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Plagiarism

andrea-harrison
Active Member
Andrea H Member Since: Apr 6, 2016
1 of 17

Hello. I am just starting out and had received my first assignment in which I had to write an article on '11 home remedies for colon cleansing' for someone's blog. It was a test article to see if I was the right fit, only paying $5. I proceeded to do the research online before writing the article. I took information from a few articles and paraphrased it, while giving credit to expert advice through identification and quotes. I checked my work on copyscape and when I noted some red flags I went back to revise the sentence structure in some paragraphs and replaced some wordage with synonyms.

 

Unfortunately I had to end the contract because the client found examples of plagiarized data using copyscape.

Although I am an inexperienced writer, I was a Journalism major and I understand the concept of researching and writing an article. My definition of Plagiarism is using someone elses's work without their permission and passing it as your own, word for word. I did not do that. When writing an article on a popular topic that has been covered by other authors, such as colon cleaner, it is unavoidable to refrain from using shared or similar terminology. I even did an experiment by re-revising my article(after I ended the contract) and checking again with copyscape. It still came up plagiarized in certain areas!

 

My question is, how can copyscape be such a determining factor in whether an article is plagiarized, when shared terminology and quotes come up in red as being copied? Unless you write an article on a unique topic that hasn't been covered  or you provide a unique angle to a topic that has already been tackled, how can you  possibly avoid some similarities in writing for a topic so frequently covered, like in colon cleansing?

 

Any advice given would be greatly appreciated!

 

 

 

286a3b07
Active Member
Simone F Member Since: Jun 8, 2016
2 of 17

Were the articles you used for research and \ or as a reference also the "source texts" according to Copyscape?

 

If yes, you probably didn't rephrase enough. And the client's concern is 100% understandable: if copyscape can detect it, google will too... and will penalize him for that.

 

Otherwise.. well that would be a nonsense indeed.

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
3 of 17

@Simone F wrote:

Were the articles you used for research and \ or as a reference also the "source texts" according to Copyscape?

 

If yes, you probably didn't rephrase enough. And the client's concern is 100% understandable: if copyscape can detect it, google will too... and will penalize him for that.

 

Otherwise.. well that would be a nonsense indeed.


OMG "rephrasing" is still plagiarism!

 

 

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
4 of 17

lmao you're an experienced writer and thought this was ok? Who cares if it passes copyscape? If you don't plagiarize, you don't ever have to run anything through copyscape. As a matter of fact, a writer who says they do it is a red flag.

 

Real writers don't use copyscape because they don't plagiarize.

 

And btw, rewording content and slapping a link on it is still plagiarism. What journalism collage taught you that plagiarism is just copying word for word? LOL

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
5 of 17

Your problem is that there are two realms of "writing."

 

Real writers and real editors do not use copyscape, and many are not even aware of its existence.

 

When Charles Dickens wrote "A Christmas Carol," he did not use copyscape. When Watson and Crick published ground-breaking research on the DNA helix, they did not use copyscape. If their works were submitted to copyscape today, there would probably be a lot of red flags.

 

If you are a "real" writer, doing original research or thoughtful synthesis, legitimately surveying published information and coalescing that information in a professional manner, or writing original fiction, you have no need for copyscape and your editors have no need to pass your writing through copyscape.

 

There is another realm of writing that is focused on attracting web users to websites and generating revenue through advertising and sales, and part of the strategy for doing so is hosting writing with keywords that may attract target clientele. Posting quality, original writing is not a primary concern. But there are concens about getting penalized by Google algorithms that detect duplicate work, and there are concerns about being accused of simply copying content from other sources and using that content without attribution or permission.

 

This "second realm" of writing is where copyscape comes into play.

 

Keep in mind that many project owners who work with the "second realm," and many of the "writers" who do this kind of work, are only vaguely familiar with the "first realm" of writing (which I like to call "real writing"). The people hired to do re-writes in order to re-use content without getting caught or without getting flagged by computer algorithms and programs often have no experience doing "real" writing. Their motivation is strictly financial. Their abilities are limited, but they do own a computer and they have an Internet connection.

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
6 of 17

The hilarious part about these copyscape people is that copyscape is one of the few companies that have permission from Google to scrape their results. You're not allowed to scrape Google search resutls without permission, so anyone who does risks getting their IP banned.

 

Copyscape lists like the first 10 results that it finds in Google, and it doesn't guarantee if I take a sentence from some part of the content that I won't find plagiarism. I used to do it all the time with the writers I had. They would tell me that it passed copyscape and sure enough I'd find the content "reworded" by just searching a sentence in the content.

 

I have insulting words for people like this but I think today I'll pass on getting modded.

 

meh the collage failed

mrdanielprice
Community Guru
Daniel P Member Since: Aug 15, 2014
7 of 17
What percentage of the article was identified as "plagiarised" by Copyscape? It's fairly common for such checkers to flag common phrases that a lot of writers will, naturally, tend to use in their writing as be "stolen" from another piece of work.
mwiggenhorn
Community Guru
Mary W Member Since: Nov 10, 2014
8 of 17

Plaigirism aside, the client got an article for $5.

versailles
Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
9 of 17

@Andrea H wrote:

(...) I had to write an article on '11 home remedies for colon cleansing' for someone's blog. It was a test article to see if I was the right fit, only paying $5.

 


No, it was not a test article, it was the actual job. A lot of semi-fraudulent clients do this, they lurk greenhorns into cheap labor, giving them false hope for more work later.

 

Then, you don't spin content. Even if you're an inexperienced writer. You don't do this.

 

Finally, you should take care of the test scores on your profile. As a writer, you can't have English skills tests that are just above average.

 

Being a native English-speaker, none of your English tests can be lower than any of mines. Because I'm not a native English-speaker.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
jmlaidlaw
Community Guru
Janean L Member Since: Apr 6, 2016
10 of 17

@Rene --  You make an excellent point about the test scores,  Now, here's something that I find mystifying about "Rising Talent." Andrea and I seem to have a great deal of overlap in our skill sets. Compare her test scores, profile, and education to mine. She has the "Rising Talent" badge. Me? I have the "chopped liver" imprimatur.

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