A friend of mine is in graduate school and was telling me about the horrible thing that happened to her friend.
“He got accussed of plagiarism!”
“Oh no! What kind of evidence do they have? Did he just phrase something a lot like a published piece?”
“No! He just put some quotes in his introduction that he found in this blog. It wasn’t like it was published in a book or anything.”
At this point, my sympathy for this guy vanished. “Did he cite his source?”
“No, it was just a blog. It’s not like he’s stealing from anyone.”
Except for the blogger, of course. Now, my friend doesn’t know about this blog. She knows I have a rarely updated running blog, but there’s definitely nothing theft worthy there. While I don’t make a fortune from this blog (with using half my revenue for Kiva loans, I don’t even cover my costs), some people do make a living from their blogs. Would this guy’s plagiarism have hurt the blogger? Probably not. If the paper were being submitted for an academic journal, I suppose it’s possible. If nothing else, a proper citation could lead to increased traffic for the blogger. Either way, the potential for harm isn’t the point. The point is that by this point, people should realize that the blog is a legitimate form of publication and should be taken seriously. There are ways to cite papers to websites. To do otherwise is just stealing.
I admit, I find bits and pieces from my blog on other websites and it is frustrating. Someday, I will put on my lawyer pants and write some cease and desist letters.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.