January 25, 2005

No bended knees

Many years ago, a neighbour -- I'll call him X -- planted a banana tree in my building's garden. Another neighbour, Y, inadvertently cut it down. He apologized, but to this day, X has not forgiven Y. Not just that, X actually believes the whole building hatched a conspiracy to cut down the tree. "I won't forgive them," X once told me, "until they all come to me on bended knees and apologize." Not just an apology, but grovelling. That's what the man wants.

No knees, may I assure you, have been bent at X's door. Years later, he still waits.

I'm reminded of this story by what I feel in the wake (and I hope like hell it is the wake, I'm heartily sick of this) of the wide-eyed frenzy that kept several of us bloggers going over the last week.

Some thoughts:

First: Rohan Pinto, your copying of posts was wrong. An honest mistake sure, but wrong. I fail to understand why it is so hard to put up a simple announcement to that effect, no ifs and buts. There is something called grace. This might be a blogged-up world, but it still has place for grace.

Second: the way so many of us bloggers leaped in to slash at Rohan, calling him names, ready to see every new development in the worst possible light, dreaming up ever more convoluted theories (a criminal gang that uses a blog as its human face?), ratcheting up our ire on each others' ire. I know now, though I wish I didn't, the true meaning of that term they use about sharks: "feeding frenzy." I took part and I am ashamed.

Third: the willingness to assume the worst about the other guy. No, Rohan's explanations are no good because we have already decided that he's a jerk and even his explanations must be twisted to fit that decision. (This is the general tone of the email discussion we've had). No, says Rohan, what these guys did was "branding" and it was "very unethical"; he won't allow (so far) that people felt legitimately aggrieved by what he had been doing.

Fourth: bloggers have a lot to be proud of, and the medium is a hugely powerful one. With that power, though, must come responsibility. The immediacy and connectivity can expose great wrong; in just the same way, it can do great wrong. If Rohan Pinto is guilty of no more than mistakenly posting stuff without attribution, I hope we bloggers will understand just how great the harm was that we've done to him. I hope we will understand, not hide behind self-righteousness.

Fifth: for all the triumphs of the blog world -- Rathergate being the prime example -- the thing to remember is that those triumphs came about by marrying the power of blogging to old-fashioned journalism. You don't become an investigative journalist simply because you can get on the Web. Even in the age of the blog, investigative journalism is about more than typing in search strings to Google, more than clicking on a trail of links and posting your "findings" on your blog. It still makes use of those not-so-antiquated tools: phones, people, legwork, talking, asking. In our frenzy, I think we bloggers forgot that much.

Sixth: there is a world out there beyond our screens, Google and the mouse. Just because some of us spend 24 hours a day in front of our monitors, it doesn't follow that the rest of humanity -- even other techies -- do the same. There are indeed people out there who have lives apart from the Web and who, believe it or not, may skip checking their email for more than 24 hours. Even a week. There are indeed people out there who may not know as much about the law, or ethics, as we think we do.

Finally, there is a value to introspection. There is no harm or shame in it. Let me say this: I've not seen great evidence of it among us bloggers.

---

Postscript: the parenthetical phrase above, "a criminal gang that uses a a blog as its human face", was from a private email exchange that I should never have made public. My apologies to the person concerned.

39 comments:

Yazad Jal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yazad Jal said...

Dilip

There's a reason why a lot of the discussions we had on the topic of Rohan Pinto's plagiarism were on email and not a public forum like a blog. It's because we did want to be sure before we made public statements.

I find nothing objectionable in any of the public posts on the issue. If you do, please point out where.

Finally, this issue is nowhere as important as Rathergate was. There bloggers dug out evidence that proved that a news anchor in one of the "Big 3" networks had goofed (and badly). I don't think l'affaire Pinto even comes close.

-yazad

PS: I inadvertently removed this comment earlier. Reposting it. Apologies!

Gaurav said...

I find this post very unfair, as it makes us bloggers out to be some kind of vultures waiting to pounce on an innocent soul who was benignly copying posts that he liked.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Yazad,

You said:

> I find nothing objectionable in any of the
> public posts on the issue. If you do, please
> point out where.

OK: some phrases at random. "Rohan Pinto, the weirdo"; "the jerk"; "he deserves the ill attention we are giving him"; "what a freak"; "creepy blot on the blogosphere"; "creepy piece of shit". That enough?

> Finally, this issue is nowhere as important as
> Rathergate was.

Indeed. But more than one person made the comparison. "Does the Indi-blogosphere have its own little “Rathergate” now?" wrote one blogger.

Anonymous said...

Mr D'Souza

This plagiarist fellow, Rohan Pinto, has confessed to his intellectual theft. He was guilty. What more is there to say. Every breaker of the law pleads ignorance of the law, including rapists. That is not a defence anywhere.

I commend all the bloggers who took matters into their own hands to expose a self-confessed thief. I think all the bad words heaped upon this thief were justified, and your rant against your fellow bloggers is unjustified.

Left to you, the Pintos of the world would have gone on copying. Now, they have got warning: steal, and you shall be punished.You believe otherwise, of course. Your motto would be: steal, plead ignorance of the law if caught, and you shall be forgiven.You are as big a disgrace as Pinto, for condoning his crime.

Rakesh Bansal

Neela said...

dilip,

This is not really a comment on this particular blog of forgive thy neighbour, but just something on plagiarism. I can understand the reactions of the bloggers. One could give RP the benefit of the doubt but if someone doesn't attribute at all and copies verbatim then s/he deserves a sharp rap on the knuckles, perhaps more.

Coming to the plagiarism issue, everyday i encounter people who would never ever shoplift in their life or steal from the local library will, but, with a clear conscience, copy a CD on their Ipods or photocopy an expensive textbook. Its hard to explain the magnitude of this offense to people - somehow we are not brought up to think of this as theft on as large a scale as physically lifting something and not paying for it.

I must confess I didn't think much about it earlier, but now that my "product" is intangible, I am more inclined to think of such issues.

cheers

neela (not your ma)

Anonymous said...

"OK: some phrases at random. "Rohan Pinto, the weirdo"; "the jerk"; "he deserves the ill attention we are giving him"; "what a freak"; "creepy blot on the blogosphere"; "creepy piece of shit". That enough?"

Dilip, I have just gone through all the posts by Shanti Mangala, MadMan and Amit Varma, and found these phrases used in NONE of them. They were either used by others who picked up on the story, or by people who commented on the blogs. You are mis-representing them.

My personal opinion: I went through one-and-a-half years of copied posts on this guy's blog, and now that he has confessed to them, it is obvious that he was guilty as sin, and deserves all those epithets.

Dilip D'Souza said...

I have just gone through all the posts by Shanti Mangala, MadMan and Amit Varma, and found these phrases used in NONE of them.What did Yazad ask? "I find nothing objectionable in any of the public posts on the issue. If you do, please point out where." He didn't say "public posts by Shanti, MadMan and Amit Varma." Who am I misrepresenting?

My personal opinion: I went through one-and-a-half years of copied posts on this guy's blog, and now that he has confessed to them, it is obvious that he was guilty as sin, and deserves all those epithets.Congratulations. Unfortunately, his years of copying are not the point -- of course he was guilty of that. What is the point is everything else done to him by all of us, accusations based only on conjecture.

Anonymous said...

Mr D'Souza, you said: "What did Yazad ask? "I find nothing objectionable in any of the public posts on the issue. If you do, please point out where." He didn't say "public posts by Shanti, MadMan and Amit Varma." Who am I misrepresenting?"

Who are you ranting against then? So you accept that these three did nothing wrong, and it is some nameless bloggers to blame?

You also said: "Unfortunately, his years of copying are not the point -- of course he was guilty of that. What is the point is everything else done to him by all of us, accusations based only on conjecture."

Read the posts, Mr D'Souza. a] His plagiarism, which he later confessed to, was exposed. b] A suspicious credit-card mechanism on his site was spoken about, and verified by thousands of readers.

There was NO accusation based on any conjecture. The credit-card-fraud bit was NOT an accusation, but the obvious explanation of why the fellow was offering instapundit.com for sale.

Also, at one point you said that bloggers were "dreaming up ever more convoluted theories (a criminal gang that uses a blog as its human face?)" I have searched high and wide for this bit, and can only conclude that you, Mr D'Souza, are a LIAR. I challenge you to show me where this was posted.

Abhijeet

Neela said...

actually, i did find those words that dilip wrote about "creep" "piece of shit" etc etc on someone's blog. i can't remember who, but clearly it was not made up.

neela (nobody's ma)

Anonymous said...

Neela, you must have read it on a comment somewhere, or on a blog not by one of those people that Mr D'Souza is criticising. I went through each of their posts on the matter, and they were all responsibly worded.

And as I said before:

"Also, at one point you said that bloggers were "dreaming up ever more convoluted theories (a criminal gang that uses a blog as its human face?)" I have searched high and wide for this bit, and can only conclude that you, Mr D'Souza, are a LIAR. I challenge you to show me where this was posted."

And now, everyone, we shall see Mr D'Souza's fidelity to the truth. Demonstrated, beyond doubt, on a public forum. How will you wriggle out of this, Mr D'Souza? You have been exposed.

Abhijit

Dileepan said...

Hello Mr. D'Souza,

I have been following your updates on Rohan Pinto. There one point in the case that strikes me as incongruent. A number of blogs allege Mr. Pinto's involvement in a case of Credit Card fraud too. What became of that point? People seem to have forgotten it almost as soon as Mr. Pinto offered his apologies. Has he a convincing explanation for this too? If indeed he hasn't one, don't you think that a case of Credit Card fraud appears far more serious -- or at least, more wilful -- than merely a copyright issue? Has this issue been resolved too? Hearing more about this will, I feel, help our understanding of the case.

Dileepan

Anonymous said...

Hey Dilip, if your friend Bal Thackarey apologizes for 1993 riots, will you forgive him or will you still continue to beat him ?

If Narendra Modi apologizes for Gujrat, will you forgive him or will you move on ?

Or do you have different standards for different people ?

Dina Mehta said...

Dilip ... i loved your post. Is mature, responsible and restrained. Glad to hear your voice in the blogosphere. Rohan Pinto got his due for his plaigarism. Am glad some bloggers noticed it and called him out on it. Plaigarism is bad. Must be stopped.

But, so is a witch-hunt. My issue is with the accusations of credit card fraud, for which,there is NO evidence. They have hung this guy because they are suspicious. Without a trial.

I too am disturbed by this. A set of bloggers can make or break a man's reputation. Imagine if the guy wishes to apply for a job, and his potential employees google him - what chance does he have? He's in the slammer. His crime - he was stupid or naive enough to copy posts without attributions. Malicious for this act of his I don't think, then thats a matter of opinion.

But being branded as a cheat and fraud based on some naive investigations by a self-proclaimed jury? Mob justice. Thats life imprisonment without a fair trial. He may or may not be guilty of all these charges - but thats not the point.

We know blogging is a very powerful tool, and I have lived with this realization since the Tsunamis struck. But power without restraint, responsibility and maturity can be really really dangerous. Dilip has some good food for thought around this.

First all the venom directed at Arundhati Roy. Now this. I feel we are doing more damage than good in the long run for blogging. Am just thinking of a scenario where the guy you are going after actually thinks of sueing them for libel. Or Arundhati Roy for that matter.

Blogging will lose all credibility and bloggers will be damned. Power can do strange things to people. Then there are those who don't really understand the power of blogs.

Tanuj said...

abhijeet,

am trying to understand where you're coming from. so please try not to get hyper-emotional about this:

1. you mentioned something about dilip targeting specific bloggers. i read dilip's post again, but couldn't find any references to specific blogs.

in fact, he did begin by saying, "First: Rohan Pinto, your copying of posts was wrong."

2. while i am convinced that RP did a wrong and rather silly thing, we should go on ranting about this only if our slates are clean. tell me, did you ever photocopy pages from books in college? or play an mp3 from an unknown source? record songs on a casette? or even buy a "cheap" automobile spare part? did you ever see or hear of any of your relatives or friends doing so? think about it. it's not uncommon, to say the least. but we still don't go around calling people who do so thieves.

maybe it is time we slowed down a bit on the screaming.

tanuj

ps - dilip: did i win anything for my lucid explanation of the late sunrise phenomenon? maybe you could record some joe ely songs for me on a casette tape... hmm, perhaps we should ask the record company first.

Yazad Jal said...

Dilip, maybe I've not been clear.

1. I'd like you to provide links to stuff you find objectionable.

2. Also, it might be better if we restrict our discussion to bloggers who were originally involved in this, not someone who picked up the story second / third hand.

1. is more important than 2. I can continue the discussion only when you provide it.

Thanks!

Abhi said...

Mr DD,
"With great power comes great responsibility". You plagiarized that from Spiderman. Now, YOU need to apologize with bended knees. DD, go to PP (Peter Parker), or you will no longer be able to use the Web.

Cheers!!
Abhi

Anonymous said...

Tanuj, you said: "you mentioned something about dilip targeting specific bloggers. i read dilip's post again, but couldn't find any references to specific blogs."

Really. Then why is the word "frenzy" linked to Amit's blog. Amit's language was entirely reasonable, and there was nothing frenzied about them. This is intellectual dishonesty on Mr D'Souza's part.

You also said: "while i am convinced that RP did a wrong and rather silly thing, we should go on ranting about this only if our slates are clean. tell me, did you ever photocopy pages from books in college? or play an mp3 from an unknown source? etc"

No, I did not. My slate is clean. Are you looking for equivalence here? Don't imply, say it: are you saying that plagiarism is not wrong?

And Mr D'Souza, now that I have exposed your lie, why have you got silent? Who dreamed up the theory of "a criminal gang that uses a blog as its human face"? Can you give a link to that piece? No, you can't. Because no such piece exists. You made it up.

Abhijeet

Dilip D'Souza said...

> why have you got silent?

Because when people start using abuse, I stop responding. This sentence and the previous one excepted.

Dlieepan, I'm glad you raised the issue of credit card fraud. There is enough evidence that Pinto plagiarised, for which he has been slammed as he should have been. There is NO evidence that he indulged in credit card fraud, yet he has been slammed for that. That's what I am objecting to.

Tanuj, you do win, of course. Considering there was only one entry (yours), the competition was pretty tough, but you did win. Congratulations. I shall arrange for a tape or a CD of Joe Ely for you. Better still, buy yourself one, I will reimburse you. Best one to buy, his 1981 album "Mustta Notta Gotta Lotta."

Anonymous said...

Dilip, Abhijit used abuse, but I would most respectfully like to ask the same question that he did: You spoke about bloggers dreaming up "ever more convoluted theories (a criminal gang that uses a blog as its human face?)". Out of sheer respectful curiosity, I'd like to know, "Who wrote this? Do you have the link?"

It would be disrespectful towards your readers if you don't answer this, and you don't have the excuse of abuse.

Also, if you read what's been written, no one ever alleged credit card fraud, but pointed out something that was happening that was very suspicious. I saw it myself, when I clicked over from Amit's blog: 1] I was offered Instapundit.com for sale, which is illegal, because you cannot sell what you do not own; 2] I was asked for credit-card details, which is all the more suspicious. Both are wrong in themselves, and no explanation has yet been offered for either. Amit spoke about credit-card fraud as one possibility; even had he not done so, we would all have come to the same conclusion. What else explains it? Even if it was demo software, a] there was no sign saying it was demo software (In fact, it was advertised as a service) and it is illegal to run demo software without indicating that it is demo, and b] demo APIs of this sort are not built to take credit card details, and that is also illegal in itself. It was suspicious, it needed reporting, it was reported.

As Amit says in a comment to another blog, find me one sentence in there that is not true. Everything he wrote about was verified by many readers, including me.

I ask this, of course, most respectfully.

Puru Dalal

Dilip D'Souza said...

Puru my old chum, don't be so respectful! It doesn't become you.

Anonymous said...

Hello Mr. Dilip,
I have been reading your posts with much interests for quite sometime now. But on this one count, I think you have been caught on the wrong foot. I have read about RP on several sites. Despite Abhijeet's abuse(which by your own admission Puru rephrased in a very respectful manner), the question is still valid. And many readers are still waiting for your answer - something more than
"Puru my old chum, don't be so respectful! It doesn't become you".
I hope you are not trying to hide behind that 1-line curtain. Because if you are, then you have certainly lost one reader and someone who respected you solely based on your writings.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (the anonymous just above me): there is a Postscript on this page. I hate to lose you, old friend, but if you must go, you must go.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Sorry, my mistake: the comment immediately above this was by me. I forgot to sign in when I wrote it.

Anonymous said...

"If Rohan Pinto is guilty of no more than mistakenly posting stuff without attribution, I hope we bloggers will understand just how great the harm was that we've done to him."

Quite what do you mean by "no more than mistakenly posting stuff without attribution"? One, he did attribute them: to himself. Two, that's plagiarism anyway. What is "no more than"?

Will you tomorrow forgive a rapist because he is guilty of "no more than mistakenly having non-consensual sex with someone"? Will you forgive a murderer because he was guilty of "no more than mistakenly striking someone in a moment of anger causing that person's accidental demise"? You're hiding behind euphemisms, making them up as it suits you.

Pinto did something wrong. Pinto suffered the consequences. Justice was done.

Somesh R

Neela said...

somesh, just a clarification - you don't KNOW that the guy was attributing stuff to himself by not attributing it to anyone. there's a world of difference between the two. (what can i say, have just come off reading a paper in which the authors argue that "not happy" is a very different emotion from "sad" - larsen, mcgraw and cacioppo, "can people feel happy and sad at the same time", journal of psychology and social psych, 2001 - read it, its fascinating). so we should be a little careful of what we make of his actions while all agreeing that what he did, regardless of motive, was wrong and should be punished.

and abhijeet, i personally tend to believe that equivalence is good (well, at least a better state than its absence). "he who is without sin should cast the first stone etc etc" (JC, The Bible) this is not to say that we should not judge others, but perhaps when we are doing so, we can stop for a minute to figure out the exact magnitude of the crime and extenuating circumstances. the fact that one believes that one has personally not engaged in a similar offense should not prevent one from imagining "there but for the grace of god go i" (author unknown..).
n!

Anonymous said...

Hi Neela. I'm replying to your comment here.

You bring up an excellent question. Many people who would never copy in an exam or plagiarise in their academic thesis have no qualms about copying copyrighted music to their iPod. Why?

The short answer is because of a herd mentality. They see all their friends doing it, so they do it themselves. The long answer is much too long to put in a comment and out of topic to the current discussion, so I've put it in a blog post here.

Anonymous said...

"somesh, just a clarification - you don't KNOW that the guy was attributing stuff to himself by not attributing it to anyone. there's a world of difference between the two."

Neela, of course he was attributing it to himself. Every post ended with "posted by Rohan Pinto", and had his picture besides it with an explanation of "Why I blog" - which itself was copied! Don't be in denial about this.

"we should be a little careful of what we make of his actions while all agreeing that what he did, regardless of motive, was wrong and should be punished. "

We don't need to be careful. He openly committed intellectual theft on the public domain, thousands of readers saw him do it, and he has admitted to it and apologised for it.

"and abhijeet, i personally tend to believe that equivalence is good (well, at least a better state than its absence). "he who is without sin should cast the first stone etc etc" (JC, The Bible) this is not to say that we should not judge others, but perhaps when we are doing so, we can stop for a minute to figure out the exact magnitude of the crime and extenuating circumstances. the fact that one believes that one has personally not engaged in a similar offense should not prevent one from imagining "there but for the grace of god go i""

Let me reply on Abhijeet's behalf: you can give that argument to justify anything including murder, rape and what have you. "There but for the grace of god"? Passing the buck on to god is silly, I think humans have volition, and must take the responsibility for their own actions.

Dilip, am glad to see your apology on the postscript. Now that both Pinto and you have apologised for your wrongdoings, I suppose justice has been done.

Once again, congratulations to Amit, Shanti and the rest of the responsible bloggers who took such wonderful collective action to expose a thief.

Somesh

Gary said...

Hello,
I do agree with Dilip. Let's not get carried away.I am sure we too have stepped on some toes thro our life.
But at the same time, Rohan surely knew he was stepping out of line with regards to NsSwitch, the supposedly domain hosting site as pointed by Amit.
To create a site to fool people in handing there credit card details is definetly criminal.
I am not sure whether he would not do it again. And that's scary..isn't it Dilip?

Gary - gk007@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Bloggers, I am terribly sorry for my sins. Could we please move on?

Thanks,

Rohan Pinto

Tanuj said...

Somesh,

"Now that both Pinto and you have apologised for your wrongdoings, I suppose justice has been done."

(Apologies to RP for continuing to comment on this post, but) I find your comment rather self-congratulatory. I don’t think Dilip has apologised to you or anyone, except to someone whose email he picked up a few phrases from. If anything, it looks like Amit has (sort of) apologised for "going overboard". Please read his comment and link on Dilip’s next blog on the same issue.

You also replied, on Abhijit’s behalf, to Neela’s comment: "There but for the grace of god"? Passing the buck on to god is silly,... etc."

This is kind of weird. I could be wrong, but I think you missed her point. Here's something that might help (www.freesearch.co.uk/dictionary/):

"There but for the grace of God (go I)." SAYING - said when something bad that has happened to someone else could have happened to you

Evidently, it wasn't a case of "passing the buck to god", but well, there but for the grace of god go I.

t

Anonymous said...

""There but for the grace of God (go I)." SAYING - said when something bad that has happened to someone else could have happened to you" - Tanuj

Tanuj, something bad did not "happen" to Pinto, he brought it upon himself by plagiarising, and by offering to sell people something he did not own. He brought it upon himself. We don't.

So stop defending the bugger. He wasn't wronged. He committed intellectual theft, continuously over a period of 18 months, and he was exposed, and he has apologised. The mechanism that Amit pointed out, where Pinto offered to sell something he did not own, is still suspicious, even if Amit himself has now chosen to soften his language. The rest of us don't depend on Amit or Dilip for our conclusions, we saw the mechanism ourselves, and most of us find no other phrase for it but the one that Amit used originally. Pinto is lucky to escape lightly.

Pinto wanted the matter to rest here, and so did Dilip and Amit, but I felt compelled to reply because you, Tanuj, went on with your ridiculous point. The more you continue to defend him, the more I will expose the hollowness of that defence. If you really care about the guy, let it end here.

Somesh

Anonymous said...

Somesh is one more of the gang who simply wanted blood and went looking for it.

The guy plagiarised. He did not commit any fruad. There are any number of resellers of domain names out there, you should go searching like I did, and they all have selling mechanisms just like this guy's. Once you go look, there is nothing suspicious about it, unless you are one of the gang led by a blogger who claimed he was doing journalism, but was realliy trying to find fame in witch-hunting. I hope he somedayy will understand the magnitude of what he did.

Kalpesh Shah

PS -- How can you give comments without signing up for Blogger, Mr Dsouza please oblige?

Tanuj said...

somesh,

i am not defending anyone – merely pointing out errors in your facts and understanding. But i must apologise:
- for trying to correct your understanding of an english idiom, for you don’t listen, and take everything literally (even dictionary meanings)
- for pointing out that your assertion that Dilip has apologised for his 'wrongdoing' is incorrect. that was a mistake, too - like (to use a hindi idiom) bhains ke aage been bajana.

please note that i am not implying physical presence of horned animals or wind instruments. it is just another saying, you know - an idiom, a muhavara, etc. if it helps, we could continue talking about idiomatic English offline.

finally, if you ‘feel compelled to reply’ and have the last word, please go ahead. i will not reply again.

t

Anonymous said...

Kalpesh said: "There are any number of resellers of domain names out there, you should go searching like I did, and they all have selling mechanisms just like this guy's. Once you go look, there is nothing suspicious about it."

There is NOBODY - I challenge you to find me one - who will offer to sell you instapundit.com or blogspot.com. Nobody.

Offering to sell something you do not own is illegal. Period. And taking credit-card numbers for it is nothing less than suspicious. Period. This is a man with a past, and he committed a scam on usenet as well, as someone called Kumaragaru exposed. (I have Google cache of it.) If you go on defending him, I will go on talking about his wrongdoings. That is your choice.

Somesh

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree with the previous commenter who said this is a case of the blogger going on the witch hunt. I don't know how many of you saw the "Update" Dilip had on his other post on Pinto (It is called "Conjecture is Not evidence") for a few hours on Thursday nigt (US Time). It told about how Varma had quietly changed some words in his post, like "fraud" to "mechanism" I think.

Luckily Dilip had the link to the google cache of the orginal post. It was shocking to read the changes. Then the words changed back to orginal, and Varma put up his "Clarification" post in which he said he went too far, then Dilip took off the update.

B. Ravikumar.

Anonymous said...

I am glad someone else noticed that update on Dillip's post. Thankyou Ravikumar. I read it and could not believe my eyes that a respected journalist like Amit is doing such things like changing words. I was so surprised that I kept screen-shots of both the changed post and the first one. How cheap.

I also have stopped reading Amit's blogs after this. That change is what prooved that he was only trying to get famous with this incident, and didn't care for anything else.

By the way, are you Ravikumar from REC Warangal 1986 batch?

amit varma said...

Ravikumar

I did change the phrase "credit-card fraud" to "credit-card mechanism", and the reason for it was that Rohan had requested all of us to do whatever we could to make our posts sound less harsh, as it might affect his chances of getting employment later when someone did a Google search. Dilip misinterpreted that, but accepted my explanation when I spoke to him after that, and I accepted that I should just have let the words stand as they were, and issued a clarification instead. So I changed the phrase back, and issued the clarification; please read it here. Given that the words were changed back, and Dilip was satisfied that my intent was not what he'd originally thought it to be, he saw fit to remove the update.

As for the "anonymous" who commented after Ravikumar, who said that I "was only trying to get famous with this incident", well, I was only trying to help my fellow bloggers end a case of serial plagiarism, where a fellow had ripped off posts (and comments!) from people for one-and-a-half years, and we succeeded. He apologised and removed the posts. I also noticed other suspicious activity that I should have simply reported and, as I have said here, let others draw their own conclusion from. Instead, I went overboard in interpreting it in my zeal. I accept that, and if you want to hold it against me, go ahead.

Barring that one interpretation, I stand by the rest of what we did - which was: exposing a plagiarist and stopping the theft of intellectual property; and reporting other suspicious activity, such as offering to sell the user domains like instapundit.com and blogspot.com, which he did not own, as this screenshot indicates. If reporting such things is wrong, no crime would ever get reported.

Dilip D'Souza said...

This thread is now closed for comments. Thank you.