I was a Called Copier Today

Today, I was shocked when I found my name appreared on my favorite weblog andersja’s blog. It is even more astonishing when I found my name was related to something negative – copier.

“I like writing articles and other content for my weblog, and I like tinkering with design – visually and technically. Now, wangjianshuo has copied my CSS stylesheet and also other MT config elements very closely, and I’m not entirely sure if I’m comfortable with it.

Other people occationally nab links without linking back… not exactly weblog etiquette, but something we’ll have to live with…?”

andersja wrote.

I have to say, it is my fault not to be careful enough to link back to the site I copied from or inspired by for all instances. However, I did link back in some blogs.

I have changed my site after I saw andersja’s post. For some of my readers of page was directed by the post, I still keep a copy of my original page, so you know what andersja said is true.

I wrote a comment to clarify the whole thing. This is the comment I posted with a little bit change to add hyperlink to words instead of leaving the unclickable URLs.

Hi andersja,

This is Jian Shuo Wang, the “copier?you mentioned in your blog.

== Firstly, I apologize ==

First of all, I have to admit that I have used your CSS completely and I added category link function as you did on your site. I sincerely apologize for it since it has made your feel uncomfortable.

== But the true is, I did link back ==

You may misunderstand me on linking-back. The truth is, I did link back.

On my first blog at MovableType Successfully Installed on Windows XP, at the end, in the Acknowledge section, I wrote:

“I also want to thank andersja, the owner of anderrsja’s blog. His site on weblog are very well done. I learnt a lot on categories and the pertential usage of MovableType from his site.”

Certainly I swear I did it on the day of Sept 11 instead of adding it after you got angry. Geo, my friend at http://russianlegs.com can also confirm it, since he also commented after my blog.

In the acknowledgement part, I mentioned the categories function on your web site. It inspired me a lot and I decided to make my own category links. I finally completed the function on the day before yesterday with the help with MovableType document.

I noticed you may have read this article since you wrote comment for this blog on the same day — Sept 11, 2002 09:48 PM:

“Thanks for your feedback and congratulations with getting Movable Type running on XP – very cool (I haven’t seen it done before :-)

Happy blogging!

Posted by: andersja on September 11, 2002 09:48 PM?

Maybe you didn’t notice I linked you back on my first blog.

== More evidence that I did link back ==

On my forth blog, I started my paragraph with

“Inspired by andersja’s Optimizing Movable Type (part 3) – get more readers , I sent my blog site to DMOZ.org.”

Posted by Jian Shuo Wang at September 14, 2002 09:31 PM | Categories: MovableType

As you can see, as a beginer of blogging (only 6 logs so far), I have read carefully on many of your articles on your site and was trying to follow your steps to setup a blog. This includes registering my blog on DMOZ.org. But after I did, I wrote in my blog to thank andersj for the great inspiration you gave me.

I wrote six blogs so far and two of them mentioned that I am inspired by your site. I didn’t put you on a seperate link for your site on the right pane of my first page. The only reason is, I am running this blog for less than one week and there is too much things for me to improve. I am going to do so now.

== The facts ==

I have commented on your page on and received your quick reply. This is very helpful for me. Although I have been web developer for many years, it is the first time I setup blog and the first time to play with Perl and MT stuff (as I mentioned at the beginning of my first blog. I worked very hard to get some idea from other great site like yours. I was using MT’s default CSS template. I just wanted to change the font to Verdana instead of the odd font. At that time, I copied your CSS and made very little modification and used it in my site.

== Anyway, I apologize ==

Again, I admit I did it. I should have mentioned somewhere on my blog, but I haven’t yet. That is “not exactly weblog etiquette”. I will go back to change it to the default one immediately if this made you uncomfortable.

Please be assured that I am not “fighting back” in this comment. I am still grateful for everything you did on your site, including sharing your setup experience of MT and your tips to optimizing MT. They inspired me a lot. That is the source of my first blog “MovableType Successfully Installed on Windows XP” and later, “Webcam Set Up, Broadcasting Shanghai”. I will also continue to share how I created the site and how to make things work as you did. I agree with you weblog etiquette is very important and I am always trying my best to follow. Sometimes I may make mistakes and I will be fully responsible for that.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if any of my content or behavior makes you think I do not respect other people on the net. I’d like to hear and like to improve.

Best wishes

Jian Shuo Wang

The Copier

As always, Anders replied very soon after I posted my comment. I agree with him on this reply:

To copy from one = plagiarism

To copy from many = inspiration! ;-)

I continued to send email to him and explain the whole story. It seems the mistake has been recovered and the issue has been settled.

More on credibility

Anders is a very kind guy who wrote this only to encourage innovation instead of plagiarism. This reminded me to check throughout my site to ensure I “properly give credit where credit is due“. It is essential to build up the credibility of the site I own.

I was refered to this page by andersja’s page. After that, I found Spartaneity Project is a very good source for credibility.

Result of the review

After carefully reviewing the content of my site, I found I did something good and something bad.

  • I kept the POWERED BY MOVABLE TYPE 2.21 logo which gave credit for MovableType. They did wonderful job on authoring this tool.
  • I missed links-back on my homepage. I added link back under a special section called “Credits” on my homepage for andersja’s blog and Geo’s www.russianlegs.com. Geo’s site is the first one which let me be aware of the personal publishing form called “weblog” and andersja inspired me a lot on feature-related or technical aspect.
  • It seems I have tried my best to keep giving credit. I gave credit to Billy Qiu when quoting his words – I also asked him to review the page during the course of my publishing.
  • I linked to the source of the news in my blog on Korea’s broadband development and other sources.

To be honest, I didn’t realize it is so important to add link to sources before this accident. I used it to make it easy to verify accuracy of the information of my site. Now it means something more important to me – to show respect to others by giving others credit. This is the most easy and powerful way to build up my own credit.

12 thoughts on “I was a Called Copier Today

  1. Good stuff, Jian. Look forward to keep reading your blog :-)

    As I said to you privately as well – I’m happy I inspired you with my designs, but I do encourage you to continue working on them / evolve them into something of your own… In the mean time – thanks for the links & the mentions ;-)

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