What would you have done?

I wanted to write a post against the forwards and messages we see being shared on  International Women’s Day, about what makes women proud of (or love or like) about being women. I Googled and found a few articles and one particular post that I strongly disagreed with, and decided to discuss the points the blogger had listed but without making it like a personal attack on the blogger. This was the post, http://pallavipoojary.wordpress.com/2011/03/11/20-reasons-why-i-love-being-a-girl/

Since the idea was to discuss the points, not to offend or confront, I explained that I was not linking and no offense was intended, and then I went ahead and blogged about why I disagreed with each point, here, Twenty five reasons women are given to like being women.

The blogger came to know about the post and objected to not being linked, so I linked it and again repeated that although I disagreed with her, no offense was intended.

With this comment,

Dear pallavispoojary, Linked your post. I had clearly mentioned – ‘Not linking and no offense is intended to anybody.’ because I did not want to offend, but it seems ended up doing that anyway. I understand that sometimes we have points of views that are not the same and I still hope you see the post as only a discussion, the idea was not to hurt or offend you. IHM

This is what this blogger has to say.

Seriously?? If that was not your intention you would have first given the link to the original content and then gone on to give your view. You wouldn’t have done it as an afterthought once the original author complained about it. Its a free country and I don’t have any issue with somebody criticising my view but you have clearly breached the plagiarism clause. And some of the points taken from my blog you say?? Really?? You plagiarised my post and even went as far as putting in a disclaimer on the lifted content while posting!!! Lifting the entire content from someone else’s blog and rehashing it is called Plagiarism if you dont know it. Do you even realise how it feels??!!!

Would you say the previous post was ‘lifting the entire post and rehashing’?

52 thoughts on “What would you have done?

  1. Ah, hardly plagiarism. Indian Homemaker just deconstructed the post and argued against each point, never claiming she had written them herself. It’s not plagiarism without incorrect attribution, though copyright is a slightly trickier issue. All’s well that ends well I would think as long as there’s no misattribution of credit (or discredit)

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  2. I understand your sentiment in not wanting to offend and so not linking. Some people cannot take disagreement. So I too choose not link at times, while discussing something someone else has written. I don’t think either that or your comment warranted such a reaction either.
    And accusations of plagiarism?

    Plagiarize means:
    To use and pass off (the ideas or writings of another) as one’s own.
    To appropriate for use as one’s own passages or ideas from (another).
    Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/plagiarize#ixzz1oJNvlFy1

    “As one’s own” it says. You have not passed it off as ‘your own’ but made clear that it belonged to someone else. So how is it plagiarizing? Of course, the person was well within their rights to ask you to link. You did that as per request. So where is the need for such outbursts?
    Anyone can check the hundreds of posts you have done and see for themselves that you have no need for it. Obviously you have not built this all up on plagiarism is plain for all to see.

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    • And to add something unrelated IHM, I was vitriolically attacked by a blogger in his blog because he misunderstood something I wrote. (Humor is dangerous that way and has landed me in trouble in real and virtual life) Of course it took someone else to point it out to me as I was blissfully unaware that I was being talked about behind my back. I went to his blog and left a comment “Oh a blog about me? Now that you have got it off your chest I hope you are feeling better.”
      And do you think I was appreciated for my effort? *sob sob* Nope. I was accused of having an attitude problem!😮

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  3. It is good to come out clean and it is nice that you published your email and the author’s response as is. By not linking to the article one thing you did ensure was that it became an objective discussion. However, at the same time since most of the points that you use for your article come from just one article you should have mentioned it directly/indirectly so that the original author doesn’t feel cheated. I do remember reading that you indeed mention that the 25 points are not yours- and what you have found over the internet or the reasons given!

    In anycase, this blog from you should end it in a good way. And the original author is also advised to run through your blog to see how she feels need to be propagated to a larger audience and with a view to stop that grandiosity rather than make more women jump into the old band wagon..

    Note to the original author : (pallavi) . IHM is herself a strong fighter for copyright issues and all that in wouldn’t do herself. It is still good of you to make your point felt so that she unknowingly may have breached the line. Hope it all ends in a good way. THanks Pallavi – for bringing out so many facades of the Women that exists in India & the world today.

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  4. Pingback: Plagarism and steps to avoid plagarising | phoenixritu.com

  5. Funny thing about the phrase “no offense meant”…it usually is used when offense has been made knowingly or unknowingly. It’s okay IHM, you are not here to please everybody and it’s okay to cause offense.

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  6. IHM, I think you didnt link the post earlier because you didnt want to specifically ‘point out’ to the post….I read the comments now and I can see that you have linked that post to your previous post now…

    I dont think what you did was plagiarism….you had clearly mentioned that its not your view…may be in hindsight you should have linked the post but then I am sure you were in a dilemma while publishing the post whether to link or not🙂

    you have put up this post and….you have clearly stated your reasons for not linking her initially and then your reasons for linking her later. Good enough na?

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    • What RM has written here is what I wanted to say as well🙂
      I guess you could have linked her post but then when you didn’t it wasn’t with the purpose of stealing or anything like that. I guess everyone has a persepctive of seeing things and every one reacts differently to different situations and that’s why this hohallah about actually nothing.

      P.S. This is a case in example of what I don’t like in women, some of them make a mounatin out of molehill😉

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  7. Let me begin with saying I loved the way you deconstructed the stereotypes. Good catch, and bold call.

    I understand the lack of attribution – the intent behind it.

    I also see it as vital to link to sources so original contexts may be verified, credit for original content given where due, and most importantly, at the risk of offending if necessary, but the space for a dialogue between differing thoughts being opened.

    I see it less a matter of plagiarism, since the comments are picked up more as a reference for alternative opinions, but I do admit that if a post of mine were to be dissected by someone, I would like to know that it had happened and I have at times done back and forth blogging with other bloggers as a dialogue, which I think helps trigger further thought among readers too.

    I generally manage the desire not to offend in my choice of words in writing, and much as I would like to act perfect, I have been offended by things people wrote, and I have offended people by things I wrote, and I think it is fine. What would the world be without differences?

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  8. IHM I don’t think you can be blamed of plagiarism at all. You clearly state that you have taken the points from another post and are not giving the links because you do not want to offend the original writer. But Maybe, before writing your post, you could have written a comment/mail to the original bloggers post that you would like to take a few of her points for discussion and would not be linking back to the original post because your intention is not to offend the writer – just to state your opinions about her post ! If someone was discussing a few points from my post on her blog I would like to know about it !

    BUT, I do feel that the original blogger has completely overreacted. She has misunderstood your intention – that you had simply not linked coz you didn’t want to offend. Your concern for the original blogger’s feelings actually misfired🙂
    She needs to go through your blog first to understand what sort of blogger you are before writing such a strong worded response!
    It’s definitely not lifting the whole post and rehashing. Actually I read her original post and you really haven’t even lifted the whole post have you? Just the points that you wanted to discuss!
    BTW – I Love the header !

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  9. Agree with Vidyut.

    Also, I do think that at least a private notification in the Comments saying that a post of her has been analyzed from your viewpoint on your blog could have been made. Why assume that linking will offend? If it offends, take the link off. Or ask for the permission to link or not in comments.

    Anyway, I have a bone to pick here with people who start posting definitions of the word “plagiarism” in the comments to support. There have been instances where bloggers have complained about not just whole posts, but one line or one paragraph being lifted or even more recently, their “voice” being plagiarized and we have all lent our support there. Why didn’t we go by the literal meaning of the word there? This is clearly not a case of the kind of plagiarism we see all over the net, but it’s certainly hurtful to see that a post of yours was ripped apart without letting you know. Understand where she’s coming from.

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  10. Can’t please everybody IHM. Have linked often to posts I have analysed or deconstructed like you have, and most bloggers have been objective about it, but some have taken it personally…and I wondered why I had bothered to link back, only to be accused of humiliating that person.

    What you did is not plagiarism. You never claimed it was your own, but made it clear that it was a response.

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  11. I don’t think what you did amounted to plagiarism by any stretch. In hindsight (what a convenient and completely useless view it is!), however, it would have been better to have linked to the original post even at the risk of offending the author. There are bound to be differing views in this world and once people publicise their views, especially in writing, they should be open to that fact that there will be people who disagree. If this is difficult to deal with they ought not to publicise their views on the internet. Btw, I like your previous post. I couldn’t bear to read it yesterday because the ’20 reasons’ made me gag and I was pretty sure I would agree with the way you deconstructed it. I did, however, read it now to understand what was going on (and as expected agreed with you)!

    S

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    • What I omitted to mention is that I think you should have linked to the original post so your readers could read it as the author has written it and arrive at their own conclusion about the context in which she has written it. It is possible that they would interpret it differently from you and that is something that you owe your reader. You do usually do this for most other posts so perhaps it would have been helpful to have been consistent with your own policy.

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  12. Umm, this is certainly not plagiarism. I bet you would never pass on Pallavi’s views as your own ever😛 I find it hard to believe that she’s miffed because of plagiarism rather than you disagreeing with her on a public forum. Perhaps it would have been just to inform her about it so she could have had an opportunity to defend her views, but I see that you have paraphrased her views in a way that they reflect commonly held beliefs- not ones unique to her. So really, I don’t see the problem here. And Pallavi- how about being an epitome of care, affection, and sacrifice and letting this go?

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      • Like I said to you on IM, I am surprised that someone would like having their post attributed to them when it was as minutely dissected, but then folk are interesting! And maybe the writer should be the epitome of sacrifice and let it go- Like they said😀

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  13. plagiarism or not…hurtful or not…(i know this particular post is about it)…I hope the other blogger and people who applauded her blog post for putting together the ‘fun list’ ( funny?..) see the point discussed in your blog IHM. This objectifying of women, portrating them as epitome of care/scarifice..is exactly what the evil we need to eradicate from our society so that women are treated as just plain normal human beings with all imperfections.

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  14. While I would have liked the post to be linked back to me (if I was in PallaviPoojary’s position), it still would not look like plagiarism to me. You have been very clear in your intentions (regarding the post) and very polite too.

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  15. You are too good I think. If this email had come to me I woukd not have written so politely🙂 .

    Dont let this put you in any discomfort.
    Everyone has their own view and these days copyright and plagiarism is hot topic so everyone as usual wants to use these big words, which the likes of me dont even understand.
    Its funny people write in an open public place and then cry over such things..

    Take care IHM.

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    • @Bikram: Once I create something I own the copyright to it. It does not matter if I register it or not, if its written online in public or in a notebook I own at my house. this is protected by law.

      Only publishing rights are transferable or negotiable and that is why you have to ask for permission or give credit when something is reproduced.

      But if we are speaking legally about this post, criticism or spoof about a post does not need its permission but a backlink is considered good blogging etiquette.

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      • //”But if we are speaking legally about this post, criticism or spoof about a post does not need its permission but a backlink is considered good blogging etiquette.”//

        So in this case what one can say is, blog etiquette was not followed? Accusations of plagiarism do not hold.

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      • @Shail: Yes, accusation of plagiarism (in legal sense) does not hold water. One can also give credit without a link and using only text but this is highly undesirable. Linking back as credit is also basically a practice which is part of blogging etiquette more than a legal requirement.

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  16. You are much too nice, IHM. I understand the reasons why you did not link. Also you have clearly mentioned that you got these points from the internet, and and did not link because you did not want to offend.

    As for plagiarism, this is in no way a plagiarism!! I am surprised that she is trying to accuse you of that. And now that you have linked her up, it should be the end of the matter.

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  17. IHM, not plagiarism, but in hindsight, and because your post was “discovered” by someone who alerted her, perhaps the one way to avoid it could have been informing her you have done a post. (It’s what one calls the “impossible conditional”, in Grammar😀 )
    Of course, the reason why linking was not done, is amply clear, only it went on to do just what you had thought it would . So whether you linked or not, you’d have had the same response, I guess😀
    Just that with the linking, the “P” word could have been less bandied about.

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  18. IHM, the first time I came across the concept of plagiarism was when I joined uni here. If I were to write an assignment discussing the pros and cons of using one system over the other or criticising something, I still had to link to the original web page(if on the Internet) or clearly state which journal or book I referred to and written by whom. Failing to do so would get me a low score or a redo depending on the examiner and their strictness in following rules. And this requirement too came under plagiarism(whether by definition or for the lack of a better word, I don’t know).

    Having said that, had I been in the other blogger’s shoes, would I have wanted a link back? Yes. Would I have reacted the same way that she did? Probably not. I would have sent you a simple email saying “IHM please link me?” and you would have done so without an exchange of unpleasant words. What worsens things at times is not the problem itself but one’s reaction to it, no?

    Chin up girl! Your readers know you well enough to know your intentions.🙂

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  19. If I were you, I’d have let her know you were going to post it, and link it. But this is a Hobson’s choice really. If you had done that, then she could have claimed you were humiliating her and her blog. For example, take this comment from one of her readers: “You are welcome! More than the fact that it was plagerized, i was appalled at the reaction of the blogger and her readers to a simple, innocent ‘fun facts’ list.” This is your space, and you can write what you please here. But it’s perhaps for the best that you provide links and references, and then proceed to take them apart.

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    • Actually, I read a few of Pallavi’s blog posts.

      She doesn’t appear to be the standard issue, wannabe Bridget Jones. There’s some good writing on that blog.

      In fact, she appears to be somebody who’d probably agree with IHM’s views.

      Maybe the list was intended to be tongue-in-cheek…

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  20. Well, this is not plagiarism. We all know it. Anyways, it’s always good to link back to avoid such accusations. And should I say this, whosoever told her about this post was a hater of your views. And like GB said, she seems more miffed at the fact that you disagree with her.

    I think when anyone writes on a public forum, they should be prepared for being disagreed with, which many people are not. I think after she reads your posts, she’ll realise why you disagreed with her views, let’s just give her some time to understand all this.( and that why you disagree and why it’s not plagiarism)

    And as you said you did not want to offend, and may be that’s why you didn’t link to her or informed her, but if you had done it, it would have saved such hullabaloo.

    Back in 2009, I wrote a post on my old blog, and a gentleman was not happy with my views, he shredded my thoughts on his website, but he sent me an email giving the link of his post, stating that he doesn’t agree with my points and I might like to read what he feels on his place. I clicked the link and read what he said, I was outrageous, I thought how could he use my statements like that, but before jumping to any conclusions I read his post several times and my own post several times and his old posts too(it gave me an insight to his way to thinking), then I emailed him, making my points clear and telling why I felt what I wrote on my blog and he discussed why he thinks what he thinks through emails, then I realised I was over-reacting just because he ‘dared’ to not think the way I did. I think she and you can do this if you both want to and that will be the end of the story. Mine ended with that. I hope it helps.

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  21. This is no way a plagiarism !!!! The original author needs to check her dictionary for the meaning.
    From the beginning, you had mentioned that this post is your response to some other post and I can understand why you did not link the original post. You and most of your readers are not in sync with what the author mentions and by not linking it – it was easier to concentrate on the subject at hand where the idea was to discuss opinions.
    I am sorry that she chooses to react in such a manner – maybe right now she feels write in her own way. But she needs to understand that she is accusing you in an unfair manner for something she does not even understand the meaning of.
    However I would like to thank you for bringing out this topic on how some women think on being women.

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  22. I understand why you didn’t link it at first.. who likes to be ripped apart on public forum/blogs?But apparently bad publicity is also desirable for today’s generation, so be it.
    By no means it is plagiarism, she needs a dictionary for that. I typed a comment on your original post and let it go last night (or u can say v. early this morning) when I saw all this but let it go. But now I think she has taken things too far.

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  23. Would it have been nice to ask Pallavi about using parts of her post in your post to illustrate something? Yes.

    Is it plagiarism to have done so without asking? No. You did not claim that content was yours. Besides, I can understand why you did not link back to the original content – you did not want her to get what you thought would most probably be negative attention. As they say, no good deed goes unpunished😉.

    Is Pallavi overreacting? Absolutely YES. Considering you have have already offered your apology and have given her post credit, what else does she want? Make a hundred rotations around the blog-world to absolve yourself of sin :-D?

    Considering you rectified the omission as soon as you knew what the original author wanted, a little more graciousness on her part would have been nice.

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  24. Hi IHM, Delurker here.
    I think that Pallavi is upset more because of the sentiment in which her blog’s content was used. Her post was just meant to be frivolous and not any serious thinking. I would go so far to think she’s so offended only because she would generally agree with you and is kind of embarassed to be referred to in this manner.

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  25. plagiarism n. taking the writings or literary concepts (a plot, characters, words) of another and selling and/or publishing them as one’s own product.

    Is it plagiarism? No

    What would you have done? – This is tricky. As you took all the points from the same post, would have been fair to link back.
    On the other hand, since we bashed all of it, I doubt anyone would have have liked their post being linked and being bashed like that.
    So either way, the author will be pissed.

    Maybe a private message would help?

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    • Also I feel the strong reaction is a result of her ideas and post being bashed and criticized by all of us. Well….. I just that post was lame

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  26. Probably one thing you could have done, IHM, is to have waited for a response from Pallavi regarding linking/not linking before posting. However, I understand your intentions and I feel that her response is not proportional🙂

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  27. @IHM

    I don’t think it’s plagiarism per se. I understand your intent (not to personally attack anyone) but a link attributing to the post where you picked up most of your points would have been better (which you’ve done now). Also linking to the original post would have steered the comment section in a different direction (either personal attacks or defending the original author’s point of view).

    Now that I have read the original article. Pallavi (the author of the article) said what she thought were the benefits of a being a woman to her personally. The way you framed it in your post is different–implying however vaguely that Pallavi said all/most women should be grateful for these “benefits”. She definitely did not say that (in spite of all the gender stereotyping in her post). This is not say that I don’t agree with your post.

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  28. I think it is a question of ‘damned if you do and damned if you don’t’. When views are so divergent, it might be expecting too much to have the writer take it in the sense it was meant (non-personal). There are enough such lists floating around to use, so fail to see how a deconstruction is personal.

    Yeah, maybe an email sent to inform of the post and an option given to link up or not might get someone to understand your intentions…agreement is anyways not on the cards!😀

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  29. I get her point, IHM. Considering you quoted from her blog and you opened her content up for discussion, not linking to it was certainly a mistake in my opinion. And yes, while you did not intend to do that, what you did (copy/pasting content from her blog) does constitute technically as plagiarism. That said, it was very obvious to everyone reading your blog that that was not your intent, but the other person has probably never heard of you until then and may have felt pissed off.

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  30. Each blog is a home. Every blog post is a public notice board outside the home. There are some regular visitors but the home owner is well aware and has kept the doors open to the possibility of new visitors that is free to discuss the content with a group they see fit. That is not plagiarism. Making a copy of it and pasting in your notice board is. That didn’t happen here. So clearly, no plagiarism.

    To the main question of the post “What would you have done?”
    I would dismiss the “20 Reasons post” as immature adolescent writing. “Infringing on boys’ right to wear pants”, “getting unknown men to carry groceries”. Are you kidding me?
    “epitome of care, affection and sacrifice: a woman” and “flipping, pouting and entertained by buffoons”. That’s so hilarious. Like the list my 10 year old niece made about why her favorite actor is better than her friend’s. It is what kids these days call – TIMEPASS.

    International “whatever” day. That is everyday. Let’s all go home now🙂

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  31. IHM, I read your posts as well as Pallavi’s. I totally know how seemingly harmless things reinforce dangerous stereotypes. However, Pallavi’s list seems to be a harmless/fun/timepass list about what SHE loves about being a girl. She never once preaches that this is how girls must be. While i get the need to deconstruct stereotypes, I also think we shouldn’t overanalyze innocent things such as this. Having done it, I think you were right in not naming her. I think she made a big mistake in insisting that you add a link to her blog. Because all it took was one look at her post, to know how many mean comments she is being subjected to. I was appalled to see comments calling her a “bimbo type” and asking her if she is PMS-ing. Hardly the kind of sexist abuse you expect from readers of feminist blogs. Must be unpleasant, to say the least, to wake up and see that kind of hate on a post she wrote a year ago.

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    • I do agree with Madhu! IHM, I have been a long time reader of your blog and have always silently admired you for the stand you take on various issues. I know several people who have dedicated their lives to certain causes and when one is so deeply involved in a cause, I can see how it is hard to take certain matters lightly ( in this case, Pallavi’s post). I agree with your comments on the post and I understand completely where you’re coming from but I don’t think Pallavi seriously believes the things she wrote and I believe the list was meant to be a light hearted post. Some things on the list can be certainly passed off as a joke depending on the audience. She definitely does not deserve the hateful messages that she is receiving. I do think she would agree with your views on the issues you write about and I think that’s the reason she is even more ticked off that her post is being seen as something that promotes stereotypes. Having said that, I don’t think you can be blamed at all for plagiarism.

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