Follow Up to Cooks Source and World Fantasy

Some post-mortem thoughts on two big things in this last week:

* I suspect everyone involved was mildly surprised at how quickly and expansively the Cooks Source thing blew up; aside from the Internets explodinating about it, the thing got picked up by the Washington Post, the LA Times, Gizmodo, Forbes, and so on. Which asks the question of why this particular story got blew up while other tales of intellectual property theft, equally egregious, don’t get a peep.

The theory I’m going with is the theory lots of folks have already offered in yesterday’s comment thread: What blew up this story to monumental proportions was not the actual act of appropriation, it was Cooks Source editor Judith Griggs’ attitude about it. The fact Griggs would tell a writer that she should be happy that the magazine didn’t put someone else’s name on the article it stole from her — as just one example — is so genuinely morally appalling that in a twisted sort of way you almost have to admire the brazenness of it.

What it meant was here was a narrative that had a clear-cut, unambiguous villain — and also a clear-cut, unambiguous victim, since not only was writer Monica Gaudio clearly wronged, she had also acted virtuously when asking for the wrong to be corrected, asking only for a printed apology and a donation rather than payment for herself. And even that request was waved aside.

So: Clear wrong, clear bad actor, clear virtuous victim. Add to that the editor-writer power dynamic, a stereotypical print media cluelessness of online media and mores, and the fact that this wasn’t just some schmoe cutting and pasting onto a Web page but an actual business making money off the uncompensated work of others, and it’s off to the races we go. There was nothing about this story that wasn’t seemingly designed to make the Internets go boom, and to make the story easily transferable to more traditional media outlets.

Will this have any effect outside of amusing us for a day and making Ms. Griggs learn that yes, indeed, the entire Internet can be dropped on one’s head? In this particular case, the answer does seem to be yes, since folks online have compiled a list of Cooks Source articles which are also wholly or partially taken from other sources, from sources like NPR and Disney and other corporate sorts.

Unlike Ms. Gaudio, these folks have entire legal departments to follow up on stuff like this, so if Cooks Source didn’t actually license reprints rights for those stories — and if Ms. Griggs genuinely believed that what was on the Web was free for the taking, then why would it — then I suspect the magazine is pretty much done. This is especially the case as folks online went out of their way to inform Cooks Source advertisers about the incident(s), and at least some of them have already pulled their advertising. Potential serious legal issues plus radical change of business plan (now they’ll have to pay for things!) plus angry advertisers plus what appears to be a one-woman magazine shop equals so long, Cooks Source.

Mind you, that is if Ms. Griggs has any sense at all, and at this point there’s not a huge amount of evidence of that. Her most obvious actions to date are not answering her phone and changing the actual Cooks Source Web site to no longer feature the magazine’s contact information, unaware, apparently, that such information is already all over the Internet. Chalk that up to one more thing she doesn’t know about the online world, I suppose. I wonder if she knows what happens when one searches for her name on Google.

* On a rather lighter note, it’s been a week since I attended my very first World Fantasy Convention. Folks had told me before I should go, but I demurred, saying that I wanted to write some fantasy before I went to a fantasy convention. Their response was to look at me as if I was nuts, but hey, I never said I made sense all the time. This year, not only had I written fantasy, but also SFWA had decided to have its annual business meeting at WFC and so I as president needed to be there for that. And, it was in Columbus, so I could drive there! Off I went.

And had a wonderful time, honestly. The convention is attended by quite a lot of writers, editors and agents, so I saw a bunch of friends in those fields, and as I didn’t participate in programming outside of SFWA events, I spent a lot of time hanging out in the convention bar and catching up with folks. While I was doing that I was also haranguing the SFWA members among them to attend the business meeting, so there was a practical aspect to being in the bar, harumph, harumph. But seriously, who am I kidding, I was there to hang about.

As for the SFWA stuff, quite obviously I won’t go into specifics of private meetings, but in a general sense I’m very happy to say that the business meeting was both well attended and over with in an hour, and everyone seemed to walk away from it both happy and informed about what the organization and its board were doing. I as president am blessed with a SFWA board of directors that is impressively smart, engaged and on top of the organization’s business, so I was glad our members got to see them in action, doing their thing.

So, in all, I now understand why people kept telling me I had to go World Fantasy. It was a blast, and I do intend to go there again. Next year it’s in San Diego, which certainly helps with the decision-making.

76 Comments on “Follow Up to Cooks Source and World Fantasy”

  1. Initially I felt a little sorry for Ms. Griggs. Then I repositioned my POV, which is to say, if you view her as a struggling writer/editor/publisher, you might have some sympathy for her. If you view her as a “thief,” which is apparently exactly what she is, then my sympathy evaporated rather quickly.

  2. Well, I lived in San Diego a bit some time ago, and I love the city. And even if I’m not there for World Fantasy, I’ll be there in July because I’m teaching at Clarion.

  3. Martha Stewart will cut a bitch., but then they stole from the Mouse. You don’t fuck with The Mouse.

  4. The whole “my friend” stuff is classic urban myth.

    And have you ever met a poor food blogger who requested the payment go not to her but to the Columbia Journalism Review?


  5. Ann @#4 – It’s unlikely to be a hoax. There are multiple issues of ‘Cooks Source’ online, going back over a period of years – Ms. Griggs was happy to post entire issues on the Cooks Source Facebook page. People have been going through them with a fine-toothed comb, and there appear to be copyright “lifts” in most of them. The only reason Ms. Griggs was getting away with it is probably because she was flying below the radar. She was just unlucky enough to send a horribly condescending email to somebody who felt strongly enough to post it and complain about it, and when that complaint floated up through through the blogosphere to the attention of John and Neil Gaiman and then the Internet at large, the jig was up.

  6. Oh and Ann? While I don’t know the blogger in question, I know people who DO know her as we’re in the same historical study organization. She’s totally legit.

  7. AnnB:

    “The whole ‘my friend’ stuff is classic urban myth.”

    I’m not at all sure what you’re talking about. The writer here isn’t some unidentified “friend” — we know her name and we know her circumstance. The story was definitely printed, definitely matches the writers’ work, and the magazine in question has been around for some time. Likewise, there’s evidence the magazine lifted from other writers as well, establishing a pattern of behavior.

    I picked up the story from Nick Mamatas, who knows the writer personally. I, as it happens, know Nick personally. Nick’s not above cutting people down to size if he feels they need cutting, but there’s nothing in what I know of him to suggest he’s going to help perpetrate a hoax just for the lulz.

    If what you’re going on for “hoax” is someone asking for a donation rather than a payment, this is me rolling my eyes at you.

  8. A question came up in yesterday’s comment thread about why the net’s denizens would demand Ms. Griggs’ head on a pike for infringing a few copyrights, while the same net openly encourages violating music and film copyrights with file sharing. I’m not convinced it’s the same people, but I’m too lazy to do the survey and find out.

    One thing that’s common between the two “villains” (Griggs and RIAA/MPAA) is attitude. As one commenter pointed out yesterday, this wouldn’t be nearly the story it’s become if Griggs had accepted the accusation and apologized, or even just kept her mouth shut. But her “what are you going to do about it?” attitude is what drew the Internet’s ire.

    The MPAA and RIAA, while having the legal right to defend their copyrights, have taken some pretty drastic measures to do so: suing alleged violators for what seemed to be unreasonably large damages, and even suing people just because their names were on an ISP account involved in suspicious file transfers.

    The Internet grew out of a bunch of people working cooperatively, and that attitude lives on even among people who weren’t there at the start. When someone shows up and puts on a display of selfishness and greed, whether it’s legally justified or not, the net pushes back.

    Seems to me, anyway.

  9. Minor copy edit quibble for your article (and I’m not done reading yet, so this is not editorial in anyway): Shouldn’t “Mind you, that is is Ms. Griggs has any sense at all,” the second ‘is’ be an ‘if’?

    Happy Friday! :)


  10. I was unaware until this morning that the (alleged) perp was local to me. The bru-ha-ha mad the front page(!) of the local daily fishwrap.

    Not a bad article, except that the author of the article started off by — for some reason — clumsily repeating the “Al Gore claimed he invented the internet” bullshit.

    (Extended digression for the folks people out there still unaware of the actual facts. Al Gore never claimed that. What he actually said was:

    During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.

    Which, though a bit awkward phrased and self-serving — but perfectly par for the course for a politician answering a question during a live interview — is not off-base. At least some of the folks who did “invent” the internet (including Vint Cerf) have publicly praised Gore for his efforts.)

  11. Ann @#4 – I DO know the person in question personally, Monica lived here in Pittsburgh for several years before moving away for a job. She also visits several times a year and I will be seeing her most likely early next month. There is no way I can believe that she would deliberately lie about receiving that email, which is really the only sticking point you can argue about. The magazine clearly has been stealing from various sources for years, and there’s no way she would be involved in that sort of thing.

    Sometimes the perfect confluence of events happens, just like that. You never know what’s going to set it off. Just because it’s perfect doesn’t mean it’s a hoax.

  12. AnnB,

    This story doesn’t have the classic “my cousin told me about something that happened to a friend of hers” structure of an urban legend–the actual victim was front-and-center in publicizing it.

    And at the moment there seems to be a LOT of corroborating evidence that this editor, and this magazine, have done this before, often.

    While it is not utterly utterly inconceivable that a large number of people all decided to collaborate on making up a giant hoax, it seems far more likely that the real story is pretty much as it has been presented.

  13. I’m pretty sure the current “let’s find a way to jump on a current trend and piss off the Internet for attention” slot is being held by Laura Miller for her NaNo piece, so perhaps we should allow that to cool down before moving on to “OMG HOAX@”?

    I mean, skepticism is a healthy thing, but thirty seconds of attention (for example, to Scalzi’s post starting this thread) would make it abundantly clear that this not a case of somebody starting a rumor on Facebook.

  14. The combination of her attitude on the first email sent to the original author, and her backhanded smug non-apology yesterday on Facebook really seems indicative that she no intention of apologizing anytime soon. I know Paula Dean is talking with her legal team about Cooks Source taking her pieces without permission, so there will definitely be more to come!

  15. The Cooks Source Facebook page is still getting flamed. Blowtorched would be more accurate. Ms. Griggs last post didn’t help matters:

    Hi Folks!

    Well, here I am with egg on my face! I did apologise to Monica via email, but aparently it wasnt enough for her. To all of you, thank you for your interest in Cooks Source and Again, to Monica, I am sorry — my bad!
    You did find a way to get your “pound of flesh…” we used to have 110 “friends,” we now have 1,870… wow!

    Best to all, Judith

    She’s a sweetie, isn’t she? She “apologised” and said “my bad!” and everything. And now she has all those new friends that are saying positively delightful things about her on her Facebook page. It’s really entertaining to read, if you have the chance.

  16. It’s tempting to post a couple of links to the “How to use social media like Facebook to dig up dirt on the other side” articles that have been popping up all over the legal media lately….nah. She’ll find out the hard way soon enough.

  17. #24 by Chris B:

    Wow. That’s just … wow.

    I predict a future successful career for Ms. Griggs, either in the PR department of a large multinational corporation, or as the press secretary for a politician. She’d fit right in.

  18. Best comment I saw yesterday on the Cooks Source Saga:

    “All your bouliabase are belong to us.”

  19. There doesn’t seem to be much doubt about the legitimacy of this story. That said, how do we ensure that the Wrath of the Internet doesn’t land on some innocent person’s head in the future, ruining their reputation and livelihood? If the answer is “the wisdom of crowds” or something equally vague or hopeful, I’m not encouraged. And relying on trustworthy sources isn’t proof against disaster, either: even the best of folks get gulled once in a while (look at the number of people who fell for the fake Twitter account yesterday).

    And, specific to this case, what about advertisers? Suppose I’m running some little bakery and I’ve advertised in Cooks Source, and suddenly I’m inundated with requests/demands/threats urging me to drop all future ads? If I’m not particularly savvy about the Internet, I might have a hard time quickly determining whether the charges are legit. What do I do in the interim? I suppose one strategy would be to announce that I’m temporarily suspending advertising, pending a review of the charges being made. But would that be enough to appease the folks who are out for blood?

    In a week or two, when everyone’s calmed down, it would be interesting to do a post-mortem of this particular debacle, to see if there’s anything we can learn as a group about how to respond to such situations in the future. Because, for sure, this won’t be the last time.

  20. To chair any Business Meeting in such a way that it lasts only an hour is an Achievement that deserves a kudos. To do this with the SFWA Business Meeting…. Young man, I doff my hat to you.

  21. I agree with Bob on #28. This kind of mob justice can get out of hand. I saw a post from someone who is in the process of dropping ads from Cooks Source asking people to stop contacting their bakery.

  22. Well, I lived in San Diego a bit some time ago, and I love the city. And even if I’m not there for World Fantasy, I’ll be there in July because I’m teaching at Clarion.

    And because you’re going to Comic-Con, right? RIGHT?


  23. To add to John’s list of distinguishing characteristics that made this one take off like a meth addict with a nitro-burning El Camino, I think the fact that the victim was an author helped. A lot. I imagine a lot of the people who wrote about this story find it entirely too easy to empathize, and there’s that old cliche about picking fights with folks with barrels of ink.

    @28 – that’s the thing about mob justice. It is by definition out of control. That’s why they’re scary. The way you control a mob is to make sure it doesn’t become one.

  24. I’m glad you enjoyed the convention, I would kill to go…. maybe next year. I’m also operating on two hours sleep so forgive my ramblings.
    I thought it funny you harrumphed though, does this mean your going to run for governor or did you just have a Hedley Lamar moment (which I think everyone should have). At any rate, I can see you looking into the computer and going “It’s good to be The King”.
    Have a Nice Friday, you and the family!

  25. And then of course there is the Wikipedia article “Cooks Source plagiarism controversy” which gets redirected from a search for Judith Griggs:

    Cooks Source (apparently) created a new Facebook page, because the other one was “hacked”. There’s this priceless exchange:
    Cooks Source Mag
    Please do not flood this wall. The previous regime has been removed
    4 hours ago · Share
    Chris Cox What exactly do you mean by that?
    4 hours ago ·
    Luke J. B. Corbet Clarification please?
    4 hours ago ·
    Cooks Source Mag We’re looking to change our name
    4 hours ago ·

    Um, what?

    Dr. Phil

  26. Dear Bob #28. There are things called libel and slander laws that protect innocent people from…libel and slander. I don’t think “we” need to reinvent them. Do you?

  27. Given the internet’s ability to research things so quickly, it seems doubtful that with the amount of attention this has garnered so fast that no one would have quashed it as a hoax if there was plausible evidence against it being real. Monica (who coincidentally is a friend of mine who I’ve truly met in person numerous times), really doesn’t have time to make up stuff to make her life more complicated or busy :)

    I’m just proud of the internet today.

  28. Catherine@36: If I were libeled by a mob, whom exactly would I sue? And wouldn’t I have to prove malicious intent? Suppose there weren’t any; how do I get my reputation back? Not to mention that libel laws do nothing to address the damage to someone who gets caught in the drive-by, like the advertisers in this case.

    I don’t see laws as a substitute for being thoughtful about how we act, either individually or as a group.

    (And for those who missed my first post, and might think I must be defending Ms. Griggs: no, I’m not.)

  29. #38 You sue the people who published libelous statements about you and ask for damages that will make you whole again based on your harm, including a ruined reputation. It’s pretty basic. Nothing about new media makes this different, just faster.

    (PS I’m a journalist.)

  30. I remember when someone posted your “God’s Beer” humor piece on Homebrew Digest. At least that guy wasn’t an editor, and other folks pointed out his trangression. I just searched for some key words from that piece and found a bunch of unattributed postings. Did the same for my HMO piece, and found lots of hits without my name. Obviosuly, not the same as the Cooks Source thing, but definitely a fact of life on the web. (I’ve seen some of my short stories copied on web sites, complete with the “do not copy” message. Sigh.)

  31. I know Monica Gaudio personally, though not well, and I know John Scalzi personally, though not well. So there are several chains of personal knowledge attesting to the truth of the story, at least.

    I also know that Monica had no expectation of anything like this, and was rather flabbergasted. She complained in her LJ and to some friends on an email list I belong to, and expected that to be the end of it.

    It was rather entertaining to watch the whole thing develop from scratch, but I do worry a bit about that sort of leverage applied to someone less guilty.

  32. Catherine@38: To win a libel case, I have to prove that the person(s) I’m suing (a) made the statements with malicious intent and (b) did so with the full knowledge that the statements were false. That pretty much rules out suing the persons who reposted or repeated the offending statements, as many or most of them no doubt thought the statements were true, and good luck proving otherwise. So I guess I have to sue the person who initially made the statements, who may have no assets to speak of other than the force multiplier of the Internet. And I still have to prove (a) and (b) Besides which, going to court is all after the fact. I’m less interested in testifying against a mugger, and more interested in making sure I’m not mugged in the first place.

    But this has taken us far from my original point. I wasn’t complaining about libel laws, or saying that we have to change them, but instead suggesting that it would be useful to learn something from what’s happened in this particular case. I’m not terribly concerned about Ms. Griggs; her egregious behavior is the cause of her problems. But seeing the kind of firepower that’s been brought to bear in this case makes me think that it wouldn’t take much to misdirect such outrage in the future. That concerns me, and I don’t see libel laws as an adequate remedy.

  33. Catherine@38: To win a libel case, I have to prove that the person(s) I’m suing (a) made the statements with malicious intent and (b) did so with the full knowledge that the statements were false.

    That’s only the case when it comes to public individuals, not private individuals.

  34. A band of level 10 characters start their days adventures by stumbling upon a common orc. Easy pickings. The gm just threw it in on a whim. The mage thought it funny to cast the biggest fireball spell possible and then rolls beholder eyes, three 1’s. The fireball takes out the entire party. Everyone dies.

  35. Regarding libel and slander;
    None of that will change the fact that any google search on Judith Griggs is going to turn up this event for a long time. Even winning a court case (bwahaha!) wouldn’t resurrect her reputation now.

    Apparently there’s a Judith Griggs in .au. I bet her life has been interesting over the last 36 hours:
    http://wwwgrandprix [dot] com/gpe/cref-grijud.html

  36. One of the things that might have helped this mess get into the “old media” is that Cooks Source was ripping off “big name” old-media outfits like Martha Stewart and Disney. To the old media, these are far more “real” than “some random person on the Internet”.

  37. Lightening @49

    This has made the Washington Post, the Guardian, NPR, the Consumerist, Time, NY Times, L.A. Times, the Wall Street Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, San Francisco Chronicle, Forbes, and even the Sydney Morning Herald. Are those not big hitters in ‘old media?’

    Or do you mean it’s only hit their e-editions and editorials?

    Links are here: Mainstream news about Cooks Source plagarism

    Or did I miss a humor tag? =)

  38. allochthon @50 That may be a parsing error on your part? I don’t see Lightening saying that the old media failed to pick up the story. (S)he posted a potential *reasoning* for it.

  39. Bryan @51
    Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve mis-parsed something.

    I am honestly reading #49 as “old media didn’t pick up the story. This is a potential reason why.”

    It’s really “Big media did pick up the story. If they hadn’t, this would be the reason.” ?
    I guess I just don’t see the point of such a post, so why make it? <– That's the reason I'm having a tough time reading it like that, not that Lightning couldn't or shouldn't have done it.

    p.s. Lightning, sorry for mis-typing your username in #50

  40. Mythago, #22: What did Laura miller do? Details, please.

    Dr. Phil, #35: You get the same page on Wikipedia if you type “cooks source magazine” in the Search box.

  41. I doubt we will see a real apology from Ms. Griggs any time soon, because she comes off as someone who does not know what “apology” means. She is sorry that she’s been found out. She is sorry that her magazine is gone. She is sorry that her webpage got “hacked”. She is sorry that so many people think she’s a bad person. In short, she’s sorry about herself, and that’s the only kind of “sorry” she knows.

  42. Another reason this incident was such a Classic seems to me to be that it began with MS Grigg being depicted as in a hole up to her neck. Whereupon she tossed away her shovel and conjured up a backhoe, digging deeper and faster.

    It’s generally comforting, for people on the InterNet (& elsewhere), to see someone doing what we are smart enough to recognize as being Absolutely The Wrong Thing.

    (Mind you, I have some qualms about rigorous application of Intellectual Property laws to recipies — most of which have been freely passed-around for so long that the concept of “creative ownership” is nebulous, at best — but in this case MS Gaudio clearly had significant Research time-investment rights, in addition to MS Grigg being, apparently, intellectually & morally Wrong, as well as ridiculously Arrogant. I think I’ll file this incident under “Darwinism In Action”.)

  43. Johnny@54: He’s referring to Laura Miller’s opinion that people shouldn’t bother writing for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). A lot of people, writers and writer hopefuls (in other words, people not afraid to write what they think) disagree.

  44. Catherine @36 and 39…. Yes, you can sue. But that presumes you have the money to bring such a suit and that you can find someone to sue. When you say you “You sue the people who published libelous statements about you and ask for damages that will make you whole again based on your harm, including a ruined reputation.” that sounds good… but in a case like this, who IS that? LJ for hosting Monica Gaudio’s original post? Monica? John Scalzi? Neil Gaiman or Wil Wheaton for tweeting it to well over 2m people? Facebook for hosting the page that people flame you on?

    While some things don’t change just because this is the web, some seem to and this is one – a significant number of people could be exposed to a libelous statement but not through any single publisher who can easily be identified and sued.

  45. allochthon @52 — strike the “might have” from the statement and it works as (paraphrased): “This story got into the old media because it was ripping off the old media and that’s what old media care about.” (Which I also think is a valid point.) The “might have” being a glitch introduced by certain regional dialects of English.

  46. I have issues with the fallout from the “Cooks Source” debacle, and I’ve scribbled about them here…

    Heck, this incident is what prompted me to finally get around to creating a place where I could say my peace about stuff like this. A bit late on the blogging scene, but the sheer volume of misinformation was extremely frustrating, A lot of innocent bystanders have gotten hurt because the net-mob didn’t have the ability to separate innocent victims from co-conspirators.

    Mob justice is, on occasion, a wonderful thing. But it is equally dangerous and easily manipulated. While I do not believe in this case that Monica’s initial post was fabricated, it’s likely that others will attempt to take advantage of the net result of this situation in the future. Next time a situation like this appears I dearly hope that folks will take the time to investigate and insure their reaction is appropriate. Otherwise we’ll end up burning innocent witches who turn out to have been inconveniencing real villains.

  47. rickg @59 “When you say you “You sue the people who published libelous statements about you and ask for damages that will make you whole again based on your harm, including a ruined reputation.” that sounds good… but in a case like this, who IS that? LJ for hosting Monica Gaudio’s original post? Monica? John Scalzi? Neil Gaiman or Wil Wheaton for tweeting it to well over 2m people? Facebook for hosting the page that people flame you on?”

    Uh, how about NOBODY because there’s no libel case, here? At some point, this becomes a worthless discussion because it is about an amorphous, nonspecific, hypothetical case about amorphous, nonspecific hypothetical people, the details of which can change infinitely depending on the attempted arguments being made. This is not a case of defamation, and it’s rather silly to imagine what it would be like if it were…because it’s not. If you want to talk about defamation, go find a real case. This is not one.

  48. Catherine, no one said anything about libel and slander laws until you did. I think we’re trying to understand why you brought up libel and slander laws in the first place.

    I assume you know about the businesses that are still being harassed by this internet mob. It’s not libel or slander, but the Wrath of the Internet has fallen on the heads of some innocent people. These people will probably be fine when this is over, but that they had to deal with it at all really sucks.

  49. Went to take a peek at the mob justice at Cook’s Source Facebook page. They’ve managed to wrestle control from whoever started a second CS FB page and then someone linked to Scalzi’s recipe on “How To Make Schaddenfreude Pie.” Ironic. Beautiful. They’ve gone crazy there enjoying Schaddenfreude pie.

    What can I say, I have an extra hour to kill today.

  50. Rob @64 No, Rob, YOU brought it up by derailing a discussion of a piece of blatant intellectual property theft in which the perpetrator has publicly admitted that she did it and that it was wrong into some kind of criticism of John for writing about it in the first place, suggesting he has ruined the reputation of an innocent person. A number of people have explained to you that there are legal remedies for people who have had lies about them published and have been harmed by it. I’m not going another round on it, and it’s not relevant anyway.

  51. My mistake. It looks like it was Bob @28 who started that thread, so, Rob, if you’re confused about why libel and slander came up in comments, please reference back to 28 and catch up.

  52. I didn’t see Bob’s #28 comment as criticism of John for writing about this. If anything, he was criticizing the mob for harassing the businesses that advertised in Cooks Source. But I didn’t quite see his comment that way either. It looked to me like he was encouraging people to think before they act.

  53. Ironichef @61: The problem here isn’t that people rushed to assume something was true when it wasn’t. The problem is that this is the Internet. None of the folks reporting on this – Gaudio, Mamatas, Scalzi, or any of the mainstream articles – exhorted people to harass this woman or threaten her advertisers, or even did a ‘who will rid us of this troublesome plagiarist’. Just like off the Internet, there are people who are disturbed, who just enjoy stirring shit up, who react disproportionately, who just want to spew their anger somewhere and need to console themselves by pretending the people they’re spewing on “deserve it”. Other than being cautious not to encourage bad action or doing things like publishing home addresses, I’m not sure what you’re calling for.

  54. Weird… looks like rickg #59 failed to close his italics tag and affected every comment downstream.

  55. I think the mob analogy is overblow. While some activities on the net can approach a vigilanty mob, this strikes me more like a protest and boycott movement which are perfectly fine even in meatspace. Standing outside a business that cheats and steals with signs reading “cheater!” is generally ok and contacting buyers, suppliers, and customers to tell them about certain activities can also be ok. I havent gone near the facebook page but the things Ive read here seem to me to be mostly apropriate (if loud) equivilents of what happens in the 3d world.

  56. AnneB@14: Contrary to popular reporting, the Medieval spellings weren’t modernized. Based on the way that Ms. Griggs did edit the piece, I think she must never have written a research paper in her life. She moved the recipes to the end of the article and stripped out all the formatting that screamed “Research paper for an A& S project.” The end result is that it’s not entirely clear what the recipe discussion is about, especially since the second recipe ended up on a different page.

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