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My take on why this is a Big Deal™...
I have been quite puzzled today by the reactions of some people here in this thread or in the CB, who do not seem to quite understand why the rest of us are so troubled by the idea that some Monks here may have plagiarized at least some of their nodes.
The easy answer, of course, is that I have, or would like to believe that I have, written material that's "worth" stealing. I write prose and even the occasional poem (in English, or a close approximation) as well as various dialects of code, and while several critiques by other writers may not agree, I do think at least some of my material meets that criteria. And I will say that as a writer of other media beside code, the thought of someone posting sans attribution the Perl Poetry of another bothers me more than the idea of borrowing snippets of code, or reposting questions perhaps while seeking further clarification of answers already known.
But there's more to this issue than just the worth one assigns the fruits of one's own labor.
I believe the issues related to compounding one's guilt by lying when confronted with conclusive evidence have already been well-covered elsewhere. So what else is there?
We all "know" XP is "just a game." Believe me, I got far more upset the other day when my pinball game locked up on me as I was on my way to a record high score than I ever will about the vagaries of a few ++'s and --'s on my node reps or my XP.
But, right or wrong, XP does matter to some. Here's why.
I remember very vividly the day one Monk here (who shall remain nameless) related to me his surprise that a prospective employer viewed his homenode here, and remarked upon not only his XP but also the quality, number, and location (i.e., SoPW, Meditations, Poetry, etc.) of his writeups. The Monk was astonished that the employer (who later did hire him, incidentally) would look at that sort of thing, and actually consider it when making a hiring decision.
Like it or not, for good or ill, whether that was the original or ongoing intent of the Powers That Be, PerlMonks' "record" of its users matters to some.
If prospective employers are looking at that data while making hiring decisions, we may well scoff and think the joke is on them.
But it really is on them, and in a much more sinister way, when the record of a PerlMonks user is distorted by deceit and artifice, as it has apparently been done by some.
The Monks who plagiarized, "borrowed," or merely erred by omission to credit those whose work they appropriated, cheated not only themselves, the original authors, the Monks who replied and/or voted, and the community in general... but they cheated their employers if they gained work, raises, advancement, etc. by virtue of their record here on PerlMonks.
That's why this is, to me at least, a Big Deal™.