posted on Nov, 7 2016 @ 06:31 PM
I enjoy the debate, discussions, and disputation on ATS when it comes to the political topics, especially during this election season. It is fun, I
have to admit, and I’ve wasted some serious life time here in my banal pursuit of it over the past year. I enjoy the wide variety of opinions and
insight from those capable of articulating their own thoughts on the subject, on their favorite candidate, or some other piece of business, even when
they differ from my own.
But when it comes to engaging with the less-than-thoughtful this political season, often times it has proven to be difficult, or at any rate,
increasingly boring. This is due to one tiny mistake.
You can tell when someone stops thinking for himself at the exact moment he links to and quotes opinions that are not his own without citing the
author, a sure sign that not only his opinion, but his integrity, has run away from him. Someone else has done the research, the arguing, the writing,
the thinking, and all that is left to do is to exploit her work and use it to pad one’s own. When I see posts littered with the pilfered thoughts
and opinions from elsewhere, I instantly stop reading, because instead of the thought, opinion and insight of our fellow members, we are looking at no
more than a lazy man’s propaganda.
Your tastes may differ, of course. You might enjoy the curated, unattributed, copy and pasted paragraphs from articles elsewhere on the internet,
sometimes with the courtesy of a bolded sentence here and there to draw your eye, instead of original ideas, thoughts and interpretations of fellow
board posters. You might prefer the subtle plagiarism of people who are far superior at copying and pasting, but I suppose less so at reflecting their
own thoughts with their own words.
There is a way to avoid this error and to retain one’s integrity through proper citation. It might do well to at least acknowledge the original
author. It is the very least you could do. Depending on its importance to the entirety of the OP, information about the author and the work can be
briefly mentioned in the same sentence. “According to so-and-so…” or “So-and so writes in his article for such-and-such magazine…” are
simple ways of identifying sources in the body copy. But if your only aim is to share someone else's work, just give us a link and be done with it.
Excuse me as a stickler, but integrity is its own reward.