Documenting plagiarism

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Banana Stand
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Documenting plagiarism

Post by Banana Stand » Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:32 am

I sometimes come across plagiarism in old sets and just brush it off since most were written a decent amount of time ago, but I feel like having a thread to document egregious examples would be fun. This is not meant to be witch-hunty since most of the offenders probably aren't even active anymore; I just think really obvious plagiarism is funny.

Here's a fairly bad one I just found:

VCU Open 2009
13. In his Autobiography, this philosopher priviliged Plato, Tacitus, Francis Bacon, and Grotius above all other
thinkers, and he modeled his own efforts after Grotius, whose work led him to conduct the research that led to
the writing of a treatise which pondered the question of whether justice is natural or conventional. This thinker
juxtaposed the arts of "criticism" and "topics" in the first of his major anti-Cartesian works, On the Study
Methods of Our Time, and later added to his work Universal Right a volume entitled De constantia
jurisprudentis, this first chapter of which would lend its title to this man's most famous work. More famously,
this man is famous for a work which reformulated the verum factum principle he himself had proposed in his On
the Most Ancient Wisdom of the Italians and advanced the notion of three universal principles, those of religion,
marriage, and burial. For ten points, identify this thinker who proposed a cyclical theory of history in his most
famous work, The New Science.
ANSWER: Giambattista Vico
ACF Nationals 2011
13. In his Autobiography, this philosopher privileged Plato, Tacitus, Francis Bacon, and Grotius above all other
thinkers, and he modeled his own efforts after Grotius, whose work led him to conduct the research that led to
the writing of a treatise which pondered the question of whether justice is natural or conventional. This thinker
juxtaposed the arts of "criticism" and "topics" in the first of his major anti-Cartesian works, On the Study
Methods of Our Time, and later added to his work Universal Right a volume entitled De constantia
jurisprudentis, this first chapter of which would lend its title to this man's most famous work. More famously,
this man is famous for a work which reformulated the verum factum principle he himself had proposed in his On
the Most Ancient Wisdom of the Italians and advanced the notion of three universal principles, those of religion,
marriage, and burial. For ten points, identify this thinker who proposed a cyclical theory of history in his most
famous work, The New Science.
ANSWER: Giambattista Vico
It literally changes the spelling of "privileged" and nothing else lmao
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Re: Documenting plagiarism

Post by Cheynem » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:17 am

Of course, that plagiarism occurred in Carleton's packet.
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Re: Documenting plagiarism

Post by Panayot Hitov » Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:06 pm

Banana Stand wrote:I sometimes come across plagiarism in old sets and just brush it off since most were written a decent amount of time ago, but I feel like having a thread to document egregious examples would be fun. This is not meant to be witch-hunty since most of the offenders probably aren't even active anymore; I just think really obvious plagiarism is funny.

Here's a fairly bad one I just found:

VCU Open 2009
13. In his Autobiography, this philosopher priviliged Plato, Tacitus, Francis Bacon, and Grotius above all other
thinkers, and he modeled his own efforts after Grotius, whose work led him to conduct the research that led to
the writing of a treatise which pondered the question of whether justice is natural or conventional. This thinker
juxtaposed the arts of "criticism" and "topics" in the first of his major anti-Cartesian works, On the Study
Methods of Our Time, and later added to his work Universal Right a volume entitled De constantia
jurisprudentis, this first chapter of which would lend its title to this man's most famous work. More famously,
this man is famous for a work which reformulated the verum factum principle he himself had proposed in his On
the Most Ancient Wisdom of the Italians and advanced the notion of three universal principles, those of religion,
marriage, and burial. For ten points, identify this thinker who proposed a cyclical theory of history in his most
famous work, The New Science.
ANSWER: Giambattista Vico
ACF Nationals 2011
13. In his Autobiography, this philosopher privileged Plato, Tacitus, Francis Bacon, and Grotius above all other
thinkers, and he modeled his own efforts after Grotius, whose work led him to conduct the research that led to
the writing of a treatise which pondered the question of whether justice is natural or conventional. This thinker
juxtaposed the arts of "criticism" and "topics" in the first of his major anti-Cartesian works, On the Study
Methods of Our Time, and later added to his work Universal Right a volume entitled De constantia
jurisprudentis, this first chapter of which would lend its title to this man's most famous work. More famously,
this man is famous for a work which reformulated the verum factum principle he himself had proposed in his On
the Most Ancient Wisdom of the Italians and advanced the notion of three universal principles, those of religion,
marriage, and burial. For ten points, identify this thinker who proposed a cyclical theory of history in his most
famous work, The New Science.
ANSWER: Giambattista Vico
It literally changes the spelling of "privileged" and nothing else lmao
Carleton's team has released a statement on this matter:

Media reporters have pointed out that paragraphs in Carleton's packet this week bear close similarities to paragraphs in VCU's packet in the April 23rd issue of The New Yorker. They are right. I made a terrible mistake. It is a serious lapse and one that is entirely my fault. I apologize unreservedly to her, to my editors at ACF, and to my readers."
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Re: Documenting plagiarism

Post by Banana Stand » Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:35 pm

A bit of self-plagiarism never hurt:

Delta Burke 2012
Question: This author wrote of an "Arhat who sought Heaven under a mountain of stone" before claiming "humility is beatness before the absolute world" in "Sakyamuni Coming Out from the Mountain". This author asked, "Is this the sickness that is doom" in "On Reading William Blake's 'The Sick Rose.'" This poet wrote of "the great dream of me or China, or you and a phantom Russia" in a poem that ends, "Love, your mother'/which is Naomi." He asked, "What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls?" in another poem. This author of "Kaddish" lamented "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness." For 10 points, name this Beat poet of "Howl."
ANSWER: Allen Ginsberg
Delta Burke 2014
This author wrote of a man "who sought Heaven under a mountain of stone" in "Sakyamuni Coming Out from the Mountain." This poet wrote of "the great dream of Me or China, or you and a phantom Russia" in a poem that ends, "Love, your mother'/which is Naomi—." He asked, "what sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls?" in his best-known poem. He mused that it is "strange to think of you, gone without corsets and eyes" in his "Kaddish," and opened his best-known work, "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness." For 10 points, identify this assertively bearded Beat poet of "Howl."
ANSWER: Allen Ginsberg
At least this one has a bit of "change the answers a bit so the teacher won't know"-vibe. Although I think the 2014 author managed to make the tossup worse in the process.
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Re: Documenting plagiarism

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:35 pm

Might not be plagiarism. Might just be a mistake. I know that when I was actively writing, I had a big MS Word file filled with tossup, and sometimes I just pasted stuff from that Doc into a packet I was writing. I tried to immediately delete anything I pasted into a packet, but I'm sure somebody doing this might occasionally forget to delete, and then find this same doc a year or two later and be like "oh, look at all these tossups I can use"
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Re: Documenting plagiarism

Post by Cheynem » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:27 pm

The latter one seems just the example of someone thinking of the same sort of clues for a familiar easy answerline. I've done this myself a lot (I'm not saying it's great, of course).
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Re: Documenting plagiarism

Post by OctagonJoe » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:40 pm

Nero D'Avola wrote:
Banana Stand wrote:I sometimes come across plagiarism in old sets and just brush it off since most were written a decent amount of time ago, but I feel like having a thread to document egregious examples would be fun. This is not meant to be witch-hunty since most of the offenders probably aren't even active anymore; I just think really obvious plagiarism is funny.

Here's a fairly bad one I just found:

VCU Open 2009
13. In his Autobiography, this philosopher priviliged Plato, Tacitus, Francis Bacon, and Grotius above all other
thinkers, and he modeled his own efforts after Grotius, whose work led him to conduct the research that led to
the writing of a treatise which pondered the question of whether justice is natural or conventional. This thinker
juxtaposed the arts of "criticism" and "topics" in the first of his major anti-Cartesian works, On the Study
Methods of Our Time, and later added to his work Universal Right a volume entitled De constantia
jurisprudentis, this first chapter of which would lend its title to this man's most famous work. More famously,
this man is famous for a work which reformulated the verum factum principle he himself had proposed in his On
the Most Ancient Wisdom of the Italians and advanced the notion of three universal principles, those of religion,
marriage, and burial. For ten points, identify this thinker who proposed a cyclical theory of history in his most
famous work, The New Science.
ANSWER: Giambattista Vico
ACF Nationals 2011
13. In his Autobiography, this philosopher privileged Plato, Tacitus, Francis Bacon, and Grotius above all other
thinkers, and he modeled his own efforts after Grotius, whose work led him to conduct the research that led to
the writing of a treatise which pondered the question of whether justice is natural or conventional. This thinker
juxtaposed the arts of "criticism" and "topics" in the first of his major anti-Cartesian works, On the Study
Methods of Our Time, and later added to his work Universal Right a volume entitled De constantia
jurisprudentis, this first chapter of which would lend its title to this man's most famous work. More famously,
this man is famous for a work which reformulated the verum factum principle he himself had proposed in his On
the Most Ancient Wisdom of the Italians and advanced the notion of three universal principles, those of religion,
marriage, and burial. For ten points, identify this thinker who proposed a cyclical theory of history in his most
famous work, The New Science.
ANSWER: Giambattista Vico
It literally changes the spelling of "privileged" and nothing else lmao
Carleton's team has released a statement on this matter:

Media reporters have pointed out that paragraphs in Carleton's packet this week bear close similarities to paragraphs in VCU's packet in the April 23rd issue of The New Yorker. They are right. I made a terrible mistake. It is a serious lapse and one that is entirely my fault. I apologize unreservedly to her, to my editors at ACF, and to my readers."
Despite Mike Cheyne's best efforts to smear the reputation of the Best Team in Minnesota 2011–2012, I can prove that the Vico tossup was not a part of Carleton's 2011 Nats submission. We may have written many bad questions, but they were our own bad questions.
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Re: Documenting plagiarism

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:52 pm

Well now! That is a strange bit of repetition in those Ginsberg toss-ups. I didn't write either of them, for what it's worth, but I know who did. He's a creative writer of lit questions, and I suspect he found a draft of a question he had previously given me and forgotten about and then submitted it (as Bruce suggested). I sure don't go double checking previous years' sets for repeats, and I don't have that many folks helping write, so I don't think too much about their submissions if they're good. There's certainly no way that two different writers would both pick the pretty-obscure "Sakyamuni Coming out from the Mountain" as a lead-in, especially for a novice tournament! That's the kind of weird hard stuff one should expect from a good DB literature TU opener.

But whatever, Delta Burke can plagiarize Delta Burke, haters, and Gerald McRaney still ain't goin nowhere.
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Re: Documenting plagiarism

Post by wcheng » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:20 am

I'm pretty sure that this shows an instance of plagiarism, but I can't be certain.
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Re: Documenting plagiarism

Post by Dominator » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:13 am

wcheng wrote:I'm pretty sure that this shows an instance of plagiarism, but I can't be certain.
It could easily be two cases of uninspired writing from the same source.

Plagiarism or not, it's a problem.
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Re: Documenting plagiarism

Post by Charbroil » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:34 pm

Dominator wrote:
wcheng wrote:I'm pretty sure that this shows an instance of plagiarism, but I can't be certain.
It could easily be two cases of uninspired writing from the same source.

Plagiarism or not, it's a problem.
I've gone back and checked our team's original submission for that packet; that question wasn't in it, so it must have been added by the editors.

Beyond that, I don't think this is necessarily a case of plagiarism--the wording, even on the clues that are the same between both questions, is somewhat different.

I'm also not sure this question is necessarily problematic. I don't know much about Galbraith, so I don't know if The New Industrial State is a good hard part, but all of the other overlapping clues/answers are about important things that are reasonable to come up in a bonus on Galbraith at this difficulty level. The phrases shared by both bonuses ("coining the term 'conventional wisdom,'" "liberal economist," "served as an economic advisor to John F. Kennedy," etc.) aren't even in the current version of the Wikipedia articles on Galbraith and The Affluent Society, so it's hard to see if lifting things from Wikipedia is the issue here. Those phrases are also pretty reasonable ways of describing the relevant clues, so personally, I would just give the question writer the benefit of the doubt and say that this was a coincidence.
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Re: Documenting plagiarism

Post by wcheng » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:08 pm

I certainly think that it is possible that the similarity is a coincidence, and don't intend to accuse anyone in particular of plagiarism. However, I find the similar structures of the two bonuses to be somewhat suspicious. I think the fact that they have exactly the same answerlines in the same order, and have nearly identically-worded second parts suggests that, if nothing else, the person who wrote the 2011 bonus had heard or seen the 2009 bonus at some point and didn't do a very good job of differentiating the newer bonus from the old one.
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Re: Documenting plagiarism

Post by Charbroil » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:00 pm

wcheng wrote:I certainly think that it is possible that the similarity is a coincidence, and don't intend to accuse anyone in particular of plagiarism. However, I find the similar structures of the two bonuses to be somewhat suspicious. I think the fact that they have exactly the same answerlines in the same order, and have nearly identically-worded second parts suggests that, if nothing else, the person who wrote the 2011 bonus had heard or seen the 2009 bonus at some point and didn't do a very good job of differentiating the newer bonus from the old one.
I personally disagree. I don't find having "the same answerlines in the same order" particularly strange, especially at this difficulty level. The bonus format of "writer's best known work/writer/lesser known work by writer" is pretty standard. Given the number of questions out there and the fairly limited number of common bonus formats, it's inevitable that people are going to write bonuses with the same answer lines in the same order.

Having "nearly identically-worded second parts" is a bit worse, but since Galbraith only has one really well known work and only a couple of other well known attributes, I'm not surprised two easy parts on him might be worded nearly identically. Just like having "the same answerlines in the same order," given the number of questions out there, I don't think it's strange to occasionally have two questions with "nearly identically-worded" parts on the same answer line when there are only a few well known clues for that answer line.
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Re: Documenting plagiarism

Post by wcheng » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:20 pm

Charbroil wrote:
wcheng wrote:I certainly think that it is possible that the similarity is a coincidence, and don't intend to accuse anyone in particular of plagiarism. However, I find the similar structures of the two bonuses to be somewhat suspicious. I think the fact that they have exactly the same answerlines in the same order, and have nearly identically-worded second parts suggests that, if nothing else, the person who wrote the 2011 bonus had heard or seen the 2009 bonus at some point and didn't do a very good job of differentiating the newer bonus from the old one.
I personally disagree. I don't find having "the same answerlines in the same order" particularly strange, especially at this difficulty level. The bonus format of "writer's best known work/writer/lesser known work by writer" is pretty standard. Given the number of questions out there and the fairly limited number of common bonus formats, it's inevitable that people are going to write bonuses with the same answer lines in the same order.

Having "nearly identically-worded second parts" is a bit worse, but since Galbraith only has one really well known work and only a couple of other well known attributes, I'm not surprised two easy parts on him might be worded nearly identically. Just like having "the same answerlines in the same order," given the number of questions out there, I don't think it's strange to occasionally have two questions with "nearly identically-worded" parts on the same answer line when there are only a few well known clues for that answer line.
We will have to agree to disagree, then. While I can't conclusively prove that this is an instance of plagiarism, I can't help but find it suspicious after seeing a side-by-side comparison.
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Re: Documenting plagiarism

Post by Cheynem » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:05 am

That comparison seems somewhat subpar: look at all the matching words--a lot are pretty banal ("identify this 1958," well, yes, most bonuses on this topic will have that phrase).

Anyway, I think your broader point that we should strive to avoid cookie cutter, repetitive bonuses, plagiarized or not, is a good thing. I find myself falling victim a lot to unconsciously plagiarizing myself by repeating similar bonus parts or answerlines. There was the year I basically wrote two identical tossups on the Captain America movie for VHSL, for example.

I do think that the plagiarism that happens in quizbowl is also largely the work of well-meaning new writers, who are trying to emulate the style of existing questions. This is understandable--after all, we direct new writers to look at old questions, right? Perhaps some more concrete assistance or advising on how to "emulate but not imitate" would be good.
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Re: Documenting plagiarism

Post by dtaylor4 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:28 pm

I'll echo Cheyne's comment re: cookie-cutter bonuses. I also have been accused of plagiarizing from my own work with a time differential of several years by a coach of a team that does not do much outside leagues and state tournaments.

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Re: Documenting plagiarism

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:24 pm

Yeah, I've written (or thought about writing) stuff, only to find very similar questions in old packets. Seen it with other writers, too.
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Re: Documenting plagiarism

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity » Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:17 pm

Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant wrote:Yeah, I've written (or thought about writing) stuff, only to find very similar questions in old packets. Seen it with other writers, too.
Yup. Can confirm that I once wrote (and submitted) nearly the exact same Physics bonus as was on the ACF website at one point. Don't remember the amount of textual overlap, but I do recall that the answers were the same and in the same order
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Re: Documenting plagiarism

Post by sambrochin » Sun Apr 23, 2017 12:05 am

Edited out because I'm an idiot
Last edited by sambrochin on Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Documenting plagiarism

Post by Cody » Sun Apr 23, 2017 2:44 am

Seriously, dude? If this weren't the HS qb section I'd tell you to get the :capybara: out. Oh wait - I can.

Learn what plaigirism means.
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Re: Documenting plagiarism

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:01 am

To put it somewhat more politely: plagiarism is a rather serious accusation, and "these two questions used a few vaguely similar clues" is not sufficient grounds for such an accusation.
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