Day 4 of Armchair BEA is about Ethics and Non-fiction. I'll do my post on Non-fiction next.
We get back into discussions with the heavy topic of ethics. Do you have recommendations to new bloggers to ensure credit is given to whom/where credit is due? Have you had an experience with plagiarism? How did you deal wit it? What are guidelines as bloggers that we must follow?
I personally have never had an experience with plagiarism that I'm aware of. I am aware (vaguely) of what all went down a couple of years ago, but I was so new to blogging and I never really got the whole story that I basically just used that situation as a really stern example of what not to do while staying as far away from the drama as I could. What that situation did do for me was teach me the importance of documenting my source. CITE CITE CITE people! Cite your source for anything and everything. Cite who/what you quote. Cite your photos. Cite yourself. And don't just give credit to whom credit is due...that's great...but link to them if possible that way there is no question about your source.
Trust me. You do not want your reputation ruined over this.
To be honest, the backlash of the events of the past scared me to the point where I hardly ever read reviews of books BEFORE I've written my own review. I know that sounds crazy considering that part of the point of writing a review in the first place is to either entice someone to read a book you enjoyed or steer them clear of it if you didn't enjoy it. But I have found in my own life--through school and such--that when someone else words something in a way that is just perfect that I can't improve upon it or the sentiment behind it, I can't seem to get that thought or the wording out of my head. Knowing this about myself, I have just found it easier to avoid reading reviews of books that I know I plan on reading until I've finished my own review. (I will check out someone's rating of a book I intend to read though so I'm pro ratings--I know there's a lot of debate about this.) There have been occasions where I couldn't stop myself from reading a review someone else wrote before I finished my own review of the same book, I couldn't get what they said out of my head, and so I quote them (citing and linking back to their own review) in my review. Although, I generally try to avoid this.
However, I also am very aware that "there's nothing new under the sun." And I am often times not the only person to think a certain way or come up with an "original" idea. So while I'm extremely fearful of and do everything I can to avoid plagiarism, I also think that "to err is human and to forgive is divine."
I think the best guideline you as a blogger can follow is as I've already said "cite (link to) everything" and "err on the side of caution."