A very funny thing about most institutions who teach testing; most of them take advantage of the fact that there are not much definitions for testing and for the 1st few weeks, their buzz word to you is “Unlearn Everything” you know about testing; their PPTs, post-its, talks mostly emphasize on “Unlearn”, “Unlearn”, “Unlearn”; After the 1st few weeks, they would then teach you some concepts and ask you to “learn” everything about testing; during this time of the course, the key word in the post-its, PPTs, talks, group discussions, Q&A with their top faculty would be “learn”, “learn”, “learn”!! While you reach the end of the course, they would start telling you to “Re-learn”; in the good-bye meetings, last classes, party after final tests, the key word would be “Re-learn”, “Re-learn”, “Re-learn”. The funniest thing happens after the course; in most cases, they recruit the most confused student from this set of people as the faculty for the next batch… Ha ha! I am not sure if you found it funny, but in keeping in line with this month’s tradition, this is another piece of plagiarized content for which you cannot find the origin.

Last time I wrote about plagiarism, the most common places that you can find plagiarism and promised to write about killing plagiarism this time. Well, some rambles on killing plagiarism.

A few habits that can be used to kill plagiarism:-

1) Get Inspired

Read the great stuff that you like; allow yourself to get inspired. Pour out your thoughts on paper and read it loud. Most likely, it would be some awesome content that you would have written. Though there’s a very thin line between getting inspired and plagiarizing, push yourself to keep getting inspired.

2) Don’t fall prey to your image and prepare to fail

More often than not, you might end up becoming a prey to your image; an example is the case of the fake tester (myself), who feels that he’s the expert on fake testing and feels every piece he writes should definitely expose something about fake testing. Very bad idea. This need for success can cause you to plagiarize and don’t fall prey to your own image.

3) Trust yourself and give due credit to the creator in your writings

Have enormous trust in your ability; most often, your content would be much better than plagiarized content. If you don’t trust yourself, how can you trust the reader to trust you? Most people who plagiarize do not trust themselves, to begin with. And if you have to copy, please give credits to them near the end. That would be the right thing to do you if you really think someone else’s content needs to be present in your writings.

4) Refuse to plagiarize

Even when you have hard deadline and dates, refuse to plagiarize; Work with your management to ensure that you refuse to copy and paste content in business proposals, whitepapers, etc.; Resign if your boss expects you to plagiarize content from some place. Reach out to them to convince them that you have enough knowledge to come up with original content; In most cases, the need to plagiarize comes from management and you need to set right expectations with them. Over a time period, if you refuse outright to plagiarize, and challenge your management that you would come up with new content for every new business proposal, every new presentation for every new client, plagiarism would slowly go out of your blood.

5) Create your own identity in blogosphere and expose plagiarizers

It is very important to have your blog in blogosphere; it helps you build credibility with your audience. And from there onwards, every time you find plagiarized content, you can publicize it in your blog so that the victim and the plagiarizer are fully aware of what’s happening and hope he will then do the right thing.

6) Your average plagiarism rate per week

Have you ever calculated your average plagiarism rate per week? Every time you plagiarize in your life (in a conversation with friends, in office meetings, in family, in your Facebook status, etc. etc.); drop a small stone in a small jar (like that old fairy tale). Find out the number of stones that you drop on a weekly basis and work on bringing down the plagiarism count.

7) Plagiarism = Murder

Consider doing plagiarism, a crime equivalent to an extreme crime like murder; Most of us don’t consider plagiarism an extremist crime. Many other people think that they can get away with plagiarism, when the reader has no way to identify the source. If you consider plagiarism an equivalent of such a crime, ask yourselves if you would do it anymore?

8) Identify honest efforts which are incorrectly regarded as “Plagiarism”

Every idea and word in this world has been said already; it’s highly likely that 2 different minds in 2 different parts of the world might have the same thoughts. Those may not be plagiarism, but more like a “duplicate” effort. Try to understand if it is an original piece of work or if it’s blatant plagiarism before you pile on the criticism.

Before I end, let me inform you that most of the above may not sound practical; and very likely, you cannot kill plagiarism in the short-term. This is only my attempt at pointing out that this habit exists from the fresher to the CEO in many companies. This habit gives you high rewards with very little effort, is very infectious and the only way to kill it is to stop doing it yourself. Do I know of people who have never plagiarized? No, I don’t; however, I know of many people who are making a very honest effort at killing it and my personal idol in that space is the cartoonist “R.K.Laxman”. I remember reading an interview of his where he referred to a time in his career when he copied a cartoon, felt ashamed when he saw it published and made a vow to stop it ever after. I don’t know if that story I read is historically accurate, but if you have a bit of integrity left in you, you would feel ashamed of yourself when your plagiarism is published; and the best starting point to kill plagiarism is to stop yourself from doing it.


Fake Software TesterA Fake Tester's DiaryFake Tester,Fake Tester's DiaryA very funny thing about most institutions who teach testing; most of them take advantage of the fact that there are not much definitions for testing and for the 1st few weeks, their buzz word to you is 'Unlearn Everything' you know about testing; their PPTs, post-its, talks mostly...