in reply to How should Perlmonks deal with Plagiarism?
"Plagiarism" is a technical term which implies an authoritative conclusion based on known facts evaluated in the context of widely recognized institutional norms. Although such a conclusion may be justifiable in this particular circumstance, one is well-advised to consider less accusatory language when suitable. Such language might include terms as "non-attributed sources" or "duplicated content", especially when a question about 'plagiarism' is directed at the conduct of a specific person, instead of just a hypothetical question that does not actually name any names.
Duplicated, non-attributed content does not necessarily justify a conclusion of 'plagiarism' (e.g., perhaps someone was framed, or the original author gave consent, or the original author is not in actuality the one who first published the material). This is another reason why *conclusions* are a lot more slippery than emotionally detached recounting of known facts.
Incidents like this, however unfavorable, can also be considered *helpful reminders* if you use them to sharpen your critical thinking skills and your personal level of awareness:
- never assume a one-to-one correspondence between username and physical entity
- anything that can be produced by humans can be counterfeited by humans
- sometimes trust is less about keeping people honest, and more about making really big lies either too unprofitable to tell, or too expensive to uncover
- there is nothing new under the Sun
- there is no spoon