Notice: Plagiarism

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Notice: Plagiarism

Postby jamescfm » Wed Aug 26, 2020 10:08 am

Over the past two months, Moderation has been made aware of a significant quantity of plagiarised material on the forum. In response to these reports of plagiarism, Moderation has removed over one hundred posts from the forum and taken a variety of measures to combat the problem within the community. As part of these measures, this post aims to restate our the position of Moderation on the subject of plagiarism and provide guidance for players who are concerned or confused about what constitutes plagiarism.

Plagiarism refers to the act of taking another person's piece of work (in the case of Particracy, specifically another person's writing) and presenting it as one's own original work. Plagiarism of any kind is absolutely forbidden and totally unacceptable within the game, no exceptions are made to this rule regardless of the extent to which it takes place or the proportion of a broader text that constitutes plagiarism.

With that said there are some circumstances in which players might be confused about whether something constitutes plagiarism. In a relatively clear case it is not plagiarism to base your role-play around real-life events or writing, for example you are not plagiarising The King's Speech if you write a news post explaining that your monarch has problem dealing with a stammer.

Likewise it is acceptable under certain circumstances to utilise quotations or excerpts from real life sources in the context of a longer post or discussion. An oft-cited example of this kind of case is technical descriptions or other highly specific text. In these situations it is paramount that the original source for the quoted text is mentioned in the text and that the cited section is clearly identified. Below is an example of how one might do this.
Beluzian officials have announced new efforts to combat climate change and global warming. In recent years, concern for the environment has risen among the general public but many activists claim the government has not taken the problem seriously. According to official government documentation, "Human activities such as burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas are increasing the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming." (OOC: from the BBC website).


In order to ensure that this is clear to players in the Game Rules, we have made a slight modification to Section 3, which now reads:

Section 3 - Language and Communication

[...]

6. Role-play content must be original work and plagiarism of any kind is strictly banned. Players may quote or reference real-world material provided that this is limited and that they link to the original source in the text.


If you believe or suspect that you have posted plagiarised material on the forum (or in the game) at some point in the past then you have an obligation to inform a Moderator that this is the case so that they can verify and remove the plagiarised content. Failing to disclose the full extent of your involvement in plagiarism risks increasing the severity of the sanction that you face on the basis that you are being dishonest about your behaviour.

In some cases it may be that you genuinely are not sure whether you have plagiarised in the past or to what extent. While it should be clear that this does not make the plagiarism acceptable, as long as you are open and honest about the matter, Moderation will not seek to institute any kind of disproportionate punishment. Our priority is dealing with the incidences of plagiarism moving forward and not on being unnecessarily vindictive with players for previous behaviour.

Undoubtedly there will be some queries or concerns that we might have missed in relation to the issue of plagiarism, if you feel that you have unanswered questions then feel free to message a Moderator or raise them publicly if you feel comfortable.
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