On Courtesy Amongst Bloggers

I think age is a very high price to pay for maturity.

~ Tom Stoppard

Being bedbound with illness gives one more time than usual to catch up on some long-delayed reading.  So here I am, battling pneumonia and fever, when I stumble upon a blogger who appears to have lifted one of my recent articles -- word-for-word, including images -- and reposted it as original content.  Worse, the blogger provides his name but no way to reach him directly.

Words cannot properly express my reaction. 

A Teaching Moment

I have had many teachers in my life, and have been extraordinarily lucky to have had some Teachers, as well.  You can always spot the Teachers:  they're the ones who can turn even the most-awkward or difficult situations into teaching moments about issues broader than the ones at hand.

So here's my chance to impart something -- a call for courtesy amongst my fellow bloggers.  I submit that this has at least two important dimensions:
  • Respect:  fact-based, reasoned dialogue in the face of differing opinions.

  • Citations:  links to others who have inspired your own ideas, with the understanding that we all benefit from the great pooling of ideas
I consider plagiarism to be discourtesy of the highest order.

Plagiarism in the academic world is grounds for expulsion, dismissal or loss of tenure.  Plagiarism in the business world is grounds for copyright lawsuits.

At the very least, plagiarism is simply rude.

How To Do it Right

A recent shining example of doing it right is Niall Litchfield's recent article, "Critical Patch Application Redux."  In his insightful article, Niall reflects on some points I made about patching myths.  He doesn't fully agree with my reasoning, but no matter:  he extends and expands on that with his own experiences. 

When I'm back on my feet, I might even contact Niall directly and have a more in-depth discussion, which in turn, may even result in patching-related improvements down the line.

Regardless, we are both more wiser and richer for the dialogue, and for the grace with which Niall brought his views to the table.  If all Apps bloggers did the same, our Stone Soup would be hearty, indeed.


All good tips, presented in a nicely-structured article.  Great pointer, Eddie.  I'll eventually send a cease-and-desist notice to the blogger's host, if my gentle exhortation for courtesy doesn't work.  Thanks for the well wishes.Regards,Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on July 04, 2007 at 10:38 AM PDT #

Here is a useful article about content theft:


Hope you get well soon.

Posted by Eddie Awad on July 04, 2007 at 12:33 PM PDT #

You are absolutely right and I usually give the other party benefit of doubt assuming they didn't know any better. However, it is incredibly rude on their part to borrow without even basic attribution.

Hope you are doing better. Blog on!

Posted by Anshu Sharma on July 04, 2007 at 07:43 PM PDT #

hi steven,
sorry to hear about your illness and wish you to be back in your full health soon, for this subject you have the right to express what you felt of couser it is a bad thing, but i would like you tell you that our apps comminty have a clear awareness about your posts and can tell the orignal post vs. the lifted ones so keep up your good work.


Posted by Fadi Hasweh on July 04, 2007 at 08:23 PM PDT #

Tim Hall has suffered this a couple of times. the first time somebody hoisted his whole site - lock stock and barrel - just changing the "Tim " in his trademark sign-off to their own name. A complaint to the ISP got the site taken down. For the second time, which was just the wholesale copying of an article, Tim took matters into his own hands: http://blog.chinaunix.net/u/21174/showart.php?id=295159

Cheers, APC

Posted by APC on July 04, 2007 at 08:49 PM PDT #

Hmmm, deja vu, I just came across the offending post. Have to agree with you completely.

Posted by Gareth Roberts on July 04, 2007 at 11:30 PM PDT #

APC,That's funny... and a sign of our times, I suppose <sigh>.  Thanks for the link.Regards,Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on July 05, 2007 at 12:07 AM PDT #

Fadi, Anshu, Gareth,Thanks for support and your well wishes.  The miracles of modern pharmaceuticals appear to be adding up in my favour right now.  Fingers crossed.Regards,Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on July 05, 2007 at 12:09 AM PDT #

Sorry to hear 1) You're sick and 2) Someone pilfered your content. When you get back up on your feet, can you send the offending entry to me via email?
Hope you feel better soon.

Posted by Jake Kuramoto on July 05, 2007 at 04:01 AM PDT #


I have also been a victim of content theft. While plagiarism is rude beyond description, it may be best to just find some peace from Charles Colton's famous words: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery".

Sorry to hear about the pneumonia...bed rest, lots of fluids, and a "Z-pack".

Posted by Floyd Teter on July 05, 2007 at 01:06 PM PDT #

Hi Steven,

I'm new to Oracle.I happen to hit on your blog while looking for some useful writeups on E-business.It was an interesting reading.Thanks for posting those articles.Sorry to hear about your illness.Get well soon!!

Posted by Sunitha Karoshi on July 05, 2007 at 10:27 PM PDT #


Get well soon. Your insight in to both Oracle apps. and tech. are tremendously informative and your timing is exemplary.

Integrity and real world know-how can not be plagiarized.


Posted by Alan Yang on July 05, 2007 at 11:58 PM PDT #

Thanks for the kind words Steven, they mean a lot especially coming from you. I also hope that you'll be feeling better soon.

You won't be surprised to hear that I entirely agree with you about plagiarism - being married to a patent attorney makes me somewhat sensitive to intellectual property issues. Being English and middle aged perhaps makes me rather more sensitive to courtesy and politeness than usual as well :)

Posted by Niall Litchfield on July 06, 2007 at 03:27 AM PDT #

Yikes, pneumonia and plagiarism, all in one go. Not a great way spend a holiday. :-(

Have to say I admire your taking the high road and not explicitly outing the offender in your blog. Also means no increase in traffic to the other site from your hordes of angry fans posting outraged comments.

Here's hoping you mend well!


John P.

Posted by John Piwowar on July 06, 2007 at 12:22 PM PDT #

Hi Steven,
I know its quite painful when you realize that some one nicked your content. Wish you get well soon

Posted by Atul Kumar on July 08, 2007 at 11:09 AM PDT #

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