OT: Plagiarism

Hi all,

it just happend that a 900 points question has been answered with code written by me and accepted without even considering to give me credit (despite that my name appeared).

It was not only I high point question but it also was about a very difficult problem (COM, shell extensions) which needs true expertise and is hard to explain..

So I ask you what you think about this.

I agree that the fastest correct answer should get the points in cases where it comes to common code like string replacements or file search. Also links to such code are acceptable. But what about really difficult code? Alex, Madshi, how often is your code used by other guys to answer a question (e.g. Alex's HowTos and Madshi's CreateProcess stuff)? I don't answer questions which would require to copy someone else's code (e.g. MAPI) as I don't know much about it. How should we handle this? Should we at all differentiate or do you mean to let it go as it went until now?

Ciao, Mike
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LischkeAsked:
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kretzschmarCommented:
hi mike,

i don't do this, except once i've used something from alex, but with credits to him.

well, i think code can be used from other experts, but only with credits to the expert, which developed this routine.

all other would be have the touch of stolen knowledge.

meikl ;-)
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RBertoraCommented:
Mike :

I seem to have vague memmories of the question (I think you made a comment like I can hardly beat my self) in it.. correct me if that is not the question.

I can understand where you are comming from. I was also quite wary about this because I have posted similar plagiarised snippets before, though I do always give credit as you described. Most experts seem ok with this, but perhaps EE should produce a ettiquette page in which things like this are discussed.


I suggest that for these type of HARD TOUGH questions, if the author is not present in the discussion then he looses out completely, but if he is he should be given a certain percentage of the points I would say 60% to the Author.

Rob ;-)
P.S.
Any one else care to make a comment on this idea?
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LischkeAuthor Commented:
I don't incriminate anybody here as this is not the point and I don't care if others allow to use their code. But this time it was mine. Rob, no I did not mean the question you mentioned but it was the same code/description...

I don't believe we can force anyone to assign a specific amount of points to a specific person (and I think we shouldn't try that). The main problem is in my opinion what limit should be considered to allow to "steal" code? I think we cannot force anyone to follow such rules like: "Keep your fingers from this question as BlaBla is the expert for this and there are more than 100 points assigned to it". I'd rather like to appeal to the "sense of honour". I could easily post Madshi's entire winobj.pas code in questions where it applies, but I'd never do that. If I cannot give an answer from the knowledge I have then I simply shut up and let other answer instead using code and earn more than 2000 points for just copy and paste!

Ciao, Mike
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KECommented:
Well, I don't giva a damn about points - they are useless...

This forum is PUBLIC, and if you think that your snippets are "holy" (or worth something) don't paste them here... keep it to yourself.

This forum is about helping out people that are stuck, and to share knowledge that we ALL can benefit from (for free) - if I was you I would be honnored when more than one person actually has learned something from your posting !
I agree that it can be a little annoying if someone clames the credit for what's actually your work - but be hornorred instead - you've just "educated" another individual.
If he don't mention where he got his snippet from - well, that's just a shame - maybee he don't remember...
We definately don't wan't to spend time on who has the "rights" of a public posting...

I see myself copied from time to time, and I'm glad the more people that get's something out of my efforts and time spend here.

I don't say that I don't like an "accept answer" apporach (it's good to know when someone has found the answer) - but I wouldn't be so concerned about "silly" point's, that you can't use for anything.

You don't have to "punk" me about how stupid I am - I may just see things differently than you, which I believe that you are kind enough to accept - and this was my five cent's.

Regards

PS. Go to Binh Ly's homepage, or any other public Delphi page around the world - what are they getting out of helping you and me ???
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freterCommented:
hi all,

i have observed that plagiarism has increased in the past few months quite a bit. i even found some of my code (applying security ACLS to registry keys and direct floppy disc access under NT) re-used by other experts. once i was given credit, the other time not. although this made a little bit upset at the very moment i saw my code appear on a dscussion i was just entering, i must admit that e-e has an implicit policy about that:
if a question appears again and again, the people can look up the answer in the PAQs. with the new search function of e-e, this shouldn't be much of problem.

so, my suggestion is that if a question is aksed for which we know that there already IS an answer, we should all point the person asking the question to that PAQ. this way, everybody wil get happy in the end: the asker will have to pay fewer points and no expert gets offended by plagiarism.

only my 0.02$

</freter>
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RBertoraCommented:
KE : very noble comments but I dare you to make the same about your salary... Do you donate it to charity? NO!
EE points = EE currency

(just my 2 points worth)
Rob ;-)
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KECommented:
Rob,

:-) Yeah, dare me if you dare...

Well, MOST of my salary is donated to the public - ever heard of taxes ;-)
Furthermore I do also donate to charity... - I'm actually a very kind guy :-)

In respect to EE, I myself choose what to make public - as a matter of fact I have sometimes avoided to answer questions due to proprietary knowledge that I was not able to share.

BUT, if I make a public donation, I will also expect and treat it as beeing public !!!

EE points = EE currency = $0.00 ;-)

Regards
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RBertoraCommented:
KE : that is a good effort of a reply I wouldn't have expected anything less.

Still I can't help but feel that this site would be a darn lot less helpfull if it didn't work on points. (do you or don't you agree?)

also:
EE points = EE currency = $0.00 ;-)

Not so, you can buy points.

EE Expert Points <> EE points!!
But hey I lead you into that...


Rob ;-)
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rwilson032697Commented:
Non Mea Culpa!

(For the latin impaired: Not guilty).

Mike, its pretty obvious who you are referring to here (ie: me) - a trivial search of the recently answered Q's will find the 90 pointer...

I think you will agree that credit WAS given to you, quite explicitly. here is the preface of my comment prior to the code you refer to in that Q:

"Basically you're talking about an explorer name space extension. Below is a comment from Mike Lischke posted in another Q, it contains a large piece of code which largely shows how to go about doing this - it is not complete and is a guide...

From Mike:
....
"

I think that is fairly explicit. I think describing my use of the code you posted as plagiarism is quite unfair - credit was given. I try to give credit where ever it is due and welcome reminders if I forget, or miscredit.

In this particular Q, the asker was satisfied with the provision of that code, and some URLs (provided by yourself). Though he did not say which particular piece of information helped him most.

Mike, any information posted in this arena instantly becomes public domain, usuable by any who read it. It is just the same as any other resource on the web in which you find relevent information. Many people file bookmarks to that information, or copy pieces to form their own knowledge bases for later reference and use.

I agree with your views that in depth knowledge of such areas is held by few experts and is most competently handled by those experts. In another Q I posted the same code but advised the asker to reject it as I could not solve the specific queries the asker of the Q had, and to invite you to answer and earn the points.

I too see answers I have posted used by other experts to answer questions. That is part of the beauty of EE - they have learnt by watching others at work and used the 'knowledge' they gained. They are just as likely to use that 'knowledge' in their own work.

Remember, EE is a knowledge sharing community. If you do not want to share some knowledge, don't post it here.

Cheers,

Raymond.
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KECommented:
Rob,

"(do you or don't you agree?)"
Well, I can only speak for myself, and I guess that you already know that it would work for me without the points.
Usenet works, but it's a long time since I've used it. How is the "answer quality" on usenet - anyone ?
I'm an "old" guy (30), so I guess that I don't need to "show off" as much as when I was younger - so the point's approach is maybee not a bad idea anyway - you tell me ;-)

BUT, there's some drawbacks too on the points approach, which we haven't discussed yet. Some people are so concerned about points that they create "ghost" accounts and answering their own questions - I've seen it several times. Such behaviour p..... me off - since I waste my prescious time on them.

"Not so, you can buy points."
Hmmm... yeah, or create a new account - which is way easier, ehh :-)
Well, my good old account is still having 1500+ points to spend - so I'm not one of those "cheaters".

Regards
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LischkeAuthor Commented:
Thank you guys, it's quite what I expected to get :-)

KE: This is indeed an interesting contribution. Have you ever asked yourself why you are here and not in the news groups? I have answered quite a lot questions over the years and went to E-E because of its point system. I do all my private development for free (you can download some very professional code from my home page). But don't you need a bit motivation to help other programmers? Okay, you feel better, but else? I agree, the points are nothing you could use to buy something for, but I think they show how good an expert is, how diligent and how profound his knowledge is. All we get here is these points and nothing else and often the expertise provided here is misused, e.g. often a question is asked, discussed and answered without ever getting a response from the questioneer. Look throught the open questions and the not yet graded answers and you will know what I mean.

Rob: I totally agree! Nothing to add.

Ray: Yes, I referred to the question you mentioned, but it was only the last impulse to finally express what I feel for a long time now. The questioneer has not added one comment while we discussed his problem. This is in my eyes ignorance. And this is only one of many of those guys. Perhaps some of you have realized that I tried to get response from questioneers the past days whose questions are open for a long time now. In a few cases I was successfull...

Considering credit: Perhaps I have expressed this a bit misunderstandable as my english is not my mother tongue. I got of course the credit you mentioned, but is this all what is commonly understood by the term "credit"? And be honest, all the people will remember who actually answered the question (if at all) not from where the answer was taken. We mention our names all the time and refer to each other, nobody will realize that another name was given (or care about that).

BTW: Sorry for the term "plagiarism". I didn't know what else I could use to form a concise topic line for this discussion. And you made some valid points too.

To all,

I can understand your opinions and have no problem with that they are different, but I still feel uncomfortable and I hope you also can understand my problem. The question Ray wrote about was an extreme case as it was a highly endowed question, the code as well as all explanations were from me, I gave additionally information to Jaymol and we got no response and suddenly within a short period of time the question got answered and accepted, because I asked about the forthcoming. Where's the equity?

I admit, points I get here are important for me as they are a kind of payment for the work I'm doing at E-E. I'm here every day about 3 hours and I think this should be honoured (as well as the work of all other experts here).

Initially I wrote that I got what I expected, but unfortunately I don't feel any better regardless of how much I yammer, so my question missed the goal and should therefor be closed. Just consider it as a depressive gossip (perhaps I should finally consult a psychologist ;-)) between friends and let's continue as it was before.

Thank you all for the contribution and

Ciao, Mike
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RBertoraCommented:
Mike : could you please leave the question/thread open for a while as I am keen to see how others feel in this matter.

Rob ;-)
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kretzschmarCommented:
well spoken mike,

go ahead with your good work and don't worry about some mistaken q's. i guess this happens to all of us, and should not stop our knowledge-sharing.

meikl ;-)
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LischkeAuthor Commented:
Thank you Meikl!
Rob: Too late, I have already accepted the answer, but I'm not going to delete the question.

Ciao, Mike
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KECommented:
Mike,

Yes, interesting - why am I here, and not on the usenet ?
I really don't know - until now I've been satishfied with the answer quality on EE so I've never turned to the usenet groups. But sometimes I wonder if I would get better answer's (or a larger answering community) on the usenet. I don't know because I'm satishfied - someone please tell me your experiences.

Motivation:
Well, it comes from an expectation that other people are willing to help me. Right now I'm offering more than I get. But it doesn't matter as long as I believe in someone will help me when I really need it. This is my drive...

Points:
I don't agree with your idea of what designates an "expert". A "REAL" expert doesn't "show off" (if you know what I mean) - he don't need to be confirmed by other people (he already know).
Points on EE is also VERY related to how much time you spend here, how much time you are willing to spend and how long time you've been her. It doesn't tell the "truth" about your skills. However, when I submit one of the harder questions I usually expect some of the Top 15 guys to make an entry - so it does give some kind of skill measure.
Well, I should be carefull to not underestimate the power of the point's - it drives many of the people around here (some to much), and if it works for them I'm absolutely satishfied.
I think that point's gives a better view of who's helping out around here. Actually, that has more impact to me than an "estimated" skill counter...
I'm VERY impressed about the number of questions answered by the Top 15 guy's (sometimes I wonder if they are out of work or something ;-)

My ideal of a point system would be to give a fixed number of points, whenever someone post a comment...
Actually it tends to go this way - doesn't it (points sharing) ?

Regards
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RBertoraCommented:
KE:
>Points:
>I don't agree with your idea of what >designates an "expert". A "REAL" >expert doesn't "show off" (if you know >what I mean)

Look I hate a show off just as much as the next guy, but the points rating in EE is not showing off!

It is some measure of aknowledging the work done by the experts and it is in my oppinion a form of payment:

Every thing you do in this world is for a "pay off".

just a few examples:

You go to work for money, so you can put food on the table, and many other things...

You say hello to your friend and smile because you expect the same from him and perhaps a good conversation.

You go to the toilet because it relieves the pressure on you bladder.

You ask a lady to dance with you because you might enjoy dancing, or perhaps you want to feel her breast on your chest or both. either way you are getting a "pay off"..

Now I get my pay off in many several ways at EE.
1.ExpertPoints
2.Thankyous from questioners,
3. And the knowledge that when I have a problem someonelse might help me on EE.

If points is not part of your "pay off" then fine, perhaps you have better sex than I do perhaps you are happy with your pointless existence, but for many of us Expert points is important and I strongly believe that this site would not work without it.

Once again:

Every thing you do in this world is for a "pay off".

Absolutely everything. If you deny that then you are denying it for a "pay off" what that pay off is, can only be known to yourself examine your motives losely.

Rob ;-)

P.S. my pay off in this thread , is that I enjoy seeing different viewpoints (especially educated ones like the above comments)
and also giving my oppinions too :-)
(not to rain on your parade KE, because your points are good here)
-second punn he he :-)
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RBertoraCommented:
"C" eludes me:
examine your motives "c"losely
Rob ;-)
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KECommented:
Rob,

"but the points rating in EE is not showing off!"
No, I agree with you - but they are if you think that a high score makes you more of an "EXPERT" than the other guys around... that's my point !

"It is some measure of aknowledging the work done by the experts"
EXACTLY, and I'm VERY impressed !!!

"Every thing you do in this world is for a "pay off""
Well, I don't deny that - what makes you believe that I do ?
I share the same interests as you except for the 1. point
I don't know, I might be on the wrong track here, just don't overestimate your "expert power's" ;-)
I just dislike people with the "I know better" attitude (especially when they don't).

"perhaps you have better sex"
SURE ;-)

Regards
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RBertoraCommented:
AGREED!
Rob :-)
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RadlerCommented:
Oops! How spoken about sex :-))))))
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CalvinDayCommented:
Once someone has posted an answer and it is accepted, isn't it "paid" for? After all, a questioner could still get the answer from the pac. ( at 1/10 the price )

I notice RBertora listening... in on lots of questions and expanding his knowledge base... I know Rob is ready to pounce on the next question; with a fast and correct answer.

However, as a matter of respect, if we post someone else's code, maybe we state to the questioner that they should consider awarding him the points.

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RBertoraCommented:
Still listening...


Remember the old uncertainty principle? (Physics)

I notice RBertora listening...

By the way in order to make an observation like you have to be commiting the same infringement yourself. Not that it really is an infringement. :-)

Don't any of the top 15 experts have good relationship with EE staff, ie the beta testing people.. Can't you come up with some rules that EE is willing to adopt, as the problem here is we need rules/guidelines not just speculations..

Rob ;-)

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GwenaCommented:
 I have posted someone else's code as a comment to a question.... but I gave credit to the original author AND
if I had been offered the points I would have refused them...
I would have told them to offer the points only to the author of the code..... IMHO nothing else would be honest....

...Gwen..
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simonetCommented:
Hello... I just saw this thread now. You raised a very interesting point, Mike, but a very "touchy" one.

I haven't read everything yet (this thread grew quite fast), but there is one point I'd like to disagree with:

>EE points = EE currency = $0.00 ;-)

Not true! Points = $12.95 = EE T-Shirt!!!

They are very nice t-shirts (only 1 left for me to complete my collection!)

I used to be a frequent member of the Borland Forums (newsgroups) and there I rarely made questions (I've never made a technical question in EE), and I spent my time only answering other peoples Qs. Of course it was for free, as it is in EE. However, I've dropped my participation in the forums significantly after I found out about EE and now I spend most my time here. Except for the shirts, the points brings you no "real/material" advantadge, but if it weren't for the points, many of use would be in newsgroups or somewhere else. The points have some sort of psychological effect that keeps people answering the questions.

I find it hard to believe there are that many people saying they don't care about the points. If it is so, why does a 200-pointer receive much more attention than a 10-pointer? I could write a lot more about this, but I'll rest here.

Now let's get back to Mike's well-raised issue:

Mike, it has happened to me a couple hundred-times for people to use my code (my How-To's mainly) in their answers. In the beginning I cared about it. But then, the site is there for anyone to see, so I'd be unfair for me to want part of the points. People referencing my site in their answers actually feels good, because it means that there are very good people out there (the experts) that think my site is actually good for something. After all, I am guilty as charge, of using other people's web sites as references in my answers. I've referenced ZifNab's CDEVENTS library in the Delphi-JEDI site more than once. I also remember using your screen-resolution code once to answer a question, but you were the one who actually got the points for it.

What bothers me is to have people use my "extras" http folder in their answers. That is a hidden part of my site that I use to upload files to users whenever I need to send files to them. So I make the files available in this http folder. I've seen many people here in EE link to (my site)/extras in their answers.

This is an ethical issue, and it would be a good idea if there were guidelines for that. For one, the How-To's I've written are publicly available for everyone to download and use at will, but on the other hand, I was the one who wrote them. The same thing goes to Mike's well-known routines on OpenGL, screen resolution, etc, Madshi's code on hooks, and so on.

This is a hard issue, with a lot of variants and sides, and any simplistic approach to it would be wrong.

Gotta go.

Alex

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LischkeAuthor Commented:
Alex,

you described very well some important points I meant with my question here. Let me pick up again the "public code" issue. Sure, what you and I and many other have put on their homepages is public and can therefore be used also to answer question at E-E (although your hidden folder is a different issue as you pionted out).

BUT, can we consider the answers given here really as being public? I'd say it's similar to a consulting company. There are customers which need a specific solution for their problems. They pay the company for the solution and will never give it to another company. At E-E answers are also paid and if someone wants to see the solution then (s)he has to pay again for it. So I'd say we cannot speak of public solutions and therefor many things mentioned in this discussion don't hold true. This is in particular the case where someone was "listening..." and got cool code which he then uses to answer another question. This would be the same as when a company accidently got Microsoft's WinNT code and uses this to make paid customer support ;-*

Ciao, Mike
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