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It's both. A mechanism has been developed that
provides a measurement. One determines in advance the
value of that measurement for some process.
Forgetting is not a crime. It's a quality
issue. But it will also be a political issue
as those who are members of some polity attempt
to defend their own against the inevitable
development and then the results of automated metrics.
Should a programmer receive a performance
rating for the number of bugs his/her code
has? In isolation, no. Would it make more
sense if rated against the difficulty of the
problem they are solving, the language, the
tools, the libraries?
Some companies doing piece work are marketing
the measures they make of their engineers' work
and and productivity. Should we be questioning
the value of those numbers? Or simply the costs
of work received? If we only look at the costs
of goods received, we find ourselves in the
curious position of a pawnbroker who is pushed
by his customers into becoming a fence. Would
you like the pawnbroker to check the ownership
and issue a receipt?
From: Greg Colyer [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
... which includes the hilarious comment: "I mistakenly assumed notes I
had made were my own ..."
Sounds suspiciously like an Orwellian forced confession that the emperor
does have clothes. Is it now a crime to forget something?
As I said, the academic culture of citation is something of a conceit,
promoted not least because authors get brownie-points for citations.
Their accuracy is given much less weight than their existence, as I have
frequently found by following them up.
I would have thought that uncited truth is generally more helpful than,
for example, cited untruth, but this notion almost runs counter to that
particular culture. Of course, no-one is disputing that cited truth is
the ideal, but with limited resources would you be better off spending
them checking the facts or finding the originator of the perhaps-not-facts?
I suspect that another reason for the obsession with plagiarism is its
increased detectability rather than its increased incidence. At least
the web does help one to find "other" sources for an item of
information, even if it doesn't do much to help establish which (if any)
may be the "first" source.
Some of the points that have been made are arguments not against the
bloggers but simply against trusting certain automated analyses (e.g.
page-ranking) of them.