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Dheeraj Pal of Techartifact.com is Plagiarizing Your Domino Tips

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Note: I have held off posting this entry for nearly a week after I attempted to contact Dheeraj Pal about this matter, both via email (through LinkedIn) and by commenting on the various blog entries in question. I even made an attempt to contact one of his colleagues via email (also via LinkedIn). I have had only indirect acknowledgment of these communications, in the form of the removal of my comment from one entry, and the total removal of the two other entries. Why the one entry is still posted is anyone's guess, but as of this writing it will serve as momentary proof that I'm not making this all up. After consultation with several respected members of the Lotus community who also believe this behavior should be called out (and who have seen all three posts when they were still there), I am now going ahead with posting this entry...

In researching how to correct inaccurate Lotus Notes folder unread counts last week, I noticed this marginally useful tip on SearchDomino.com posted on May 10, 2006 by Erwin Hommes (with an alternate method in a response to the same post by "Karie S."). Not finding satisfaction from that Google result, I opened the next one and discovered that Dheeraj Pal had lifted the aforementioned SearchDomino tip, and it's response, and posted it virtually word for word on his Techartifact.com blog on February 12, 2009, making *no mention* that the tip wasn't actually his.

My curiosity piqued (or perhaps inflamed would be a better word), I decided to check out Mr. Pal's other posts, and discovered two additional examples of plagiarism (since removed after I commented on both):

- Mr. Pal's How to copy files from one Domino server to another post from April 13, 2009 is/was a blatant rip-off of Bruce Elgort's 2007 post here. (Side note: The even funnier thing is that Bruce's post is ALSO plagiarized by Hasnain Yousuf on IdeaJam of all places.)
- His post entitled Lotus Domino: CalConn task does not return Free Time for adjacent domain in Hub-Spoke; Free Time is grayed out was copied directly from this Lotus technote.

This may come as a shock to Mr. Pal, but passing off other peoples' work as your own is called plagiarism, which is a form of FRAUD. It's perfectly fine to post excerpts from or links to other peoples' work, but ONLY if you link back to the original and make it clear that you are not the one that wrote it. You can even get away with reposting entire blog entries like Bruce's if you do it right.  

Why does this matter? What's the Big Deal?

Completely ignoring the impacts on the people whose works have been copied, which are admittedly slight, the key problem here is that those works have been used to artificially inflate someone's credibility in the eyes of readers, who may include potential employers, clients, or others prepared to reward actual technical expertise where it is perceived. This inflated credibility in turn puts others competing for the attention of those same employers, clients, et. al. at an unfair disadvantage. So in a sense we are all victims here.

I should also point out that the site is selling advertising through Google Adsense.

Given that ours is a community that prides itself on authenticity, you might say this rubbed me the wrong way. What do you think?

UPDATE: After Paul Mooney, Rocky Oliver, Steve McDonough, and myself posted new comments on the one remaining plagiarized post, the post has just disappeared from the site, and I just received this email from Techartifact Admin:

Hi

We have recalled all the lotus domino post and put them under review.

Thanks for pointing it out.

Regards
Admin


UPDATE 2: In attempting to re-post my previously "deleted" comment with help from Steve McDonough, we realized that it had probably never actually been posted on the site because WordPress was disallowing embedded links. The odd thing is that the comment DID post in the browser window I had open (I have the saved html file that shows it, and Steve experienced the same behavior when he tried). So unless the comment was stored locally on my machine, I'm guessing the comment did get stored on the server but not displayed for others to see because of whatever spam controls might have kicked in. So in fairness, it is possible (though doubtful) that Mr. Pal did not see the comment in question last week when I posted it. Perhaps somebody more familiar with WordPress can shed light on what may have happened. In retrospect I should have sent an email to abuse@techartifact.com, webmaster@techartifact.com, and admin@techartifact.com and not just Mr. Pal through LinkedIn. Regardless, the fact that the other two posts were removed after I called them out as copies is a clear indication that my message was being received. Techartifact Admin should have sent the above response then.

Comments

1 - looks like the posts have been pulled. I wonder is the remaining Notes/Domino tips are original.

2 - Shameless! By the way, have you seen my latest project - SuperNTF?

Emoticon

3 - Tony, The folder unread count post is still there. The link is in the second paragraph...should have made it more clear.

Ed, great job on SuperNTF!

4 - Your comment is still in Google cache Emoticon

JYR

5 - This was done to me as well.
Not sure of who the name of the person was. However I posted code on how to convert notes docs to PDF in Java and someone copied it, reposted it and claimed it was theirs. If I am not mistaken it was on OpenNTF.org.
When I complained to the person who stole credit for my code, his response was 'your name was not on it'

I say bring back the lynch mobs!!!!

6 - No need for lynch mobs, Michael. We have Google now: { Link }

7 - Good catch(es)!

Now, if it were only April 1 on Friday, I would have stolen this post and posted it as my own... 8-)

8 - I agree with you: it is pretty bad. I guess the competition must be hard for him, and he needs to prove he's good by publishing tips here and there, and put that on his resume. I think tips and articles are a good marketing strategy for freelancers, but publishing stuff from others without mentioning the source is just not acceptable. Totally unacceptable and stupid. It will come back to haunt him for sure...

But see the bright side: plagiarism is the biggest form of admiration. You guys must be doing a great job then!!! (of course you are)

Emoticon

9 - Craig, you and anyone else have my permission to borrow any of the language from this post that might be useful in writing your own postings, with a link back of course Emoticon.

-Kevin

10 - There was another case of this several years back. The person in question was duplicating blog posts and technotes word for word. His behavior changed after I called him out on it via private email. Sad that in this case the perpetrator needs to be publicly exposed.

11 - I personally like this { Link }

12 - @11 - Excellent link!!! Emoticon

13 - Excellent job, Mr. Pettitt. Excellent job.

14 - Paul Mooney has now broken the comment silence on Mr. Pal's remaining plagiarized blog entry, so if Mr. Pal hasn't figured out that hundreds of people now associate his name with plagiarism, he probably will soon. In light of this, I have reposted my own comment that had been deleted from the post last week, in case you wanted to read it: { Link }

15 - Well, I appear to be comment blocked on the site, so am attempting to circumvent.

16 - Well, I have seen this on numerous occassions now. Many times we share the tips and links with our co-workers or enhance an existing utility but we should always make a point that we should give back reference to original author. I hope we can stop this by spreading awareness in the community.

17 - guess he removed all lotus related posts really quick. nice job !!

18 - Craig, you and anyone else have my permission to borrow any of the language from this post that might be useful in writing your own postings, with a link back of course Emoticon.

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