Wednesday 8 October 2014

#LindaGate: It was mainly about Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the copying or paraphrasing of other people’s work or ideas without full acknowledgement. Intentional plagiarism may incur severe penalties, including failure of your degree.” University of Oxford. [1]
Conflicts of lessons not learnt
As one predicted on Monday, enough evidence was presented to Google to have the gossip blog pulled down.
There is no doubt that the lady would regroup and re-launch, however, it is unlikely that the hard lesson of life and experience has been learnt going by the rebuttal she posted yesterday.
Unfortunately, many were quite conflicted and confused, abandoning the objective for the subjective, she played victim and we were suckered.
Nigeria in a big world
We must recognise that anything we do online today is no more confined to Nigeria, we are part of a global village, and there are rules and standards to play by. We are constantly put up to global scrutiny in terms of our attitudes and conduct.
The many things people got away with on the Nigerian streets would find sanction and excoriation when given a global review on the Internet. It behoves us to know how those rules work so as not to be caught out by them to the extent that we might suffer dire consequences.
Breaking the rules
The Linda Ikeji Blog, broke the rules with impunity and the blogger was deluded into thinking the small fry that accused her of infringements could do nothing to have the blog taken down. Now, she knows better.
What we must never lose sight of is the reason why the blog was taken down - PLAGIARISM - and the blogger was an unrepentant plagiarist, we should not be confused or conflicted about this fact and truth.
Plagiarism is wrong and it is worse when material you did not originally produce is falsely passed off as yours on the one hand and you use that material directly or indirectly for financial gain.
Measuring character over success
We also have to check our values and appreciate that success mainly measured by wealth, power, influence or following without character or virtue is fleeting. Our measure of respect for a person which might include position should really be of a higher standard of being seen and known to do the honourable thing, having integrity and a modicum of humility.
A person of integrity has no need of things to express that innate virtue and it can be learnt if we have a teachable spirit.
We need to understand how the seemingly grey areas can blacken and besmirch what we have painstakingly built and invariably bring ruinous reputational loss.
Know the bad behaviour
Moral equivalences are no excuse for bad behaviour, we need to declare conflicts of interest and maintain the transparent standard of full disclosure so as to avoid being labelled hypocrites and worse still, dishonest or frauds.
If whatever we publish is not originally ours, we must, acknowledge, attribute and reference or we are plagiarists. If we need to seek permission and we receive no expressed consent, we risk being labelled thieves.
In all truth
Plagiarism however is no trivial matter; students have been rusticated and indicted criminally for cheating, journalists and politicians have lost their jobs for being plagiarists, it is dishonest and reprehensible; careers and reputations have been ruined because of it.
Plagiarism is the "wrongful appropriation" and "stealing and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions" and the representation of them as one's own original work.Wikipedia. [2]
It is the greatest slight to be proven a plagiarist and there is no badge of honour in copying and pasting the work of others and passing it off as yours. What is wrong is wrong, and nothing can excuse plagiarism nor should it be tolerated when exposed.
Finally, lest we forget, the Linda Ikeji Blog was taken down on proven evidence of serial unrepentant PLAGIARISM whether people had a hateful, jealous or envious agenda is beside the point. Google acted on evidence of misappropriation of material, intellectual property abuse and infringement, not on sentimentality.
Read up on plagiarism.
I acknowledge to my observation that the first use of #LindaGate was by Funmi Iyanda.

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