Two Lessons and a Farting Kitten

1. No book will work for everyone, and if you think one of my books is terrible, that’s no big deal. (I am sorry you didn’t like it, but I’m not going to lose sleep over it, either.)

But tagging the author on Facebook so that they get directly notified that you think their book sucks? Kind of rude.

I get that sometimes you type in a name and Facebook or other sites automatically convert that to a tag, so this might have been an accident. But, you know, something to be aware of…


2. I remember teaching Freshman English at college a decade or so back and having students who honestly didn’t get that copying and pasting stuff from the internet without citing it was a problem.

I’m not sure why this is such a difficult concept.

If you’re presenting someone else’s words as your own, then you’re plagiarizing.*

(Yes, this was inspired by a specific incident. No, I’m not going to link to it.)

If someone else writes something you think it clever and you want to share, great. You do it like so:

John Scalzi wrote a piece about Kirk Cameron, homophobia, and free speech. He said, “…the First Amendment also means that when you say such things, other people have the a right to mock you and the silly, stupid words that have dribbled out of your skull through that word hole above your chin.” Read the whole thing.

You acknowledge the author. You quote a small excerpt if you want, but you do it as a quote so it’s clear you didn’t write those words. Then you link your readers to the original piece.

Changing a word here and there does not make it “yours.”

Sure, sometimes you won’t be able to find an original author online. If you decide to post and mock a chain e-mail, you probably won’t be able to track down who wrote it. But at the very least, you make it clear that these aren’t your words.

And now I’m done, because I’ve already exceeded my headdesking allotment for the week.

*As soon as I posted, I started thinking, “What if you hire a ghostwriter? Or what about speechwriters? And what if…” So yeah, there are exceptions. But as a general guideline, I like it.


Finally, because yesterday I promised kittens and fart jokes (from I Can Haz Cheezburger):