I know I am supposed to be on a blog break, but I decided to come back here just for this week to blog about an issue affecting many bloggers, and has rendered many of us helpless. For me to actually come back, then you should know it’s serious.
We all know the internet can be a shark at times, devouring people up without mercy, and should you dare to speak out, you would be devoured some more. When many of us see what’s happening, and see we can’t beat them, we in turn join the sharks and bite too, thereby leading to bloody internet fights with no winners. Twitter is especially known for the most vicious shark casualties, and I do my best to stay away from it, apart from when I have to publicise one thing or the other.
The intellectual ones who feel they have something better to say are known to go the direction blogging. We all know that not everyone can maintain a blog, as you must be able to say much more than kk, lol, lwkmd, famzing thinz, Eleko Beach sturvs, etc., and do more than spew 140 or less characters of random words that either make sense or not, to run a blog. It is with this that everyone has come to acknowledge that bloggers are a different kind of internet people. They are not just idle babblers who devour people all over the place, they actually know what they are talking about. And should they decide to attack in a shark-like manner, it is not always pretty, cos they do it with intellect. They do it the right way, they don’t attack the person, they attack the post, which is more than I can say for Nairalanders.
We also know that bloggers, especially in Nigeria, form a very tight-knit community, and they know how to protect their own. They look out for one another, and many times genuinely care for one another. Thus the surprising turn of the issue I am about to discuss.
A blogger contacted me, asking about how to deal with bloggers who steal, even though they reference the source. I told her I don’t know, and I am a victim too. She said “aren’t you the blogsville police?” Please, people how does doing 3 posts about blogsville make me a blogsville police?
Anyway, I digress. On a normal day, I would have laughed and gone back to what I was doing, but I had to discuss with her because if there's someone who has been affected much by blog and internet thieves, that person is me. Anytime I find out that one more post of mine has been stolen, I feel helpless and close to tears. Most times, I don’t always find out until much later, when I am looking for a post of mine via google. Ever since I published my first book, I have been a victim too many times to count. I commented on one of the thieves’ posts, telling him to please, mail me cos he had no contact on his blog, but the person never got to me. I considered putting a sign on my blog header to say, 'all blog and forum thieves should steer clear if they can’t do the right thing by asking for permission'. Yes I was that pissed, but I considered it too aggressive, so I went back to ‘mode helplessness’.
You would think we should be happy that we can write articles quality enough to be stolen by internet and blog thieves. No. The thing is, when you steal someone’s article, you become a direct competitor with that person when it comes to traffic and SEO. You share in the person's stats, and if your site is really popular like nairaland or other very popular blogs, you take 99% of the person's stats. Someone takes their time to write a post (comedy and satire in my case), and gets almost no credit for it.
Yes, we know they write the person's name at the end but why should one copy the whole post, if it is not stealing? Why do it without the person's permission? Why not take a bit, and redirect the remaining to the person’s blog if you really want the owner to get credit? Duplicating an entire content is a no, no, whether you reference the author or not. Complete content duplication is actually criminal, I researched it.
Ask yourself, why did you copy that post? Is it to bring attention to your blog or the real author? The honest answer will determine whether you stole it or not. There was even an instance when someone took the whole of my post, and referenced me in a way that wasn't even noticeable at all, such that in the comment box, everyone kept referring to how they agreed with the blogger, despite the fact that she wasn’t the author. They just did not notice the reference because it was too obscure. We are a tight-knit family. We shouldn’t be killing ourselves by stealing from one another. We should build one another. If you must lift my post, ask for my permission first, and if I grant you, take only a paragraph, and redirect the rest back to me. That way, we both benefit.
The truth is that bloggers and many forum posters are stealing, and they steal posts they know would direct traffic to their sites, and it is bad. Let’s call a spade a spade. We must stop it if we are guilty. Let’s build others up, not tear them down. If other people outside blogsville are stealing from us, we are supposed to try to come together, and do something about it, but what of when bloggers are stealing unashamedly from one another? Who will help us? Bloggers are complaining about this menace on the increase. Please, can we suggest different ways to stop it? We have been known to stand by one another in the past, let’s not stop now. Drop your suggestions in the comment box, and redirect bloggers to come and read this post. Let’s not fold our hands, cos anyone of us can fall victim tomorrow.
One last thing please, don’t steal this post. It is written by me.