April 2017

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Important ETA: Over the past few days, I have been in correspondence with other Tolkien archive admins and the abuse team on AO3. It seems that my initial fears that this incident was "bigger than us" were well-founded. This person has been found on several Tolkien archives (although they don't seem to have posted as widely anyplace but the SWG) and may be linked with a chronic plagiarist on AO3 and ff.net. That makes vigilance more important than ever for all of us. Readers, if you see a story on an archive that looks familiar but isn't by the author you recall writing it, please say something to an admin. It is worth pointing out that we were able to catch and quash this person on the SWG as quickly as we did because we had several members who saw something that didn't look right and reported it. Finally, many, many thanks to everyone who has spread the word. I know it's been a lot of you. (This post was in the LJ Top 25 for a while!) /ETA

As some of you already know, we recently had a major incident of plagiarized work being posted to the Silmarillion Writers' Guild. Given what my comoderators and I discovered during our investigation, I have reason to believe that this is not an isolated incident on our site alone, nor is this person confining their activities to the Tolkien fandom. I have contacted the authors whose work was stolen, and my comods and I have also reached out to the admins of other Tolkien archives (MPTT, Faerie, SoA, OSA, and NaN*) and the abuse team on AO3 to share our findings.

*I couldn't find a contact address for LOTRfanfiction.com, if there is even an active admin on that site anymore. If anyone has one, I'll forward my findings there as well. ETA that Keith has been brought into the loop ...

I am sharing this information publicly here with the intention that it be shared with other admins and authors. Please feel free to link, share, and repost any of the information here. You don't have to ask. I don't care if you credit me (although doing so is probably practical so that anyone with questions about our findings can contact me directly). The important thing in my mind is making sure that this person is shut down before they can do more harm and empowering both admins and authors to do so. If your actions are done with that goal in mind, trust I am going to be cool with it.

A brief summary of what is going on:
  • Multiple accounts were used on the SWG to post plagiarized stories. These stories were stolen from multiple authors.

  • The person or persons behind this was/were responsive to feedback from our moderation team concerning what was allowable on our archive and actually exchanged emails with me on a couple of occasions. They were clearly not part of the Silmarillion fandom (I'm fairly certain they don't even know what The Silmarillion is) and may not be familiar with fandom and fanfic at all. But they were good enough at impersonation that it took us two weeks to catch on to them.

  • They appear to be stealing stories mostly from AO3 and Fanfiction.net. However, there is evidence that they are stealing from other sites as well, and we know for a fact that they have started their shenanigans on OSA. (We've contacted the OSA admin.)

  • They appear to be stealing primarily stories that are recently posted or updated. Again, however, this is not 100% the case.

  • They were insistent of their innocence, even after we found overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I don't know the motivation behind that; it doesn't appear that they were invested particularly in the works they had posted but seem to have selected them somewhat at random.



A version of this post has also been posted to the Stop Plagiarism community on LJ and is in the queue to be reviewed by a moderator.

ETA ... it is now also posted on Tumblr.

What Happened )

Screencaps and Links )

Summary of Usernames, Emails, and IPs )

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