Plagiarism sucks so I am instituting a no tolerance policy on ScrewAttack

Posted on August 29, 2012 - 3:00pm by Sean Hinz

First, let me say congratulations to g1 community for successfully Kickstarting SGC. I know that there were some naysayers out there, but clearly there was a demand for SGC and it was powerful enough to make it happen, so bravo. Now as I said during the inception of the ScrewAttack StyleGuide, I would like to continue to keep the content creators in the community updated as to the progress behind building out our tools and improving your overall experience on ScrewAttack. Sadly, this follow up is going to be less about that and more about addressing an issue.

When we first began moving to a more community content driven site, the issue of plagiarism was always a concern. There is very little stopping someone from copying someone else’s content and posting it in a blog. I always strive to make sure this content is either removed by the creator and denied promotion, but have honestly been relatively lax. Well that is changing as of today.

After getting back into the office Monday, I had two emails regarding plagiarized content on our site waiting for me, and this isn’t the first time this has happened. But twice in one day is far too much, so if I ever see another copy/paste article in the community section of the site it will be promptly unpublished and I will contact the g1 explaining why it was unpublished. They will be given the opportunity to re-format it in a way that is appropriate for ScrewAttack, which will be outlined in a moment. If that is not done and the article is republished, I will delete it immediately. Also, if this behavior is consistent to a specific g1, there will be repercussions. I am giving the entire community the power to create content on the site, but I can take it away individually on a case-by-case basis. That being said, let’s talk about the alternative.

Rather than completely removing a post, because well sometimes the content can be quite interesting. I propose this solution. Ben Kuchera is a well respected journalist in the video game industry and is the senior editor at the Penny Arcade Report. He runs a section of PAR known as The Cut. These are recommendations to read articles from other publications on the Internet and are usually comprised of a fresh title, sourced image, and hyperlinked title from the source. This will be acceptable on ScrewAttack and if you don’t have the time to write up a short blurb, no matter how easy I think that is, then you can share news this way. I am also going to require the author’s name somewhere in the body. Here is an example post and of course this is outlined in the updated StyleGuide as well.

Now some of you might be saying, “well I post other people’s YouTube videos all the time, why is a written blog so different?” Yes you are essentially doing the same thing, but there is a difference. The video player is coming from the creator’s site (in most cases), using their ads. Meaning, they get credit for their work, traffic on their player, and revenue through it. They may even see an increase in the size of their audience. If they didn’t want people to do that, then they wouldn’t have “embed code” as an active sharing option on their video.

Copying and Pasting a blog on the other hand affords the writer none of these things and even if an article is sourced, I would say less than 10% of readers actually click through. There is almost no recognition afforded the writer for their hard work and that is bullshit. I know this post is getting long in the tooth, but it is extremely important that this issue is resolved today. It is unfair to all the legitimate writers in the g1 community that want to be respected by the rest of the Internet. It is also counter-productive to what I am trying to create, which is a respectable community where users can share the content they are passionate about, without having to steal it.

So, I will finish with this. Plagiarism is bad. If you do something bad, there are consequences. Don’t spoil the fun for the rest of the community by forcing me to dole out punishments. If you don’t have time to write, but want to share, use the method for recommending other writers articles as outlined in this post. Thanks for your time and hopefully the next video will have some news about all the improvements we are making to the site. Don't forget to check out the StyleGuide if you have more questions.

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