The Weekly Debate (12): Plagiarism, the Elusive Foe

New format: Questions at the bottom! Don't like? Please tell me; I won't be offended.

THIS WEEK'S DEBATE: Plagiarism - Why You Shouldn't Do It and What To Do Post Facto

You’ve been plagiarized – period, exclamation mark, DONE. So, now what?

I’m going to state the obvious first:

SCENARIO ONE: In a fit of sense-clouding anger, you email the blogger or comment on his/her blog and start cursing at him/her to take down the post. Why you should NOT do this:

• You want to preserve your image as a friendly, innocent blogger
• You want to be the “bigger man” in the situation; calling out on flaming can be just as incriminating as plagiarism, even when you’re being called out by your plagiarizer
• You want to preserve these little things called HONOR and DIGNITY
• You want a response – most humans I know respond better to “dear so-and-so” rather than “you @$$ $h!#*$&%@”
• Basically, IT IS NOT COOL, okay? From the viewpoints of fellow bloggers, readers, and receiver.

SCENARIO TWO: You email the blogger, politely inform him/her of the transgression, and ask for the post(s) to be taken down. Why you SHOULD do this:

• Scientifically-proven to work more often than not
• You appear understanding and respectful – what I, as a reader, expect from a blogger (I feel pretentious speaking on behalf of all readers but I suspect it’s universally true)
• You ARE understanding; the other party may not be aware of the full implications of plagiarism
• In the long run, you’ll feel morally better. :)

I’m sure you smart readers/bloggers are already aware of all these points but it’s VERY important (and builds up to my next question). A blogger’s reputation can be completely ruined because he/she plagiarized and the actual “victim” in this situation can inflict self-damage by flaming. BE COOL, folks.

My dilemma is what to do when one of your blogger “friends” plagiarizes you? I’m honored that anyone would want to plagiarize me – I have no idea what or, more importantly, why you’d want to plagiarize any of my posts – but it’s still annoying to see my hard work being credited to some other blogger. And when it’s one of my supposed “friends,” one I follow and interact with (commenting, one-time email), I’m at a loss of what to do. It was one incident and I didn’t feel like making a big deal out of it, so I let it slide. But I haven’t really been on her blog since. Not out of spite, but it’s like a constant tugging on my mind that makes me question her sincerity and intentions.

What do you think you should do when you've been plagiarized? And, more specifically, when you've been plagiarized by a friend?