• Member Since 4th May, 2013
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Estee


On the Sliding Scale Of Cynicism Vs. Idealism, I like to think of myself as being idyllically cynical. (Patreon, Ko-Fi.)

More Blog Posts1122

Oct
9th
2020

The real questions are: who already had my "style" available to plagiarize, and WHY? · 8:53pm Oct 9th, 2020

I recently had minor cause to check the Statistics page on The Bounce Test and spotted the following incoming Referral link.

plagscan.com: 12

So if you aren't familiar with Plagscan, it's an online tool (free trial followed by paid subscription) for checking the originality of written material, along with seeing if sources have been attributed properly. If you're reviewing academic papers and trying to make sure students are submitting their own work, it can certainly have a purpose. And since it exists as a surviving paid service, someone out there is paying for it.

It's just that...

...I write fanfic.

I don't know if the entire story was checked, or if someone was just comparing the phrasing in a single section. (Up to twelve someones? The same person twelve times, with different excerpts...?) I have no idea why someone would want to check it. I'm having a hard time believing that someone in a creative writing class filed a few serial numbers and 'somepony' uses off and submitted it as their original work.

And The Bounce Test isn't the only one of my stories to have experienced a Plagscan check.

Triptych? Thirteen people came to it from that site.
Jury Duty was checked once...

It's not on every story. (I am not going through the entire catalog to run a full stats count. I went through the first dozen or so, and finding two incomings from TheSexyCelibate almost derailed the entire day.) But here and there... Plagscan. Three for A Total Eclipse Of The Fun...

Does someone -- multiple someones? -- think I'm ripping them off? If so... see you all in court? Next Ko-Fi goal: legal expenses. Hey, I always-never wanted to set one at seven digits...

Are there really people crazy enough to put forth my unpublishable creations in a more formal setting and claim 'This? Totally mine,' followed by having the receiving party check because they need to make sure?

Can anyone else find a Plagscan link on their Referrals list? If so, which stories? And as long as you're looking, what are your weirdest Referrals? I just found sexstory.erolove.in. (DO NOT TRACK THAT.) On a CDA story. Which has no sex. Also, Snowflake Shoe-Hare has one from USWaterSystems. For reason.

But in the meantime... random stories in my catalog are being intermittently examined by a website designed to detect if I've been stealing material, or if someone was stealing it from me. It... raises certain questions.

As the blog title said, it definitely raises two.

...seriously: who else would do that to themselves...?

Report Estee · 1,089 views ·
Comments ( 81 )

...Huh. Not sure what to say about that, honestly.

If I were you, I’d save every chapter of every story you’ve written, just in case. (I personally keep all my files on Google Docs.) I do that myself, on the off chance that something like this happens one day.

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I do have a story folder. Typically, I compose new chapters in the site's own writing window -- yes, I'm the one, and I do it for two reasons: convenience and when it comes to programs which autosuggest grammar, speech, word choice, and style changes, it leaves me alone -- and then transfer the final results to an .rtf file when I'm done.

So in summary, I write online and review in Wordpad. Because they leave me alone.

But it means that in the improbable event of my having to prove ownership, files exist. I just feel that for improbability, that event is somewhere around 'spontaneously turn into a penguin'.

I maintain that you're selling yourself short. And even if you weren't, EL James managed it with his own awful fanfiction of something that was itself awful yet somehow achieved mainstream-level success, so doing it with someone else's you stole isn't that much of a stretch.

Well. You inspired me to start looking at my referrals.

Why Spacebattles dot com needed to refer to my story about Soup, I have no idea...

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so doing it with someone else's you stole isn't that much of a stretch.

Et tu, Herald?

That's... very strange. It sounds like somepony thinks you've plagiarized their work and wants to know for sure.

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Why Spacebattles dot com needed to refer to my story about Soup, I have no idea...

Your best chance of finding the exact discussion is to look at the thread until you find the story's publication date. But if it came up in their chat after that, it's just about a lost cause.

Ask some of the site long-timers about the Referrals pie chart and its exact links. That pie chart is still missed.

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I'mma go check that out... but now I see that some of my stories have dozens... hundreds of referrals to Spacebattles.

I... have no words.

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It sounds like somepony thinks you've plagiarized their work and wants to know for sure.

My first guess is Rainbow. I'm just slightly less cruel to the common comma.

5374535

Oh dear.

You're either very popular, have one or more major fans who do a good job of promoting your stories, or you're about to discover a near-truism: the only thing worse than having people not talking about your work? Is having them talk about your work...

I'm just gonna assume plagscan's code is a digital idiot.

"We've found a match, someone's stolen your work!"
"...what is this, and why are there horses?"

I'm sure it was Melania Trump, looking for her next speech to give at her husband's "inauguration". Or prison. Whichever.

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After four years, haven't you caught on to the pattern? Melania is a pegasister!

I'm going to be the conspiracy theorist in this comment section: maybe Plagscan is randomly crawling things left and right in hope someone will notice the strange referrals and talk about their service! (or, more likely, just crawling for source material to index in their database, but that's less fun to rant about)

Evidence A: you're not alone, there's at least another person confused by plagscan referrals somewhere on the internet (https://www.reddit.com/r/Etsy/comments/9fv3ui/)

...I'll start working on the yarn board, collage pictures, and concerned parent Facebook groups.

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I found a couple posts. They bring my stories up... and then never talk about them again.

Feels good?

My first assumption was that these sites have robots crawling all sorts of text sources, but even then... why horsewords? Maybe this site is flagged on some list as a big source of prose, and sites like plagscan follow up automatically without any humans involved wondering what sort of prose.

Or someone humanized those stories for a school assignment. Who knows?

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Or someone humanized those stories for a school assignment.

The humanized Triptych teacher review.

"So there's three major species of humans, and one of them has wings."

Little bit unrelated, the trailer for the adaptation of The Watch just premiered.

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Wow. I hate every single thing about this.

Let's give it the vote ratio which it has so richly earned.

Good news, "Disney's" Artemis Fowl! We have a new rock bottom!

ETA: No, I can't chance people not clicking the link. I have to let the sewage flow through here.

I'll know how many people watched it through counting the echoes of their screams.

If i recall corectly (and i rarly do) you butted heads with an actual plagiarist a while back, it's entirly possible that they were a little butthurt and crosschecked your stories for plagiarism so they could call you out on it, but after not finding anything they probably just let it be.

Probably nothing to worry about, it's like I always say "Dont stress bro, it'll make yer hair fall out"

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I legit saw Vimes and said "Wow, what a great Nobby."

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Spacebattles has (had?) a pretty large brony contingent. Some of the authors here came from there. I ran into a few members here who I recognized from my time back on a sister-forum (there used to be a whole community of similar, overlapping forums) back in the early 2000s.

5374609
There's a few frames we where we see Vimes playing a guitar with a band.

Also a sin; Chris Hemsworth isn't playing Carrot.

Referral links make no sense to me. One of my stories has referrals from a pet hospice site for reasons I can’t fathom...

5374597
Well that looks bloody awful. Someone needs to hook up a generator to Sir PTerry's coffin.

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....I'm in paaaaaaaaaaiiiiiin...

Maybe it's the catchy pun titles?

If it’s not webcrawlers (and it might be: fanfiction is a good target to plagiarize because there’s a lot of it and authors don’t have the resources or legal standing to fight it) then I’d guess it’s people testing excerpts rather than whole pieces.

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Your avatar has never looked so appropriate.

Seriously: there was a moment when I considered waiting for the hardcopy release, then buying it just to burn it. Then I realized I was being ridiculous, because that plan involves paying for the "extruded Discworld-unlike product." So it's much more practical to steal it and then burn it. Or, to save time, I could just set that section of the shelf on fire...

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Nah, fam, she got six wings!

I've had 4 referrals from plagscan for my one story, To Bellenast, which is itself a fanfic inspired by another fanfic (Fallout: Equestria), so there's some basis for checking for plagiarism, there, I guess? My writing style is completely different from Kkat's, though, so I'm unsure how anyone could ever think I copied anything.

On a related note, I'm working on an original novel that, upon examination of the blurb/basic summary of The Last Unicorn, is somewhat similar in theme, vaguely speaking, but I haven't read that book yet. I bought a copy of it while I was staying at my brother's place in Austin during evacuation from hurricane Laura in August, but after reading the cover description and some brief info online, decided that I wouldn't read it until after I'd finished writing my own book, much how the MLP show writers refused to read any fanfiction while working on the show. I'm fine with accidentally using themes or ideas that have cropped up in fiction before, but I'd rather not do so deliberately if I can help it. Funnily enough, though, based on what I've written of my outline so far, I know people will compare it to The Last Unicorn. There's no way i can escape it. :applejackunsure:

5374634

Not gonna lie, I had no clue what the hell I just saw until about twenty seconds after I finished it. My brain just refused to connect this with anything to do with Pratchett.

...why is making a faithful adaptation of a well-established and much-loved, no, adored series so damn hard?!

It's like the LotR adaptation they're working on. They're talking about nudity and sex.

In LotR.

So basically Game of Thrones, except with Elves.

Because that's exactly what LotR needs.

Did Peter Jackson need freaky elves and Hobbit boobs?

No. And his movies were wildly successful.

But that was in the past.

Now we have to have nonsensical adaptations of our favorite series!

5374531
I should clarify that, while I am definitely a huge jerk, I'm at least smart enough not to go up against those well out of my league. That's what the sovereign citizens don't get: the amount of force the US government can bring to bear in enforcing laws is enough to make the question of legitimacy moot.

8 stories
18 Google references, spread across the lot.
2 yandex.ru Both on the same semi-headcanon-dump-disguised-as-a-story. All I know is the site uses the cyrillic alphabet.
1 baidu.com On one of my clop stories. Seems to be some Chinese or Japanese google equivalent, judging by the characters and layout.

Weird, but hey, maybe I have some international readers. Isn’t that something?

5374641
From what I've heard, Jackson got the rights for a song because the holders knew from experience that he'd have to choose between being faithful to the source and being a watchable movie, not realizing that the intent all along was to dispense with the former in sole pursuit of the latter.

For real, I've less of a problem with deviating from your source material when it makes for a better (whatever your medium is), but from the sounds of it this isn't even good on its own merits.

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There are/were a lot of MLP fans on the spacebattles forums. Take Laluzi, for instance. Author of a very good Fallout: New Vegas/Prototype crossover.

There is also Nighzmarquls and their Hope and Silence in the Hive story, which features a creature that can be described as a fusion of warpspawn and cute, fuzzy pony/changeling that feeds on emotions.

5374651
I have heard this as well, but I can completely understand it; LotR would be completely unwatchable if it were made in a strictly-faithful adaptation.

But the movies are, at least, imminently recognizable.

The changes, additions, omissions, and the rest make sense in context of story, world, et cetera.

The nudity and sex thing? That's just adding cheap and tawdry sex appeal. They're hoping for their own GoT or Witcher, and they're going to wreck it in the attempt.

5374597

The horror does not surprise me, since I was aware from a very keen Pratchettian friend of mine it was coming, and all hope of this being good had long been crushed.

Actually, it was probably early this year, even before lock-down happened.

It is 2020.

Nice Things Cannot Be Had.

5374683
The Animaniacs revival looks faithful. Not only is the whole cast back but there's a whole article about how they're trying to emulate the style of the original.
EDIT: Wrong link. Here's the real one.

I see a couple from plagscan, some from 4chan, and a few from translate.googleusercontent.com, which I think means somebody clicked the button to translate my story? It doesn't say what into, sadly.

Edit: and one from the Reserve Bank of Australia???

So, that was a fun investigation. I have a grand total of thirteen stories with Plagscan referrals. Also plenty from Spacebattles, Sufficient Velocity, Louder Yay, EqD, and somehow one each from 4Chan, Ars Technica, and GameFAQs. (Oh, how I long for the days of exact links...) Plus enough Google, Baidu, and other search engine referrals to make me realize I have a much more global audience than I realized... and eight raw IP addresses.

Also, I discovered a Tumblr that was singing the praises of my first ponyfic around mid- to late 2013, which was an unexpected bit of gratification.

As for the really strange end of things:

• Escape from MA, a state-specific political site
• shutterfly. Not shutterfly.com. Just "shutterfly." I'm choosing to blame you until further notice.
• Lap of Love, a group of traveling veterinary hospice workers.
• "com.emogoth.android.phone.mimi,” which raises multiple questions that I am not willing to investigate.
• Tripadvisor. Yes, that Tripadvisor. Across four different fics and as many countries. (Turkey, Singapore, Egypt, and Argentina, for the record.) The fact that most of the stories involve time and/or dimensional travel raises some questions.
• Two different referrals from US Water Systems, so you're not alone there.
• InboxDollars, suggesting that somewhere out there, someone's getting paid to read my stories.
• Babycentre, a British forum for expecting mothers. Which is especially concerning given how that story is about Rainbow Dash's parents.
• Joann Fabrics. Yes, that Joann Fabrics.
• "kissanime.ru," which I did not pursue further. I'm just going to assume it has something to do with Gene Simmons.

And, perhaps the strangest of the bunch, this site. I do not know who this man is. I do not know how people got from his site to three of my stories. I am more than slightly concerned.

Still, thanks for the impetus to go digging through some intriguing data.

5374597
I agree with the YouTube comment that said it is to the Discworld what one of CMOT Dibbler's pies is to actual food. Especially since I do find myself morbidly intrigued, even if I know I'll regret trying it.

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I. LOVE it. prepare the torches and pitchforks
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Except for the part where Vimes in Guards! Guards! is described as on the small side, scraggly/unkempt and chronically malnourished, sleep-deprived, and permanently pickled to the point where he'd get a vampire drunk.

5374609
Good joke but the tweet it's replying to is trash. The "is there something wrong with your hand" bit is straight from one of the books... and Vimes is pretty much permanently grimacing... It's faithful...

5374600
Until I got the CC turned on, yeah, me too.

They did so well with Hogfather. I hope this one isn't all fast cuts, that trailer gave me the start of a migraine. :facehoof:

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I don't think it's the same company. I'm pretty sure those adaptations were by BBC, like the old Narnia movies.

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Didn't even know that Was A Thing.

I'll say this - at the very least, that article was talking stuff about details that would be beyond my ken without it having explained to me; certainly, without a side-by-side comparison of the old and new, I would have not noticed the difference, which I think is not an unimpressive feat. That they appear to have put significant thought at effort into that at least suggests positively that it won't be another Reboot Guardians.

(That hurt has not dwindled yet.)

That said - my point still stands, at least locally, because Hulu is Not A Thing in the UK; meaning it either a) won't or b) will be on a subscription service I don't have (nor would ever watch anything enough of to make worthwhile) or c) will be on the death knell of practical television viewing, UK Children's Telly.

As I can't imagine it will be on Netflix (I got lucky with ZIM, but, y'know, it wasn't 2020). So, then, rather like the news that after 24 years, Spitting Image is back, but on a subscription channel we don't have; something positive dangling behind a "but you can't have it, Bleakbane" sign.



(That said, as with other things, I can likely find it on... Unofficial channels, shall we say, which is becoming my go-to these days, since UK telly cannot be relied upon to ever show anything in a sensible place or time, doubly-so for Cartoons (because They Are For Children and thus you can just, y'know, not remotely bother with any kind of effort.) But it would be nice not to have to take potential risk to be able to, y'know, watch cartoons (and have to do so on the computer and not on the telly.)

I'd just like to take this opportunity to remind those of you in the states bemoaning the death of the old Toonami that in the UK, we never had that kind of luxary - the best we ever got was one brief summer of Tsunami UK where they actually made an attempt (by doing stuff like showing the week's new Justice League Unlimited episodes back-to-back on a Friday evening) before it was ditched into the morass of the modus operandii of what passes for children's telly channels over here. Yes, damn right I'm bitter.)


(Well, I just totally violated my own "don't engage" rule again, let's see how badly this goes down...)

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I had no idea Jess Harnell was on Animaniacs! I knew him as Wooten Bassett.

Yeah, I got some from plagscan also! One from one of my rhyming stories and one from my first novel-length story.

Got some other interesting ones, too; stars had multiple stories
— m.baidu.com (some Chinese site— no idea what it actually is)*
— yandex.ru (appears to be some kind of Russian news site)*
— For some reason there was a referral from TripAdvisor...
— duckduckgo.com (a browser tracking blocker add-on)*
— feedly.com (some research assistant site? not sure how to explain)
— emailmarketingrobot.com (I feel like that should speak for itself...)

Had a couple that were invalid searches, too. Weird stuff...

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