This morning I was chagrined and astonished to discover that 2 people at Perlmonks, jesuashok and madtoperl, have been flagrantly involved in many instances of plagiarism.

It was already clear that madtoperl had made quite a few submissions to the Perl Poetry section which were not his own, and recently jesuashok began emulating this dishonerable practice as well, for which I was very direct in admonishing him.

But now it has to come to my attention that both of them have been stealing other people's questions as well!  This is something I find patently offensive, as do a number of other monks, from the messages I've been getting both in the chatterbox and privately.  What's more, I don't know which I found more disrespectful, the verbatim, word-for-word copying of other people's work which jesuashok practices, as if he couldn't be bothered to change the wording (references: node 542441, node 526642, node 539378, node 542988, node 542220, node 544852, node 542744, node 543989, node 542227, and node 544769), or the sneaky, deceitful minor rewrites which madtoperl engages in to attempt to cover his tracks, such as changing variable names or slight alterations in wording (references: node 551569 and node 543062).

Both of these monks have been called out for their plagiarism, and have staunchly denied any wrongdoing, even when presented with irrefutable evidence to the contrary.  It would be one thing, I suppose, to be caught in the act of committing intellectual fraud, and to back away sheepishly, or to show signs of contrition and come clean.   Sadly, however, the opposite has been true in both cases. For example, jesuashok responded to "I guess the same is the copy of c program which i saw already somewhere." with an unrepentant "if you see this "C" program somewhere please let me know. It is my own effort. help If you can, otherwise shut.", and madtoperl, when confronted with "Same poem found here too." desperately maintained his charade with "Hi, That was also posted by me.".

It seems this would be an apropos time to pose the question to you, my brethren:  how should plagiarism be handled here at Perlmonks?   I will be patient, and listen to what others think about this situation, but I feel very strongly that something must be done.   I've attempted to take a step back and look at the facts dispassionately, even to the point of asking myself "am I blowing this out of proportion?"   Yet, from all the responses I've heard from my fellow monks, there is a fair consensus that this cannot be tolerated.

For me, GrandFather's quote sums it up quite nicely:

"I think that plagiarised nodes that have garnered a high rep are a ma +jor affront and demean the efforts of genuinely helpful people around PM"

And to list some of the reasons that I find this plagiarism so distasteful:

  1. It is disrespectful to this community that I've come to love
  2. It lowers the standards by which Perlmonks will, unavoidably, be judged
  3. It is demeaning, both those authors whose work has been stolen, and to those authors at Perlmonks who take pride in the commitment to the quality of their questions, answers and Perl code
  4. It is frustrating to have Perlmonks forced to be associated with a practice which is both unethical and illegal

I await your thoughts on how best to handle this problem.