Plagiarism And The High Calling Of Unknown Bloggers…

plagiarism by another blogger

I remember a couple months ago I happened on a fellow blogger’s site through a twisted path of gravatars and comment sections. The first thing I noticed there was a curious post eerily similar to one I had published the day before. Upon further investigation I found it was almost exactly what I had published the day before.

The title was changed. A few sentences were changed. But whole sections were obviously copied and pasted and left unchanged from my original piece. I looked for my name as a reference/footnote/shoutout and found it nowhere. No linkage love at all.

Roughly 800 words of unique thought. Misattributed.

Imitation (plagiarism?) is the highest form of flattery…So I was flattered, and I also wondered (here’s where my shameless pride comes in):

If the original blogger/author’s name was CS Lewis or Donald Miller would a reference be shared then?

I see and share my fair share of quotes from theological and literary giants. Many quotes I share I first found through another’s Twitter, Facebook, or blog. Very few quotes do I actually find through personally reading the native work. So I rely largely, and maybe disingenuously, on the careful reading of others.

I’ll continue sharing those quotes too (and so should you). Because there is some redemptive value in using social media as a pithy sounding board.


For example: Some may get the misguided impression that I’m a bibliophile of books by reformed dead guys. Not at all. For the most part, I don’t like to read Puritan literature, I like to have read Puritan literature. Happening upon a penetrating internet exhortation by Spurgeon is much easier than sloshing through a run-on exposition of Hebrews by John Owen.

Because of our natural-born predisposition to performance and praise of man, we wear other’s quotes like our own spiritual badge of honor.

And when the quote is from an unknown dude with a minimal platform, giving credit is less attractive to us. If we’re not gonna score points with our tribe then what’s the point? Amirite?!

So I’m personally committed to getting better at this. There are some flat-out brilliant folk in the little blogging circle I run in who can write and wax philosophically like the second coming of Francis Schaeffer. Regular warrior-poets like

JS Park

Danny Anderson

TE Hanna

Linden Wolfe

and many more.

So share and give some love to the ordinary guys and gals who are doing the extraordinary work  of the Kingdom with no adulating masses to prop up their work. And even if your audience is One with zero traffic on the stat page, you still have a unique and gifted voice the world needs. Keep using it Beloved til it’s all used up for His glory.

Who Are The Little Known Writers/Bloggers You Would Like To Share?

Peace and grace,

Bryan Daniels

Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

27 thoughts on “Plagiarism And The High Calling Of Unknown Bloggers…”

  1. Bryan,

    Another great post. I personally appreciated the final exhortation to blog on for the glory of God, whether one or no one reads your words. Your comments brought to mind these verses from Colossians 3:23-24:

    And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

    Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for you serve the Lord Christ.

    Here is the blog address for a new blogger, Michele Caldwell, a dear friend whose walk of faith impacted my life in a profound way. I love the purity of her love for the Lord and the simplicity of her style.

    Thanks again, Bryan, for the exhortation.

  2. A great post, and thank you for the shout-out!
    In seminary they told me that the two biggest temptations of pastors (besides lust and greed) were plagiarism and imitation. I’m subconsciously guilty of the second one — sometimes I preach like the last podcast I just listened to, or I’ll accidentally use some illustration they used with a few changed words. I’ve been better at it, but we are all so spongy.

    I’m sorry you got ripped though. I’ve been plagiarized at least half a dozen times that I know of, and usually I let it go. There are times I will message a Tumblr blog and say, “Thanks for quoting me, appreciate it” just so they know that I know. But in this world of quickly traveling information, it is bound to happen. In the end, I suppose it’s flattering.

    1. Thanks JS! I know I’ve ripped off some high profile guys before, especially when I function as a bible study leader. I can parrot a Piper sermon or MacArthur commentary with the best of them…

      I didn’t leave a note at that particular blog, but I did “like” it…. ; )

  3. Great post! This happens a lot in the photography world as well. There is the out right stealing of images and posting them as your own (it happens!) and then there is the setting up the same shot as someone, almost to the “t”. Inspiration (in writing or art) is one thing but stealing ideas is quite another. Then again, Steve Jobs stole a lot of ideas from others then sued the pants off of other companies that copied him!

  4. I really don’t know what I would do if I stumbled across another blog that was a copy of my own original work. I think you handled it very well.

    1. Self hosting now, no like button available! I did change my gravatar to reflect my actual face ; ) I’ve been blogging, you may need to confirm you’re still following by confirming your email subscription (unfortunately I think I lost some Wpress followers in the transition….

  5. Excellent blog! I love your last few lines of encouragement to little-known bloggers to keep up the good work because it’s all for God’s glory! Such a great reminder, and as one of those little-known bloggers, a much needed reminder for me personally!

  6. Hidden Aspect?
    I heard a preacher say once, in a sermon, that Christ came as a worm or made himself to be; and he went saying that the word for the translate version of the word was not just any worm, but a maggot …
    … I haven’t found the scripture at the moment, and I dont remember the Television Network or program of the Church message to add link either.
    Yet blogs mostly offer a way to comment, and if the one you find your post on there, I would say of that: Critique there blog, and if you approve of your retterated version, compliment with link; or not.

    I see alot of the posts on this blog , before my own; I simply dont post as often and the blog feeds to subscribers overwhelm at times …
    Your blog I have found critique able; my own not; either, gather info and neither plegeriased.

    Also I’l add a link of my own

  7. Welcom Bryan, and Thank you!
    I should probibly add of your WordPress a better compliment by description; my comment of “critique” combigned with the word “overwhelmed”, is just simply an “overwhelming by the ratio of other’s posting more posts than my own, and NOT by DEPTH OF LOGIC, to “critique’cle”; IT’S COOL, ALL GOOD!
    Specifically of Logic, Proverbs 3:5-6

    5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
    6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

  8. I was plagiarised quite often on another site, where members posed discussion questions in blogs. (members were paid for posting discussions and for all comments made and received) Whole blogs were quite often just copied and pasted. We were asked to report such instances and the offenders were banned.

    Personally I don’t mind if my work is copied. My blogs are messages freely received from the Lord and the more they get out, the better.

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