Dealing With Plagiarism

As many of you already know, there was a dramariffic overreaction to plagiarism earlier this week. Since I had to waste my time dealing with that mess, I decided to update the site terms to include a link to this fan word here:

Reporting A Plagiarized Submission

If you haven’t read it before, I suggest that you do, especially the last bit in the tips on what not to do. Now instead of going over that, since the fan word is more than enough, I’m going to address a few questions that I came across, along with some misunderstandings.

Why did the artists apologize? It’s not their fault that someone stole their work.

This is true, however, they’re not apologizing for that, they’re apologizing for essentially raising the torch and alerting other members to something that according to our site terms, should simply be quietly reported and left up to staff to take care off.

So this apology is for a number of reasons. For failing to follow the site guidelines on how to deal with plagiarism and for wasting my time since I had to wade in there and break up the mob reaction. It took me five minutes to deal with the plagiarist and nearly two hours to deal with the drama caused by the artists.

So yes, an apology is necessary. Just as the thief was held accountable for their actions, they are being held accountable for responding in a manner that created unnecessary drama.

Well why don’t you just refuse stolen works instead of approving them? Then you wouldn’t have a problem.

Okay, I’d love to do this, but perhaps you can point me to the person who can identify every single piece of art on the net? DA has over 81 million submissions and that’s just one site. We have over half a million members here at theOtaku.

So really, stop and think about that, there is no way for a single moderator to instantly recognize every single piece of art that comes through the submission queue. So it’s impossible to know if something is stolen.

Don’t you think you over reacted? Why did you have to temp ban people who didn’t do anything?

Didn’t do anything? Perhaps you could clarify that for me. I shouldn’t even have to tell people to not harass another member or to not engage in what’s known as back seat modding. Each and every one of you are required to abide by the site terms. When I give the order for people to do what they should have already been doing and it’s ignored, you have to accept the consequences of failing to follow the rules. Plain and simple.

It wasn’t that bad. It shouldn’t take two hours to fix stuff.

O rly? See, this is where assumptions are a bad thing. People assumed that nothing was done and that the person simply removed the stolen art when I was the one to take care of it. People assumed that Adam didn’t ban them, which though true (since I deal with it, not Adam) was still incorrect. I had frozen their account so they couldn’t submit stuff again.

So when I found that people were submitting art publicly naming the artist, I went to check and sure enough, people were going to town in the guestbook, to the point that they were even threatening to kill the member.

So then I have to talk to each artist about not doing that sort of thing and I also have to check the entire art section to make sure I catch every single one. I also had to check the e-cards for the same thing. So that right there took a good twenty minutes if not longer.

Then I had to write up the pm’s to send to each person. Once that was done, I have to go back and check each and every person who left a comment. Why? Because of ones like this:

This is an unfortunate side effect of mob dramariffics. Someone almost always gets way out of control and creates an account for the sole purpose of attacking the person they are angry at. I censored the user name, but since it was created on the same day that the fan arts showed up, I was confident that it was created for the sole purpose of attacking the plagiarist.

So I took over the account and checked it and sure enough, all of their comments and nearly all of the pm’s sent were ones harassing the person who had stolen the art. To make it worse, they were even pming their friends here, patting themselves on the back for doing it.

Naturally I deleted the account. We don’t need that kind of pointless crap here. So at the end of all of that, dealing with each step of defusing the drama, slowly added up until I had spent just under two hours dealing with it.

So bottom line, the most important thing to remember about plagiarism is to just report it and let us deal with it. That’s what we are here for. Don’t make our jobs harder than they need to be by blowing things out of proportion and getting upset.

If there are other questions, just ask in the comments and I’ll answer them.