Since I changed the host for my gardening blog, “West Texas Gardener: Sun, Wind, Sweat and Mulch” (http://westexasgardener.com) I have been the target of spam (no, not the salty stuff that comes in cans). On my old free site a program automatically eliminated spam but now, unless I want to pay over $5 a month for an automatic “spaminator,” I have to do it myself. Not a problem…yet…since I moderate all comments. It takes a few minutes to read the nonsensical blatherings, immediately recognize they are trash and consign them to the electronic garbage bin. Here’s an example from today:
“Nice bothering to debate this method, I think honestly a lot also true love exploring read more about this method subject matter. Any time likelihood, like you achieve competencies, do you ever reactions adding to your entire journal by using furthermore facts? This is very ideal for my home.”
Since I was not debating a method and know nothing about “true love exploring” and “furthermore facts,” it was an obvious ploy. Sometimes they are in some Eastern European Cyrillic script which probably translates to something akin to, “My name Peggy” or my quote above. It is an effort to slip their URL into the path of unsuspecting comment-readers. Can you imagine a job requiring you to go through the millions of blogs and try to surreptitiously slip some stupid site address into the comment section? BORING!
Some readers may not know that I also write a gardening blog: charamongarden.wordpress.com – soon to become “West Texas Gardener.” I work really hard to write informative posts about raising vegetables in our challenging conditions (dry climate, alkaline soil, wind, and these days triple-digit heat). I also read and subscribe to other organic gardening blogs. More and more I am seeing something that, when I was teaching, would have earned my students an automatic failing grade: plagiarism. The practice of stealing someone’s research, writing, etc., and posting it in your blog without giving credit is reprehensible. It’s simply another form of theft.
Recently, I read a blog and realized that the contents probably couldn’t have been the words of the blogger. So, I took a suspect phrase, entered it into Google and voila! There it was under the original author’s name. Further digging revealed that several bloggers had made unauthorized use of the same article! I re-read the blog I had opened just to make sure I had not missed the reference or the credit and, regretfully, it was not there.
To write informative blogs, we all have to do some research. It is only right, however, to give credit to the sources of research quoted. In the above case, the thief merely cut from the original author and pasted into his post as if it was his own work…no quotation marks, no footnotes, no nothin’. I call it dishonest and lazy.
I read voraciously about organic gardening, especially if it deals with gardening in hot, dry climates and alkaline soils. Information gleaned from years of research gets stirred up in my little gray cells, blends with my own experience and comes out in my writing, sometimes within the hour, sometimes years later. But one thing I will promise you: I will not knowingly quote someone’s research without giving credit. And, I certainly will not “cut and paste.” That just wouldn’t be right.