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Author Topic: Plagiarism as a result of cultural differences  (Read 578 times)
Pmalek
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January 13, 2019, 06:50:24 PM
Merited by dbshck (8), suchmoon (7), Welsh (5), DarkStar_ (4), o_e_l_e_o (2), mikeywith (2), Daniel91 (1), ovcijisir (1), DdmrDdmr (1), eroejoe (1)
 #1

I think that people who copy/paste and plagiarise the works of others can be divided in 3 groups:

1. Those who know what copy/pasting is, do it and don’t care about the consequences.
2. Those who intentionally copy/pasted once or twice because they were in a hurry, lacked proper knowledge about the subject and decided to take an easy route.
3. Those who have a different understanding of the plagiarism concept due to educational/cultural differences.


I would like to focus on the third group and I will start with a quote by Carol Olausen, the director of Miami's American Culture and English (ACE) Program regarding academic honesty/dishonesty:
Quote
“An academic integrity policy is completely based on our culture. It's not universal. What we do doesn't exist in other countries, and how we interpret it is completely based on our own culture. Coming into a new place and having to catch up really quickly on something, literally, that's so foreign is definitely a challenge."

What does this mean?
Students who come to America have different views on plagiarism because of their culture and their education.

The Asian culture is a collectivist culture.
Quote
“A collectivist culture is one that prioritizes the goals and desires of the whole over the needs of the individual. Often in Japan, India, and other East Asian countries, ideas that are beneficial to and shared by the community are not individually attributed, but rather recognized as universal knowledge. Students that grow up with this perspective may not understand why citations at the end of a research paper are important; furthermore, citations might even make them feel uncomfortable, as they recognize individual authors above the community as a whole”.

Quote
“Throughout much of China, students in schools are taught the Confucian principle of respecting those who offer wisdom by memorizing their teachings. Whether in history, social studies, science, or literature, most Chinese students are discouraged from producing original work in an academic setting and instead advised to remember and repeat the ideas of the masters in those subject areas as a form of respect”.

Quote
“For some cultures, there is no formalised understanding of plagiarism. In Eritrea, there is no legal copyright protection either for authors within their country or for writers of foreign works. If a student arrives in the United States without a working definition of plagiarism from their home country, it may be difficult to comprehend and adhere to the US concept of academic integrity”.


What is the purpose of this thread?
If the American Education System has recognised that other cultures are educated and live by other standards and have a different view on the works of others, is it then not possible that one part, at least a small part of the users that get banned on Bitcointalk due to plagiarism actually don’t know what they did wrong?
Yes, there are rules here. Yes, they should read and understand the rules and adhere to them like everywhere else. If we take a look at the banned users we can certainly say that based on the way they write in English they are not from an English speaking community, correct? Their posts are full with grammatical errors and sometimes utter nonsense. How does someone who doesn’t know how to write a simple sentence or two understand the concept of plagiarism or rule 33?

33. Posting plagiarized content is not allowed
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=703657.0


So what can be done? I can think of two things.

A) We make a thread dedicated solely to plagiarism and have it as a sticky in the Help, Off topic and especially Bounty section. At the moment there is no such sticky thread. Doing my search I found this thread > https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5037514.0
As you can see there has been no posts in it since October 2018. But the thread is good and can be used for this purpose. The thread could be updated by anyone interested to help out. I would be interested when I have the time.

Anyone reading this should understand that I am in no way protecting, justifying or finding excuses for anyone plagiarising any content here. I do my part as well in reporting and posting about such content in the Report plagiarism thread in Meta. I would just like to offer another view and try to help that small part of users who might not know that copying content is a serious offence.   

B) After a user registers on the forum he should be redirected to the above thread. The thread will explain in layman terms what copy/pasting is, why it should not be done and that posting plagiarised content here WILL result in a permanent ban. There will also be examples of posts that got other users banned and examples of proper quoting and citation.


Source: https://www.turnitin.com/blog/cultural-differences-in-plagiarism


Feel free to share your thoughts.

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January 13, 2019, 06:58:23 PM
 #2

A) We make a thread dedicated solely to plagiarism and have it as a sticky in the Help, Off topic and especially Bounty section. At the moment there is no such sticky thread. Doing my search I found this thread > https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5037514.0
B) After a user registers on the forum he should be redirected to the above thread. The thread will explain in layman terms what copy/pasting is, why it should not be done and that posting plagiarised content here WILL result in a permanent ban. There will also be examples of posts that got other users banned and examples of proper quoting and citation.
You can't force a user to read anything. In fact, trying to push a user to read something (such as in example B) usually leads to exactly the opposite. Most users will strongly oppose reading it.

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January 13, 2019, 07:04:57 PM
Merited by Foxpup (2), dbshck (2), Coin-1 (1)
 #3

I think plagiarism on this forum is more similar to being utterly lazy in your job than academic plagiarism. Most of those bounty hunters treat this as a source of income AND don't want to put effort into it. This irreconcilable contradiction won't be fixed by forcing them to read an explanation. I do appreciate the attempt though and I think we could do something like this even if that's just for the 1% of shitposters who could potentially be persuaded otherwise.

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January 13, 2019, 07:19:11 PM
 #4

I think the clarification of what is meant by "plagiarism" stated later in the rules is pretty clear no matter what culture they are from.

~snip~
33. Posting plagiarized content is not allowed.[e]

~snip~
33. This includes both copying parts or the entirety of other users' posts or threads and copying content from external sources (e.g. other websites) and passing it as your own.

~snip~

Also, since I am a typical dumb American, I am monolingual. Therefore, I am not certain if a translated copy of the rules are available on the local boards. However, I believe many of the local boards do have a stickied post that gives users some idea what the rules are. If this is lacking, perhaps a push to make sure rules are available in as many languages as possible is in order. The challenge is finding capable users willing to do it.

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January 13, 2019, 07:21:18 PM
 #5

Lauda, suchmoon, I agree with both of you. And you are right, forcing someone to read something will most of the times create the opposite effect. It is like the terms and conditions that need be accepted before installing a new software.
But if it is done properly, highlighting that they WILL be banned if they plagiarise, and what to do to prevent being banned, it might get some of them to read it.

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January 13, 2019, 07:33:32 PM
 #6

I think that people who copy/paste and plagiarise the works of others can be divided in 3 groups:

1.
2.
3.

No 4 should be those who copy and spin texts, making it very difficult, almost impossible to track down using a pliagarism checker.
This group puts in lots of effort, which could be directed I making a half decent post, to steal and customize contents of others.

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January 13, 2019, 07:36:49 PM
 #7

For reducing the number of violations, along with the captcha, can show the quotes from the most frequently violated forum rules about plagiarism, spam, duplicating posts, etc.

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January 13, 2019, 07:38:57 PM
 #8

Lauda, suchmoon, I agree with both of you. And you are right, forcing someone to read something will most of the times create the opposite effect. It is like the terms and conditions that need be accepted before installing a new software.
But if it is done properly, highlighting that they WILL be banned if they plagiarise, and what to do to prevent being banned, it might get some of them to read it.

      Actually, the moderators do have some latitude on exactly what action to take on a post that breaks the rules. This can be anything from deleting a post to an autoban. (or no action at all.) I have seen cases where a member is not autobanned for a copy paste. They usually take into consideration how old the post happens to be, if it can be contributed to an error, and whether it appears to be financially motivated. Also, the rules are titled "unofficial." From what I gather, Theymos is not interested in micromanaging the moderation of this board. He has delegated this responsibility to several moderators and mostly leaves it up to them to make fair decisions. He will step in if someone has a complaint about the moderation that seems to have some merit and that he disagrees with.

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January 13, 2019, 07:40:46 PM
Merited by dbshck (4), Welsh (2), bones261 (1)
 #9

We could solve a lot of these problems by just actually making people aware of the most commonly broken rules. The basic rules or etiquette should either be stated when you sign up or linked to or even better a warning displayed when you go to post along the lines of Please do not plagiarise/copy and paste other's content without proper attribution would help a lot. 

I think plagiarism on this forum is more similar to being utterly lazy in your job than academic plagiarism. Most of those bounty hunters treat this as a source of income AND don't want to put effort into it. This irreconcilable contradiction won't be fixed by forcing them to read an explanation. I do appreciate the attempt though and I think we could do something like this even if that's just for the 1% of shitposters who could potentially be persuaded otherwise.

Exactly. Most have just found a loophole here and they're quick to exploit it. I'm sure there are a handful of people who might not understand the severity of what they're doing when they plagiarise content from elsewhere but for the most they're probably just greedy or lazy or even just not qualified for the job (not being able to speak English to an acceptable standard). There's absolutely no excuses for copying someone else's post from the same thread and they do that for the reasons I've just stated. Nobody in their right mind regardless of cultural differences would think that's acceptable and they know what they're doing when they do it.

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January 13, 2019, 07:42:50 PM
Merited by DarkStar_ (4), Welsh (3), bones261 (2), mikeywith (1), morvillz7z (1), Kavelj22 (1)
 #10

I am from one of those countries you are talking about.
In fact, there are strict rules against plagiarism, but people don't care especially when there is no financial profit from stealing someone else's work.

If a user is smart enough to find a high quality topic off-site that should be discussed here, he should be also smart enough to read forum rules.
There should be a kind of tolerence when a member with good reputation forget to tell from where he copied his post (scarce cases).
But I can't think of any excuse for those who copy paste a previous post. Such behavior isn't related to the culture where the member come from.

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January 13, 2019, 08:11:48 PM
Merited by Foxpup (3), Pmalek (1)
 #11

Your point is that some people are educated in a system where plagiarism essentially does not exist, and so coming here they do not understand it. I'm going to go off on a slight tangent here, but I hope you will indulge me while I make my point:

In my professional life, NSFW does not exist. I work in healthcare, and so am exposed to nudity, blood, guts, gore, malnourishment, injuries, deformities, military causalities, death, etc, on a daily basis. I write and review for journals, attend and present at meetings and conferences, lecture students, teach on courses, discuss online, and have never once seen or used a "NSFW" tag, even when the content includes some of the most horrific pictures imaginable. This is the standard that my colleagues and I live and work by.

However, I have the common sense to realize that if I am approaching a new medium of discussion, that it is wise to familiarize myself with and adhere to their rules, as these rules may be different to what I am accustomed to. If I went around sharing pictures of severed limbs and other such things that are commonplace in my day-to-day on this forum, then I would be banned and it would be entirely my own fault.

I'm afraid I have very little time for the people who protest their ban by pleading ignorance. It takes all of 5 minutes to read the rules.

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January 13, 2019, 08:31:55 PM
 #12

There's major difference about plagiarism on academic research and this forum. Most of academic research have good goal (saving human lives, make lives easier, etc.) and even plagiarism only happen because the author forget to include the source (usually happen when author have lots of citations), cultural difference (just like you said) or simply written by author who don't have good goal.

But based on some thread i've seen on meta, most of the banned member don't have good goal or have good reputation before they're banned. It would great if there's list of banned member which meet one of criteria so we can have better idea.

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January 13, 2019, 08:41:22 PM
 #13

It should be easy for a user to read an online article and be able to write up about it in here without having to use the exact same words that was used there.
It's basic learning,that we do all the time in our schools and other works of life
Copying exactly the same thing word for word in degrading to the forum and should not be tolerated.
You can't try to earn just anyhow without at least a minimal amount of effort.
Plagiarism is one menace that should be treated with scorn both in the forum and otherwise
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January 13, 2019, 08:44:50 PM
Last edit: January 14, 2019, 12:05:41 PM by SplitBirb
 #14

I don’t condone plagiarism as it’s disrespectful to the original creators, especially without giving any credit. One solution is adding a warning on top of the “Post” button that says “Please do not copy other people’s words, you can get permenantly banned” or something similar. People not fluent in English don’t know what the term plagiarism is.

Also, If they have a history of doing bounties then most likely they are copying and posting random content as an advantage and should be permanently banned.

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January 14, 2019, 03:50:26 AM
 #15

I am from one of those countries you are talking about.
In fact, there are strict rules against plagiarism, but people don't care especially when there is no financial profit from stealing someone else's work.

If a user is smart enough to find a high quality topic off-site that should be discussed here, he should be also smart enough to read forum rules.
There should be a kind of tolerence when a member with good reputation forget to tell from where he copied his post (scarce cases).
But I can't think of any excuse for those who copy paste a previous post. Such behavior isn't related to the culture where the member come from.

Those kind of users barely copy/paste, at least here in bitcointalk. I have seen only one case here. Possibly he was a Legendary member and participating in sig campaign. He said he did not have enough time to post since his mother was in hospital or something like that.
Other than this, everyone who complain "I am banned, why" come up with a bad English.
Anyway, this is not something which people have to learn from culture. It's all about self awareness. Using other people's resource without credit or permission isn't allowed in any culture and shouldn't be either.

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January 14, 2019, 04:03:18 AM
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 #16

Plagiarism as a result of people not reading the rules of this forum,even if we have rules sticked into META section most of the people unaware of this section at all.So having the rules running on footer or header of each pages will make some difference.

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January 14, 2019, 08:13:40 AM
 #17

Even if there are different cultural tolerance levels or society imbricated takes on plagiarism, it does not mean that when one ventures to a different part of the world they should be exempt from penalty (and getting aboard this forum is a bit like that). Take for example Singapore. An everyday commodity for many of us such as chewing gum is banned there. Not flashing the toilet leads you to be breaking the law, and parental caning (or even being caned for vandalism) is no stranger.

By that I mean that cultural differences should turn into needs to be better informed by those approaching a foreign culture, and not necessarily as an excuse or an extenuating factor.

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January 14, 2019, 10:12:55 AM
 #18

Plagiarism also should have another view point.
Plagiarism which can harm, bring money loss and only brings negative consequences.
And plagiarism which can only help, can't bring money loss or harm any other member.
Most of the plagiarism around is in the bounty's as everyone here stating, but some cases people trying to get helpful information from different sources and just badly credit or not credit the original source.
In the last case, the plagiarism itself cannot harm the community or the person reading/using it and also can be helpful.
In those cases people should receive warnings but not red tags, because in many cases people didn't read the rules.
Helpful plagiarism should be treated little bit better than those who have in mind to earn money from it or harm the community.
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January 14, 2019, 10:38:33 AM
 #19

...No 4 should be those who copy and spin texts... d I making a half decent post, to steal and customize contents of others.
Those could still fall into the first category because not only do they do it and don’t care about the consequences but they also make an extra effort to conceal the plagiarised content.

Please do not plagiarise/copy and paste other's content without proper attribution would help a lot.
That is a good point although I would not use the word plagiarise if we are trying to address those who dont understand its meaning. Just copy and paste and highlight what it is and that you WILL be banned if you do it. It should get the attention of some new users I think. Those who dont care are a lost cause anyway. It should be highlighted in such a way that they know that there is no chance to get away with it so dont try it.

...They usually take into consideration how old the post happens to be, if it can be contributed to an error, and whether it appears to be financially motivated.
This is interesting. What if a user is found copy/pasting at the beginning when he just registered his account and then as the time progressed his posting quality became better and better? Those people could be given a 2nd chance if they have contributed to the forum in a significant way.

<snip>
You are educated and possess enough professionalism and culture to know what goes and what doesn't, unfortunately some people are not. But if they want to better themselves lets give them a push in that direction. Making a warning message about copy/pasting is everything the board needs to do, if they continue to ignore it, the results are their own fault.

“Please do not copy other people’s words, you can get permenantly banned” or something similar.
Not can. Will. If they understand the difference between 'will' and 'can' they might see that there is a possibility to get away with it. They shouldn't think they can get away with it.

...we have rules sticked into META section most of the people unaware of this section at all.
Yes, someone who is here for the first time will not know where and what Meta is and why the rules would be posted there.


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January 14, 2019, 10:49:16 AM
 #20

I'd say you're giving this third group too much credit.

Plagiarism is theft in any culture including the Asian one. Plagiarism is appropriation of one's creation, it's just that the creation is a text but it's still taking something someone else made.

What could be done is probably seeing a lighter punishment for anyone copy/pasting while giving the source of the copy paste but no one actually does this. You either give the source then comment what you paste or don't give the source.

Most plagiarists are just lazy. Don't try to find excuses for them like cultural differences. I know no culture where it's seen as a good thing.

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