All this talk about plagiarism... I'm in a sinful mood right now. (Sidenote... I'd love it for all of SIN to come back and feud with the HPSC... the ultimate A1E Turf War.)
If there's any lesson to be learned since Thursday, it's that plagiarism is bad. In fact, it's one of the worst, if not the worst thing you could do in e-fedding. I can think of three other contenders to the worst title.
I call 'em the Four Cardinal Sins of E-Fedding. If I could have thought of three more, this would have been the Seven Deadly Sins, but in a way, I'm glad I didn't. For one, looking at the negative all the time sucks. Two, well, seven deadly sins is too clichéd.
Anyway, here you go:
Plagiarizing another handler: This isn't separate from plain old plagiarism. IT also doesn't mean I condone regular old plagiarism either. It's bad, it's grounds to have a handler tossed out of any fed or e-fedding circle. But stealing from another handler... that's dishonor. I mean, I know both are dishonorable, but there's an extra level of dishonor in stealing from a peer, from someone whom you purport to be a friend. I can look someone in the eye who stole a short story off another anonymous guy. I won't have much respect for him, and I might give him the short shrift, but I can still look him in the eye.
I don't think I could ever look someone who plagiarized another handler in the eye. Ever. They don't deserve it unless they take on a HUGE penance and prove beyond the shadow of any doubt that they aren't going to steal from another handler again.
Making malicious OOC comments in IC segments... ie, shooting: If you have a problem with another handler, don't fucking drag it out into the competition for the week. This is a hobby, not a personal bitch-session. Don't bring the rest of the fed down because you're unhappy with someone.
Using another person's character without their permission: The real pisser about this is that most people who use characters out of permission use them so badly. Most people who have the good judgement to use another's character correctly are talented enough not to fuck up the execution.
But yeah, this is pretty low and selfish too. If you can't generate your own heat without sabotaging the heat of another character against their will along the way, maybe you should reconsider being in the hobby.
Being a backstage cancer: Do I need to explain this? I don't know, I think this happens the most out of the four. Whether it's backstage or over IMs or on the forums, it's the easiest sin to commit because it's the easiest trap to fall into.
If you go into e-fedding for the wrong reasons, you're likely to become malignant. And yes, while airing disagreements is fine and necessary for the health of a fed, when it becomes chronic, deliberate and transparently contrarian. And it happens when you job continually when you go itno e-fedding just for the purpose of winning. It happens when you expect the world to kiss your ass and someone actually has the gall to tell you that your work isn't perfect. It happens with misinformation, lies, deceit.
And while plagiarists are easily dismissed and shooters and character usually aren't chronic in this regard, cancers can stick around for a long, long time, especially if they've infected other handlers and have them believing that they're right. Much like cancer is a bitch to treat and hit-or-miss when talking about a cure, when you get a cancerous personality trolling around your fed... it's hard to change or cure him completely.
Now, the one thing to remember about all these sins is that no sin is completely unforgiveable. I've been guilty of being a cancer in A1E, but I've made amends with everyone, and I'd like to think we're all on the level now. I was involved in a shooting incident, where I was shot on, but that's now water under the bridge. I don't know of any plagiarism incident that's been forgiven because they've all been on PTC, and they hate plagiarists.
But it can be hard, especially with severe cases.
Still though, I think it's best to err on the side of forgiveness in most cases, especially for first offenders. Because this is a hobby predicated on having fun and cooperation. If we start alienating everyone because we perceive they're useless, then we won't have anyone to work with.
Repeat offenders though? Fuck 'em, since they really are few and far between. I have faith in the pool of handlers around the hobby. I really do.