12 March 2008

Look What Google Dragged In

Like many people who have a web presence, I use Google Alerts to keep informed about comments etc. related to my web scribblings. Most of the references are routine, but sometimes I learn something new. Here's a sample from the past few weeks.


I'm ambivalent about the value of Wikipedia. The way it often works is that someone copies into a Wikipedia article some info that I've placed on the web, duly crediting it with a link. Later, someone deletes the link. Someone else then adds the link back, and someone deletes it again. After some back and forth the link disappears for good.

My problem with Wikipedia is that it discourages independent web sites. Why take the time to research a topic and place the results on the web if it just gets sucked into Wikipedia? The original researcher ends up not being compensated for the initial contribution, even by a simple link.

Here's a service that identifies references on Wikipedia.

Here's a Wikipedia reference that copies some stats I developed for an About Chess article.

I didn't 'claim' anything; I calculated some numbers. It doesn't mention that my stats were calculated in January 2004 or that they were taken from several dozen random samples recorded at different times of the day. This is an example of why I find Wikipedia strong on fact and weak on opinion. Anonymous contributors with an agenda or with an ax to grind can easily use the service to promote their own self-serving ends.


Plagiarism and outright copying are rampant in Internet content. Google flagged the following blog post.

The post is a direct copy of 1972 Fischer - Spassky Title Match: Highlights. I couldn't see any references to my site or my name, so I suppose they were deleted after Google picked them up. Note that the author, in his only piece of independent work, couldn't even spell Bobby's surname ('Fisher') correctly.

Many plagiarists, when confronted with their misdeeds, insist they haven't done anything wrong. Here's one response from Slate.com: Eight Reasons Plagiarism Sucks.


Some of the references are from services that seem to serve no useful purpose. I tagged all of the following as 'What's this?':-

More investigation required...

1 comment:

phorku said...

I even had one of my personal ads plagerized.