Drama, Double Standards and Deception…A Bloggers Plagiarism Manifesto!
For the first time, Dark Faerie Tales is taking the dreaded plunge into the dark, deceptive and devious side of blogging. This post is an attempt to shed light on the rampant hypocrisy and double standards that plagues the blogosphere, and just to say that I’m seriously fed up with the childish antics that ensues as the result of people not being professional, honest, candid and accountable.
So a quick and dirty breakdown from the top: I read this post from Smart Bitches about a well known blogger committing plagiarism. You will find what you need to know by following the subsequent links. No need for me to lift their words to get my point across. Once you have thoroughly read the posts, links, etc. you can move on to this post from Dear Author.
To bring yourself up to speed on the plagiarism scandal, you can read Mandi from Smexy Books post here.
As many of you know, for the almost four years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve never taken a public position on anything, especially hot topics that ignite around the blogosphere. I’ve stayed out of the thick of things mostly because I don’t consider myself a role model or an exact authority on all things blog related. Plus, I like to live in a drama free world. My general rule is that it’s best to take the high road and not sink to the level of gutter snipe. After all, I am an adult and I stopped behaving like a petulant child or like I’m still in high school, a long time ago.
My readers and followers know that I don’t discuss my personal life. This is not my personal blog where I lament about work, family or my pets. When I started my blog, I made a conscious decision to stick to the issues. I wanted to build a blog about publishing, books and highlight some of my favorite authors. I didn’t want to chronicle every aspect of my life. I’m a very private person to begin with. I say all of this because I know by posting this and taking a stance that I’m opening myself up to ridicule, personal attacks, hate and potential blowback. The heat is on because just about everyone invested in the arena of book blogging has an opinion on this latest drama surrounding Kristi from The Story Siren.
I started my blog because I was inspired by bloggers that I admire very much; bloggers that are and remain creditable, trustworthy, entertaining, and above all else principled. Which blogs am I talking about, you ask? When I discovered SciFiGuy, Literary Escapism and Babbling About Books and More, I was in awe. These blogs all offer something different and I’ve followed them continually for different reasons. The point is that as a new blogger, I learned a lot from them. While I know it wasn’t, it seemed like it was over night with the guidance and help from my peers I was able to establish a voice. I realized that I was building a following and establishing my own brand. I became very conscious of every move that I made. I took a step back and asked myself, “What type of blog do I want to build?” I decided that I didn’t want to kvetch about this or that, focus on negative things or be downright snarky. What I will attempt to display here is a principled approach to right and wrong. And maybe, just maybe people will come to see the value in accepting responsibility for their actions; having the character and humility to own their faults. With this latest drama surrounding another incident of plagiarism, I admit that I was shocked when I found out that it involved Kristi.
The fundamental issue at hand is really plagiarism. Some would say that it’s about a popular blogger lying, getting caught and then lying some more. Can Kristi really steal someone else’s content, lie about it, change her statements over and over, and then try to cover it up and expect people to be understanding? Who can follow that logic? Is what she did okay? The reason why so many other aspects come into play is because Kristi herself has been very vocal on this very topic. Aggressive, in fact, when her friends were victims of plagiarism two years ago: read this eloquent post from Steph Su and the scandal that hit the web back in 2010. Kristi was in the thick of this and very vocal about what went down. Interestingly enough, Kristi has since deleted all of her posts related to this topic. UPDATE: Kristi’s post has been archived. You can click here to read the post.
*ETA a list of bloggers who were affected by and/or posted about this issue:
Adele – http://www.persnicketysnark.com/2010/04/plagiarism-personal-account.html
Tirzah – http://www.thecompulsivereader.com/2010/04/just-reminder-paraphrasing-is.html
Kristi – http://www.thestorysiren.com/2010/04/my-one-piece-of-advice.html
Liz – http://myfavouritebooks.blogspot.com/2010/04/lets-talk-about-plagiarism-today.html
Lenore – http://presentinglenore.blogspot.com/2010/04/bloggers-behaving-badly-2-plagiarism-is.html
*Source: Above section/links were cut and pasted from Steph Su’s post. I’m not stealing her work product.
I remember when the above incident happened. It was a total shit storm that came down the girl that plagiarized everyone. Authors were joining in and she was genuinely bullied. It was vile and ugly. But that was okay, but no, don’t try and hold Kristi accountable for pulling the same thing? Let me format differently and change words here and there and post it as mine. I mean, really?
This is a really great post about the situation: What The Story Siren Can Teach The Story Siren About Plagiarism & the Blogging Hierarchy.
UPDATE: Letter has now been archived. Read the referenced letter here to the 11 year old from Kristi. It also speaks to how she’s treats other bloggers in the community and how she reacts to situations that unfold. So I guess it is fair to say that a lot of people are calling her ethics and character into question. It’s that old “Do as I say, and not as I do” phrase. So it’s okay for me, but not for you and just deal with it!
**Disclosure:** I would be remiss if I didn’t address a few things and give my opinion on what’s been going on. I believe that I am objective and that I have nothing to gain from this. I can only be hurt by this. I’m not friends with Kristi, but if I was I would have told her that she needed to make it right and own it wholeheartedly, not half-assed. I briefly met her once in passing and I’ve even contacted her about advice on this very topic a few years ago. First things first, Kristi is NOT a victim. She is an adult and should be held accountable for her actions. By all intents and purposes, she is a public figure. Kristi has actively put herself out there as a voice of knowledge, a leader and an innovator in the blogging community. She embraces her status and all that comes with it. In many ways her personality has become the face of her blog, even surpassing it in its popularity. Meaning it’s more Kristi, the figure, the person than her blog that people flock to. Kristi holds herself as a pillar in the YA blogging community, offering blogging tips, tricks and even speaks out on “Bloggers Behaving Badly” themes. That being said, Kristi opens herself to judgment when she doesn’t hold herself to the same standards that she so vehemently holds other bloggers to. There is nothing that anyone else can say that will destroy her reputation or her brand. Kristi has managed to do that all on her own.
It’s become very clear to me that there is no transparency on Kristi’s part or integrity for that matter. If she has evidence to refute these so called vile accusations, then please produce the same. I don’t like the fact that she appears to be trying to control the narrative, trying to control how this all plays out, having someone delete comments on her posts that are less than glowing about her actions is just disingenuous. I also take issue with the notion that this was just a “mistake” on Kristi’s part. That is probably the most ridiculous explanation for the offense that has been committed. It’s pretty disheartening to see people praising Kristi for her (note comments are closed) non-apology, follow-up non-clarification and being brave to speak publicly about it when she only did so because she got CAUGHT! Because she was forced by the blogging community to answer for her actions, which she never truly provided answers for. There is nothing brave about Kristi’s actions. The first word that comes to my mind is – coward. Now I’m not trying to bash Kristi or call her names, I’m just stating the obvious, which many people apparently have trouble facing: when someone does something wrong, they should admit the offense and not hide behind an array of excuses. After all, wasn’t it Kristi herself who said that there are no excuses for plagiarism?
Inquiring minds want to know:
1. Kristi, you have nothing to hide, right? Why ask the other bloggers to keep the matter private? So that you can save face? So that authors, publisher, and your followers would never find out about your dirty deeds?
2. Kristi, why lie about visiting these blogs? Why pretend that you don’t know what they are talking about and that you have never heard of their blog?
3. Kristi, you’ve done nothing wrong, right? Why delete your posts then? Why try and erase all additional evidence that could exonerate you?
Tell Me Why:
1. Many people have voiced their outrage over this debacle via Twitter, their blogs, etc. How was it received? As would be expected, their character was impugned and they were accused of being mean, called names, bullying Kristi, of being hyperbolic, spewing vitriol. Seriously? So now those people are genuinely being bullied into remaining silent? Just because someone says something that you don’t want to hear or face up to, doesn’t mean that they are being vindictive, etc. I haven’t seen anything of the sort online with respect to this issue. I haven’t seen any personal attacks against Kristi.
2. There was some dust up on Twitter yesterday because someone started a #StopThe StorySiren hashtag. While it can come off as snarky, amusing, annoying or even offensive to some, is it really a CRIME? Like stealing someone else’s work/thoughts and passing them off as your own? I would say that it’s not tactful, probably unnecessary, but I didn’t really have a problem with it.
3. I get the impression that the general consensus among stalwart and borderline sycophantic supporters of Kristi is that what she did wasn’t wrong, she can do no wrong or it’s not a big deal. Really? If it was someone else and not your “friend” would you have the same opinion? I think this is a valid question and it’s not meant to be snarky.
I think it’s unfortunate that this plagiarism incident has turned into a complete shit show. The damage control and back peddling is in full swing. I’m disappointed that so many so called “seasoned” and “legitimate” bloggers can’t seem to be objective because it involves their friend. This is the height of hypocrisy. I’ve lost a lot of respect for many bloggers and the community as a whole. My mom used to tell me when I was a kid, “Just because you do something wrong or that I don’t like, it doesn’t mean that I don’t still love you.” I hated being reprimanded as a child and I’m sure Kristi doesn’t want to deal with it as an adult. I’m also sure that there are plenty of people who still like Kristi as a person, it’s just hard to respect her or really believe anything that she says. Her credibility is seriously lacking. Me stating my opinion here is not me being mean or personally attacking her.
In conclusion, just be honest. People can respect that. People can stand by that. Be principled, have standards, character and be a decent human being. Even if you did something intentional and knowingly wrong, it’s easier for people to forgive and forget if you actually own up to your faults and are contrite, not passive-aggressive. Don’t double speak an issue to death. Be straightforward, clear and concise.
Many thanks in advance to my readers and followers for taking the time to read this post. I promise not to deviate time and time again from what we all really love talking about, and that’s books, reviews, our favorite characters and the authors that we love.
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