RE: New TECHWR-L Poll Question

Subject: RE: New TECHWR-L Poll Question
From: Stephen McDermott <Stephen -dot- McDermott -at- PREMERA -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2002 10:55:27 -0800


Are you saying that we should all take ownership of anything we may revise,
edit, or review? I can agree with you to some extent. A writer must take
ownership to some degree to create a good product, even if it is a simple
revision. And there is a definite line between something you should have
created from the start and something you did create.

But _I_ would never take credit for someone else's work, nor would _I_
tolerate this behavior from an individual and still send them Christmas
cards. And that's what we are discussing here.

The issue I gave was of someone who stated that he was the one, the only,
and the absolute author of a piece somebody else (happened to be me) wrote
on another person's provided template, and, after careful review by a
professional editor, was released as a _published_ work a year before he
revised it. The writer did make a minor revision (added a new aircraft
model), which did not change any existing text, graphics, or content. Heck,
the page count didn't change!

If people think this is acceptable, where does it stop? If there is a trend
among our profession to lie, cheat, & steal, what have we become? I
personally would like to think this is not the norm.

If we follow this flawed path, if one revises Webster's Dictionary by adding
a new term, that person could claim authorship of the dictionary. A
published letter to the editor of an international newspaper would make you
a world-class writer!

As to the practice of putting a revision into your portfolio, that's fine.
If it's an example of your revising skills (Before and After versions here
really help to show off your work!). Otherwise, some hard nose like me is
going to see it as taking credit for someone else's work.

Final Thought on plagiarism: Stephen Ambrose is a great formatter and
researcher. He will never be a writer.

Integrity has no gray areas.


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