On: Plagiarism (read before posting!)

The Dutch Plumberjack

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If you've ever heard of the word plagiarism, you'll know that it's essentially the cardinal sin of writing; for this reason, we take this very seriously in c&c and the site's other writing outlets. This thread outlines quick what we as staff look for when considering potential plagiarism cases so that writers and staff can all be on the same page.

Strictly speaking, plagiarism entails "lifting other people's work", and of course the most obvious way to do this is by copypasting it. Copypasting stuff and then rewording it isn't any better, either; that's simply trying to cover up the offense. The difference between a copypasted + reworded paragraph and a freshly written one is pretty stark; we will notice.

There are more sides to plagiarism than simply copypasting, though; for example, in the real world, just like stealing "words", stealing "ideas" also potentially counts as plagiarism. So, even when old writers don't necessarily "own" old info as far as analyses are concerned, reading over old analyses / articles to get an idea of what to include in your analysis and then writing stuff from scratch is discouraged, even if it's not the same kind of offense as outright copypasting stuff. For example, if your analysis includes info from an older analysis / article that is currently outdated, this shows that you got this info from other people's work, and that you lack the metagame knowledge to write the analysis yourself. On top of this getting into plagiarism area in general it's also wasting QC's time, so just don't do it; as long as your metagame knowledge is good enough to write analyses you shouldn't need it anyways.

However, since you may worry that "so many analyses look alike, do I really need to go through old analyses to make sure none of my phrasing matches something that's already on-site": we are aware that for a good part we are dealing with strictly "right" or "wrong" info here that as such isn't "owned" by older writers either, and that in some cases there's simply only so many ways how to say something. Not every match is automatically plagiarism, and not every match will be treated as such; if you've been writing your own stuff from scratch, you'll be fine.


As far as the actual punishments go, since plagiarism is not a black-and-white issue, the punishments aren't either, and they may vary based on severity or intent. The fact that plagiarism is a highly serious offense cuts both ways, so it's not a punishment we give out lightly; this is why we're affording ourselves some flexibility, so that we can still discipline the people that cross a line while reserving the harshest infractions for the worst offenders. In general we're looking at anything between a 3-month 3-pointer (the actual "Plagiarism" infraction you might have seen on our rules pages) for the worst cases and a 3-week 1-pointer for the lightest ones. We have some internal standards in our staff forum, but the specifics will always be up to moderator discretion.

We are not going to witchhunt, and again, don't worry about "accidental matches" happening--as mentioned it's super easy to tell when something has been copypasted then reworded, so we'll only take action when it's needed. As with all things, the easiest way to not get in trouble is just by writing your own stuff entirely from scratch, so just make sure to do that.

If you have any questions, feel free to message a c&c staff member or ask in the simple questions thread; we hate handing out these infractions just as much as people hate receiving them, so we're always happy to clear stuff up.
 

The Dutch Plumberjack

ace of wands
is a member of the Site Staffis a Top Smogon Social Media Contributoris a Top Contributoris a Top Smogon Media Contributoris an Administrator
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Small addendum to this policy that I forgot to address during the initial discussion and we weren't all on the same page (yet) with: if you receive the full 3-point plagiarism infraction, you're barred from writing for the site until it expires. This means that you cannot reserve any new analyses for the duration of the infraction and that any analyses in WIP or QC stage will be reassigned.

We won't be enforcing this retroactively, and of course you are still welcome to provide input on other people's analyses; it's just submitting one's own writing that's a no-go.
 

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