RE: portfolio again - clarification

Subject: RE: portfolio again - clarification
From: "McCoy, Michael" <michael -dot- mccoy -at- numega -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 14:11:38 -0500

Kay Robart <kay -dot- robart -at- integratedconcepts -dot- com> wrote:
>
> Wow! I didn't realize plagiarism was so rampant in this profession!

It happens. Several years ago, I was the doc manager for a company that was
OEMing Ethernet boards. Part of the task was to convert the vendor's
documentation to our format. In the course of converting the vendor's docs,
I found an illustration that I thought looked a LOT like something I'd seen
in an Apple Ethernet card manual. After comparing the vendor's manual to the
Apple manual, we realized the writer had copied not just the illustration,
but virtually the entire 60-page manual. I called the doc manager for the
vendor and said "You have a problem." He refused to believe me until I said,
"Open your manual to page xx" and then read the parallel text from the Apple
book. After he recognized the problem, he acknowledged that the Ethernet
card docs had been written by a junior writer who had been struggling - the
writer obviously took the easy way out, and nobody there caught the
plagiarism. I assume the vendor pulled the plagiarized manuals; we wrote our
own version of the docs from scratch.

Ironic (and completely true) postscript: a couple of months later, I was
interviewing a writer who had applied for a job, and noticed he had worked
for the Ethernet card vendor. Thinking he might have some inside knowledge
of how the company had responded, I asked if he knew anything about the
person who had written the Ethernet card documentation. "Yes," he said, "I
wrote that manual." He then pulled it out of his briefcase - he was using it
as a writing sample.

It was a short interview.

Michael McCoy
NuMega Labs




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