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Cut and paste writeups will die!

I think that the best way to tackle this subject is using the ever popular Question and Answer format, concerning the questions I have commonly been asked about cut and paste writeups and their demise:


Q: What are cut and paste writeups?

A: Cut and paste writeups will die!

Q: Yes, yes, you said that. But what are they?

A: Cut and paste writeups are, as their name suggests, writeups which are basically cut and paste. (The name comes from the act of 'cutting and pasting' on a computer, but it is a generic name for plagiarism, and generally any form of copying other people's writing. Take copying an article out of a magazine, and typing it in yourself, for example. No Ctrl X, Ctrl V there, but that's still Cut and Paste). Now any person who has ever done any serious programming will tell you, if you need to cut and paste, you're probably doing something wrong. If the information is present in one place, that's enough. Instead of cutting and pasting, a link will usually suffice.

Q: Why will cut and paste writeups die?

A: Well, I think that the main reason is that people don't want to read the same thing twice.

Q: How will they die?

A: A slow and terrible death.

Q: What if the information is somewhere outside E2? Is it okay to cut and paste then?

A: No. If it's not your own work, it's probably copyrighted. But regardless of copyright, we are not here on E2 to read what people who are not part of E2 have to say (except for some well integrated references); we want to know what E2ers have to say about things. If I wanted to read a Mike Tyson autobiography, I would be stumped, because he hasn't written one, for obvious reasons (he can't spell his name). But if I wanted to read a Mike Tyson biography, I can either search google or something or buy the famous "How I bit Holyfield's ear off" Tyson biography or read about Tyson on E2. If I choose to read it here, I want it to be an original E2er contribution. I think E2 has some terrific writers, and we don't need to cut and paste to bring information here.

Q: What about research? Is that okay?

A: Of course. You have to do research to write a good node. And that's the best part. Once you read from several sources on a subject and then write about it in your own words, you have created something new and unique, that incorporates the best of all your sources. And perhaps your writeup will be used as a research source one day. (P.S. After researching it's still important to cite sources, otherwise it is plagiarism.)

Q: What about copy and paste writeups?

A: Copy and paste writeups will die!

Q: Why will copy and paste writeups die?

A: Well, I think that the main reason is that people don't want to read the same thing twice.

Q: How will they die?

A: A slow and terrible death.

Q: You talk a lot about death. Who will do the killing?

A: Editors and Gods. And you'll get a good XP deduction too. Cutting and pasting is frowned upon here. And once you're targeted as a cut and paster, your nodes will be scrutinized carefully. It's a bit like crying wolf. Nobody will believe it's your own writing anymore.

Q: You're not a God or an Editor. You're not even part of edev. How do you know this?

A: I have friends in high places. Plus, I enjoy bringing cut and paste writeups to the attention of my good editor friends. Regardless, I use my downvotes profusely. And if I see someone who is consistently cutting and pasting, I kick his ass. I have flown all around the globe just to kick cut and pasters' ass.

Q: You're not scaring me.

A: That is not a question.

Q: Good point. How do you know someone's been cutting and pasting?

A: It's usually quite simple. I (and many editors) often google search for "naked lesbian teens".

Q: What???!!!

A: Ha ha! I meant many editors (and I) often google search for nodes we think are suspicious. You can often tell if a writeup is copy and paste. For example, if simonc uses a three syllable word in a sausage writeup, we immediately search google for that type of sausage. (Just kidding, simonc's done a terrific job on sausages.)

Q: Is it okay to cut and paste from yourself?*

A: Why would you want to cut and paste from yourself?

Q: Hmm... that's a good point. But say there is a really good reason?

A: There is hardly ever a reason. Read what I said above. (See, I could have cut and paste, but instead, I referred you to the place where it's already written!!!!)

Q: Hmm... that's a good point. But say there is a really good reason?

A: Cut and paste writeups will die!

Q: Thank you.

A: You're welcome.




Thanks gn0sis, Roninspoon, Maayan, Cletus the Foetus and heyoka for your helpful comments.

*Cutting and pasting from yourself means cutting and pasting between writeups. Of course it's okay to write an essay on a word processor and then copy it to E2.

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