22 hours ago
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
More on Plagiarism
Since the writing of my last post, new information has come to light about the plagiarism issue. It's been confirmed that Kristi Diehm of the The Story Siren stole content and even, to a certain extent, formatting and wording from two separate blogs and claimed them as her own. You can read more about the situation here and here.
What saddens me most about the hubbub is the blogging community's reaction. The Story Siren has a huge impact, and inspires lots of readers and reviewers. Kristi Diehm is incredibly influential within our community. The most popular reaction seems to be, "Accidents happen; everyone makes mistakes."
Here's the thing, though: accidents and mistakes are not the same.
What Kristi did is undeniably a mistake: she stole someone else's intellectual property and lied about its provenance. She herself admits that it was a poor decision and that she let us down when she did it. She lost a lot of supporters and a lot of credibility.
But it wasn't an accident.
It was a deliberate and calculated decision, and that's not something we can easily forgive or overlook.
When a person writes a blog, she's taking a leap of faith. Her words and thoughts are out there in the ether for anyone to read, and she has to trust her community of readers to honor her ownership of them. When someone as influential as The Story Siren breaks that trust, she's setting an example for future bloggers and readers. With the small act of "borrowing" someone else's ideas, Kristi Diehm has weakened the structure of our entire blogging community. That's not something we should just overlook and forgive. I really hope that this issue doesn't just get swept under the rug--it's something that needs to be discussed and remembered. It's up to us to acknowledge the damage that has been done, and it's up to us to fix it.