Friday, November 30, 2007

I’ve read this before somewhere

In its November 28, 2007 edition, the Hilliard Northwest News published a letter to the editor which it titled "Salary negotiations key to district's financial health." The letter was submitted by an Aaron Kramer. I was eager to read the letter because I was happy others in the district were taking interest this these matters.

When I reached the second paragraph, I realized that Mr. Kramer's letter is a compilation of articles I had published on this blog over the past year, along with an occasional phrase or sentence of his own. I have to admit being disturbed by this.

It feels like plagiarism. Mr. Kramer does end his letter with an encouragement to visit, the companion website to this blog, and that’s appreciated. But it still feels like he had stolen my work.

Then I had to remember the mission: to inform the public about how school funding works, and motivate them to take a more active role in guiding the future of our school district. Mr. Kramer’s letter is an indication that we’re making progress, and having it published in the Hilliard Northwest News will help increase the exposure to this information.

Mr. Kramer: I appreciate your interest and participation, and for the pointer to my website. But I would also ask that rather than patching together pieces of my work, put your thoughts in your own words. These excerpts that you’ve cut and pasted together say what I mean better when they are in the context of their source article, and I’m concerned that away from that context, they can seem to mean something different than what I intended. Besides, the public would benefit from hearing both your perspective and mine, and not just mine in stereo.

Reference my stuff all you want – the more the better as far as I’m concerned. Appropriate citations would be polite too.

But the message is more important than the messenger, and so for your interest and participation in the process, thank you.


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