A UI Design Proposal to Help Police Plagiarism
Every once in a while, the plagiarism issue comes up. It's a thorny issue. I've gone on record in the past as preferring that the solution somehow involve community participation. But today, I'd like to propose an actual mechanism for helping the Yours community police plagiarism without the need for users to confront posters of content directly, and hopefully, also, in a way which makes users FEEL LESS INCLINED to confront posters of content directly.
Imagine if, when clicking the Publish button, a single question appears which simply asks "Do you own this content? If not, do you have permission to post it? (Yes / No)" The poster then clicks the relevant option, after which publishing happens without further incident. The publishing happens regardless of which option the poster chooses. However, the results of this choice will be publicly displayed on the post. Something like "So-and-so claims rights to this content," or "So-and-so does not claim rights to this content." However, this is not all that happens. Earnings are also effected by the choice.
It's occurred to me that part of what angers people so much about the idea of plagiarism on the Yours platform is the earnings factor. After all, people share content on other platforms all the time when they do not own the content, and no one complains. People only complain here because earnings are involved. So the idea here is that earnings are administered differently depending on how the "rights" question was answered. If it was answered in the affirmative, meaning the poster claims to own the content or have the permission to publish it, then earnings work the same way that they do now. If the poster answers in the negative, because he or she doesn't own it or have permission to post it, then votes still work for boosting the post in the rankings, but the votes don't result in any earnings for the poster.
Naturally, people can lie about having the rights to content they post, and will be especially inclined to do just that if it should be understood that one cannot earn from posts unless the "rights" question is answered in the affirmative. However, this is fine, because the poster is announcing publicly that they are claiming rights to the content. Everyone will see this. If anyone makes an issue of it after the fact, the poster will not be able to plead ignorance; there will be evidence that this poster claimed rights that it turns out he or she doesn't have, a documented fact which will make future reprimand efforts easier.
There is a goal of this design other than making it easier to identify wrongdoing, however. It's also intended to enable users of the Yours platform to post, without worry, links to content they do not own. Right now, if someone posts a link on Yours to content which they do not own, this can invoke the ire of other users, depending on the situation. Whereas on another platform this kind of sharing would be considered harmless, here it is potentially considered indecency, or even theft. So there could be a chilling effect on harmless sharing in the Yours community, even in cases for which no rights would ever be claimed, and where no earnings would even be sought.
I'm imagining that sometimes, a Yours user would like to share things here that they've found elsewhere. But who wants to have to worry about whether doing so will catch the ire of some would-be informant? Wouldn't it be nice if a Yours user could simply tag their post in such a way that, the sharing of content can take place without any implicit assumption being made by others about any rights being claimed? I think so. So, for cases such as these, where a user really wants to share something, but doesn't want to get in trouble over sharing something they don't own, they can simply answer the "rights" question in the negative, and be done with it. And since one can't earn from votes on this content, no other Yours users will be in a position to complain.
Voters would still pay to vote. The shared content would still potentially move up through the rankings. But the vote payments wouldn't go to the poster of the content. Maybe they would go to Yours. In like fashion, perhaps tipping would also be disabled for such content. This scenario simply describes a case where a Yours user just wants others to see something he or she found elsewhere and quite liked.
It's NOT a problem to NOT earn anything when all one wanted was to simply pass something along. It would be nice to be able to do that without incident. Simple sharing, without fear, is the norm elsewhere. It seems like simple sharing would be a good thing to have here on Yours as well.
@Ryan X. Charles
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