With the world wide web at everybody’s fingertips now, plagiarism is as large of a problem as it ever has been. One issue that I have trouble understanding is when is something considered plagiarism and when is it not. Or, at least, when do people care if you are plagiarizing. If you use a meme or image in an English class, it must be cited at the risk of being sent to the honor council. However, I can use that same image or meme in a group text and have nobody mention anything about who was the author or where did I get that from. With the internet so easily accessible now, it is hard not to use somebody else’s idea without a second thought about doing so. Another issue with plagiarism is the idea that it is not necessary to cite ideas that are common knowledge, but what is considered common knowledge now-a-days. Since everybody has internet on their phone, is everything on the internet common knowledge? Obviously not everything on the internet is common knowledge. People from different cultures or backgrounds have put things on the internet that inform others of the beliefs and ideas that they have been surrounded by their entire life. These kind of things are common knowledge. If somebody hadn’t told you about those ideas and beliefs, you would have no idea about them.
These are just a few of the questions and concerns I was thinking about while going into our extensive research for our paper. I was clearly not excited by the thought of having citations. However, no matter how little I like to cite work or feel that something doesn’t necessarily need to be cited, I know that I have a responsibility to do so. I understand this because I know that if I had put the effort into discovering something cool, taking a nice picture, or thinking of a new idea, I would want people to not steal it and use it as their own. That may sound slightly selfish or egotistical, but it is more about being fair. Publishing a work is not easy and does take time so it should not just be used by everybody as their own. The citation process is what I now believe is a way of teaching kids responsibility in school among many other ways. If a student doesn’t cite the work, they must own up to their decision and take the consequences. If they do site their work, then they are one step closer to being a responsible student.
While being a responsible student is important, some of the ways that schools try to test for cheating and plagiarism is a bit much. The system of putting an assignment into a processor that searches the internet for a clump of words in the same order is scary. It is similar to the authoritarian state of George Orwell’s 1984. Everything is over monitored since technology has progressed which gives me anxiety for the future. If this is the system we are using now, when my kids go to school they will be taking brain scans to see if you actually thought of the information on your own. This is me being ridiculous of course, but it is an interesting question. What will they be doing as technology progresses. Is there anything more that they could do than scan the internet? I guess we will find out soon enough.
In conclusion to this long list of rambles I may have sounded like a bipolar human being throughout this work, jumping back and forth between arguing against citations and for them. However, it is because I know they are necessary sometimes but I hate to have to do them. I would much rather be left to my own devices, throw in a quote every now and then and say who said it, and then go on my way.