Avoid Plagiarism: Ignorance Is Not An Excuse
COPY. Paste. DONE.
That is the boon of online information. The ugly shadows of plagiarism well disguised in the easy accessibility, retrieval capacity and opportunistic nature of the Internet.
As this simple clicking process is also the bane of the free limitless information we find today on the world wide web. Such easily accessible information is a product of hard work, sweat and hours put in by the creative people, leaders and educators – albeit free.
Ignorance is a not an excuse to fall into this act. You must avoid Plagiarism by all means.
Is FREE a good or bad thing?
Free can be good or bad depending on which side you stand.
As gifts, rewards and bonuses, FREE is highly recommended and always cherished. Well, as long as the quality is worth it and not a means of accumulating junk and extras with no added meaning or purpose to life.
And we all love gifts especially if its something meaningful and beneficial. Or if its given at the special moments – such as weddings, Eids & graduations. So, receiving a gift especially unexpectedly evokes good feelings leading to love and stronger relationships.
Here FREE is good, encouraged & rewarding.
As Muslims, gifts are highly recommended as it a means of strengthening bonds and uniting hearts.
The Prophet (saw) said …And give gifts to each other… (Bulugh Al-Maram)
Now consider this.
How about a wall decoration or other valuable items you may find in public areas e.g., schools, airports, hotels, libraries and restaurants? Would you consider such free, and pick it up for yourself with confidence? While believing that it won’t stop anyone from eating, sleeping and most likely many will not notice its gone.
That is overstepping limits, right?
It doesn’t belong to you and you shouldn’t take it without permission. Now, what makes this act any different from going to any web page, and copy pasting extracts or full articles.
Then republishing the exact words on your own blog or other places without so much as make an effort to utilise only parts of it, adding your own words and special thought process?
The Quagmire Effect
In a recent experience and ensuring discussions, I stumbled on the realisation that a lot of online stealing in the form of plagiarism is rampant nowadays – of web copies, blog articles and other resources/ creative ideas.
Entire articles are lifted off pages, copied and boldly displayed on other sites and possibly linked to their own old articles in an authoritative manner.
Obviously, some people are putting in all of the hard work, sharing ideas & knowledge while others are very busy copying & distributing through other channels.
How about quoting, paraphrasing or summarising as taught in basic research methodology classes?
How about seeking good ol’ permission?
The effect of this simple action can leave deep scars. The original owner of the work may be considered the copier or even misunderstood because the context in which the work was done hasn’t been properly understood or linked to. The intellectual effort of the person also goes by without proper acknowledgment.
Nothing good comes out of it and a relationship that could have been strengthened and bolstered with respect is never even initiated and developed though two individuals take pride in the same work – find benefit in it and have an appeal for certain elements contained within.
Perhaps, a networking opportunity and genuine connection with worthy benefits gets lost forever since no proper effort to nurture the ties were ever made to begin with.
Is Ignorance an Excuse?
Some argue it is a free means of promotion.
Therefore, thought leaders, business & creative people should be pleased their ideas are being propagated for free. Dawah opportunity for the copiers, some will say. Many even suggest perhaps it is done out of ignorance and shouldn’t be a big deal..
My question to the those copiers acting out of ignorance remain, can you truly account for what isn’t a product of your own striving? What if it is linked to some false ideologies or tied to issues you can’t stand for?
Why would you enjoy false recognition in the name of ignorance? How long will you remain in the darkness of such ignorance with the presence of Prof. Google, that even kiddies can access and seek answers to basic unknown questions.
And what is the big deal in seeking permission or recognising the effort of others, just for the goodness of it? That is part of humility I say. There are no excuses that can cover up this wrong act.
Plagiarism is certainly not a privilege for the ignorant person. It is wrong – whether in an academic or creative context. Plagiarism is intellectually, spiritually, morally, and socially wrong.
A.V.O.I.D it by all means.
Build Positive Habits
I agree, Google makes life easier. In a matter of a few clicks, you can read or copy a lot from different web pages to build a foundation or outline your writing, research or any creative work.
It is an idea bank and generator of sorts. Let it end there. Get a general idea then get working on it in your own unique way.
Don’t over linger. Copy pasting the entire time. Your are doing away with your voice, respect, integrity and authority. And this bad habit sinks its doers into an abyss of work that is not productive and creative.
Lay off the lazy mentality cargo. Build an enduring positive habit – for daily reading, writing, research, brainstorming and discussion – build on areas and issues that really matter to you.
You have many tools to aid you. Try the daily personal development exercise. Do not remain stuck in the ignorance pool.
Avoid plagiarism. Use your words, intellect and thinking.
As stated in a book of the 3 great scholars Ibn Rajab, Ibn Qayyim and Al Ghazali: Knowledge clears the way out of darkness, ignorance, doubt and sceptism. It was also reiterated that Knowledge is the shortest path to Allah (swt).
Where is the room for plagiarism then?
Let’s change the narrative through seeking purposeful knowledge & avoiding plagiairism. Because ignorance is really no excuse.
What is your stand on plagiarism – Is it excusable? Share your views below please…