I was wondering what i should write about for my 200th blog post. And I’m in luck because Karma’s got my back and that’s why yesterday we had an interesting case of plagiarizing. So let’s get optimistic!
A relatively new blogger called SQLDigs copied this post of mine about new version of SSMS Tools Pack. Because there was no trackback or any other link back to my blog I had no idea until David Levy (Blog|Twitter) told me about it.
As I’ve looked over the other content of the blog I’ve noticed quite a few familiar paragraphs of various technical articles. I’ve tweeted it and the community quickly found out who was featured. Now we all know that plagiarism is not cool and the community doesn’t tolerate it all. Brent Ozar (Blog|Twitter) has been waging the battle before and has an excellent series of articles about what do to about it in his posts How to Take Action When Your Content is Plagiarized and More Thoughts on Blog Plagiarism
Not long ago there was a case where a guy named John had a blog on his company’s site. On that blog he had posts copied from all over the web. Once the folks who were plagiarized saw it they went ballistic. The whole thing lasted about 2 days and in the end he took the offending posts down. Brent described the whole thing in great detail so go read that. It’s an interesting read.
On to yesterday events! After seeing my post being copied I’ve posted a comment on the post asking him to either post his own ideas about my original post or remove it. As much as I want exposure for the SSMS Tools Pack I don’t like to be plagiarized. A few more people also commented about which posts he copied. Next, Jen McCown (Blog|Twitter) of the MidnightDBA’s (who have an awesome video show you should check out) immediately posted a blog about it. Depending on the situation this could have gone the way of the John. So let’s pause a bit. Overreaction is never a good thing.
I’m a big believer in second chances. We all screw up and hopefully learn from it.
Even when John was confronted about his plagiarism, an olive branch was extended to him which I wholeheartedly supported. He choose not to take it thus not learning in the process. Because he decided against it the first result on Google search for his name is Brent’s post about the whole thing. I wonder how much John’s business suffered because of that.
And herein lies the difference between him and the SQLDigs blogger. SQLDigs decided to take the peace offer. He emailed me and other commenters saying he’s sorry and that he’s new to the whole blogging this and that he didn’t really know better. Finishing the mail with “How can I fix it?” type of statement was the awesome part for me. This guy, as new to blogging as he is, apparently gets it after being shown the wrong. He has removed the problematic content and posted an optimistic looking post for the future. I hope he redoes some of his original posts because the non plagiarized content was good. It’d be a shame to go to waste.
I’ve asked him to join Twitter because I think he can contribute to the overall knowledge sharing. A minute after I’ve sent the mail, Dave suggested the same thing.
Hopefully he’ll join.
To end on a funny note here’s a tweet from Jonathan Kehayias (Blog|Twitter) who missed the whole thing and was wondering what is going on:
And Rebecca Mitchell (Blog|Twitter) wanting to give me a peace prize for some reason:
There were 4 lessons we learned from all this:
1. Plagiarism is not cool!
2. If you do it and you get caught, man up, admit you were wrong and fix it.
3. Don’t mess with the community. It can seriously impact your future work.
4. Apparently I should get a Peace Prize :)
Dave puts it nicely with this tweet:
Better give some #sqllove then get some #sqlhate.
In Jen’s words: Optimism, I haz it!