Kids today!

If you're "writing" a philosophy paper and you're going to plagiarize, why would you plagiarize a sub-optimal source like Wikipedia? Why wouldn't you at least rip off a top-notch source like the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy?

It seems to me there was a time when cheaters took more pride in their craft.

Disclaimer: Regardless of the quality of your source material, plagiarism is wrong. Don't plagiarize!

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I have had students plagiarize from both of them. Fortunately for me, it was easy to spot, since both sources were in error about basic concepts. No encyclopaedia is perfect, and none is a substitute for actually doing your work!

Or you could write up a great paper, and then post your work on Wikipedia.

By Decidenator (not verified) on 05 Dec 2007 #permalink

I can think of three reasons right off the bat:

1) laziness
2) ignorance of the concept of reliable sources
3) disrespect for the subject and the instructor

I am not considering the reason a person plagiarizes in the first place, only the reasons such a person might choose poor sources. I think the reasons overlap, but I don't think they are identical.

It seems to me there was a time when cheaters took more pride in their craft.

Wrong. Before Wikipedia (and still today), there was CliffsNotes. People who don't have the time or inclination to do research, are not motivated to be original.

My PhD advisor once had an essay on evolution and philosophy that he thought was a bit iffy, because it sounded more like me than the student. Guess what? It was.

I got a B+. The student got an automatic fail...

One of my debaters tried to cut and paste from Wikipedia; the dead giveaway was the hyperlinks still in the document.

I think it's just a form of natural selection - it's easier to catch the stupid ones while the smart ones are harder to detect.

In highschool, I was charged with plagiarizism on a history paper... When the teacher demanded to know why I had done what I did, I was dumbfounded... I realised that what I had actually done, was fail to cite my sources correctly because I had been off ill the days that they had taught how to cite and quote...

Now I know that by the time your doing your masters, phd, etc, you hopefully should know how to correctly write a paper... Maybe they were never taught the correct way...

Just my two cents worth...


Many times in making up posts for my own blog I go to sources like Science Daily, etc. If it is a direct quote, or a paragraph verbatim I give them the credit for it. As long as you give someone the credit for verbatim stuff it is all cool with the copywrite people isn't it? I guess kids with homework aren't inclined to the give the credit stuff though, huh?
Dave Briggs :~)

Last semester in one of my classes, I heard from someone that another person, who this girl was unfortunately partnered with, plagiarized directly from the wikipedia. Like Sabrina W mentioned, this girl also failed to remove the hyperlink, which is what got her caught. Luckily for the unfortunate person who was her partner, she was able to explain and prove that she had never seen, and was not involved in the plagiarism. She had sent her portion of the work to her partner, who then added her own, right from the wikipedia, and submitted it without sending it back to her partner to look over it.
The instructor was clearly very lenient, as the girl must have passed the course, since her name was called at the student teaching orientation because she had not yet submitted her required clearances.