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IGN writer busted copying other people's reviews

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1 hour ago, JPickford said:

I suspect it was just his process - looking at other stuff and regurgitating it.   He probably didn't see anything wrong in it.

 

He said in his 'apology' video that every other journalist he talked to did the same thing. Which is utter, utter bullshit.

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Some of the examples are crazy. He stole an entire sentence from a colleague's 2 year old review for a completely different game. I wonder how that happens? Either he read the Abzu review at some point and thought 'this is a nice sentence, I'm going to save it for the future' or he actively searched reviews of similar games when he was reviewing Innerspace for a sentence he could use to describe it. 

 

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The effort he was going to in order to copy other's work seems so much greater than just writing a similar sentence himself that it goes way beyond laziness and I think probably suggests a crippling confidence issue about the quality of his own writing that led him to keep searching for stuff that was better written that he thought he was capable of. I don't know, I have a bit of possibly unwarranted sympathy for him because I think this isn't someone looking to save time but with severe issues or anxieties about his own output. I may be mistaken, of course, and he's just a dick. I've never even watched a video of him.

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I'm still confused about how he got his position in the first place. Looking at his personal YouTube channel he posts a few generic videos about the Switch and less than two years later he's gone from that to Nintendo Editor at IGN? Wuh?

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25 minutes ago, Majora said:

Some of the examples are crazy. He stole an entire sentence from a colleague's 2 year old review for a completely different game. I wonder how that happens? Either he read the Abzu review at some point and thought 'this is a nice sentence, I'm going to save it for the future' or he actively searched reviews of similar games when he was reviewing Innerspace for a sentence he could use to describe it. 

 

The effort he was going to in order to copy other's work seems so much greater than just writing a similar sentence himself that it goes way beyond laziness and I think probably suggests a crippling confidence issue about the quality of his own writing that led him to keep searching for stuff that was better written that he thought he was capable of. I don't know, I have a bit of possibly unwarranted sympathy for him because I think this isn't someone looking to save time but with severe issues or anxieties about his own output. I may be mistaken, of course, and he's just a dick. I've never even watched a video of him.

 

I certainly agree about the effort.  It must take much longer to watch a video review or dig up old reviews and then copy them but changing them in the process than just to write a review.  I occasionally have to reformat press releases or articles sent to us for publication (a very small company magazine) and it is so much more time consuming taking existing articles and putting them into your house style than it is to just write an article from scratch.  Crazy to do it with games where you think the whole point of a review is just to play the game an then describe if it is good or not. 

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31 minutes ago, Majora said:

Some of the examples are crazy. He stole an entire sentence from a colleague's 2 year old review for a completely different game. I wonder how that happens? Either he read the Abzu review at some point and thought 'this is a nice sentence, I'm going to save it for the future' or he actively searched reviews of similar games when he was reviewing Innerspace for a sentence he could use to describe it. 

 

0qeb4Aw.png

 

6mtxfF5.png

 

The effort he was going to in order to copy other's work seems so much greater than just writing a similar sentence himself that it goes way beyond laziness and I think probably suggests a crippling confidence issue about the quality of his own writing that led him to keep searching for stuff that was better written that he thought he was capable of. I don't know, I have a bit of possibly unwarranted sympathy for him because I think this isn't someone looking to save time but with severe issues or anxieties about his own output. I may be mistaken, of course, and he's just a dick. I've never even watched a video of him.

 

Does the bit he’s plagiarised link to the review he’s plagiarised it from? Is this some sort of high concept performance art?

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40 minutes ago, Eighthours said:

 

He said in his 'apology' video that every other journalist he talked to did the same thing. Which is utter, utter bullshit.

 

Not that I have proof or anything, but based on past experiences I'd say there's a fairly high chance of it being true. Of course, I'm not suggesting that highly specialist press like Edge would do so, but for the likes of IGN et al, sure, can see that happening.

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6 hours ago, James Lyon said:

It's often too easy, when doing research for writing up a review or report, when you don't yet have a fixed opinion of your own, to get a sentence you agree on in the source stuck in your head. Then it's difficult to stop it becoming your own opinion and just slightly modifying the sentence to suit your style instead of coming up with your own.

 

But what "research" do you need to do before writing your own review? To me, that's basically sounds like "see what everyone else thinks of the game before I write anything about it" which is frustrating bullshit, especially as a person currently trying to get their own game noticed and written about.

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Yeah, the fact this guy somehow got one of the rare good permanent jobs as a games reviewer at a major site ahead of countless others is an extra layer of infuriating.

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27 minutes ago, VN1X said:

But we definitely harass his family now right?

 

All this piling on and hunting his work for other people's sentences is slightly weird. The guy's been sacked already, leave him be.

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9 minutes ago, Trumpets said:

 

All this piling on and hunting his work for other people's sentences is slightly weird. The guy's been sacked already, leave him be.

 

I think it's pretty fascinating to see how deep the rabbit hole goes and how much effort he went to over the course of several years, but obviously harassing him and his family is not on. 

 

I am puzzled by some people calling for the heads of other staff at IGN for not picking up on this. While I have never worked in this field, is there realistically anything they could have done about this? When someone submits written work to you, you surely don't think you have to cross-check it for plagiarism every time, right? The time that would take for a website as large as IGN would be enormous and in many cases probably a giant waste of time.

 

I am curious if anyone on here with experience in the field thinks anything could have been done sooner?

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7 minutes ago, Majora said:

I am curious if anyone on here with experience in the field thinks anything could have been done sooner?

 

Have an editor?

 

Then again, sometimes you have the unfortunate combination of an editor at a publication who is incompatible with/uninterested in games. In such a case stuff like this can go unnoticed for years. And in the case of IGN, everything's been slimmed down to the absolute minimum of operational costs, so that might have something to do with it as well.

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In the Resetera thread it's been mentioned that Alanah Pearce who left IGN recently has said that they were having trouble filling the role because the pay isn't great and San Francisco is not a cheap place to live so he was rushed hire. 

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This reminds me as a kid I used to make my own video game magazines. I'd draw them in coloured pens on graph paper to help with my layouts, and then moved up to getting a type-writer, first writing them on graph paper to get nice justification of words where possible and then typing it up.

 

I used to rip off other video game reviews all the time for mine, because I couldn't afford the games themselves.

Obviously.

This is why spent my time being that saddo drawing his own magazines. 

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Is there nothing he won't plagiarise?!

I wouldn't put it past someone to transcribe one of his video reviews then go back to an old forum post and edit it in though. :)

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3 hours ago, PyramidFace said:

I'm still confused about how he got his position in the first place. Looking at his personal YouTube channel he posts a few generic videos about the Switch and less than two years later he's gone from that to Nintendo Editor at IGN? Wuh?

 

I'm going to guess he got a reputation for churning out lots of content incredibly quickly. Of course this sort of plagerism in the age of google is pretty easy to pick up, although it's the first time I've heard of someone allegedly copying from video.

 

Back in the pre-internet days one of the most prolific computer / travel writers (and eventually editor of three sections) down here got busted for plagerism once a reader worked out that the only way anyone could make that sort of word count is if they were typing almost every waking minute of the day (leaving no time for research and review).

 

A good manager / team leader / editor will look into what's happening when a staff member is under performing. A great one will look into what's happening when a staff member is over performing. Because it's the one time you don't check that bites you.

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I've done games reviews before and I can see how journalists can fall into this trap. I'd write my review and then go off and read other publication's reviews. You look at what you've written and then see how another writer maybe worded it way better, or pointed out something you missed. I always stuck to my original edit but with other quality reviews so easy to get hold of this guy is basically following a different mindset. Rather than be confident in his own style/opinions, he collates other good reviews into one. The end result is naturally going to be ok, as it's like a compliation of thoughts from other competant reviewers. In one sense it's still a "good review", it's just it completely lacks the integrity, morality and the point of a personal review. But if you have that mindset, you are effectively creating a product and to you it's doing what a review should: informing the reviewer. I think this is why he seems so defensive and confused.

 

This is not just limited to gaming of course - I write travel articles and it's a massive problem in the unregulated world of online travel websites. It's absolutely shameless there, sometimes whole articles are copied wholesale, other times you can see a piece written just like the IGN guy - where it basically mirrors what another article says but shuffles the words around.

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18 minutes ago, Alan Stock said:

This is not just limited to gaming of course - I write travel articles and it's a massive problem in the unregulated world of online travel websites. It's absolutely shameless there, sometimes whole articles are copied wholesale, other times you can see a piece written just like the IGN guy - where it basically mirrors what another article says but shuffles the words around.

 

Out of interest, how much travel writing is just glorified PR regurgitated?  You know when things the The Sunday Times does its 50 best European villas or some such nonsense and you know there is no way they have actually objectively researched this kind of stuff themselves. I imagine it must be quite hard in travel to avoid some PR reproduction since you go somewhere and I am sure the travel company is more than happy to provide information which is useful and helps bulk out the article.  Although, maybe I'm too cynical. 

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3 hours ago, ryodi said:

In the Resetera thread it's been mentioned that Alanah Pearce who left IGN recently has said that they were having trouble filling the role because the pay isn't great and San Francisco is not a cheap place to live so he was rushed hire. 

 

His videos were generic as fuck, and quite how they thought he would be good at written reviews, even leaving aside the plagiarism, is beyond me. It seems that they just wanted anyone who could create videos and put them up by themselves, but the complete non-ambition of the result of recruitment for that role is really sad. How many potentially really good writers would take that job in the US, particularly for the Nintendo portion of the site? Fuckloads. And they can't claim that they wanted loads of experience, because Filip certainly didn't have much of that and had never worked for a big site.

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RE: travel

 

That depends a lot on the quality of the publication/website. Sometimes it's clearly PR stuff, you never really know who's paying what to get featured in these lists. Other times you can look back and see that the publication has properly reviewed these places in the past, or writes guides for countries/places, so they're more reliable. I'd be very wary of random travel websites which list "best hotels", "best resorts", etc.

 

And some travel writing like gaming will be under the wing of a larger corporation. So it could be that the info is coming from a reliable source but from a different arm of the company. Or, that the corporation has a vested interest in promoting certain places they've made deals with - so it's hard to tell. Really it comes down to building up trust with a website/magazine you're comfortable that tells the truth.

 

It can be contradictory though. Take the Guardian website travel section. It's very well written and the reviews are good, but often they are obviously on commision or have a deal with the places they review - because they have inbedded links, deals and so on as part of the article. That's either paid promotion for the product, or for the booking site they're linking you to. The content/review may be completely accurate and good, but at the end of the day you're still just seeing a small snapshot on what is on offer based on the companies they decided to deal with.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Trumpets said:

 

All this piling on and hunting his work for other people's sentences is slightly weird. The guy's been sacked already, leave him be.

 

Isn't there a criminal angle though if he's stolen something and made a profit from it? So digging for more examples (and essentially: more victims) is in order?

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4 hours ago, Trumpets said:

All this piling on and hunting his work for other people's sentences is slightly weird. The guy's been sacked already, leave him be.

He publically challenged Kotaku to find more stuff on him.

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4 hours ago, Cyhwuhx said:

 

Have an editor?

 

 

I'm just curious, having not worked in this field, what an editor would actually do to in a practical way to combat plagiarism? 

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5 hours ago, Tomdominer said:

 

But what "research" do you need to do before writing your own review? To me, that's basically sounds like "see what everyone else thinks of the game before I write anything about it" which is frustrating bullshit, especially as a person currently trying to get their own game noticed and written about.

 

I was more talking about writing in general rather than games reviews. In that respect, I don't think it's farfetched for a games journalist to do research by reading a few books on, say, the Saturn before doing a feature on the history of the console.

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1 hour ago, Alan Stock said:

RE: travel

 

It can be contradictory though. Take the Guardian website travel section. It's very well written and the reviews are good, but often they are obviously on commision or have a deal with the places they review - because they have inbedded links, deals and so on as part of the article. That's either paid promotion for the product, or for the booking site they're linking you to. The content/review may be completely accurate and good, but at the end of the day you're still just seeing a small snapshot on what is on offer based on the companies they decided to deal with.

 

 

 

I've said before, Private Eye is a great place to read about all the immoral practices that go on in the media. The Street of Shame pages which write about all the hypocrisy, corruption and other bad stuff the newspapers get up to are a must-read every issue.

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