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Re: In support of downvoting plagiarism
by Joost (Canon) on Aug 29, 2005 at 12:43 UTC
    I disagree. Answering questions is not a race :-)

    I think genuine SoPW answers should only be downvoted if they contain harmful advice - and then I usually prefer to reply with an explanation why it's bad advice.

    There is nothing wrong with a good answer that has already been given. The wording of a reply can help clarify an already given anwer, and having multiple "identical" answers can indicate a consensus on how to solve the particular problem. I think it's a waste to downvote perfectly good answers - even if they add nothing to a thread. If anything, it's discouraging to the poster.

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Re: In support of downvoting plagiarism
by talexb (Chancellor) on Aug 29, 2005 at 13:22 UTC

    Everyone interprets answers differently -- it could be that answers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 don't help the OP, but #6 is 'just right'. According to your post, the respondent who actually helped the OP should get downvoted. I disagree.

    In addition, any one of those posts could start sub-discusions of their own, leading to more 'discoveries' by people going back, re-reading the entire thread and adding their comments.

    My suggestion to you is to downvote posts that are inflammatory, useless and/or wrong; to upvote posts that are useful, insightful, or even funny; and to ignore posts that seem to repeat the same answer in subtly different ways.

    And don't worry about XP. Perl Monks is about learning, exploring and sharing Perl; it's not about the XP.

    Alex / talexb / Toronto

    "Groklaw is the open-source mentality applied to legal research" ~ Linus Torvalds

      In support of your point, TIMTOWTDI. Half a dozen subtly different posts may use essentially the same algorithm, but all use different idioms and/or coding styles, different parts of each being clear to the reader. By comparing different answers where something is unclear, a reader may be able to grasp quickly something that otherwise would require more time and effort to comprehend. I've certainly found that to be the case - one (later) post using techniques I'm familiar with clarifying earlier posts that didn't.


      g0n, backpropagated monk

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Re: In support of downvoting plagiarism
by Taulmarill (Deacon) on Aug 29, 2005 at 11:38 UTC
    i think you take those votes far to serious. you are not your rating. rating doesn't reflect your skill or any other aspect of you.

    take a step back and think about it. you can become saint just by using all your votes each day. shure, it will take some time, but it's possible.
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Re: In support of downvoting plagiarism
by Errto (Vicar) on Aug 29, 2005 at 19:34 UTC

    Plagiarism is a rather strong accusation. It connotes a situation where one intentionally copies the work of others and represents it as one's own, without permission or attribution from the original author. Instances of outright plagiarism on Perl Monks have been few and far between in my time here, I'm happy to say (in fact I can only think of one and it's a vague memory at that). Such posts deserve to be downvoted or better yet deleted.

    If I understand the OP correctly, though, it describes a situation where the essential content of a node is similar to that of previous nodes, but the poster still wrote it in his or her own words/code and where the code, particularly if it is only a one-liner, may be identical to earlier replies simply by coincidence. In that situation I don't see any good reason to downvote, and I would particularly decline to label it "plagiarism."

    Update: For example, after submitting my reply I noticed that Nkuvu had replied with something similar a couple of hours ago. You can therefore argue that my reply contributed little of value to the discussion, but you absolutely cannot argue that I plagiarized Nkuvu, as the thoughts and words in this node are my own.

Re: In support of downvoting plagiarism
by Nkuvu (Priest) on Aug 29, 2005 at 17:30 UTC
    What you're talking about is not plagiarism. You're referring to duplicate code, but you (general "you" this time) have no idea if the duplicated code is taken before or after reading the other responses. If you go to SoPW, there's a reply link -- so you can reply to a question without reading other responses.

    If someone asks how to print a "Hello, World" string to the screen, there may be many responses of print "Hello, World". If someone asks how to write a Schwartzian Transform, I'd expect a lot of duplicate replies as well.

    Plagiarism is the act of willingly copying information without citing the source. And I feel you're using a name that most associate with "bad, evil, wrong" incorrectly.

Re: In support of downvoting plagiarism
by eric256 (Parson) on Aug 29, 2005 at 16:38 UTC

    I don't think there is any real way you could tell if it is an intentional dup or an unintentional one. I, for one, often load up RAT in the morning and open tabs on all the interesting questions. Sometimes i get distracted and its hours later before I finish a reply. At that point I have the option of posting and seeing if someone else came up with the same way (often as pleasing as having your very own way) or I could open a new tab on the discussion and see if someone has already replied. More often I choose the former because it is eaiser, more fun, and generaly does no harm. The second is harder and adds no value. Your idea would be to downvote me for what? For delaying before answering? Seems rediculous to me.

    Eric Hodges
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Re: In support of downvoting plagiarism
by inman (Curate) on Aug 30, 2005 at 07:38 UTC
    This is a placeholder document.

    I have added this document because I am pretty sure that I will be responding to the OP but I haven't come up with anything yet. I wanted to make sure that this node gets an early timestamp so that I can either answer by myself or just cut'n'paste the answers from somebody else. Either way, people can then see that I have a really good early post and give me loads of XP. Especially when I frontpage the node just before the Americans wake up.

Re: In support of downvoting plagiarism
by pg (Canon) on Aug 29, 2005 at 18:04 UTC

    Put in this way, I don't think it will hurt me if I got two replies to my question that give "very similar" or even "the same" solutions.

    If I like the solution, I will up-vote both of them.

Re: In support of downvoting plagiarism
by cLive ;-) (Prior) on Aug 29, 2005 at 22:06 UTC

    I'm sure I read something like this somewhere before? ;-)

    cLive ;-)

Re: In support of downvoting plagiarism
by spiritway (Vicar) on Aug 30, 2005 at 03:29 UTC

    My guess would be that people have a pretty good idea about what's plagiarism and what's not. As some monks pointed out, there can be a fairly long period between the time a question is first read, and when the answer gets posted. It's not always plagiarism if the answers are similar.

    I use down-votes sparingly, for the most egregious "sins" (such as not bothering to try to figure it out before posting a question). Only a word-for-word repeat of a post would convince me of plagiarism, because many coding issues do have a single optimum solution.

Re: In support of downvoting plagiarism
by jhourcle (Prior) on Aug 30, 2005 at 11:09 UTC

    It would seem to me that the majority of this thread is discussing the potential reasons for duplicated information, or the lack of harm in it. (note the into, which suggests that I've read the thread, without actually having bothered to go to the bottom of each sub-thread)

    What people haven't seemed to discuss, however, is that you have the right to vote however you want -- and you can vote for different things than other people to. If you wanted to pick a random word of the day, and upvote anyone who used it, you can do that. If you wanted to downvote people with sigs that you found annoying, you can do that, too.

    Voting, reputation, and xp mean absolutely nothing. (well, maybe not absolutely nothing ... they mean that someone cared enough to click a '++' or '--' radio button, and then click a 'vote' button for the reputation, etc.)

    So, back to the topic everyone else is discussing -- there is a significant difference between plagarism, and not adding novel ideas to a discussion. I know there have been times when I've misread or misunderstood someone's response, and replied with what was essentially the same response, thinking that it hadn't been covered already. You're free to downvote me you if you want.

    Hell, you can downvote me every time you see my name, if you wish.

    Am I going to support your suggestion to downvote every message that seems duplicative in nature? Nope. Am I going to downvote you for suggesting it? Nope. Am I going to vote for messages the way I want to vote for them? Yes.

    Update: I appologize -- in my rush to post before leaving for work, I originally stated 'every message that seems duplicative in nature', when Simon's suggestion was to only downvote those that were posted in duplicate a set period of time after the original. I should have better stated myself, as I meant to exclude those through the term 'seems duplicative', but the word 'seems' can have a rather wide possibility for interpretation. Even with that exception, would I select to downvote those messages that are duplicative in nature, and aren't posted within a finite time from the message that they are duplicating? Nope.

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Re: In support of downvoting plagiarism
by chanio (Priest) on Aug 30, 2005 at 21:01 UTC
    I don't know what are you talking about.

    Are you thinking that you are able to distinguish every code that anyone could write and know if it is better that the others, or if it is a blatant copy of a previous one?

    I can't even believe that your schema of a -> b is not really refering to the one that Lacan and Laing used to describe the structure of an aggresive pattern of relationship.

    I use to consider lucky when someone rewrites the code of those really experts in perl in some more simple words. Should I downvote them because they are 'simply' (notice the word simply) rewriting others original code?

    Everybody has the right to evolve at their own pace, don't you think so?

    Consider that not everybody in these forums has the luck of only worry of their competence to obtain a better paid job.

    Some people are living in a very troublesome (perhaps non English) environment. And are clever enough to find some time and predisposition to atend to these great site so that they could some day overcome their pairs.

    So, don't expect everybody to be like merlyn :) (4 example).

    { \ ( ' v ' ) / }
    ( \ _ / ) _ _ _ _ ` ( ) ' _ _ _ _
    ( = ( ^ Y ^ ) = ( _ _ ^ ^ ^ ^
    _ _ _ _ \ _ ( m _ _ _ m ) _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ) c h i a n o , a l b e r t o
    Wherever I lay my KNOPPIX disk, a new FREE LINUX nation could be established