It boggles my mind the depths that some people can go to when it comes to plagiarism. It seems that every few months, another incident of plagiarism in the book blogging community pops up, and the most recent incident involving The Story Siren is one of the most disturbing and noteworthy yet.
There are multiple blog posts and discussions out there about this incident already, so I am going to give you all a super quick summary. Basically, in a quest for new content, The Story Siren plagiarized at least 6 posts from multiple other non-book-related blogs, including Beautifully Invisible and Grit and Glamour. Beautifully Invisible was able to trace the IP address of the plagiarist, which led to The Story Siren. There is ample evidence, very blatant evidence in fact. You can see the evidence for yourself in these posts: I Think We’ve Been Plagiarized…Sort Of: The Story of the Content Thief from Beautifully Invisible, B*tch Stole My Content! Plagiarism: How to Deal With a Thief from Grit and Glamor, and the evidence is also reiterated and made even more clear in Beautifully Invisible’s follow-up response to The Story Siren’s “apology.”
For starters, the plagiarism that took place is blatant. It is obvious, deliberate, more than once, it is much more than a simple “mistake.” I can understand (on a certain level) how it can be accidental if a book blogger accidentally uses similar phrases in reviews and whatnot, but this is NOT what took place here. The Story Siren used content from other blogs, and did not credit or link back. Also, the Story Siren herself has previously written about plagiarism and condemned it. The fact that this has happened has turned Story Siren into a hypocrite of the worst sort.
As to the so-called apology… Here are both of the Story Siren’s responses: An Explanation and an Apology, and Clarification. As to the first post, I’m sorry, but that is NOT an apology. It is full of double-speak, no true admission of guilt. If I was the victim of the plagiarism, I would have been really offended. Even the “Clarification” is un-satisfying. To me, it seems that the apologies are insincere, Story Siren never fully fesses-up to wrong doing. Stating that the first apology was written out of emotion reeks of BS, that first apology was wordy, full of double-speak, it was not emotional in the least. Story Siren writes AROUND the issues, example: “While I did not recognize the blogs in question initially after continued correspondence I discovered I was incorrect in that.” Let’s face it Story Siren, you were proved wrong, you blatantly plagiarized. I would have respected her more if she had simply owned up to the offense in the beginning, if she was honest and addressed the issue when it arose instead of months later, and didn’t pander to her advertisers and publishers.
I do commend the Story Siren for removing the plagiarized posts, that WAS the right action, and yes, at least she does apologize directly to Beautifully Invisible and Grit and Glamour. However, my main question: Is that enough? I feel that this offense is severe, not just the plagiarism, but in the the manner of the response as well. The Story Siren was a well-established, well-respected book blogger. She KNOWS BETTER. Other blogs have been deleted for lesser offenses.
What I do not condone: I agree that The Story Siren should not be attacked personally, no name calling, bullying, etc… She made a mistake, a COLOSSAL mistake, but she is human. While I will not resort to attacking her personally, I have un-followed her. I was a regular participant in The Story Siren’s meme “In My Mailbox.” I will no longer participate in this meme.
The Bottom Line: The Story Siren has lost all respect from me. As a veteran blogger, she was held to a higher standard. She let down her followers, the book blogging community, and professionals in the industry. I am not sure what the consequences should be or will be in the end, and I am curious to see what happens. Plagiarism is ugly, it is hurtful, and it is a black mark for the book blogging and writing communities.
My question to you: What do YOU think the consequences of plagiarism should be? Should all be forgiven, should the Story Siren take a break? What would you like to see happen?