever had it on their website. The post in question came via a newsletter.

    And you raised a good question about the term papers. When I was Googling for stuff about plagiarism last night, I came across a bunch of information about those “order a five-pager on the Battle of Hastings” sites and services. I wonder why any student would udertake the risk when it’s so easy to get busted doing it.