Does Ars Technica rip every story without credit?

July 17, 2007

I’ve always liked Ars, but lately I’m starting to wonder. I’ve heard people allege previously that all Ars does is rip stories off, particularly from MSM sources, and never credits. But here’s an example that is so blatant, its sickening:

Long Zheng at istartedsomething: Microsoft files patent for possible taskbar replacement (July 15 Australian EST)

Ars Technica: Microsoft patent gives a peek at the future beyond the taskbar (July 16 USCT…and no credit for the story).

Worse still the Ars post just hit Techmeme.

The whole thing sits somewhere between sad and pathetic. You very rarely EVER see a credit for a story in an Ars post (if at all), and yet anyone writing for any publication knows that when you run a story, if you didn’t get it from the source, you credit. Sometimes of course you get grief for running a story from another site; I have at TechCrunch before, but certainly if it’s not an original story and you’ve picked up the crux from another site you always do the right thing and credit, be it in the post itself or at the end of the post, and 99.9% of sites respect and follow that rule.

Personally I think enough is enough in terms of Ars Technica: if they don’t want to play by fair rules, then people should stop reading them, which is a shame, it’s a good read, but you’ve got to draw the line somewhere.

7 responses to Does Ars Technica rip every story without credit?

  1. Hi Duncan, thanks for writing about this issue. Whilst this particular example is not as bad as the others, there has been at least 2 other counts of miscredited or uncredited reporting from Ars Technica with content that feels extremely similar to mine.

    In this example however, somewhere in the middle of the page lies my name and URL, but without a link. Better some than none, but it’s also pretty much useless since I can’t see anyone copying and pasting that text.

  2. There is a link back to istartedsomething now. Amazing what the cold gaze of publicity will do for peoples linking ability. I’ve just unsubscribed from ars technica. I can do without that sort of thing.

  3. Good spot, although they’ve changed it now and added attribution and a link to LZ’s blog; I just blogged about it for work and made sure there’s a link there 🙂

  4. Thanks for pointing this out Duncan. This is good for me know.

  5. Another very questionable article about the same patent. I agree this is public info, but it all appears to come out at the same time.

  6. Um, I just looked at the two articles and unless I’m missing something I’m failing to see the problem. The Ars article is simply about the same topic as the Zheng article and both topics use diagrams from the publicly available patent. Even if the Ars article did not cite Zheng’s name at all it still wouldn’t be a rip-off since the writing is clearly different; the former is clearly not a copy of the latter.

    I think you guys need to grab your dictionaries and look up the word “plagiarism” because this, folks, is not it.

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