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May 30, 2007

If it weren’t so blatant, I’d think it was plagiarism
Posted by Teresa at 11:18 AM *

Look quick, before the culprit can take them down:

Glenn Greenwald, in Salon, After everything we’ve done for them.

Mark Mitchell, in Embryoyo, After everything we’ve done for them.

Word for word, photo for photo, it’s Glenn Greenwald’s article. Only the byline is different. I found it because I couldn’t remember where I’d seen Greenwald’s article posted, but I could remember a line from it. Imagine my surprise. I sat and stared at Mitchell’s version for a long time, thinking “It can’t be intentional plagiarism. It’s too blatant.”
Tim Grieve, in Salon, A three-way presidential catfight.

Mark Mitchell, in Embryoyo, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

It’s Tim Grieve’s article with a change of title, illustrated with a picture of a catfight.
Glenn Greenwald, in Salon, Major troop reductions imminent—again.

Mark Mitchell, in Embryoyo, Fool me forty-nine times, shame on me…

Same article, different title, different first line. (Susan spotted this one as well.)
PZ Myers, in Pharyngula, Another Christian Science Fair embarrasses itself.

Mark Mitchell, in Embryoyo, “Creation Wins!”

Same article, different title. This particular borrowing was a serious misjudgement on Mitchell’s part. Salon will just sue you.

Special thanks to Jim Macdonald for helping hunt down the further instances of plagiarism, and for saving screenshots.

Addenda:

Amber wonders whether it’s the same Mark Mitchell who’s written up in Chronicle writer fired for plagiarism, in the Daily Utah Chronicle.

Susan spots Andrew Leonard in Salon, Wolfowitz agrees to quit; Mark Mitchell in Embryoyo, Hungry like the wolf.

Fade Manley spots Devin Faraci, Chud.com, Seriously, they’re making a f&@#ing Sims movie?; Mark Mitchell, Embryoyo, Seriously, they’re making a fckng Sims movie?

Jim Macdonald notes that Mark Mitchell’s very first post on Embryoyo, Cocksucker Blues :: Little Girls And The Unhealthy Way They Love, is very similar to this piece at MySpace, posted by Mark in Salt Lake City.

Aaron M. says that the second-oldest entry at Embryoyo is lifted from Bob Harris at This Modern World.

Dom says the essay Jim found at Embryoyo and MySpace was written by Cintra Wilson, and published in her book, A Massive Swelling : Celebrity Re-Examined as a Grotesque Crippling Disease, in 2000.

Update, 1:00 p.m.: Sometime in the last half hour, Embryoyo went down.

Comments on If it weren't so blatant, I'd think it was plagiarism:
#1 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 11:44 AM:

Make it four:

Glenn Greenwald in Salon: Major troop reductions imminent - again

Mark Mitchell in Embryoyo: Fool Me Forty-Nine Times, Shame on Me...

So who is this Mitchell guy?

#2 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 11:47 AM:

Any idea why the plagarism? Is he looking to sell ads? Is this a splog site?

The change in titles suggest it's handmade plagarism and not just datascraping.

#3 ::: Angelle ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 11:50 AM:

Wow. That's just, kinda, astounding.

Does it say something positive about my outlook on humanity that I'm actually surprised?

And I second Susan: Who is this guy?

#4 ::: Chris S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 11:50 AM:

Yowsa! Dude, it's the internet. People can SEE you!

#5 ::: Julie ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 11:51 AM:

Looks like there may be others as well.

#6 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 11:53 AM:

Kathryn Cramer at #2 wrote:

> Any idea why the plagarism? Is he looking to sell ads? Is this a splog site?

No sign of ads - it looks for all the world like a normal blog full of decent quality articles about political and social issues.

I don't see an income stream here. Resume boosting? Or the worlds saddest form of ego boosting?

#7 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 11:53 AM:

If anyone else feels like grabbing timestamped screenshots, go right ahead.

Susan, good catch. I was typing them into Movable Type as fast as Jim was finding them.

#8 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 11:56 AM:

And another one. This time he removed a few sentences here and there.

Greenwald in Salon: Wolfowitz agrees to quit

Mitchell in Embryoyo: Hungry Like The Wolf

Screens captured; where do you want the images?

#10 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 11:57 AM:

I almost get the sense that he's not so much malicious as he is unclear on the concept of blogging.

#11 ::: Leva ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 11:58 AM:

Not only will readers spot this sort of thing, but smart writers can make use of google alerts to be automatically alerted of plagarization. It's real simple -- copy and paste a distinctive sentence from each article you write and have google alerts tell you if it shows up elsewhere. Very efficient.

I catch a person or two a month this way, mostly bloggers who are shocked! shocked, I tell you! to get an e-mail from me.

I am not at all surprised by Theresa's post ... this sort of thing is rampant.

#12 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:02 PM:

Sorry, that last should have been Leonard in Salon.

Having a little too much fun here.

Not sure how to timestamp, but working on it.

#13 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:03 PM:

Clueless, maybe. Thirty seconds with Google turned up another one:
David Blaine Wants To Jump Off Brooklyn Bridge The good news: professional dumb-stuff doer (Mitchell)

The good news: professional dumb stuff-doer (AV Club)

#14 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:04 PM:

Amber:

Given the Salt Lake City connection, I'd bet on it.

He just does not LEARN, eh?

#15 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:05 PM:

Howard @ #10: I dunno. Mitchell's Embryoyo page is pretty slick looking for someone who is too "unclear on the concept of blogging." Granted, he may have a decent design sense and no other sense at all, but...

My mind is boggling. Loudly.

#16 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:06 PM:

Howard @ #10: I dunno. Mitchell's Embryoyo page is pretty slick looking for someone who is "unclear on the concept of blogging." Granted, he may have a decent design sense and no other sense at all, but...

My mind is boggling. Loudly.

#17 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:07 PM:

Drat. Sorry for the duplication.

#18 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:08 PM:

We were just saying we needed a new game.

#19 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:10 PM:

Amber (#9), thanks for that link. I'd wager it is the same guy, as he makes it clear that Embryoyo is a Utah-based page. I retract comment 10.

Mark Mitchell is clearly a pioneer mapping out new topologies in Malice-Incompetence space.

#20 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:11 PM:

Y'know, if you follow Amber's link you can get the email address of the reporter who wrote that article...

I've got the full screen captures with the time in the corner now.

#21 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:16 PM:

The entry of Seriously, They're Making a Fucking Sims Movie? is ripped straight from SERIOUSLY, THEY'RE MAKING A F&@#ING SIMS MOVIE? at Chud.com. Though this time he did at least swap out one Sims screenshot for another; I'll give him credit for making sure to find a Sims screenshot, and not a Sims 2 one.

At this point, I'm thinking the greater challenge would be in finding an article on the blog that isn't ripped from somewhere else.

#22 ::: Angelle ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:16 PM:

Looks like the reporter has graduated, at least from this.

#23 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:16 PM:

The very first post at Embryoyo seems to be this one (dated 16 May 2007), which seems to be remarkably similar to this post at MySpace dated 22 March 2007.

#24 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:20 PM:

Ah, but that My Space post is by "Mark" in Salt Lake City. The next question is, did he really write that one?

#25 ::: Angelle ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:20 PM:

You know what's sad? He's probably thrilled to see his page views climbing this morning; little does he know it's to seal his doom. *cackling whilst screenshooting*

#26 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:21 PM:

"One man deserves the credit, one man deserves the blame...."

#27 ::: Aaron M ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:26 PM:

The second-oldest entry is a direct rip of Bob Harris at TMW.

James@23: I think that's actually this guy's MySpace blog. If so, he's a location match with the Mark Mitchell fired from the Daily Utah Chronicle.

#28 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:26 PM:

This is a nice detective game, but let's remember that there's a real human being at the other end of it.

Finding examples of plagiarism and stomping on them? I'm all for it, though not just at the moment (I have a Dutch class to go to). Piling on the guy who did it, past the point of memorable instruction? Not so much.

Not saying we're doing anything wrong. I'm just worried that we'll sour our discourse. And we don't really need that right now.

Ignore me if I'm being a worrywart.

#29 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:29 PM:

I was about to point out the Chud ripoff, but somebody beat me to it. (My personal money was on it being a Kotaku/Joystiq ripoff, but I was pretty certain it wasn't his.)

The thing is....he may have posts of his own in there, but now every single one of 'em is suspect to me. Even if I enjoyed his very own writing style, I would never really take it for being all his own ever again. Kinda sad.

#30 ::: Audrey ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:31 PM:

Ugh, Typepad's policy on copyright infringement is the same DMCA-compliant crap that Google goes by.

Which is to say that they don't care unless the copyright holder sends them a bunch of documentation in the mail, even if the plagiarism is blatantly obvious.

Yes, I'm a little angry about spam blogs stealing my posts so they can slap AdSense ads on top, and the amount of work that appears to be involved in getting Google to revoke their account.

#31 ::: Amber ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:37 PM:

Audrey: You might try adjusting your RSS feed from whole posts to excerpts only. That has dramatically diminished the spam blog theft from my site.

#32 ::: Dom ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:38 PM:

#23:

That was first written by Cintra Wilson. It was published in her book "A Massive Swelling : Celebrity Re-Examined as a Grotesque Crippling Disease" in 2000.

#33 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:41 PM:

P J Evans (13), could you try those links again?

#34 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:42 PM:

He's either started to take them down or we're overloading the server.

Anyone found out if that promising young reporter found another journalism job somewhere and would like to do a reprise?

#35 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:43 PM:

Should we denounce him on his comments page? Alert the originals?

#36 ::: John R ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:47 PM:

He's deleting them as I watch, this morning, after I posted a comment commending him on his bravery in continuing to post despite half the internet breaking into his computer and stealing his writing before he could post the originals.

I think it's funny.

#37 ::: Jill ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:48 PM:

He's already taken down two of the ones you've identified.

#38 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:49 PM:

That is just plain... weird.

#39 ::: John R ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:50 PM:

In fact, this is the comment I made, originally:

Awfully interesting thing: PZ Myers over at ScienceBlogs.com appears to have copied your article! Word for word! Punctuation by punctuation! Link by link!

How horrible... and PZ even appears to have done it *the day before* you posted yours. Why, the fiend must have broken into your computer and stolen your draft version! And your writing sounds so much like PZ's that nobody might ever have noticed PZ taking your article at all, if you hadn't bravely continued to post your original.

We're all fortunate that you possess the strength and character it takes to deal so effectively with other people posting your articles in the days before you yourself do, taking the high road and not even commenting at all on their crime, simply letting your words stand for themselves.

An yes, I did mean the plural "articles". After all, look at what Glenn Greenwald did with this other piece of yours! And there's more! In fact, trivially googling shows me that four of the last five of your posts have been stolen, word for word, by other bloggers who have then posted them hours or days before you posted them yourself! And the fifth? Well, all the others have been cruelly stolen from you, why not that one, too? You should check further!

And you should probably take your computer to the shop, install a firewall, get it scanned by a professional, etc. Everyone's posting all your work before you do, that MUST mean your computer is compromised!

#40 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:53 PM:

All of his comments are closed.

#41 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:53 PM:

He does seem to be fond of ripping off Salon: beside the examples mentioned earlier, his May 24 "Murderous Vegans" is taken from Carol Lloyd's May 24 Salon column of the same title. I haven't checked whether it's an exact copy or has been reconfigured, but I didn't spot any obvious divergence.

At this point, I'm assuming that any item on that blog is most likely lifted from somewhere else.

#42 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:55 PM:

Embroyoyo is now completely empty. It happened as I watched.

I wonder what he was thinking to do this?

#43 ::: Angelle ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:56 PM:

His Murderous Vegans

Salon's Carol Lloyd's Murderous Vegans

He's lucky he wasn't more widely read (most of his 'posts' have 0 comments) or people might take his little transgression more seriously. Like lawsuit seriously.

#44 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:58 PM:

Looking at Technorati, his blog is 14 days old and has no authority yet- no links at all.

In comparison, ML on Technorati has an authority of 1400 (1) and a rank of 1200 (2).

Seems to me like he wanted to jump-start his blog. Too bad he connected the cable clamp to the gas tank.

----
(1) a function of the number of links (?).
(2) overall rank of all blogs. Here's their top 100 blogs

#45 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 12:59 PM:

#42: He has to be reading this thread. Right now.

#46 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:00 PM:

Looks like the whole site's down.

#47 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:00 PM:

I couldn't find one for the SLC movie going article, as none of the distinctive phrases turned up anything. But....him being an SLC resident, I can actually see that commentary being his own. (It's just that now I have a little voice in the back of my head wondering if he "borrowed" it from a friend's commentary or otherwise.)

#48 ::: John R ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:01 PM:

And it's gone, the entire blog is gone.

That was fun while it lasted.

#49 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:11 PM:

The MySpace account is now down, as is the user "Mark in Salt Lake City".

He must be reading Making Light, right now, and deleting as fast as we post.

#50 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:13 PM:

im in ur blogz, citin ur plagerizmz.

#51 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:14 PM:

Blog exorcism: "the power of TNH compels you".

#52 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:18 PM:

Next step is for him to appear here, either under his own name or as a sockpuppet, to denounce us as horrible meanies who smeared one of the Truly Good Guys.

For the people who came in late, here are some screen shots:

Seriously, they're making a fucking Sims movie?

And the original.

Fool Me Forty-Nine Times....

And the original.

Creation Wins!!!

And the original.

Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!"

And the original.

...And After Everything We Did For Them!

And the original.

#53 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:18 PM:

Google has a couple of posts cached here and here.

#54 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:22 PM:

#51: It would be better if we could still see the, uh, "original" postings - but disemvoweled.

#55 ::: Fiendish Writer ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:23 PM:

im in ur pinata, eatin ur candy

#56 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:23 PM:

Teresa, should I try those links again now, if he's disappeared his site? (Those were straight out of Google when I put them up.)

#57 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:25 PM:

Well now, that was fast. I await the arrival of the sockpuppets.


#58 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:26 PM:

The "Cocksucker Blues" posts:

At Embryoyo and at MySpace.

#59 ::: moon_custafer ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:28 PM:

Veering off-topic, I agree with the WT@%%$???! over a movie based on The Sims,which isn't very narrative. It's more like playing with a dollhouse. Maybe this is all a big misunderstanding and the movie is actually going to be an updated version of Ibsen in which gaming leads Nora to recognize the emptiness of her RL and leave Torvald.

#60 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:38 PM:

I can actually see interesting ways of making a Sims movie: take a look at The Strangerhood, where someone did an entire narrative based on being stuck inside a Sims-logic world via the game engine. There are implied or explicit storylines in existing characters, there's plenty of weirdness to go around... It's still something of a dollhouse, but it's a dollhouse that suggests various types of stories. Done right, it could be very The Truman Show.

But, assuming the project actually exists, it probably won't be. It's probably just someone going "Hey, this game sells outrageous quantities! Quick, sell the movie rights before the person who bought them figures out what the game actually is!"

#61 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:40 PM:

Abi (28), before I did anything else, I posted a brief, neutral comment to Embryoyo, telling Mitchell I recognized the Greenwalt article.

As Kathryn said (2), this looks like handmade plagiarism, not datascraping. I think Mark Mitchell is the kind of human being who either doesn't understand that plagiarism is wrong, or doesn't understand that some people promiscuously remember text, or both.

I've known they exist since I was in high school, when I occasionally helped out with English Dept. round-robin readings of student poetry-writing journals. (I think I've written about this before on Making Light. If so, please forgive the duplication.) As soon as a teacher recognized one plagiarism in a poetry journal, the whole thing would get passed around the English office for further identification.

If I hadn't done that, I would have had trouble believing there were students who thought their English teachers wouldn't recognize standard chestnuts of English verse -- or, having recognized one, suspect that other poems in their journal might be lifted as well.

Is this guy the same Mark Mitchell who got fired from the Daily Utah Chronicle? We don't know for sure. If it is (or even if it isn't), this guy needs to learn that whether or not he agrees that plagiarism is wrong, other people think it is, and they will catch him at it. Better to learn that now, in an obscure blog, than in some later and more catastrophic circumstance.

#62 ::: Stephen Granade ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:41 PM:

Bah, I miss all of the fun. Though if the sockpuppet brigade does arrive....

#63 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:43 PM:

Update, 1:00 p.m.: Sometime in the last half hour, Embryoyo went down.

Breathtaking.

Promise me you'll only use your powers for good, y'all?

#64 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:45 PM:

Oh, they'll make the Sims movie all right. And they'll make a sequel. I'm guessing the sequel will be all about the sons of the Sims families in the first movie, and be called Sons of Sims, or maybe...

...oh wait.

#65 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:47 PM:

Do you think Embryoyo just got slashdotted, or did he want to hide the evidence?

#66 ::: John ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:49 PM:

Back around 12:30 I noticed that a lot of links earlier in this thread were getting "page not found" messages. Looks like someone is trying to hide the crimes, not realizing that screen captures and data dumps make such attempts impossible in the world of the Internet.

#67 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:51 PM:

I await the arrival of the sockpuppets.

Seen this ritual before, have we? Heh.

#68 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:52 PM:

(whiiiine) Two hours is not a long enough game. I can make a croquet game last longer than that!

Also, I have another pair of screen caps. Anyone want to give me an address to submit screencaps to for archiving? I feel left out.

Now we need a new game.

#69 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 01:54 PM:

#65: In real time, we saw the comments closed, then the blog removed, then the myspace account closed. Slashdotting just isn't credible.

#70 ::: Anonymous Plagiarist ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 02:06 PM:

im in ur blogz, citin ur plagerizmz.

#71 ::: Angelle ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 02:06 PM:

This was the MySpace message I sent Mark in Salt Lake City earlier:

Subject: Son, the internet caught you with your pants down

You've taken down your typepad blog. Probably for the best.

If you want to be a writer, or even if you don't, stop stealing other people's work and trying to pass it off as your own.

The internet is watching.

#72 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 02:09 PM:

A little googling shows that the story of the Chronicle writer was picked up by regrettheerror.com (a blog dedicated to retractions, faulty reporting, etc) and from there has made its way as far as an Indian site reporting on plagiarism in the US. This drives it home that anything that makes its way on to the web leaves a nearly indelible trail somewhere. Alas for Mark Mitchell, as people are going to be googling "Mark Mitchell" Utah" and turning that up for some time.

#73 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 02:13 PM:

I go to renew my truck's tags, and you all find the prey, hunt it down, and tree it before I get back, all in that short space of time. I agree with Nicole, in #63.

It's always possible that he checked out this site generally, and then decided that sockpuppets would be a bad idea. Not likely*, but I'm just saying.

*In fact, it would probably be the first time for that, but stranger things have happened.

#74 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 02:19 PM:

I'm sorry, Fidelio. We already ate all the candy.

There's a more substantial game one post down, where Abi, Ajay, and the rest of the crew are writing LOLcat poetry and and other pastiches.

#75 ::: AJ Milne ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 02:20 PM:

It doth seem so strange.

Honestly, how could anyone have thought he'd get away with that at all, let alone for any length of time? So much material, sooner or later, someone had to notice.

Seriously, it looks like he was only running for a few weeks, in fact, before someone actually did... And if the goal had been to get readers/citations, that would only have been self-defeating... soon as his profile rose, he'd get nailed for sure. He probably only made it as long as he did because no one was reading it.

Truly, truly strange.

Wild theory time: was he trying to impress someone in his personal life? Someone who might not read that much of the net? Someone who maybe hadn't heard about him getting fired from that paper?

Man, if you're reading this: just write your own stuff...

I mean, even if you've nothing to say, and have hardly a single original idea in your noggin, (a) that describes most of the bloggers in the world, anyway, and (b) in Hollywood, they call that marketability.

#76 ::: Mary Dell spots a rude email link ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 02:22 PM:

Email link for Anonymous Plagiarist, #70, appears to go to goatse. (google it if you haven't heard of it, but for god's sake not as an image search). Also, the comment itself plagiarizes Greg clever LOLism, up above, but I suppose that could be a meta-joke from a real ML commentor.

#55 may also be bogus.

#77 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 02:24 PM:

Holy shit. That was quick.

Dude, what were you thinking?

#78 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 02:25 PM:

"View all by" tells me I'm wrong about #55 (but not about #70). Sorry, Fiendish Writer!

#79 ::: Fiendish Writer ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 02:29 PM:

Mary (#76): this fiendish writer understands why you might suspect them, but they are truly not a bogus person.

#80 ::: Fiendish Writer ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 02:30 PM:

Mary (#76): this fiendish writer understands why you might suspect them, but they are truly not a bogus person.

#81 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 02:33 PM:

#74. That's all right, Teresa, the thread arising from abi's poem is high-density chocolate enough.
Between Dunbar pastiches and the Dante text adventure, it'll be a while before I stop snickering. I'm mostly just set back by the the extreme speed of events in this thread.

How was Kansas City? Were you and Patrick able to absorb enough local cuisine to fend off barbecue deficit for a while?

#82 ::: Fiendish Writer ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 02:33 PM:

Mary: No problem!

Teresa: Groveling apologies for the sillinesss of duplicate posting.

#83 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 02:57 PM:

Man, you turn your back for an hour and the world changes. Gone? All of it? But it was so instructive, in such a depressing way.

The power of Making Light is truly awesome. Wonder if he's sitting in his room with the lights off, shivering.

#84 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 02:58 PM:

Mary Dell: the Anonymous Plagiarist at #70 is just having fun being very meta- ... so I am assured.

#85 ::: Matthew ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 03:49 PM:

Just wondering, was the blog's name a red flag? Googling "Embryoyo" returns several results for a poetry book by Dean Young. Could Mark Mitchell not even come up with his own name for his blog?

#86 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 04:08 PM:

The duplication of "yo" in the blog name might imply a bounceback -- I'm stretching here, but I wonder if it was a weird social experiment to see how soon he'd be caught plagiarizing?

#87 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 04:37 PM:

#86: It's a book title.

#88 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 04:39 PM:

Agh, missed comment #85. My apologies.

#89 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 04:50 PM:

Mary (76), I took the duplication for a joke.

#90 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 04:58 PM:

Teresa @61
I didn't want to be a wet blanket, and I think we're doing OK. It's just, in a minor way, reflective of something Terry Karney says about torture.

The problem isn't so much the effect on the other person as the effect on us, if we let the glee of the experience carry us away. If we forget that there is another person at the other end of it*.

I just don't want what I'll call, for lack of a better term, karmic backlash. Not till you have your deflector shields properly angled again, at the very least.

Ignore me if I'm being a prig, or a bore, or something like that.

-----
* I still think this is a useful task to do, because there are also people at the other end of this plagiarism, and they're going to be hurt by what he's done†.
† I sound almost like Victorian sex education for woemn, don't I? You can do it, but for heaven's sake, don't enjoy it.

#91 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 05:03 PM:

Again I leave, this time to visit the vampires in the Red Cross bus, and there have been no sockpuppets--Teresa, did you use your mother's school teacher voice?

#92 ::: Sockpuppet ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 05:41 PM:

Fair Use! Fair Use! You can't prove it's *all* copied! Nobody wants to hear MITCH'S side of the story, because you're all mindless libruls! They'll greet us with FLOWERS! GOD DID SO CREATE EVERYTHING SIX THOUSAND YEARS AGO!!!!11!!

..

oh, sorry. It seems that train of thought was just too warped to stay on the rails. Ta ta!

#93 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 05:46 PM:

Sockpuppet,

You forgot to accuse everyone we've ever met of censorship, preferably citing the First Amendment. Shocked at the omission, I am, shocked. I'd almost think you were pretending to be a sockpuppet.

Naah. Too Byzantine.

#94 ::: PZ Myers ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 06:04 PM:

I'm going to step out of character here and be exceptionally charitable, and suggest a radical hypothesis.

a) Mark Mitchell is actually the most insightful writer on the interweb, with a reputation that will be recognized by posterity, and

b) If a list of all the people he "plagiarized" were compiled, we'd have a list of all the bloggers who now possess access to a time machine. Or will have had future access to a time machine.


#95 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 06:08 PM:

Teresa @ #89:

Yeah, I now see that. I seem to be denser than usual today. The goatse thing threw me off...I see from Wikipedia that the site is no longer active (didn't click on it because 1. at work and 2. ew).

#96 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 06:16 PM:

By the standard, isn't it that you people are just mindless libruls?

#97 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 06:25 PM:

#94: But, that's a William Tenn story!

#98 ::: Sean Sakamoto ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 07:29 PM:

It might be worth considering that maybe that wasn't Mark Mitchell's web page. Sure, it had his name on it, and he is a guy who got caught stealing other people's work as a student. But the blog could have been set up by someone with a grudge. This is the intarwebs, after all. It's something I could imagine Karl Rove might do.

#99 ::: Plagiarism disliker ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 07:50 PM:

I put a note in the comments of the Daily Utah Chronicle story pointing to this blog post.
http://www.dailyutahchronicle.com/home/index.cfm?event=displayArticleComments&ustory_id=6f4653b4-4c84-48fb-86da-b0bd36cc968c

#100 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 08:13 PM:

abi (#90): Flattered to be sure, and more amused, because I'm wrestling with another post on the, general, subject.

#101 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 08:13 PM:

Sean, if someone was setting him up, they know his address: via whois

#102 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 08:21 PM:

#97: cf. Harry Turtledove's story "Hindsight."

#103 ::: Mary Rosh ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 08:50 PM:

I'd almost think you were pretending to be a sockpuppet.

Now why on earth would anyone want to do that?

#104 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 10:16 PM:

Ah, plagiarism, my old nemesis, we meet again…

• Two students plagiarized *each other* in a class of mine this semester. Word-for-word paragraph, plus additional damning evidence. Claimed it was "unintentional." 0s for both. I gave each the opportunity to rewrite, averaged against a zero.
(On a side note, the paperwork I had to fill out to submit to the University after catching my students was massive, but I suppose it's for the teachers' own protection…)

• One student in a class last year plagiarized a paper on Mother Courage, and another one on Angels in America, extensively copying from (the first time) the textbook we use and (the second time) from sparknotes.com.

• While working at Barnes & Noble, I was clearing out back issues of literary journals. One quarterly named "Rattle," the Summer 2004 issue, had an interesting poem on Joe McCarthy. 20 of its 26 lines might strike one as similar to a Roy Cohn speech in Angels in America… a *lot*… Magazine did nothing. Poet claimed it was inadvertent.

#105 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 11:04 PM:

HAI SAM

IM IN UR HAUS,
IN UR BOX,
WIT UR MAUS,
WIT UR FOX,
ON UR TRAIN,
IN UR CAR,
IN UR RAIN,
IN UR DARK,
EATIN UR GREEN EGGZ AND HAMZ

#106 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 11:06 PM:

Gah! Wrong thread!

#107 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 11:29 PM:

Still puzzling over this scenario - any possibility he was a design student who got tired of "Lorem Ipsem?"

#108 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2007, 11:34 PM:

#104

20 of its 26 lines might strike one as similar to a Roy Cohn speech in Angels in America…

Was it meant to be "found poetry"?

(What's the difference between found poetry and plagiarism? Found poetry has linebreaks.)

#109 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 12:12 AM:

@ 108

I'm dead from ROTFL, Jim; take my wallet and tricorder.

#110 ::: Cynthia Wood ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 12:37 AM:

I guess the plagiarists in the rest of the world are lazier than the ones at my (highly competitive) high school. They only stole from the very finest in truly obscure English poetry, or obscure translations of non-English poetry. I recall recognizing a French poem in translation at one point, and another that I only recognized because my great-grandfather was the obscure Canadian poet being stolen from.

#111 ::: Kurt Montandon ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 01:10 AM:

Looks like the MySpace page is down as well - I'm guessing he deleted his profile to avoid the embarrassing messages that were no doubt on the way.

(Unless I just had a bad URL, in which case I still have a chance to mock him myself).

#112 ::: Pinko Punko ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 02:25 AM:

I wonder if someone was taking the piss out of Mark, possible annoyed/aggravated by his previous plagiarism? Kind of a malicious sock blog? That or maybe the usual sociopathology of the living a total lie.

#113 ::: Pinko Punko ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 02:31 AM:

Even worse: his gmail handle from that GoDaddy whois pulls up some 2003 movie reviews by Mark Mitchell. Box of rocks is starting to look pretty smart in comparison, or someone really has it out for the poor schlub.

#114 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 04:13 AM:

Hi Teresa. I've just tagged you for the 8-fact meme.

#115 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 04:14 AM:

Hi Teresa. I've just tagged you for the 8-fact meme.

#116 ::: Meowse ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 04:37 AM:

Interestingly, Ms. Wilson apparently published an early draft of the "Cocksucker Blues" article on Salon.com, prior to including it in her book.

Exhibit A, published March 22, 2007: http://www.sff.net/people/yog/mitchell1e.jpg

"Musician boys are invariably the first big crush of a preteen girl, her first big sloppy emotional response to the world. The creation of teen sensations is now a multi-national Moloch, and such phenomenon as Menudo, New Kids on the Block, 'N Sync, the Backstreet Boys, and Disney's High School Musical represent a vital stage in the sexual/emotional development of the preteen -- i.e., the kind of biological confusion and obsessive hysteria which causes little girls to wallpaper their rooms with gratuitous posters of dreamy, hard-nippled thugs and tarty kinderwhores and throw high-pitched grand mal tantrums until albums and T-shirts and concert tickets are bought.

Twenty thousand girls stood outside the MTV window at Times Square in New York City and screamed for teen-masturbation-focus the Backstreet Boys in the summer of 1999. A few days earlier, another twenty thousand girls stood outside the MTV window and wailed and wept and beat their breasts for multinational super-pasteurized Hispano-sensation Ricky Martin. American seemed slightly shocked, as if we expected all that weird screaming hysteria to have died along with the Beatles."

Exhibit B, published May 25, 1999:
http://www.salon.com/ent/feature/1999/05/25/ricky/index.html

"Musician boys are invariably the first big crush of a preteen girl, her first big sloppy emotional response to the world. The creation of puppy-lovable teen sensations is now a multinational Moloch, and such phenomena as N-Sync, The Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys represent a whole vital stage in the sexual/emotional development of the preteen, i.e. the kind of biological confusion and obsessive hysteria that causes little girls to wallpaper their rooms with gratuitous posters of dreamy, hard-nippled thugs and tarty kinder-whores and throw high-pitched grand-mal tantrums until albums and T-shirts and concert tickets are bought.

About 20,000 girls all stood outside the MTV window at Times Square in New York and screamed for teen masturbation-focus the Backstreet Boys last week, and a few days earlier, another 20,000 girls all stood outside the MTV window and wailed and wept and beat their breasts for multinational super-pasteurized Hispano-sensation Ricky Martin. America seemed slightly shocked, as if we expected all that weird screaming hysteria to die along with the Beatles."

#117 ::: Meowse ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 05:06 AM:

Clarification: I'm assuming that Mr. Mitchell's post, the "Exhibit A" above, was taken verbatim from Ms. Wilson's book. I lack a copy of Ms. Wilson's book to quote from, and am thus reduced to quoting from her plagiarist to demonstrate the evolution of her essay.

#118 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 05:08 AM:

Pinko Punko #113: If the Pirates of the Caribbean script review at your link is by the same Mark Mitchell, I can see why he usually posts other people's words.

#119 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 06:54 AM:

Terry @100
Should I haunt your blog, or will it appear here? I would really, really like to read what you have to say on the subject; your writings in the comments here have given me a lot of new perspectives and food for thought.

#120 ::: DBK ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 09:19 AM:

I wonder how many lesser known bloggers he's stolen from. I hope a bunch of people sue his ass for every penny he has and every penny he ever will have.

(I write for a living, so I get a bit angrier than most over plagiarism.)

#121 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 09:43 AM:

I was thinking to make a T-shirt "I was plagiarised by Mark Mitchell and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" but it would apparently be too common to be hip.

#122 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 09:46 AM:

"It might be worth considering that maybe that wasn't Mark Mitchell's web page. Sure, it had his name on it, and he is a guy who got caught stealing other people's work as a student. But the blog could have been set up by someone with a grudge."

hmm, it would be great if someone made a really good plagiarism bot and set it loose just to make it seem like Mark Mitchell was the king of plagiarizers.

#123 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 09:47 AM:

in fact, in honor of the idea above:

#124 ::: Mark Mitchell ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 09:50 AM:

Any idea why he is plagarising? Is he looking to sell ads? Is this a spam-blog site?

The change in titles suggest it's handmade plagarism and not just datascraping.

#125 ::: Mark Mitchell ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 11:07 AM:

Hey, you're not Mark Mitchell!

#126 ::: Spartacus ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 11:14 AM:

Here we go again.

#127 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 11:23 AM:

abi (#119): Haunt my blog, please.

Right now it's a work in progress. I'm trying to look at how the reasoning faculities get switched off when people look at terror.

How, one wonders, can Dershowitz say torture is acceptable; why does someone who is skeptical of bad data in things like creationism, decide that a small sampling of people with motive to lie are more credible than all the other evidence.

Right now it's dreckish. The skeleton is there, but the flesh is flabby.

I can send you the draft for comment if you like.

#128 ::: Nikolai Ivanovitch Lobachevsky ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 11:29 AM:

I have a friend in Minsk, who has a friend in Pinsk ...

#129 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 11:32 AM:

Terry,

I'd be glad to read it & give you any feedback that I can. I'm a lot less in touch with current politics than you, and a lot less refined a moral thinker, but I can give you the idiot's view.

Tell me if you don't know how to derive my email from this site.

#130 ::: Mark Mitchell ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 11:33 AM:

"Hey, you're not Mark Mitchell!"

Yes, I am, in fact I wrote this song to prove it:

"The Real Mark Mitchell"
by me-

May I have your attention please?
May I have your attention please?
Will the real Mark Mitchell please stand up?
I repeat, will the real Mark Mitchell please stand up?
We're gonna have a problem here..

You all act like you never seen a genius before
Jaws all on the floor like Pam, like Tommy just burst in the door
and started whoopin her ass worse than before
they first were divorce, throwin her over furniture (Ahh!)
It's the return of the... "Ah, wait, no way, you're kidding,
that's too obvious to be plagiarism?"
And Teresa Nielsen Hayden said... nothing you idiots!
If she'd said anything I'd be claiming credit for it here! (Ha-ha!)
Copy editor women love Mark Mitchell
cause Mark Mitchell copies everything they're editing anyway...


anyway it's a work in progress, it's pretty good if I say so myself, totally new, nothing like it has ever been heard in this world before. I'm the new Ruttles, me, the real Mark Mitchell.

#131 ::: socky sockman ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 11:38 AM:

Well, I don't really know anything about this Mark Mitchell guy but I think what he was really doing was spreading the knowledge of a lot of good writing, and repackaging it for better distribution across what some of you may know as the internet.
Anyhow I guess he didn't expect to be mistreated for his good deeds, and I can totally understand why he may have brought his server offline.

I just hope you people are ashamed of yourselves for maligning this young man. Especially you who wrote the bad Eminem ripoff, you're no Mark Mitchell young man (or lady) and you never will be.

#132 ::: Tim ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 11:38 AM:

Has anyone mentioned this already? Could it be related?

#133 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 12:08 PM:

Back up at #2, Kathryn mentioned a splog.

What's a splog?

#134 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 12:15 PM:

I think a "splog" is a spam blog.

It happens, sometimes, when an account goes dormant, and some one hacks it, filling it with links to boost page rank.

Or they just build it from scratch.

They often look like metastasized, spam, e-mails.

#135 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 12:35 PM:

I wonder what it says about us that, in a thread where sockpuppets don't exist, we invent them?

#136 ::: Deb Geisler ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 12:41 PM:

This is the single most impressive example of the power of bringing public scrutiny on an evil-doer that I have seen. From discovery to citizen journalism to bringing down the plagiarist in under two hours. (You must use this power only for good.)

#137 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 12:43 PM:

OMG. Tim, well spotted! We may have here on our hands a celebrity plagiarizer. The notoriety! I may swoon.

#138 ::: Leva ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 01:13 PM:

Mark Mitchell may be the culprit, or it could be a frame job to discredit him. Just saying.

#139 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 01:29 PM:

Leva 138: Or maybe Mark Mitchell has faked his own frameup in order to discredit his persecutors and cast doubt on previous claims of plagiarism.

Crazy? Sure -- crazy like a fox.

#140 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 01:37 PM:

If it was a frameup to discredit him, the perp would most likely leave the site up and start arguments in the comment threads.

#141 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 02:00 PM:

Tim @ 132:

I don't know... that article talks about a manuscript sent for comment in 1999 and (a revised and possibly with plagiarism aded) manuscript at a publisher in 2001. The MM fired from the U. of Utah paper was presumably a college student, and so would mostly likely have been 15 or younger in 1999... Also, the Florida MM received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006, which seems a bit unlikely for the Utah MM.

I think the Florida person is a completely separate case.

#142 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 02:13 PM:

I'm with Peter on this one. I've been nosing around on the web, and their chronologies don't mesh. Strange as it may seem, it looks like there are two serial plagiarists named Mark Mitchell.

For added weirdness, the Florida Mark Mitchell is the longtime partner, co-author, and co-editor of writer David Leavitt, who was himself busted for plagiarism by Stephen Spender.

#143 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 02:16 PM:

Just for clarification: the Lee who posted #114 is not me. I don't tag people for memes. Perhaps I should add something to my ID for differentiation?

#128: *snork!* I wondered how long it would take for Lobachevsky to show up.

#144 ::: Connecticut Man1 ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 02:19 PM:

The Google cached page up there references his Email, should anyone want to drop him a note:

mark.mitchell@utah.edu

What is so hard about putting a notice at the top of a post, including the link and author's name (OR Blog), concerning the origins of it?

Answer: Admitting that you didn't write it.

Link factories that yank stories unedited with source links I can understand. Heck, at least they help your Blog a bit. But straight plagerism? Sad... Truly sad.

#145 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 02:33 PM:

Lee who doth not tag people for memes @ 143:
#128: *snork!* I wondered how long it would take for Lobachevsky to show up.

Ah, you missed his first appearance up @ 26...

And I was listening to "Lobachevsky" on my iPod only a couple of nights ago...

... which makes me think: does anyone know of a recording of Danny Kaye's "Stanislavsky", the inspiration for "Lobachevsky"?

#146 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 03:21 PM:

Why didn't the fellow copy DVDs and retail them over the Internet as streaming media instead, giving a LEGITIMATE target to RIAA and MPAA to slice and dice and excoriate and make an example out of, instead of mugging random often innocent citizens with the their fascist unconstitutional attitudes about "only the BIG DISTRIBUTION COMPANIES should benefit from copyright and get income from it and control intellectual property!"

#147 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 03:35 PM:

From #133: Back up at #2, Kathryn mentioned a splog.

Yes, a splog is a spam blog: scrapes or duplicates info from other sites for the purpose of generating Google hits, usually for the purpose of generating revenue via Google Ads, though sometimes for political purposes (see also TNH's writings on Astroturfing).

There are many more out there than you think. There are circulating lists of splogs used by those who manage search engines that are used for the purpose of keeping splogs from overwhelming legitimate content.

The splog technique is also sometimes used for stalking: one person or a small group of people create a dozen or two splogs (usually duplicating content to save on labor) targeting their victim in order to give the impression that there are many people out there who have bad things to say about the victim, not just a couple.

#148 ::: Mark Mitchell ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 03:42 PM:

Actually I mentioned splogs first at #124! using the more common spam-blog terminology though.

#149 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 03:48 PM:

Isn't anyone else fantasted that there are two major-league serial plagiarists named Mark Mitchell?

#150 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 04:10 PM:

I mentioned it to Sharyn November. She immediately asked which one plagiarized his name from the other.

#151 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 04:11 PM:

Teresa (149): That is kind of amazing. Are we sure that it's the second guy's real name? (since he's a plagiarist and all...)

#152 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 04:18 PM:

Teresa:

Isn't anyone else fantasted that there are two major-league serial plagiarists named Mark Mitchell?

I assumed it was something like the T-shirt I saw long ago: "Dread Pirate Roberts #143. Want a franchise? Ask me how!"

#153 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 04:38 PM:

Teresa @149,

The census department has lists of the most common names in the US. By building a spreadsheet and then multiplying...

Oh, wait, this is the 21st century.

How Many Of Me suggests there are 2,273 Mark Mitchells in the US.

#154 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 04:52 PM:

I think I was pre-immunized to Mark Mitchell plural plagiarists by puzzling out a while ago that there are apparently two discrete SF/F professionals named Mel Odom.

#155 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 04:57 PM:

How Many of Me suggests that there are no people at all with my name, or even any with my last name. Methinks their database is incomplete. Or perhaps I am a figment.

#156 ::: Avery ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 05:01 PM:

I almost find myself wondering if the whole thing isn't some bizarre art/sociology project. I'd be less likely to believe it if the original plagiarism story was in "The Provo Sentinel" rather than a student paper, but since it wasn't.... If that's the case maybe the artist digitally known as Mark Mitchell IS plagiarizing his name.

Or maybe he's just some guy with the same name who is more clueless than I can comprehend.

On a related note - here's a hypothetical question for you all. You are contacted by someone who is doing their thesis on plagiarism detection and wants to put up a small sample of your work (like a blog post) under a ficticious name somewhere to see how long it is before a reader catches on. The one request is that if you are contacted they would like you to act like you are unaware of the "plagiarist" and report it to them. Would you agree? Why or why not?

#157 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 05:03 PM:

Lee @ #143: The other Lee doesn't have any ML history, so I vote that you get to keep "Lee" and he gets to be "Meme-tagging driveby Lee" or somesuch.

#158 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 05:04 PM:

It's an odds thing-- the 92nd most popular name and the 75677th most popular probably combined only once (hi there, Catherine Krahe speaking), but my sister, with the 941st most popular first name, is statistically not there.

Now I'm having a bit of guilty fun putting in names like 'Siobhan Gonzalez' and seeing how many imaginary people pop up.

#159 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 05:08 PM:

Teresa @ #149:

two major-league serial plagiarists named Mark Mitchell

Maybe it's a shared author-name, like Ellery Queen for plagiarists.

#160 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 05:16 PM:

Susan @ 155... It says that there are 3110 people with my family name, but not one single person with my first name. If I'm a figment and you too are a figment, whose figments are we? Is there more than one figmentor involved?

#161 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 05:19 PM:

Susan @155,

If you go to the census lists, you can check if your surname ranks in the top 1000. If not, no you.

I'm quite certain my surname wouldn't make the top 10k, 100k or even 1 million list*.

---------
* As a shy person, I've always been a bit annoyed that having a rare name removes the plausible deniability most other people have from shared names.

That's one reason I'm protective of pseudonymity: if shy people can't have pseudonyms then they'll either be silent or on medications** when online.

** not that I don't think modern stress reduction methods- including antianxiolytics- are quite useful. Cortisol floods are bad, unless one needs to fight or flee.

#162 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 05:28 PM:

re 161,

Oops: off by an order of magnitude, as the census' list goes to not quite 100k.

Looking at all those names reminded me of Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping point quiz:
Are You A Connector?

When I first took it I scored right at average- 19 or 20. But luckily for my social life my partner-in-time scores 4x that.

#163 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 05:42 PM:

as i suspected, there is no one in the us with my last name, & thus, 0 of me.

there are 32 of my partner.

#164 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 05:43 PM:

Kathryn @ #162: Interesting quiz, but it may work differently depending on where you live. I'm an extrovert, and even cheating a bit (I know the names of a few hundred people in my company from years of IT support) I only had 2 points by the halfway point, when I gave up. But I live in the midwest, and even in the big city the ethnic mix is pretty narrow around here.

#165 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 05:52 PM:

Mary Dell,

It's even more dramatic if you live overseas. There is one Scottish "Mc" name on the list (McLean), and no other typically or identifiably Scottish names there. But even in a Scottish city (Edinburgh), well over a third of my colleagues and friends have such names.

#166 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 06:13 PM:

How Many Of Me says there are no (zero) people named Niall in the US.

#167 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 06:18 PM:

Mary Dell @164

He made that quiz from the New York phone directory, so it'd be most applicable to North America.

However, my take is that connectorship as an ability is orthogonal to extroversion.

A connector is the person you'd go to if you needed to meet up with a Kierkegaardian existentialist and a rocket scientist (1). Better, the connector lets you know you ought to meet up with said people, because "what you just said reminds me of people you should meet- the three of you should get together. Here, let me give you their numbers..."

And when you do meet, the connector was right.

My partner is a connector. When I throw parties- well, I don't throw parties. When we together throw parties, there'll be everyone from apple farmers to stage managers to zoologists (3). Diverse.

------
(1) me, I'm an idea connector. If you need to get Kierkegaardian existentialism and rocket science (2) together maybe I can help.

(2) Leaps into the void

(3) or, if the party is in Silicon Valley, everyone from Apple developers to Fab makers to robot designers, with both Linux and BSD programmers. Diverse.

#168 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 06:59 PM:

I love that How Many of Me site.

There are 39 people in the U.S. named Kathryn Cramer.

When I was a kid there was an adult Kathryn Cramer who had lots and lots of books overdue from the Seattle Public Library system. Every once in a while, they would try to collect a couple hunddred bucks from me when I went to check out a stack of books.

I very occasionally get mail for Kathryn Cramer, the self-help writer. Any time a letter begins, Dear Kathryn Cramer: Your books have changed my life . . . I know it's the other one.

#169 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 07:45 PM:

Back in the early days of AOL ("We've just added our 200,000 member!") I would often get emails meant for other "Pat Greene"s. My favorite was the email that read "Pat, we got the Super Bowl tickets, but Lisa and I can't go after all. Would you be interested?" I wrote back that, while I was not the person they meant to receive the email, I was more than willing to take the Super Bowl tickets off their hands. Not surprisingly, they rejected my offer.

Then there was the teenager who kept insisting in IM that I was her aunt Pat from Vegas -- didn't I know my own sweet niece Leslie? Why wasn't I willing to talk to her? She was going to prove to me that I was her Aunt Pat... I finally had to ban her -- for a lack of critical thinking skills as much as anything else.

#170 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 08:16 PM:

Julie L. @ #154: Hey, lookit that, Mel Odom did the cover of Maia! I remember gazing at the cover back when it came out, because I thought it was really beautiful, but I also knew it was too sexy* to be allowed to have under my parents' roof, so I never bought it.

Years later, I've got a couple of Mel Odom's Gene dolls in my collection, and had no idea it was the same guy. Although now I totally see the resemblance between the dolls and the picture. And I had no idea there was a whole other Mel Odom out there, to boot! Thanks for the info.

*I mean the cover was sexy. I don't know if the book was or not, since I never read it, because of the sexy cover, which is what made me want to read it...hey, I'm nearly 40 now, maybe I'll go buy the darn thing.

#171 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 08:47 PM:

Susan #155: 'How Many of Me' says there are no persons with the surname Ledgister in the United States. I find this pretty astonishing, given that there are at least half a dozen others in Georgia. It also says that there are no people with my wife's surname in the United States, which is more than astonishing since she was born in Philadelphia.

#172 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 09:31 PM:

How Many of Me says I'm the only person named Marilee Layman in the US, and they're wrong. There's a woman with the same name (but no middle initial) via marriage who lives about 15 miles from me.

#173 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 10:03 PM:

Mary Dell @ 170: I'm surprised that Maia hasn't been reprinted lately, considering the success of Jacqueline Carey's "Kushiel" series. The setup is vaguely similar, although Maia herself lacks the... sophistication, shall we say, of Carey's protagonist Phedre. (To be less charitable, iirc someone on rec.arts.sf.written or thereabouts once described Maia as "the dumbest pair of thighs in existence", though imho the character's naivete works reasonably well as a foil against the political turmoil bubbling around her.)

Maia is also a lower-tech world than the kinda-medieval setting of most fantasy novels. Richard Adams' earlier book Shardik took place in the same setting, albeit earlier in the internal chronology; in its epilogue, there's a brief mention of the introduction of horses to their world.

#174 ::: Hob ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2007, 10:55 PM:

The various blog-hacking/time-travel conspiracy theories mentioned above are all very well, but what if the poor guy really had uncontrollable telepathy and didn't know it? Ramsey Campbell used that plot in a very funny horror story years ago - coincidence? I THINK NOT.

#175 ::: nike ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2007, 12:11 AM:

FYI, How Many of Me does not show rare names. From their FAQ:

Q: Why isn't my name on the list?

The list of names from the census bureau isn't complete. For privacy reasons, names with relatively few responses were not included in the list. We used this data to create this site. Our site can only be as good as the data we have to work with.

* Around 1 out of every 10 people will have a last name not on the list.
* Around 1 out of every 10 people will have a first name not on the list.

Using the same statistical fallacy this site is known for, that means about 81% of people will have both names on the list. In a mathematical coup our scientists have determined from this information that about 19% of people will have either one or both names missing from the list.

"I think it's important not to take it as a rejection of you personally."
Gabriel Caine -- Diggstown.

Also, they know that they aren't the most accurate program in the world. A full discussion of the accuracy of the program may be found here.

#176 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2007, 02:28 AM:

Peter, #145: I was talking about the posting name, not just the lyrics!

Teresa, #149: Only a little; "Mark Mitchell" isn't an uncommon name by any means. Now, if there were 2 different serial plagiarists named... oh, Adlai von Heigenbrugge... that would gobsmack me.

Bruce, #152: I think you mean this shirt, still available from Pegasus Publishing.

Kathryn, #161: That's one of the reasons I used to have a prepared fake name ready to give people on the rare occasions I went to social functions where there would be mostly people I didn't know. My birth name was unusual, memorable, and there were only 2 of it in the phone book, the other one male (my father). NO WAY was I going to give some random person that level of info! (And here we connect over to the "honor killing & women's issues" thread -- how many men would even think to worry about doing that?)

I looked at the connector quiz, and promptly ran up against the problem of, "They expect me to remember how many people I know named Johnson?!!" I probably am a connector by any reasonable standard; 30 years of being active in SCA & SF fandom, 20 years of contradancing, 15 years of activity in various online fora... I know a whole helluva lot of people, and I have that free-association brain function that lets me remember that oh yeah, So-and-so was talking about that too, maybe the two of you should meet.

Slightly off-topic... have you got your LJ set up yet?

Pat, #169: It says volumes for the difference in online environments then and now that, until I re-read it and realized that you were still talking about early-AOL, my first thought was "that was an attempted phish."


#177 ::: maidstragedy ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2007, 02:37 AM:

"Look quick, before the culprit can take them down"

Ah, but Teresa in this modern age of Google you can't ever really take them down. "Mark Mitchell, in Embryoyo, After everything we’ve done for them" is cached here for people who want to see and compare:
http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:DU8_NaNFjLEJ:embryoyo.typepad.com/embryoyo/2007/05/and_after_every.html+Mark+Mitchell,+in+Embryoyo&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3&gl=au&client=firefox-a

#178 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2007, 04:04 AM:

Lee @176,

Yes- I zapped "Kathryn, Ironically" into life yesterday*. My username is kathryn_ironic.

--------
* Of course I'd thought starting it was work: I see that was the easy part- now I have to populate it. (And what's with LJ's terse "you have only 4 friends" reminders? Don't they think I can count them myself?** or Couldn't they wait a few days before judging my social life?)

** as a human, I am able to automatically know the counts of groups with seven members or less. I believe that puts humans right up with crows, but not quite with the other chimps.

#179 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2007, 05:39 AM:

Kathryn @ 178... "you have only 4 friends"

It could have been worse. The nerds who cooked this up could have come up with message "You have only 4 friends. What's wrong with you loser?"

That being said, welcome to LJ, Kathryn.
Go forth and populate it now.
Prose need not be deathless.

#180 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2007, 08:03 AM:

I thought it phrased the friends thing even worse-- "You've only made one friend," rather than, "Clearly, you are not doing the friendslist thing." If it were an AI, I'd be annoyed that it keeps bugging me.

#181 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2007, 09:46 AM:

#178--don't worry--now we know where you are. In a non-stalkerish sense.

#182 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2007, 09:57 AM:

Lee @ 176:
That's one of the reasons I used to have a prepared fake name ready to give people on the rare occasions I went to social functions where there would be mostly people I didn't know. My birth name was unusual, memorable, and there were only 2 of it in the phone book, the other one male (my father). NO WAY was I going to give some random person that level of info! (And here we connect over to the "honor killing & women's issues" thread -- how many men would even think to worry about doing that?)

I have the same issue with an unusual last name; I have already been phone-harassed once by someone who assaulted me and then asked for my number because he wanted to "have another date." He was offended when I refused, and he thought I would be flattered and admire his cleverness in tracking me down by the phone directory and calling me late at night. I've listed my number under a fake name ever since, and at cons I ask for my last name not to be on my badge. (Though that last is fairly useless since I started working and being on program, unfortunately.)

I don't generally give out my phone number nowadays anyway. I give out a disposable email address.

#183 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2007, 12:22 PM:

Lee #176, Kathryn #161, Susan #182 - A similar reason encourages my online anonymity. The person of whom I am the namesake died some few years ago. Since then there seems to only be one person in the world with my name. Being single, female, with strong opinions and, nowadays, fragile health (& having experienced viciousness in local politics) I'm reluctant to have my unusual & memorable moniker spread about too liberally.

#184 ::: Ron Henry ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2007, 04:19 PM:

I agree with #112 that the Embryoyo site looks to have been some third party's net-savvy extended joke at the expense of the student journalist who was fired for plagarism last November? (See also here.) I mean, whew, if the blog really was the work of the U of Utah student plagarist, then a team of mental health professionals, rather than lawyers, should be dispatched to deal with him.

#185 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2007, 05:16 PM:

The only major name confusion snafu I've had was when I was mistaken online for an infamous Scientology lawyer with a name similar to mine. I had to have Steve Jackson and Mike Godwin vouch for me as a good guy EFF supporter.

#186 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2007, 05:37 PM:

Serge @ 179

Prose need not be deathless.

It should not, however, be lifeless.

#187 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2007, 06:15 PM:

if the blog really was the work of the U of Utah student plagarist, then a team of mental health professionals, rather than lawyers, should be dispatched to deal with him.

One further possibility. It is possible to get a JOB as a blogger for a company or campaign. Maybe the blog in question was intended as backup for a job application.

#188 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2007, 01:47 AM:

Kathryn Cramer at #187 wrote:

> One further possibility. It is possible to get a JOB as a blogger for a company or campaign. Maybe the blog in question was intended as backup for a job application.

That's my favourite theory at the moment. It's immoral and naive, but at least it's sane.

(A blog could also get you a print journalism job - and you might be lucky enough to get an employer who's not web savvy.)

#189 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2007, 03:53 PM:

I had a look at the Pegasus Publishing site upthread, and the "And thou shaly have dominion" sticker put me in mind of God as a James Bond Villain, with cat.

#190 ::: Peter da Silva ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2007, 04:14 PM:

According to How Many of Me there are 17 people in the US with the name "Peter Dasilva". Alas, I am not one of them, even though I live in the US, and the other Peter da Silva I know of (an 'exotic' photographer in San Francisco) isn't one of them either.

Unfortunately I get far too little of his misdirected mail. :)

(my name is a Word Of Power: Kill for poorly written database software)

#191 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2007, 10:48 PM:

#190: Shouldn't that be Power Word: Crash? ;-) It's amazing how many databases make dumb assumptions about names. I remember reading in RISKS-Digest about the travails of a Vietnamese man named "O Ng" -- apparently some databases assume that any name that short, or last names lacking vowels, must be a typing error, with no way to override.

Also surprising is just how many DBs strip the hyphen from my Queens (NYC) address. Queens addresses have two numbers separated by a hyphen, the first being the number of a cross-street. Dropping that hyphen has at least some potential for collisions....

As far as duplicate names, I once got dunned for checks bounced by a namesake who was attending a different school at my university (I was undergrad, he was a grad student). Also, when I Googled myself, I found a namesake who'd written two books on science topics that I'm actually interested in.... ;-(

#192 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2007, 12:13 AM:

When I google myself, it's just a man who loves his fraternity. I feel like I should be able to do better.

#193 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2007, 06:01 PM:

Despite the coincidence of name, I am not Batgirl / Oracle. Neither am I the Canadian author of an autobiographical book on substance abuse. The most annoying is a convicted felon with my name and birthdate, though fortunately neither of my middle names. (My birthdate is Dec 25, considered worthy of comment but no guarantee of good behaviour.)
Once I picked up a change-of-address form dropped the sidewalk, and found it was for a Barbara Gordon (though hers was a surname by marriage, and mine is not).
It makes deciding on a byline rather difficult.
-Barbara

#194 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2007, 07:05 PM:

Because my first name is unusual for people of my age, searching on my full name gets me. However, since it has climbed in popularity since then, and since my surname is not that unusual, I suspect that, over time, more Abi Sutherlands will appear on the net.

And I get to define what a Google for them looks like. I suspect there are going to be some baffled n00bz in a few years.

(Note that the recent ML thread will be part of that - it has moved from fifth place to third in my Google results in the last 24 hours, overtaking one of my three websites.)

My brother, by contrast, is effectively unGoogleable, because he shares a name with a pro wrestler.

#195 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2007, 07:52 PM:

My name being that of a famous Lord Chancellor of England, it's not too uncommon, though my parents didn't name me for him or know about him until years after they named me.

The old guy was also the subject of a very silly poem.

Another not-me Christopher Hatton is a writer who worked on a couple of ST:TNG episodes.

#196 ::: Mark Mitchell ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2007, 05:14 AM:

"Prose need not be deathless.

It should not, however, be lifeless."

Zombie Prose need brains now!

#197 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2007, 09:44 AM:

My nephew is named Alexander Pope. My sister hadn't heard of the poet.
(There is an Alan Braggins who isn't me, but I'm the first Google hit.)

#198 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2007, 11:01 AM:

bryan@121—If I make a T-shirt with "I was plagiarised by Mark Mitchell and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" on it, I'll be sure to sign it. And maybe copyright it, too. To paraphrase my famous saying, "All your word are belong to me."

#199 ::: Mikael Johansson ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2007, 12:56 PM:

My name is shared by myself, a researcher in Signal systems, a pretty famous swedish Hockey player, and .. well .. it's on the top 5 of most common names in Sweden.

That said, I made Google first page when I was coorganizing the European Congress of Mathematics in '04, and currently have my blog on third and my university webpage on number 9.

Yay me.

#200 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2007, 04:41 PM:

Alas, I share my name with quite a few other people. And while I had the top spot for my name from 2000-2002, the actress with the same name has taken over my Google ranking. I still get her fan mail though.

There is also folksinger with my name and I'm pretty certain one science fiction editor, although the SF editor uses a well-known variant of my first name, Elizabeth, so I am not certain about that one.

#201 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 02:09 AM:

Assuming the site is accurate, and isn't counting me twice, there are two "Gregory Machlin"s. Me and one other. (There are enough Machlins that this is theoretically possible.)

I'd really, *really* like to meet the other one.

#202 ::: OG ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 07:11 AM:

"Prose need not be deathless.

It should not, however, be lifeless."

I'd buy that on a mug.

#203 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 02:53 PM:

I'm not completely un-Googlable, but you have to know me well enough to figure out which few of the references are me.

Mostly this is because my first name is an extremely common middle name in certain cultures wherein going by both first and middle names is a common thing. So there are several dozen "Firstname Lee Mylastname"s out there, most of whom are male.

One of the ones who actually shares my name without fitting that pattern, most annoyingly, seems to be a writer of Christian children's literature.

#204 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 03:07 PM:

More crossing the streams: when I google my full maiden name, about 2/3 of the first couple of hundred entries refer to a female descendant of Joseph Smith.

#205 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2007, 05:00 PM:

I am the top 13 hits for my name on google, and when I put it in quotes, one of the 20 hits isn't me.

Which is why I have a few handles I use consistantly for various things; I like to keep various parts of my life separate. I don't need people giving my boss grief for my political opinions, or my knitting blog spammed by those who dislike my feminism.

This board is the only one on which I use my actual name, though.

#206 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2007, 02:59 PM:

"Prose need not be deathless.

It should not, however, be lifeless."

zombie prose eats your brain.

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