darkhavens (darkhavens) wrote in bloodclaim,

Modpost: Accusation of Plagiarism

On Monday morning, I received an email telling me that a recent fic here at Bloodclaim "seems very much like Twilight Time by Shadow - even some of the wording is the same". I took a quick look at the (then) single chapter that was up, and realised that, yes, there might be a problem. So, I spent several hours comparing the new fic with Shadow's Twilight Time, and ended up with, IMO, more than could be handwaved away as 'honest mistakes' or 'unintentional'. Paragraphs worth of potential problems.

I contacted the author of the problem fic and informed them that a complaint had been made, that I had investigated and decided that there was indeed enough similarity to warrant handing the matter over to stop_plagiarism so that they could make the final decision.

I did not do this lightly. I did not do this frivolously. I hate having to do this sort of thing. I am thankful that in the seven years (next month!) that this comm has been active, we have had remarkably little in the way of kerfuffles and wank and plagiarism problems.

This isn't just a matter of similar themes, a few plot points in common, an identical sentence or two. This was whole paragraphs, whole conversations, slightly reworked but still recognisable when viewed alongside the original.

I have received several PMs from the author, asking me not to report them, refuting the accusation of plagiarism, wanting to know who made the original complaint, and asking to see the evidence so they could change it.

I refused to name names. I ask that accusations of plagiarism come through me because 1) I want to stop any witchhunts, baseless claims and misunderstandings before they start, and 2) when confronted, plagiarists can turn vicious and use all sorts of threats and guilt-inducing behaviour to try and derail the accusor.

I take full responsibility for upholding the original complaint. Had it not warranted further action, I would not have done so. In my opinion (and in the opinion of other trusted individuals and Spander authors I have shared this with), it did.

I did, as requested, send an email containing the complete list of problems. It was quite a long email. 8 minutes after hitting send, I was reading the author's response. 8 minutes. And it wasn't a short response. I can only assume the author didn't bother to read the email, not only because of the speed with which they replied, but because they also asked, yet again, that I not contact stop_plagiarism, even though I clearly stated that I had already done so.

I have since received two emails and one PM, each one accusing me of being the kind of person that I hope most people here know I am not. I have been accused of (maliciously) causing an anxiety attack, an emotional breakdown, and thoughts of suicide, and now I am being threatened with 'formal harassment charges' - for contacting stop_plagiarism without first giving the author the opportunity to edit the evidence. (The posts have since been deleted. As per stop_plagiarism's advice and years of internet experience, I had already screencapped them.)

I am not linking journals or naming names - and I do not want you to do so either - but today's PM has made it clear that the author plans to make this as messy as possible: "i will make sure that everyone knows about how i was treated." So, consider this a pre-emptive strike.

I made a reasoned judgement about an accusation of plagiarism. I let the author know there was a problem. When asked, I provided details about each specific problem passage in the fic. Then I passed the details on to the community set up to handle such things.

My post is now in the moderation queue at stop_plagiarism so, for now, it's out of my hands. I will update the comm when the matter has been resolved.

Please, people, DO NOT PLAGIARIZE! Make sure you know what that word means, really, because it is more complicated than just copying and pasting.

I will be screening comments here only to make sure that nobody names the author involved. The author will not be commenting here. Due to the content of the most recent PM, I have removed her comm posting and commenting privileges. This decision will be revisited when stop_plagiarism concludes their business.
Tags: !modpost
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