Friday, May 31, 2013

.#ArmChairBEA Ethics in the blogging world.

Design credit: Nina of Nina Reads
Armchair BEA

Today's topic from ArmChairBEA takes us to Ethics.
1. ( used with a singular or plural verb  ) a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture.

2. the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics. 
3. moral principles, as of an individual: His ethics forbade betrayal of a confidence. 
4. ( usually used with a singular verb  ) that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.

Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct.[1]

Since starting my blog over a year and half ago, I've learned a great deal, and am still learning on a daily basis. Everything from starting a blog, maintaining a blog, and everything in between. I've watched bloggers and authors rise and fall.  None, have hit me the hardest then watching a prominent blogger, whom had a huge following, become one of the biggest plagiarism stories I've ever seen in the book blogging world. Without naming names, I'm sure most of you know who I'm talking about. I've never really spoke about my feelings here on the blog about what happened and what I felt about the whole issue. Most people would agree that it was a shock, and I'll briefly explain what I witnessed, during those months.

I'll be calling said blogger A.
A was cute, perky, and had grown her blog to become one of the largest book blogs out there. A was successful, had a great weekly meme, that had over 150+ participants, myself included. A shared her love for books, like we all do. I became a fan of A's and looked up to her success. A was a definite leader. A visited my blog and commented and at the time I was feeling like A was a celebrity. While being a celebrity has it's perks, there is always a fine line that having said success carries. Being a leader and pledging a certain guideline to book bloggers, I always felt A could do no wrong. A could never screw up, A was at the top of the game. So, of course it came as one of the biggest shocks to learn A was a human and screwed up, royally.
See, A was accused of stealing from another blog.  A was accused of copying and pasting or slightly changing someone else's words, and making them her own. A used a blogger's words and had a similar post page, that ironically was a do's/don'ts in the blogging world. A was found guilty by these parties, and they had evidence! A denied said actions and brushed it all under the rug, which in many people's eyes came across as guilt, and denial. A lost many, many followers. A lost respect, not only with book bloggers, but pubs, and authors. The controversy was all almost everyone spoke of, as many emotions were displayed throughout social media sites, and blogs. A was screwed!
I was shocked, and felt sad over watching everything that went down. Of course, the saddest part was the lies that A seemed to deny to everyone, but the second saddest part was how vile the situation became and how so many people became a "bully" over the situation. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't condone A's actions, but a small compassionate side of me felt bad for A. A was raked through the coals, by so many people. Some people's emotions got the best of them, and it became a war.
After all was said and done and I witnessed all of the drama, I learned from A, once again.

The biggest lesson:
Never knowingly steal someone else's ideas or words and make them your own, but if by some slight chance you do, never, ever deny the fact that you made a mistake, live up to it, own it, and face it! Apologize for your actions, and try to make amends for it.

Now, I'm not sure what I wrote would actually help you, but maybe some of what I listed below will.
It no way, shape or form am I an expert in this field, most of what I learned was "taught" to me by other bloggers or just plain good ole common sense.

1) Never knowingly, steal someone else's idea's without asking permission and giving credit to said person.
2) Never knowingly, steal someone else's review or parts of a review *I know this one is sketchy, because there have been numerous times when I myself question my own written words and find them to be super similar to other reviewer's.
3) Try your best to stay out of the drama. Don't get caught up in it.  
4) ALWAY'S maintain dignity, and respect.
5) DON'T become a bully, be it to other bloggers or authors.
6) Just because we have a certain freedom to express ourselves on the internet does not make it right, to bash an author, or fellow blogger. There are many times I have given up on a book and marked it DNF, I don't think I've ever bashed a writer since starting this blog. If I write up a less then stellar review for a book(1-2 stars) I try and do it as structurally as possible, without coming across a s hurtful, or mean.
7)Bloggers- The best way to face plagiarism that has been done to you or your blog, is to do it with respect.
Write an e-mail in a professional mannerism without bashing, or coming across as a bully.
Try your best to do it as silently as possible, without needed attention. If the situation becomes overwhelming, drawn out, or comes "out" in the cyber world then show restraint, and explain it the best way possible without making yourself look bad, or stooping to the level as the person who did you wrong. Some situations are beyond our control. I've seen situations that have the accused try and turn it around on the accuser, which is wrong!
8) Authors, the best way to lose reviewers and respect is to draw negative toward yourself or your book. In my opinion, authors should NEVER comment on a negative review or reviewer. Authors should focus always on the positive, and show dignity. If the drama becomes too much for the author, the best bet for them is silence, and if the drama becomes too much then maybe it's best to either A) remove the book, or B) ignore the negative. Many, many successful authors have had their work raked through the coals, and have received negative reviews. I know it hurts, but believe me nothing ever good will come out of negative drama. You will be labeled as a bully, and just from your actions alone, you will lose respect.
8) Being at the top is always great but being at the top takes more work then you will ever know, and to maintain that success you must grow a thick skin, and be prepared for the negative, and sometimes hurtful words . Be it an author or blogger or any aspect of life.

Blog at your own pace, blog to make you happy. Of course, it always feels good to be acknowledged, but make sure your at the positive end of the acknowledgments. 

Hope I've helped a little and if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below, and if I've missed anything feel free to leave that as well!


  1. Well said,Lisa. I couldn't agree more. I followed the whole drama with said blogger and it was so disappointing to see the denial and poor apologies. It is hard work being a blogger and you must always maintain high standards. I have never slammed an author or a book on my blog. I also try and write my reviews in a constructive manner, I stay far away from the drama because life is hard enough sometimes, why add unnecessary drama?

  2. Wonderful post, Lisa. The drama with A. was just horrible, especially when it came to the treatment of the wronged parties. I felt sick all around watching it play out on Twitter and in other blogs with everyone taking sides. People were either "good" or "bad" depending on who they decided to believe. :(

    I've been plagiarized and unfortunately, it's made me a little bitter because no one seemed to give much of a damn. This person used two whole long paragraphs almost verbatim (maybe 3 words different) of a 5 paragraph review and denied, denied, denied, even when presented with a side by side comparison. Then when I finally had enough (after a ton of emails) and went to Twitter with it, she "changed it" by rewording a handful of sentence, doing nothing but making the same points I did with nearly the same wording, like she'd just gone to the thesaurus.

    She's not a big blogger, not even one from the US, and I suppose that's why people didn't care that much, but each time I come across her, it makes my blood boil all over again. :(

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  4. I completely agree. I saw a ton of bloggers become what I felt like were bullies because of this situation. I also don't condone the actions AT ALL! But I couldn't help but feel sorry about everything that was going down. And like you, I learned a lot about what NOT to do by watching the whole situation unfold. It literally scared the pants off of me to the point where I don't read any reviews of books that I intend to read before I write my reviews.

    The last thing I'll say about that situation and anyone who finds themselves facing a situation where they've been the would they like to see the mercy (or lack thereof) they've shown others shown to them if the situation was reversed.

    Great post and I appreciate your honesty about how you saw this situation go down.

    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

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  6. I find myself refraining from reading reviews before I read a book. It sounds weird because that's one of the main reasons we review books, to let other people know about it so they will read/not read it. But for me, I'm afraid of stealing someone's words so I just don't read their reviews.

    Also, I think sometimes the whole plagiarism thing can be a misunderstanding. I mean, I'm not saying to straight out deny, but maybe, just MAYBE, if it was a misunderstanding then straighten it out. Especially if it was unknowingly "plagiarized".

  7. I'm definitely still learning everyday too. In fact, embarrassingly enough, I learned something completely silly today and it will be a time saver. I can't believe I was doing it the long way all this time. But anyways, great tips on blogging ethics. I agree with all of those you stated! :)

    Thanks for stopping by my post!

    ~Sara @ Forever 17 Books