Monday, June 23, 2008

Plagiarism In The Black Blogging World

Over the past few months, I have noticed a seriously disturbing trend in the black blogging world. Copying, borrowing, and outright stealing of ideas, concepts, and stories from each other's blogs. THIS IS A PROBLEM THAT IS UNNECESSARY AND MUST CEASE IMMEDIATELY!

It is very disturbing and disconcerting to work on a long and extensively researched post and then discover a rewritten version on someone's else blog. Particularly after you discover that individual has visited your blog in recent days.

If you see something on someone's blog, ask to cross post their story, don't steal it and "kinda" rewrite it as your own. It's not yours, that's plagiarism. Backdating your post doesn't cover your buns either. I am a professor, I see plagiarism everyday, good and bad. Good bloggers know when their words, concepts, and ideas are being cribbed, stolen, and recycled.

If you see a story covered on someone's blog, but you have a different take, give CREDIT for finding the idea SOMEWHERE ELSE on your blog and THEN write your view or rebuttal. Multiple views are important in the black community, but don't eliminate the voice by failing to give credit to the original voice!

Promote your blog in your comments maybe one or twice on someone's blog, but not repeatedly. Build your own blog readership with your own stories and your own style, not on the hard work and backs of other black bloggers. They did, you can to.

Don't steal concepts from other Black bloggers. Example - Black Women Vote is a unique blog, I have discovered two new blogs copying SheCodes' style completely and not as well! Apparently since Mes Deux Cents has "temporarily" stopped blogging, several black bloggers have outright copied her music, throwback television posts, and various other concepts that were unique to her blog. These are just a small portion of the various "lifting" and "liberal borrowing" I have seen amongst black bloggers. There are a lot of black bloggers, but not enough that plagiarism goes unnoticed, just unspoken! No more!

Don't steal or borrow from black bloggers that have podcasts, vlogs, Internet television shows either. Give proper and open credit to guests and hosts of those shows for their ideas and discussions, by name and idea!

All blogs have a theme. Find yours, don't borrow from others. I am quite serious about this issue. I will call you out and drop you from my blog roll after I make sure everyone knows that you plagiarized from my blog. I was very pissed to discover my piece on the Obamas and elitism was bastardized and backdated by bloggers I have welcomed on my blog. This was a extensively researched post, so I KNOW how many black bloggers had even remotely covered this subject from my angle before I started, a grand total of none!

This blog is my brand. Please respect that!


wisdomteachesme June 23, 2008 at 8:22 PM  

pROF sAID="that plagiarism goes unnoticed, just unspoken! No more!"
That is a deposit in the bank!
'it doesn't go unnoticed JUST unspoken!'

Standing with you!
I really despise thieves.
just as equally as i dispise liars.

it's a sad self imposed way of way of share-cropping--it's how they get everything they get a hold of.

i saw it enough as a teacher. everybody was born with creative ability.

that's true prof...find their own and trust it will work--if it doesn't then modify it till it works.

Many people are afraid to try--it's easier to steal.

Naima June 23, 2008 at 10:02 PM  

I don't want to mention any names, but I think I know which blog you are talking about. I thought that it was so odd the same references were used and it was posted on like the same day as yours, or at least I ended up reading on the same day as yours.
I notice there is a lot of plagiarism on blogs in general and not just the black ones.

wisdomteachesme June 23, 2008 at 10:27 PM  

i don't want to know who it is .
prof, let it go and keep doing what you do.
handle it privately and not in the open.

sometimes people may think it is good influence that gave them ideas, and mean no malice.
either way, we are all grown women and grown men and if you feel you have been done wrong and want to speak on it--outside of general posts about plagiarism
and the problem of it being used so much--

i think you should do this privately and not out in the open.
repsect yourself and respect the person that you feel is out of line.

a lot of wrongs could be made from a misunderstanding. June 23, 2008 at 10:58 PM  

Professor Tracey!

Thank you for mentioning this!!

I just wrote a piece on classism Over the weekend...lengthy and time consuming work... and I have seen other discussions on other blogs already! It's Monday.

I don't know if anyone NEEDS to credit me for addressing the same issues on their own blogs but I don't want to close DOWN my blog!

The piece I put up today...someone has already taken content from that piece! {sigh}

What should WE (black women) do? BrownFemiPower shut down her blog temporarily. She's back up.

{hands on hips}

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

Attorneymom June 23, 2008 at 11:26 PM  

I wonder who you could possibly be talking about. ; )

Professor Tracey June 23, 2008 at 11:35 PM  


Hopefully there will not be a need to address this issue any further. If it occurs again, I will shut down the blog to invited readers only. I appreciate the advice and your wisdom just the same.


Considering that only one black blog extensively mentioned Lawrence Otis Graham before today and that blog was Black On Campus, I find the sudden timing of all these posts on black elites more than a bit suspect. All the posts bring up black elites out of context and that smacks of copying.

And when considering who is newest to the blogging scene, the copying usually occurs on new blogs trying to build readership and thinking that people are not paying attention.

Black Women Vote was the ONLY blog with a manifesto with specific talking points, now there are several blogs doing the same thing WITHOUT credit to her. That is wrong.

My blog is so off beat on topics because I don't do the same thing everyday, that when someone suddenly covers the same idea, I find that every suspect.

I just want people to give credit where credit is due.

Naima -

Thanks for the support. I received several e-mails about a specific blog copying bits and pieces from my blog and SheCodes. We picked up on it a few weeks ago, but many others have since. We will address it in harsher terms if it continues.

focusedpurpose June 24, 2008 at 6:15 AM  

Professor Tracey-

i am guilty.

i did a cross post from your blog on Obama. i did credit you, however, i did not ask permission before doing the cross post. this will NOT happen again.

i would not want to do anything to have Professor Tracey's fire pointed in my direction:-( or not be invited to read one of my favorite blogs should you decide to make it invitation only.

thanks for the plain talk. now that i know better i will definitely DO better.


tasha212 June 24, 2008 at 9:53 AM  

Professor Tracey,

WOW!! I have read discussions many times about plagiarism. If I don't have an original standpoint on an issue, I don't post about it period! I try to respect others' work as I want them to respect mine. I think blogs should be original. I love your blog. I hope you don't have to shut your blog down.

Peace and solidarity,

achoiceofweapons June 24, 2008 at 11:19 AM  

As a performance poet and musician, I've been ripped off more times than I can mention so this issue hits home with me as well. Plagiarism is a serious problem but two points; 1. Anyone can start a blog! It doesn't have to be well written or original. Most folks don't know elementary journalistic rules, what plagiarism is and what it is not! When it is required to provide a reference source. Perhaps, you will blog about that!
2. Bloggers and Black Bloggers in particular, are all drawing from the idea pool but what sets any artist apart is what they add to the same idea. Unfortunately you can't get rid of unoriginality. We just have to rise above it!
With great Respect!

Selena June 24, 2008 at 7:52 PM  

Why don't you get eveything on your blog licensed?

Selena June 24, 2008 at 7:59 PM  

Here's a better link,

The logo is posted on 2 or 3 of the main blogs that I frequently visit. One of the creators of the blogs encourages quite a few women to do this as well. Seems to be working out and I don't think its expensive.

Professor Tracey June 25, 2008 at 11:45 AM  

Hi Selena,

Thanks for the advice, but I have had the creative commons on my blog since I started it, didn't do me much good.

Selena June 25, 2008 at 2:42 PM  

My apologies. I guess the next thing to do is start outing by name!

or maybe a post a "blog wall of shame" :)

AAW June 26, 2008 at 8:11 PM  

As a person who has spent considerable amount of time in college, plagiarism bugs me.

I thought about it before starting my first blog and now my second. My decision to blog came after over a year of mulling the idea and it was to express how I see things.

Besides, I felt if someone starts stealing my ideas, the time and date of post will give them away but as I read your post I saw that it could be back-dated (WTH).

quarter-life-crisis June 26, 2008 at 11:29 PM  

Wow. I truly hope they stop because you, Shecodes, WhatTamisaid, and a couple of others influenced me to blog. I hate to not be able to come to your blog and get my "Words for Warfare" fix.

Ananda June 27, 2008 at 10:56 PM  

I am saddened by the plagiarism. I hope it stops. Your blog and Black Women Vote enrich my life.

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