Today’s Blog Blow Up

It’s all rather confusing, actually.

Sarah at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books explains at Plagiarism and The Story Siren allegations of blogger plagiarism. The Story Siren is a very well known blogger; I’ve mentioned one of her most popular series, In My Mailbox.

I’m not going to rehash what Sarah says; she includes links and images, and links to blogs with more details.

Now, read the comments there. Take a look, also, at what is being said on Twitter: I’m not going to link to any particular Tweet, but searching thestorysiren or “story siren” will get most of it.

Some people go beyond the issues at hand: plagiarism, what was or wasn’t done, etc. A further exploration of this “kitchen sinking” is over at Stacked at Who are we and what do we do.

Kristi at The Story Siren responds at An Explanation and An Apology.

I’ll be honest: my head is spinning and I’m not quite sure what to think. Plagiarism matters; it’s significant. But, on the other hand, I’m also bothered by the reactions Stacked refers to. People were waiting for Kristi to to respond; now she has. (People wondered why she didn’t respond sooner. As someone who, like Kristi, works full time and blogs after work, I can imagine that at work she cannot drop everything and blog or tweet. She needed a bit of time.).

Anyway, that’s that. I’ll be glass half full: in a world where bloggers are “everything”, writer, editor, publisher, marketer, these things and how we handle them as bloggers matter. It does need to be talked about and discussed; because if we don’t, who will?

Edited to add: The Story Siren has a second post up, Clarification. Personally, I think its a better apology than the first post, in that there is more ownership.

Edited to add: Leila at Bookshelves of Doom has a great link round up, including the latest posts about this from the fashion blogs who discovered this.

Updated: Smart Bitches, Trashy Books provides an update on the type of vitriol going on as a result of this.

10 thoughts on “Today’s Blog Blow Up

  1. I’m beyond disappointed, and it’s coming from a place of feeling I can no longer trust someone who was, for so long, a “leader” in YA blogging. Besides being bothered she doesn’t outright own the plagiarism in her apology — which could have been a great opportunity for discussion — she also fails to address the question of why. She’s always been ahead of the game. Why change the course mid-stream?

    We could postulate, of course, but without an outright explanation, we’re just spreading rumors. And I think by not offering an explanation or a full apology, that’s what might just happen.

    On the other hand, anyone who hasn’t been following today’s discussion may never know, and that’s a real bummer. This is a huge issue and one that, despite being “caught” for, Kristi could have used as an opportunity for a real apology, a real explanation, and a real face for why it’s wrong.

    Her actions are inexcusable, but so are many of the behaviors of other bloggers who have used this opportunity to be downright mean. I feel like I’ve read a YA book or two tackling this mean girl thing.


  2. Man, have I ever been out to lunch on this one. Totally missed it all until your post. I like the round-up and Kelly’s follow-up at Stacked. Both are great posts to point to. I have – fortunately- missed the dramarama that has apparently sparked up on all of it but I do have to say that I don’t understand how anyone could ever claim to accidentally plagiarize. That’s pretty much elementary school 101 – we learn that if you take someone else’s content and claim it as your own you have stolen from them. Story Siren’s explanation/apology is, I agree with Smart Bitches, impossibly weak. Maybe she felt overwhelmed by the need to keep producing new content, by the size of her audience, by the req to engage in comments, twitter, etc. But when you hit the cut and paste then you know what you’re doing, and you know you’re doing something wrong.

    All this makes me glad I follow the blogs I do – they might not audiences as large but they are certainly 100% authentic.


  3. Kelly, I agree that the apology is a bit of a mixed bag. I think it’s added fuel to the fire.

    Colleen, if I understand the situation correctly, it wasn’t even the “main” blog posts (ie those about ya books, authors, etc.) that got her into trouble. It’s ones about blogging etc. Which makes it just more odd, in that it wasn’t “needed”.


  4. I’m going to go with was overwhelmed. I think rather than blogger burnout, this is an example of blogger flameout.

    Explosions are always ugly, aren’t they?


  5. More than anything, I’m saddened to hear about all of this. Although I don’t have a lot of sympathy for people who plagiarize, I do like The Story Siren’s blog and wish she hadn’t felt the need to take other content (whatever the reason). And it’s too bad that this had to be such a public blow up. I can see why it’s important to call out people who plagiarize, but the reactions to this accusation suggest a level of schadenfreude. Really hope everyone in the YA community can move on with honesty and support for each other.


  6. Colleen, yes.

    Annie, here’s the real dilemma, isn’t it? Things have to be done in public — transparent — for the benefit of all. My personal belief: We cannot act as if plagiarism doesn’t happen, doesn’t matter, doesn’t hurt. But, sometimes, that brings out the ugly, as Colleen says. I would want the troubling issue of plagiarism addressed without the ugly; and why I think the reason matters (to me) is that if the reason is know, that can be addressed to prevent others from doing it. Overwhelmed? It’s OK to not be the expert for everything. Poor storage of saved posts (ie didn’t remember it was cut & pasted)? Brainstorm ideas to not do that. etc.


  7. I love a good blogging scandal but find this one hard to follow, even though I went to the links from the offending and offended bloggers. Did she steal stuff verbatim? Or just copy their ideas?


  8. Roger, far as I can tell (and I’m having errors trying to read some of the original posts), it falls under the old “change every fourth word” type of copying. So, no, not word for word; but more like, “here’s a madlibs outline for a blog post so I’ll use it, just making some tweaks.” So more than the idea (let’s talk about klout) but how the idea was then written about (and quite specifically).


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