31 May 2013

Armchair BEA Day 4: Ethics

It's never too late to join Armchair BEA - and you can do it in your pajamas, onesie or even naked if you want to ;-)

Ah the heavy topic day - Ethics.  The thing about the internet is that ethics and morals are for the most part self-goverened.  You determine what makes you a 'good blogger' but the world is also watching - whether you are a 'big' blogger or just starting out.

Personally, I'd rather risk looking like a d*ck for asking TOO much than not enough.  And although I've even asked a couple of times if I can 'use' someone's idea (giving credit where it's due of course), I've never actually used that idea in practice.  I don't want to say it's bad to use an idea of someone elses when you have their full blessing, but I also think that perhaps people are being polite when they say 'yeah, sure' and that in their mind they are probably thinking 'yeah, whatever, go get your own idea numbskull'.

And then we have plagiarism.  It's a big deal in the blogging world, and the book blogging world in particular is incredibly sensitive to it.  I'm not going to talk about how it affects the person that has been plagiarised, because there are far more eloquent bloggers than I who have covered that topic in the past, but one thing that really irks me is the effect it has on other bloggers.

Blogging has, at times, unfortunately become a minefield of paranoia about intellectual property and copyright issues that have made me personally quite uncomfortable at times.  Before I started blogging I used to love spending hours and hours reading reviews of books that I really wanted to read, and now, I feel like I CAN'T read a review of something I haven't read incase I retain a certain phrase or idea about that book in my head and later unwittingly use it myself.  And that makes me sad, and angry, that people who have intentionally plagiarised others have us all on a knifes edge, and possibly missing out on great discussions and debates for fear of being accused of later on stealing someone's idea.  And although I'm a bit of a busybody and like to know what's going on and what everyone is gossiping about on Twitter, it also leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.

Blogging should be fun, we shouldn't need to creep about worrying about what other people might be thinking about us and we should also be honest enough with ourselves to know what is right, what is wrong and how to avoid blurry lines and minefields.


  1. Very well said. I agree completely.

  2. I agree! I have stopped spending hours reading reviews on books I plan on reading. Grant it, if it's like a month or two before I even read the book, I'll probably still read them. But I just like to see if people agree with me! Lol.

    It's a tough place to be.

  3. Once I buy a book, I tend not to read the reviews. I am not really worried about plagiarism, so much as being overly influenced. But in writing the reviews, looking for interviews, I do come across other peoples ideas and to the extent that I agree with them, I am sure they influence what I write.

    I think most of the real heavy plagiarism is coming from people who don't even read the books. They want to be a big book blogger, or maybe they want to be a writer and get on the good side of an author who they think will help them, but they don't actually have time to read all these books.

    I became aware of the non-reading reviewers when I read a novel that had a misleading blurb as to what it was about. I saw a lot of "reviewers" comment on the free first chapter, and then site the book continuing as described in the (inaccurate) blurb. I saw more reviews, mostly of the light and fluffy variety, that followed this pattern than didn't.

  4. This has been such an interesting topic to read about on the various blogs. Thanks for sharing!



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