As a book blogger and aspiring author, there are few things I can think of that are worse than someone robbing me of my words. Plagiarism is one of the most dirty words in my mind and it's really hard for me to think of something much scarier.
Then I started reading the reactions to The Story Siren plagiarism scandal that quite literally rocked the blogosphere. I'm not saying that I agree or accept with what she did. Plagiarism is always wrong. I don't know Kristi personally but as a long time follower of her blog, I don't think she was doing this to intentionally be malicious. But she was plagiarizing and that is a problem. We each have to decide whether we can accept that as her audience and move on accordingly. Whether she is able to move on from this incident and learn something is up to her.
But I plan to take something away from this.
I could go on about how awful plagiarism is and how it affects those who are plagiarize and those doing the plagiarizing. But that's something we all know.
What I want to take from this is the reaction to the scandal. I've been following people's reactions on Twitter and reading comments on blog posts and I have to say that I am stunned. As YA readers, we read about the mean girls and the bullies. We each cheer when the mean girl gets what's coming to her and feel the triumph when the main character is able to be the bigger person.
So why are we acting like the mean girls that we love to hate? Why are we saying rude, hateful things about someone who made a mistake?
Not only does this make us look bad as an online community but it makes us look bad as people. I know that at least here, there is flesh and blood behind each in every one of the words I type. I'm human. I screw up daily and screw up royally some times too. And I know that everyone else has too. That's part of life. Sure, The Story Siren screwed up big time and very publicly but that doesn't give anyone the right to bully her about it.
We can discuss it, we can learn from it and we can grow from it but the snarky comments have to stop. Drawing lines in the pavement and sticking out our tongues at anyone on the other side has got to stop or we will never be respected. I'm oftentimes shocked by how people look down on the YA community because I'm immersed in it and I know the good it creates. But when we start calling each other names and being rude; when we start acting like our stereotypes then we are just reinforcing this thought process.
Again, we all know that robbing someone of their words and ideas and passing them off as your own is not right. Knowing the sacred power of the written word and the magnificence of my own thoughts, I would never condone someone plagiarizing. I don't care how big or small their blog is, whether they are black, white, Hispanic, any other color in between, old, young, from the US or Europe, it isn't right. But all of that goes for the people who are throwing stones and feel they have the right to be downright cruel too.
Stop being the mean girls and start being the heroines.
Learn something while you're at it too.
The wonderful thing about the blogosphere community is that we make it what it is. We literally have the power at the tips of our fingers. I want to make it into a utopia, not the middle school playground. I hope everyone else decides to as well.