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A Reader of Fictions: Plagiarism Is a Bitch

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Monday, January 21, 2013

Plagiarism Is a Bitch

Guys, I am seriously upset right now. I've been afraid this was coming, watching for this specific moment with this specific plagiarizer. I thought I was ready for it, and that maybe it wouldn't hurt so much because it was so inevitable, but, you know what? It does fucking hurt. And I probably shouldn't write about it, because that stirs up drama and everyone's just going to want to know who it was and what review and all of that, when I really haven't decided what the fuck to do about it yet. However, this blog is my outlet, and I really need an outlet.

Here's what happened without any super specific details.

From one of my good blogger friends, I heard about a relatively popular reviewer on Goodreads that had been a lot of subtle plagiarizing. The blogger I know was looking for a second and third and fourth opinion that plagiarism really is happening in this case. The plagiarizer is clever, not copying exact paragraphs or sentences, but taking ideas, some more obviously than others. I read through a bunch of the plagiarizer's reviews and noticed that none of them seemed to have any original analysis to offer, rehashing the opinions of others, though in admittedly lovely prose.

At the time, I'd never heard of this reviewer before. Oddly enough, the reviewer in question liked a couple of my reviews shortly thereafter (negative ones, since those are the reviewer's forte). This made me concerned, and, not wanting to sound stuck up, I feared my reviews might become a source for one of this person's.

Then today, I saw that a number of my GR friends had liked a review by this person for one of the books I reviewed. And the ideas in it sure look really fucking familiar. In one spot, only one word has been changed. Not only that, but the review already has more likes in one day than mine ever got.

As if this weren't bad enough, it makes me doubt myself. The plagiarized review would probably be considered better than mine by most people, as the number of likes suggests. The reviewer fleshed out some of the things I covered and maybe added a couple of things (though those might be borrowed from someone else).

I mean, someone steals my ideas and I have to feel fucking inferior to this person? I just. I can't. I feel stupid and helpless and weak. 



Blogger Jessica said...

D: D: Have you emailed/contact the plagiarist?

January 21, 2013 at 5:55 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

No! Dammit, I'm so sorry. Christina, don't feel inferior. They stole it from you because yours was obviously better than there's was EVER going to be.

January 21, 2013 at 6:30 PM  
Blogger Bibliosaurus Text said...

Yuck. This happened to me professionally at work lately, and it is so enraging. It's really hard to do anything without it becoming drama, but what the hell? Sad.

I'm so, so sorry.

January 21, 2013 at 6:33 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

No, I haven't, and I don't know if I will. Since it's not direct (like stealing paragraphs verbatim), I don't think the person will do anything but accuse me of jealousy or insanity. I know for a fact that this person has been confronted with similar allegations before and obviously has not changed their tune.

January 21, 2013 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I bounce between feeling that way and just feeling miserable, because they made my review better. Ugh.

January 21, 2013 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yeah, there's no way around it. But I had to say something, even if I don't ever call the person out, behind the scenes or publicly.

Thanks for the support.

January 21, 2013 at 6:39 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Stealing doesn't make it better. It makes it much, much worse, because I bet you they probably poked around and stole the 'better' bits from other reviews.

January 21, 2013 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Maybe so. It's more like they went even further with some of the things I did in a really clever way. Which annoys me to no end. Then again, I think mine manages to be a bit less scathing and more carefully critical, which I like.

I just have to be me and not let this mess me up.

January 21, 2013 at 6:41 PM  
Blogger Julie@My5monkeys said...

I am sorry that it happened to you. I would say something to them. Hugs

January 21, 2013 at 7:26 PM  
Blogger Kimberly @ Midnight Book Girl said...

Christina I'm so sorry! This is terrible!

As far as the plagerized review being "better" just remember that it's easy to modify something, not easy to say it first, and the fact that she took from your review means that your review is the better one.

January 21, 2013 at 7:36 PM  
Blogger Bekka said...

Yours will always be the better review because you thought of it. Those are your thoughts, your creations, and your hours of work. Like Kimberly said: it's easier to modify than it to create.

I'm so sorry this happened to you. I hope you feel better soon, and don't doubt yourself. You're one of the strongest reviewers in the blogging world right now and you have a lot to offer.


January 21, 2013 at 8:53 PM  
Blogger Brandy said...

So sorry Christina.

I don't understand why or how anyone can possibly think that this sort of behavior is okay. I am so sorry it happened to you and it has made you feel this way. I know that words can't reverse how you feel but you are in NO WAY inferior to this person. You are a good writer and at least what you write, you own. Hope you come up with a way to deal with this that works for you soon.

January 21, 2013 at 9:22 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I just don't know that I see the point. Since it's not direct, they'll probably just say I'm crazy. It's not as easy to prove.

January 22, 2013 at 12:18 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Thanks. :) I guess if this person could right good reviews without plagiarizing the content, they would.

January 22, 2013 at 12:19 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Thanks Bekka.

I'm sorry too, and the fact that you say that means a lot. *hugs*

January 22, 2013 at 12:19 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I really don't know either. You would think that with what happened to the Story Siren, the blogosphere would have had a wake up call and learned not to do this stuff. Perhaps the lack of lasting consequences for TSS' actions showed that it doesn't really matter. I don't know.

January 22, 2013 at 12:21 AM  
Blogger Steena said...

Remember that time when you were awesome all the time and came up with your own ideas about books and shared them with the interwebs? And then there was that time you were plagiarized and you handled it with total aplomb (with some freaking out on the side, because, uhm, hello? Plagiarized.) because you're a BAMF?

It's a suckfest situation and I'm sorry.

January 22, 2013 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ha, oops. Remember that time I blogged and whined about it instead of handling it with aplomb? Oops. *headdesks*

Oh well.

Thanks, dear.

January 22, 2013 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger Steena said...

I would consider an incredibly discrete blog post 'aplomb,' especially given that violent rage, righteous indignation, and full-on social media take down were within your rights.

January 22, 2013 at 12:02 PM  
Blogger Jenni said...

Do. Not. Feel inferior to this person. Christina, your reviews are by far some of the best I read and it's not fair to be so hard on yourself. You are doing something so great here with your blog and I truly value your thoughts and opinions. Anyone can steal someone else's opinion and make it sound pretty. But it takes a lot to sit back and dissect what you've read and articulate it as well as you do. *hugs*

January 22, 2013 at 12:03 PM  
Blogger Giselle said...

Oh wow that is shitty! I wonder if I'm GR friends with this person.And btw--getting "Likes" on there doesn't mean their review is better than yours, it only means they friended people who use the Like option no matter what the review is like.

POO ON HER!! (Not literally--just saying)

I think you should out her/him. And not only because I'm dying to know who it is. >.<

January 22, 2013 at 12:03 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I feel like it's best left alone, though I felt the need to get it out there. If I say something to this person, they'll just be like "you're making things up," since it's not a direct rewrite. Sigh.

January 22, 2013 at 12:04 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Awwww, thank you so much! I struggle with esteem issues anyway (doesn't everyone), so this is not an awesome feeling. I need to focus on the positives, like apparently this person ranks me with all of the other super amazing bloggers that have been stolen from.

January 22, 2013 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

You are not friends with this person, but several of our compatriots are. And I do know the likes are a flawed system. I'm really picky about accepting and sending friend requests, so I have about a third of the friends this person does.

Ha, I will resist the urge to literally poo on this person who does not live remotely near me.

Lol. I don't think it would do any good. I really don't want to deal with people tell me I'm being crazy or exaggerating.

January 22, 2013 at 12:08 PM  
Blogger Sadaf H. said...

Ahhh, that's terrible! It would piss me off if someone did that to me too, those are YOUR words... how dare someone steal those from you?

Is there any way you can report this use on good reads? Maybe he/she will get banned from the site. But steer clear, these people can be persistent and possibly make a new account, then start up their shenanigans once again.

January 22, 2013 at 12:51 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

It's more like they stole my ideas and my organization, but, still, I was really proud of the work I put into that particular review and don't appreciate that they've just added fancy words to it.

Maybe I could, but I doubt GR would care since they're not precisely the same. I wouldn't have noticed probably had I not been aware that this person had a history of such behavior.

January 22, 2013 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

Ugh! I am so sorry this has happened to you - some people have NO morals.

Don't doubt yourself, you write awesome reviews that I'm completely in awe of - you're thorough, funny and fair without sugar-coating the bad points.

Chin up, karma is a bitch.

January 22, 2013 at 1:25 PM  
Blogger Sarah(Sarahandherbookshelves) said...

Christina I love your reviews and you do a amazing job :)
I am sorry that this is happening to you and I hope everything will work out in the long run. :)

January 22, 2013 at 3:24 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I really don't get why people do this. If you can't think of something yourself, why book blog? Or become a writer? And even if you never get caught or penalized, wouldn't you feel awful about yourself? Is it worth it?

Thank you.

Ha. Now that is true.

January 22, 2013 at 3:53 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Thanks for your support. I hope so too.

January 22, 2013 at 3:53 PM  
Blogger Kayla Beck said...

*hugs* I love your reviews, just like everyone else here! That nasty, horrible snot-rag will get what's coming to him/her, so don't let it bother you one teensy bit.

January 22, 2013 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger Christina said...


January 22, 2013 at 4:01 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Argh...your post on this is the second such one I have read today and it is really disheartening to see that TWO of my favorite bloggers have had this happen to them.

I am so sorry that this has happened to you, Christina. But don't let a thief make you feel inferior, chica:)

January 22, 2013 at 7:27 PM  
Blogger Shelver506 said...

That's rough. I'm so sorry.

If you want advice, I'd say take as many screenshots as you can. Tell others who have been plagiarized to do the same. Then go together as a group with your proof. Copy-and-pasted or not, plagiarism is still plagiarism.

And if you don't want advice (because sometimes it's just not the time for advice), skip the above paragraph and just know that I've got your back. :)

January 22, 2013 at 7:31 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

You don't have any reason to doubt yourself or your reviews, you are pretty much one awesome blogger and reviewer. You did absolutely nothing wrong. I hate plagiarism, more and more, you see that it's becoming more prevalent in the book blogging community and that's just incredibly sad. I don't understand why people can't take the time to put their own thoughts to wordpad, instead of anyone else's.

I am truly sorry this happened to you, hun.

January 22, 2013 at 8:08 PM  
Blogger Kara_Malinczak said...

I love you and I know we already discussed this via Twitter, but I need to say again how upset I am that this happened to you. I have since unfriended the person on Goodreads. I am so frustrated that this is still going on. And I'm pissed!

January 23, 2013 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh dear. It's awful how many people are affected by this. I guess it makes book reviews seem like seriously important business, but considering that we don't get paid for this, I really don't get why people think even the best review is worth stealing. Not to denigrate us, but really what do you have to gain?

Thanks, Heather!

January 23, 2013 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I did take screenshots of the review and of the fact that this person liked my review, just in case I need proof later. For now, I'm watching to see what happens, because I know someone else just confronted the reviewer for the appropriation of their intellectual property.

If the reviewer in question takes the reviews down or issues an apology, I'll not worry. If they continue as usual, I'll probably add my voice.

Thanks, Shelver.

January 23, 2013 at 10:02 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

That's wonderful to hear, thanks so much.

January 23, 2013 at 10:02 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Thank you, Kara dear. I guess it was bound to happen eventually, although I don't feel like we should have to live in a world where that's a true statement.

January 23, 2013 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

That really sucks, Christina.
I've never made a comment in your blog, but I do love it and your reviews as well and I can tell you how amazing they're. You don't deserve this.
And there's no need to focus in the likes that person gets. Obvioulsy, this reviewer is dealing with their own insecurities if that person needs to do that.

So, cheer up! (:


January 25, 2013 at 6:27 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Thanks, Liz!

It makes me very happy to hear that. :)

The review in question has been taken down, and the blogger has, for the moment at least, quit. I do hope that if they come back, they do their own work.

January 25, 2013 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

:((( I'm so sick of hearing about a new case of plagiarism what seems like every other day. I was in soooort of a similar situation and it sucks when you can't really do anything about it bc it wasn't exact.

I really really hope I am not friends with this person on GR!!!

January 26, 2013 at 4:48 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

This person left GR, so you're good. You know, I don't think we're GR friends. *goes to find you*

January 29, 2013 at 9:52 AM  

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