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John Scalzi

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May 1
2008

The Internet and Plagiarism

John Scalzi on the effect of the Internet on plagiarism and attribution:

The other thing here, which is also a consequence of the online world, is that I think writers today have less fear of being seen attributing really interesting ideas to others rather than claiming them as our own, because after all that’s what we do online all the time, via linking. It’s still nice to be brilliant and have great thoughts, but there’s also increasing value in showing that one intelligently aggregates and comments on other people’s brilliance and great thoughts, because then people come to you for those aggregation and commentary skills. It’s valuable to be a conduit, basically, and not just a font. I suspect this will over time also help to tamp down the plagiarism impulse, at least among the more intellectually secure writers. One hopes it will, anyway. But if it doesn’t, there’s always that first thing.

—John Scalzi: Another One From the “People Who Really Should Know Better” File

Mar 5
2008

We Can’t All Be Tolkien…

I have always figured that Tolkein was the exception:

Now, I realize this sort of de-romanticizes my world building process: those of you who imagine I have a detailed bible of the entire history and ethnography of the OMW universe will be undoubtedly disappointed to learn that I mostly just make stuff about that universe, as needed, as I go along. But what can I say. We can’t all be Tolkien and develop three different languages and five thousand years of history for our worlds before we feel sufficiently comfortable to tell a story in the place. Nor, really, would I want to be: That’s just too much effort.

—John Scalzi: Things I Don’t Know About My Own Universe