Talk:Bloomington High School North
Well, perhaps I was too quick in my praise to User:Mhelmsin. While his intentions are good, his methods could be criticized a bit. Appearently, the text was taken verbatim from BHSN's about page. While we won't fail you or expel you for plagiarism, it is self-defeating because it makes it harder for someone else to come in and make original content. The text used on their about page, is already polished and proof read (hopeful), so this makes it difficult to just go in and change the wording. Plagiarism can also lead to copyright and credit issues and draw negative views towards Bloomingpedia. Excessive plagiarism without heading our warnings will probably get someone blocked from the site for a period of time too. So its probably best not to do it. Just take a bit of time to summarize things in your own words. For now I'm going to revert the edit the User:Mhelmsin made so that we can do this properly. -- Mark 22:56, 3 October 2006 (EDT)
As the person who "plagarized" the content from the BHSN page, I am saddened at the hasty and terse decision to erase all of what I copied from the North webpage before I had a chance to format, edit, and reword parts of it. Perhaps I should have done that in Word first, but that's not really the point. I teach at Bloomington North and am part of the staff that authored the text. As a person with first-hand (original) knowledge about BHSN, I am qualified to contribute content to the page. I teach students the problems of plagarism and have them use turnitin.com so I fail to understand the premise behind "[t]he text used on their about page, is already polished and proof read (hopeful), so this makes it difficult to just go in and change the wording". That's not what writing is about, but I thought a wiki was a repository of information - original or not. If the "about section" of the North webpage is "already polished" what is there to change? I wasn't nearly even finished with what I wanted to begin contributing to the entry (I was going to add citations and wording about the source of that text the very next day before it was all erased). I am glad I have a colleague who still sees the value in having her class contribute information to this page because I no longer have confidence in working with this group and will not have my composition students contibute as I had once hoped would be the case. I could throw up my hands and claim I didn't read the directions before I started editing (and it's true I did not do that), but I've lost the desire, now, to collaborate with other community members on this worthwhile endeavor. -- Mhelmsin 14:40, 7 October 2006 (EDT)
A little clarification
First, I think we have a little misunderstanding. Noone is saying you're not qualified to contribute. In fact, I believe this is an excellent example of what I theorize is the root problem - a fundamental misunderstanding of what a Wiki is and is not.
Anyone is qualified to contribute to Bloomingpedia. Your position certainly qualifies you as a local expert on BHSN, and frankly we need folks who are highly qualified in certain areas to help us polish Bloomingpedia content. The issues here are fairly unique to this style of publishing, and to the web as media in general. I spent several years as a Senior Editor for IU's Knowledge Base, so I'm familiar with the whole mess.
"I thought a wiki was a repository of information - original or not." No - certainly not. The clear implication in that statement is that simply being a wiki allows a site to archive someone else's content with no repercussions. That's not true. The knowledge can be reproduced, but the content cannot. The content/wording must be original.
Further, and I'll admit to being pedantic here, the following disclaimer appears at the bottom of every edit page:
Please note that all contributions to Bloomingpedia may be edited, altered, or removed by other contributors. If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly, then don't submit it here. You are also promising us that you wrote this yourself, or copied it from a public domain or similar free resource (see Project:Copyrights for details). DO NOT SUBMIT COPYRIGHTED WORK WITHOUT PERMISSION!"
The other point that I feel I should address is the idea that any information has been erased. The mediawiki platform saves everything in the document's history, it is simply that the current displayed version has had your contribution redacted. As a result, nobody's work is ever lost, so if you want to use it as the basis of an original document, it is available.
I'm sorry you've lost interest in working with Bloomingpedia, but I feel that if you'd read Bloomingpedia's introductory information, you'd have known all of this, and this episode could have been avoided. We need talented people, but frankly, a wiki isn't the place to write if, as stated, you can't deal with others having the ability to alter your work. Hope to see you back in the future. -User:RickSchmelz
I think perhaps its also worth noting to Mhelmsin and others reading this that we (the Bloomingpedia Council) have been planning to hold some classes/tutorials at some point to help introduce people to Bloomingpedia who don't understand the concept of wikis or simply want to learn more. I for one remember going to Wikipedia for a couple years before even realizing that there was an edit button or a whole group of people behind the scenes, controlling what content was in the articles. The same is obviously true for other people and for other wikis like Bloomingpedia. So I invite you to keep an eye out for future announcements that we'll make on this site's front page about holding tutorial sessions that will make this project more approachable. Probably they will be held in the MCPL.
Right now a few of us are busy doing the whole baby thing. However, the recent increase in new users, visitors and articles makes me think that we need to start planning for this kind of event. -- Mark 00:03, 8 October 2006 (EDT)
My Two Cents
At first I was going to scold the overlords for
- accusing someone of plagiarism when that person was the author of the material
- "depublishing" a boatload of content
- subverting the organic nature of wiki by being control freaks
But I looked at the referenced BHSN page that the material came from. It is copyrighted by the high school. This most likely makes it a "work for hire" and the contributor has no ownership even if they are the author.
And one doesn't need to copy long extracts. It is probaby better just to make a brief summary and a link to that kind of material.
But I haven't changed my mind about the third point.
--BirdieGalyan 01:50, 9 October 2006 (EDT)
Two Cents More
A reflection on this episode is that we should be careful about how we use the word "plagiarism". I believe that most academics take great umbrage in being accused of plagiarism - representing someone else's work as your own. The original BHSN material posted here was not plagiarized - as the poster was the original author of the material on the BHSN web site. However it was arguably copyrighted material owned by the school corporation.
On the other hand it was uncertain whether the poster OWNED the words he wrote - on the face it would appear to be a "work for hire" and he did not present clear evidence that he had permission to post it elswhere. My understanding is that it is the intent of a Wiki to put knowledge into the public domain. And it was not clear that the BHSN legal entity was willing to let that happen.
--BirdieGalyan 15:39, 13 February 2007 (EST)
I have an inside source that tells me that Mark Helmsing, after becoming disgruntled with us, decided that he'd do real research, real work and create a completely original article which has become the Wikipedia article on BHSN. I really wish that he would have put his differences with us aside and contributed it here. What is funny though is that there is that because of the LGPL licensing on Wikipedia, there is no stopping anyone from taking most of the content on the Wikipedia article and putting it here with credits to where it came from. -- Mark 18:13, 9 February 2007 (EST)