At a late dinner with new friends, and the talk turned to the internet, and search engines. In a trice, given that half the assembled company were teachers of one sort or another, we were on plagiarism, and how the internet both makes it easier to do and easier to detect. I raised the Laura K. Krishna episode.1

Having heard the basic facts of the matter, one of our number said "Well, I'm not sure plagiarism is so bad. It depends on the circumstances." There was a collective intake of breath and a couple of vain attempts to pursue the matter. But no further explanation.

In a follow-up message, one of the diners sent me an email that included this:

One of my favorite lines from a student paper, about Donne's 'The Bait': 'At first this poem seems hard to understand, however after careful analization we can say that it is about fishing.' No plagiarism there!

Fun stuff. But of course, I didn't know the poem. I looked it up. "Ah, that one!" And where did I look it up?

  1. Removed the link because the entire site has died a death. But I did find Busted for a Bogus Paper which gives an oversight of the whole sorry mess. And I sent that to the Wayback Machine. 

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