Plagiarism: What To Do?

Ah, another AP test today. On this day, I shall finish my AP Seminar National Exam, which technically started at the second semesters start.

So, in AP Seminar, one of the most terrifying things ever, the one thing that always stressed me out to NO end was plagiarism.

And it wasn’t “was I plagiarised?” no it was “did I forget to cite something and plagiarise someone else?”

I also feel like this is a nice time for this post because this keeps popping up as a potential problem SO… No better time than the nerve-wrecking present than to make a post about it right?

(Before you start here is a wonderful post about whether you’re “inspired or copying” from Paper Fury)

Like I said one of my biggest fears (like number eight on the Biggest Fear List, yes there is a literal list) is plagiarism. Both being plagiarised and plagiarising.

When it comes to blogging, I don’t actually worry too much about plagiarising. And now it’s time for confessions…. I don’t look at other blogs.

(Now, this doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen on accident).

I mean… Maybe… Once every… Three months or so, I’ll look at a blog post if it comes across my TL and looks interesting.

Sometimes I look at book reviews but I just look around for a rating and leave if I don’t see one.

*Hides* I KNOW I’m the worst. I’m working at getting better at it and checking out my favourite blogs but… I don’t usually do it so I find the chances of me copying someone are very low due to this fact.

Nevertheless, the fear remains. Because the last thing I want to do is read someone’s blog post and unintentionally copy it.

Similarly, I don’t want someone reading my blog and unintentionally copying it. Or at least I hope it would be unintentional.  

Thinking about this with the two more recent cases of this popping up, I was thinking about what would happen if I were in this situation, what would I hypothetically do and what I would hypothetically want someone else to do.


Okay so let’s say a party has potentially taken a post of yours. 

  1. First, you may probably be feeling panic.
    1. “Oh, gods, did they actually take my work? Am I overreacting? Should I say something?”
  2. If you’re unsure
    1. Bring in a few neutral parties. People you know have critical minds, who won’t cause drama, to examine both the posts.
  3. The people come back and say “yes these two posts look VERY similar”
    1. Time to talk.
  4. You’ve calmed down a bit (so you won’t be yelling at them) and you’re pretty sure about this.
    1. Also, be sure to ask if you know this person reads your blog. Of course, one wouldn’t know ALL of their readers but if they’re on the “Know” List…
  5. Contact the person privately and be kind.
    1. Ask them (if you don’t know) if they read your blog.
    2. Ask them if they’ve read the post.
      1. Even if they don’t frequent your blog there’s a chance they read your post.
  6. Point out the similarities to them.
    1. Whether they’ve answered “yes” or “no” to the previous questions, this will at least give them some insight.
    2. Just going to them with accusations and no proof will only serve to make them not believe you and more panicky.
  7. In the end, you have explained yourself and shown them what you mean.
    1. Hopefully, by now they understand your concerns.
    2. Possibly, as politely as you can, ask if they’re willing to do something.
      1. Whether it be reference your post or maybe change theirs up a bit or redo it. Ask them if they’d be willing to help you out.
  8. And hopefully,  it works out for the best.

Again these are hypotheticals.

Now let us imagine some has approached you inquiring about this.

  1. A lot like they probably were at first, you’re most likely feeling panic, maybe rage.
    1. You worked hard on that post and now they’re saying you stole it?
  2. First: think.
    1. Do you read their blog? Did you read the blog post they’re talking about?
  3. If “yes” to all those questions, go look at your own post.
  4. Compare the two posts.
    1. Do they look similar?
      1. If so, I’d say, apologize and let them know you didn’t mean it.
  5. If they are eerily similar
    1. Change it up a bit or,
    2. Give them credit.
  6. IF you don’t go on their blog or have never seen their post:
    2. There’s only so much to talk about and there is bound to be overlap.
  7. Understand them, that they are probably panicking and potentially embarrassed. 
    1. Try to calm them down by maybe offering to make changes or even just adding their post in there as a reference.
      1. That could make them feel at least a little bit better and you don’t have to discard or change and entire post.
  8. Hopefully, it works out.


Now, I have never been in this situation. Like I said above the worst thing that has ever NEARLY happened to me was the Seminar Paper.

I pray that a situation like this never does happen to me.

While this was for a themed week this has been a problem lately so if you think this might have happened to you or someone approaches you maybe try this?

Of course, as this has happened, people have also made posts about it, including one of my current favorite blogger people (I follow her on Twitter, she’s a doll) Cait from Paper Fury on how to tell whether you’re inspired or taking someone else’s work. 

Of course, that is also linked above as I think it’s an amazing post and very insightful.

HOPEFULLY on some level I hope this helps.

This is a terrible situation for everyone involved.


Finally, I feel like I should address this.

If you have taken, knowingly taken, someone else’s work.

  1. Stop and think.
    1. Why are you doing this?
    2. How will this affect the person if they find out you’re taking their work.
    3. What will it do to you, your friends, the connections you’ve made.
  2. Now, is it worth it?
    1. Your answer should be “no”.
  3. Time for a change.
    1. This can be difficult depending on how long you’ve been taking someone else’s work.
    2. You could come clean, whether in public or private and admit what you’ve done.
  4. Apologize for what you’ve done.
    1. You feel remorse and they need to know that. They need comfort because you’ve taken they’re work and pretended it is your own and that is all kinds of fucked up.
    2. Understand that.
    3. Get it through your head.
    4. Apologize.
  5. Ask for help.
    1. Again, depending on how long you’ve been taking their work this could be difficult.
    2. Ask the people you’ve taken from what they would like you to do.
  6. You want to keep blogging?
    1. Okay, but find your own voice and style. It will be messy and take a while but it can happen.


I hope this was helpful.

Peace and love,

-Kit Cat

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