Monday, May 22, 2006

Plagiarism in e-fedding

So, over at the PTC Boards, Alcaeus' handler made a revelation that he plagiarized a Greek History site for the basis of his RPs for the Infinite Gauntlet. From my understanding of the situation, it wasn't totally voluntary; he was found out by RJ (Hanshi no Shikaze, one of PTC's admins... I will refrain from speaking of him on this blog outside of anything factually because Mama said if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all. I learned my lesson from the Kaya blog... and I actually like Jim, who is Kaya's handler, as a person, I just got a little carried away because of the e-fed implications. I promised I'd never get that riled up again, so I will refrain from editorializing on RJ.).

He was summarily booted out of PTC events, and Stephen Caldera, GCW's fedhead, kicked him out of that fed. HSW has not taken any disciplinary action yet that I know of, and they've also defended him in the situation. He also withdrew from the ToC before I caught wind of the gravity of the situation, so basically, he knew the shit would hit the fan and knew when I found out that I was going to boot him.

I'm not here to discuss that thread. A lot of ill-will has come out of it, and I'm not about to perpetuate it. It's best that it stays dead and buried.

However, there are a few things that interest me about this whole situation.

1) Why would someone take material verbatim from a Greek History site (and a large chunk of it for that matter) as the basis for a wrestling RP?

2) This isn't the first time a handler in a PTC fed has been guilty of plagiarism. Yet, in all my years in A1E, the feds and the EWN angle community, I haven't heard any more than one incident of plagiarism (which was actually never substantiated). Why is PTC such a hotbed for plagiarism?

3) What drives a person to commit plagiarism in the first place?

I think I'll attempt to answer these questions in reverse order.

What does drive a person to take the work of someone else and claim it as his own? Well, to answer that, you have to answer the most important question of all. What is anyone's motivation for joining an e-fed? If the answer to that question is "To win titles, matches and basically pwn people," then you get a good start as to why some people would take this route. Of course not everyone who wants to prove superiority needs to do so by cheating; in the PTC circle alone, look at folks like Andy Hewitt (Doctor Curiosity among others), Jeff Ward (Angelo Deville) and Joe Schmidt (Adam Dick).

There's a question of maturity level though. There's also a question on whether those guys and other PTC luminaries are actually in it to be dominant or to have fun. Even if they are in it for the former, they obviously show a very high maturity level. They don't cheat to get what they want.

So you have two identifying marks for a plagiarist now. They're obsessive and immature. Still though, we've had our share of obsessive and immature folks pass through the doors of A1E/MBE and the various feds, and yet if there are any cases of plagiarism, I haven't heard them yet. For the most part, the petulant punks of greater-FW world resort to pompous, no-selling RPs and public bitching about stuff, and when they don't get their way, they either quit or they grow up. No one gets so desperate to win that they'll think about plagiarizing someone else's work. I think this is mainly the case because it's so frigging hard to plagiarize wrestling promos and not get caught.

But with creative writing... well, it's not as hard. Creative writing is abundant on the Internet and in books, readers, pamphlets. All you have to do is find an obscure enough story, change the characters' names to protect the guilty, and voila! Instant RP! That's pretty much why you can think you can get away with plagiarizing in PTC and not, say, FW.

Sometimes, you can, maybe if your fedhead isn't vigilant enough or if a judge doesn't know how to use Google search. Then again, who doesn't know how to use frigging Google anyway?

But Greek history? Seriously, unless Zeus and Apollo slugged it out in one of the epic early Greek pro wrestling feuds, what the hell is the point of plagiarizing that kind of work for a wrestling-based story? Why would someone feel the need to go anywhere and plagiarize any old thing for a wrestling-based RPG?

I'll tell you why. It's because I feel that generally, PTC feds and the interfed have lost touch with the basic spirit of e-fedding, at least from an RP standpoint.

Now, I can anticipate the argument. "Why are you in a PTC fed if you think they've lost touch? YOU SHOULD JUST QUIT YOU HYPOCRITE!" Well, I guess after telling the contrarian voices in my head to simmer down, I ought to explain what I mean.

By and large, I think most PTC feds on the write-up and feud mechanics are true to the spirit of wrestling. AWC has a lot of good-to-great wrestling feuds going on. From what I hear, PRIME does too. There isn't any question in my mind that these feds are *wrestling* feds, at least when they put the cards together.

However, I try to read some RPs, and it's like... why is this in a wrestling arena? I mean, plagiarizing Greek history for a LEGIT vampire, who claims above storyline that he's 2500 years old. C'mon now, that sounds more like something that should be RPed for Gangrel/White Wolf/Manga role-playing, not for wrestling. I think part of the problem is that some people just want to write roleplays and they think that wrestling and whatever else they can roleplay are interchangeable.

I'm sorry, but I don't agree with that idea. I mean, I like the idea of RPing in a non-traditional setting, doing RPs in non-traditional senses. If I didn't, I wouldn't be involved in PTC. I'm doing my best to adapt to that style without compromising my beliefs. Right now, I'm not doing a very good job of it because I'm jobbing more than winning, but that's okay. You don't learn if everyone praises you and the fedhead just books you to wins. It's all about adaptation, learning not only to write in a style, but to write topically. I'm learning to mix those two together, to become a better writer.

The problem, I think, is that people come in and don't necessarily have to write topically for them to get over. So if they struggle, it's easier for them to plagiarize because their range for things they can copy is so broad.

That's how someone can plagiarize a Greek history site and win an e-wrestling match.

I happen to think that's sad.

Now, don't get me wrong. There's a place for narrative writing in e-wrestling, and there's a place for non-traditional RPing as well. There's a place for the PTC style; however, I think that for the problem of plagiarism to go away, the spirit of wrestling needs to be more present in all competitions.

Or else you might as well just be another Vampire RP circle.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wait ... so it was a bad thing that i used verbatim dialogue from "BackDoor Boys IV: Lubed Up and Ready to Blow" for Beau Michaels' rps? :)