The Other Side of the Blogging Copying Story

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You know you’re going to have one of those days sometimes right?  Monday was one of them.

It was the Toddlers first day at his new nursery and he made it abundantly clear that he didn’t want to be there AT ALL.  Pulling at the heart strings and sobbing as I dropped him off (he was fine in the end) nothing like a good dose of mummy guilt to start your day.

The Baby spent the entire day crying because he was so tired yet refusing to nap.  Nothing pacified him.  Nothing.  I tried to feed.  I tried to bounce.  I tried wearing.  I tried walking.  I resorted to driving to have him fall asleep seconds before I reach my destination.

You know.  One of those days.

Then I took to Facebook and a post caught my eye “To the Blogger Who Copied Me” now I love a bit of drama, I especially loved the whole #bloggerblackmail scandal between a blogger and a bakery that happened a couple of months ago, so I clicked.  And I read.  And in horror I realised it referred to me.

Now, I hold my hands up on the point that the post in question did help inspire my post.  Sleep is a very emotive and very discussed topic when you have babies.  I remember reading Charlie’s sleep post just before the Baby arrived and nodding along remembering the whole fourth trimester with the Toddler and knowing that this was in my future with the Baby. In turn it made me smile and think of another post I read when the Toddler was a dot that contained the gem that was “I burped in my mouth and it tasted like pear, I hadn’t eaten pear since lunch what is up with that?” which made me giggle. Then as all good posts have a habit of doing it got stored in the back of my mind and got on with the dramatic birth of the Baby.

Then the newborn days passed and he was still a pain sleeping. It got to him being four months old and I was still to share a hot meal with my husband without having my lump draped across me eating one handed. We headed back to the UK. Same issue. He didn’t want to sleep (he still doesn’t to be honest) and I started to compile my own sleep post, which began life as a list of reasons why he wouldn’t sleep and evolved to become the voice of the non-sleeping baby. Probably because in the back of my mind I had read these two fantastic posts from the baby’s point of view which made the posts more human. Gave them a voice. And so my post gained its own voice in the guise of my stubborn, adorable, none sleeping baby boy.

Now what I should have done and as I always try do with posts that I am inspired to write was to cite where I saw the original post.  The same as I did when I wrote about the Toddler travel adventures or the Toddler-o’s Daddy.  But I didn’t because when I started writing the post I couldn’t remember where I had originally seen the piece about fourth trimester and newborn sleep.  I read a lot of posts.  But, I’ve rectified this now and have cited the post on “Dear Mummy, I’m Not Sleeping Because…..

Going Viral??

The other piece I really want to clear up is the piece around the viral messages.  There has been some miscommunication on that blog post that makes me sound like I am a viral post hunting obsessive.  I’m not.  (Well not too much).

The post mentioned in the thread was about was this one on the wrong viral message not a thread created where I was asking how to make a post viral, I don’t think there is any winning formula other than writing great content or having great pictures that people relate to and want to share, that is then shared by the right people.  Or of course a very negative, shock message. The post in question was on those messages that go viral where I lamented that all the negative messages go viral.  The likes of the drivel Katie Hopkins spouts. In particular I was focussed on negative breastfeeding messages and I wanted to see positive messages going viral. Not necessarily my own. But good positive messages like the Breastfeeding in Combat Boots photo that has just gone viral on Facebook.   The point on the post in the group that I made was I had seen only 2 positive viral posts which were the Dad Networks poo picture post and the sleep post in question and I asked had anyone seen any others.

The statement I made – which was meant in jest at my baby brain – about knowing that the Blogger was in the Facebook group but I couldn’t remember who wrote it.  She came forward and at that point I could – and should – have made reference in my blog post.

I didn’t.

I forgot.

I didn’t connect the personal name with the blog name.

I’m human and not to mention still sleep deprived.  So it slipped by unnoticed until it was brought to my attention by a blog post.

So I fixed it.  I apologised, privately and publicly.  And then I thought about whether I should actually write this.  And I decided I should.  Not to score points or to complain but to give my side of the story, for where there is a story like this there is always another side.

Charlie made a fair complaint about the lack of link back to her post as an inspiration point of view (which has now been rectified), as in my eyes though the posts run along a similar vein (which is bound to happen in parenting blogs when you are writing about babies of similar ages, and let’s face it the sleep topic is one of the most commonly discussed issues amongst mothers) they are in effect different.  And will appeal to different people. Which is probably another reason it slipped my sleep deprived mind.

The part that I didn’t like, and have addressed privately, is that the whole situation and quite frankly some of the downright nasty comments, could have been avoided if I had been approached directly.  Fair enough if I had been approached and been a b*tch, then call me out all over the show.  But I wouldn’t have been as I made a mistake. It’s not in my nature to upset anyone and I’m always the first to apologise if I’m wrong.

Because as my mother always says to me:

Treat others how you want to be treated yourself

Which, to give credit where credit is due, is actually ripped off from the bible.

So, as we have all learnt from this episode to consider who you are writing for, why you are writing and that you may inadvertently be “copying” someone then maybe take a second before you hit publish.  Maybe make sure you’ve cited anyone who has truly inspired you.

But whatever you do, don’t let it make you afraid to write, There are an estimated average of 2.73 million blog posts published EVERY day, an estimated 152 million blogs in the blogosphere and honestly, it’s virtually impossible to write something that hasn’t been written before. Does it mean that you’re plagiarising? I don’t think so as a wonderful blogger said to me – we all inspire each other that’s the joy of blogging.

And if you see someone you think has “copied” you?  Get in touch with them first, it could have just been an honest mistake.

Now to give fair warning, the next letter that the Baby is going to write to me is a list of all the reasons he is crying….. guess what stage we’ve reached now….

 

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61 Comments

  1. September 23, 2015 / 11:07 am

    We are parent bloggers. Babies do the same things. We are bound to write posts similar to someone else.
    I’ve seen blog posts on the front page of big parenting sites similar to ones I’ve written and yes it annoyed me a bit but parenting is like Christmas. There is a small pool of ideas.
    Don’t worry about it and neither should they
    Farmerswifeandmummy recently posted…Mummy fails-Parenting Two, Seven Months InMy Profile

    • September 23, 2015 / 11:29 am

      Thanks Emma – and now you’ve made me think of Christmas!! Yikes x

  2. September 23, 2015 / 11:09 am

    Well good for you for sharing your side of the story. I read Charlie’s post and at first I was like “oh my god this other blogger sounds like a cow!” When I realised it was you she meant, and read her “copied” post I couldn’t help but think it was a bit strong to say you copied her. The posts aren’t the same, the only similarities are that they are about sleep and written from a baby’s perspective. I’ve seen that done countless times before – even before Charlie wrote hers x
    Sian @ QuiteFranklySheSaid recently posted…Mini Style: Boom, Splash and MonstersMy Profile

    • September 23, 2015 / 11:27 am

      Thanks Sian. That’s exactly what I thought when I read it so when I twigged it was me I was horrified that was the way that I was portrayed! So I just wanted to clear it up xx

  3. September 23, 2015 / 11:56 am

    I’ve not followed the links yet to read the background but of course there will be similar blog posts out there especially in a community who blogs about kids! Kudos to you though for writing this, there are always 2 sides (or more of course!) To every story and it’s right that you shared yours!
    Lauren | belle du Brighton recently posted…Lascal Buggy Board from Cheeky RascalsMy Profile

    • September 24, 2015 / 4:22 pm

      Thanks Lauren xx

    • September 24, 2015 / 4:23 pm

      Thanks Claire – I thought that baby brain went away, apparently not! X

  4. September 23, 2015 / 1:49 pm

    I think you have handled this so well but I also feel that you shouldn’t have had to. I’ve read both post ( I LOVED yours) and other than them both being about babies not sleeping from a babies point of view I cannot see how it could be construed as copying!
    Parenting throws up the same issues the world over ( throws up far less solutions to them unfortunately!) and as bloggers we will write about them, and inevitably there will be many similar themes, issues and posts.
    Well done for your measured response.
    Life on Hushabye Farm recently posted…Things I Say to the BoyMy Profile

    • September 24, 2015 / 4:25 pm

      Thank you for your lovely comment and I’m glad you enjoyed my sleep post.

      No matter where you are or who you are parenting is a challenge and I think sleep is the most discussed topic amongst me and my friends. Poo is a close second! X

  5. September 23, 2015 / 2:26 pm

    Slightly controversial but you shouldn’t have to apologise at all. Topics are not claimed for one person, I’m sure parents and writers before us have covered everything we have. While it is a genuinely nice thing to say a post inspired you I think it was harsh to have called you out on a ‘copy’ sandal. Good for you for addressing the issue but you speak and write about your life and the issues that arise. Keep going lady. Great post

    • September 24, 2015 / 4:25 pm

      Thank you very much for such a lovely supportive message Ceri x

  6. September 23, 2015 / 3:08 pm

    I loved reading this, well said laura and good on you for addressing this . Just keep doing what your doing. You dont have to apploligise either , its a genuine common post that all mums relate to. Just keep going! You handled the situation well

    Sarah

    http://Www.Diaryofalifestylemommy.com

    Xxx

  7. September 23, 2015 / 4:12 pm

    Personally I never think there is any excuse for publicly slating/shaming/arguing with anyone. Regardless of what they may have thought about you copying them I hate when people slate others online. So hurtful and the sot of thing that should be sorted personally between those concerned. I can completely understand why you have made this post public though lovely.

    People are quick to judge before they know both sides and the whole story, and sometimes forget that the other person has feelings.

    Stevie xx
    A Cornish Mum recently posted…Dobble Card Game Review and CompetitionMy Profile

    • September 23, 2015 / 4:15 pm

      Just saw Charlie’s comment that she never named you (good example of not knowing the whole story) so what I said still stands in no one should slate anyone online but respect to her for no name mentioning.
      Stevie x
      A Cornish Mum recently posted…Dobble Card Game Review and CompetitionMy Profile

    • September 24, 2015 / 4:28 pm

      I agree with everything here Stevie, and whilst you’re right I wasn’t named and didn’t have to name myself I knew it was me and I wanted to address the miscommunication in the post as well as sharing my side. I think a few people would have clicked it was me and I dont think I am the blogger that Charlie painted in her post which is why I made this public.

      People often forget that we are people as well. Real people with real feelings that are easily hurt xx

  8. September 23, 2015 / 5:36 pm

    I read both and didn’t think they were the same,I had someone comment on one of my posts the other day something like “I wrote one just like this” and on going to look I’d never been on their blog before.From the way it was written I couldn’t tell if it was in a nice way or accusatory so I just commented on hers about how I agreed and it was a great post.As you said we all more or less write about the same sort of thing so there’s bound to be crossovers. X
    Pickinguptoys recently posted…Wicked Wednesdays – 23rd SeptemberMy Profile

    • September 24, 2015 / 4:32 pm

      Thank you. I think there is so much cross over in the baby parenting blogs because that’s what babies do – eat sleep poo! That’s what life revolves around in those first months and it diversifies as your babies get their own personalities and interests x

  9. September 23, 2015 / 10:07 pm

    I’ve written loads of posts in the voice of my children, some of them have been about sleep, it’s not a new idea. I’ve been a bit disappointed when I’ve seen bloggers write very similar posts – but it’s just that, disappointment. We can’t copywrite ideas. Kudos for writing this, I would be genuinely gutted if someone wrote that about me. Great reply.
    Louise @ Mum of Boys recently posted…My Top 10 Things To Do With Small Children In DubaiMy Profile

    • September 24, 2015 / 4:35 pm

      I must say I especially love Wilfreds voice as I think he is cheeky 🙂

      I was devastated to read the original post, not going to lie, and I think things got twisted the way that they do with Facebook and the written word as every one has their own interpretations. Which is why I wanted to clear the air with my post, for while I’m not named I knew it was about me and that I’m not the person alluded to in the post x

  10. September 23, 2015 / 10:27 pm

    I haven’t read the posts concerned, but can’t help wondering why someone would assume that writing on a similar topic is automatically plagiarism. Especially when it’s on parenting which the majority of us have experienced.
    Did the Beatles insist no further songs be written on the topic of love after writing ‘Love Me Do’? Course not. It’s just silly. Keep doing what you’re doing X

    • September 24, 2015 / 4:36 pm

      Thanks Michelle – I love the Beatles reference 🙂 x

  11. September 23, 2015 / 10:28 pm

    I love this post! I think so many people have similar post, how you can you get mad at someone if they have the same idea. That is how we grow as bloggers, we get ideas from other bloggers! I am so glad you wrote this!

  12. Eve Hester-Wyne
    September 24, 2015 / 12:39 am

    This makes no sense unless one has the time and effort to search all the URLS you’ve posted. A friend shared this and I clicked. I found a Byzantine pile of links to previous arguments. I am sorry that you feel hurt about something (don’t have the energy to delve into the internet to find out what) but maybe it might be better for you and your “brand” (hate that word) to realise that sometimes people will stumble across your blog, find a complicated row, and decide never to visit again.

    • September 24, 2015 / 4:39 pm

      Fair point Eve, thank you for taking the time to comment.

  13. Amanda
    September 24, 2015 / 1:14 am

    seriously don’t think you did anything wrong and shouldn’t have had to apologise. You don’t have to site who you were inspired by – I’m inspired by others’ posts all the time – just read s money saving tips post and so decided to put together my own money saving tips! It’s the same and I’m not gonna site the post I read. Xx

    • September 24, 2015 / 4:37 pm

      I must read more money saving tips x

  14. September 24, 2015 / 6:25 am

    Yep there are two sides to every story. A dignified response, and btw thanks for the post, I too love a bit of drama and was wondering who that post referred to 🙂 now I know and I think you have explained your side of the matter well 🙂
    Wave to Mummy recently posted…Muddy puddles in (little) muddy puddlesMy Profile

    • September 24, 2015 / 4:39 pm

      Thank you – nothing beats a bit of drama unless you’re the one involved in it!

  15. lisa
    September 24, 2015 / 7:08 pm

    Good for you for sharing! I had an incident similar happen to me. You know, we read blog posts daily, and then one day an idea popped into my mind without me realizing someone else already did something similar… and I was contacted about it… once I noticed I changed some wording around, but I didnt mean to “COPY” anyone.

    • September 25, 2015 / 8:41 pm

      Exactly Lisa, there’s no need to take things public unless people don’t respond then go for it. Especially when you are in the same “blogging circles” x

  16. September 24, 2015 / 8:35 pm

    Well done for being so dignified about all this Laura, as mums we share so many life experiences these thing are bound to happen its so much better if it is sorted in an adult way. And like you say sometimes you just forget where the inspiration came from x

    • September 25, 2015 / 8:39 pm

      Thank you Sarah, especially when they are so small when they eat sleep poo and TEETH! X

  17. September 25, 2015 / 9:49 am

    I applaud you for being brave and writing this post but I personally don’t see as you copying, you were just inspired by someone else’s work as we’ve all been at times x
    Chantelle Hazelden recently posted…Taking Care of The BulliesMy Profile

    • September 25, 2015 / 8:37 pm

      Thank you Chantelle, I agree I think copy was a strong word x

  18. September 25, 2015 / 12:24 pm

    Yes i saw a bit of this going on, i thought it was all a bit odd really. I’ve now read both posts and it wouldn’t have occurred to me without anyone saying they were alike/copied!
    Sarah recently posted…Telling The World To Go Suck ItMy Profile

    • September 25, 2015 / 8:37 pm

      Thanks Sarah x

  19. September 25, 2015 / 2:01 pm

    I love a bit of drama too so of course I read the post! I’ll say the same thing to you as I said to her, you’ve handled this post in a very classy manner. I think it’s really courageous of you to have written a come back. Although she didn’t name you, all people had to do was google blog posts surrounding sleep and make the connection.
    The whole situation is a little bit silly really, dramatised even more by the “enquiry in to how to go viral” claim, which you have now cleared up.
    I have read both posts, and although they’re on the same topic, which like you say, is inevitable. There are differences in content and writing technique. We’re all going to have an overlap of content. It’s unavoidable.
    Now…I’m off to write a blog post on why my baby is crying!……joke 🙂
    Louise Rodgers recently posted…A Map Of MemoriesMy Profile

    • September 25, 2015 / 8:36 pm

      Thanks Louise, that was the main reason really it wasn’t difficult to trace back through to me and it painted me in a light which I felt was unfair and untrue.

      If you write a post on your baby crying maybe I will be able to decipher my baby’s cries! X

  20. September 25, 2015 / 2:08 pm

    You know what I totally agree with everything you’ve put in this post. My drafts is full of half written posts and ideas for posts. I read a lot of other blogs through linkys and often I come across posts from other mummy blogs that are just like mine, but they definately aren’t copying as some of mine haven’t even been published yet, but I still publish mine because I spent a lot of time writing and editing it. As bloggers we blog about our own experiences (obviously) and when blogging about one particular area (like parenting) there are going to be very similar stories. If you linked back to everyone who has had a similar experience to you and published a post on it you could be there all day!

    Visiting from #effitfridays

    • September 25, 2015 / 8:33 pm

      Thanks Janine. It’s true that as parents we have a natural and fairly selective number of topic. And those that are the most emotive are the ones that are most popular. And when you aren’t getting any sleep that’s the most emotive of all! And relatable. Not everyone breastfeeds. Not everyone had a c section. But everyone’s babies sleep. At some point anyway x

  21. September 25, 2015 / 3:50 pm

    Unless you directly copied and pasted her post, or quoted huge parts of it then you didn’t copy. That’s like saying everyone who writes a romance book is copying Shakespeare, after all he wrote Romeo and Juliet right!
    There are only so many topics you can write about as a parent so obviously they are going to crop up on many blogs. I think her post bitching about you is going to bite her in the ass here!
    For the record, if anyone here reads any of my posts and thinks “good topic, I want to write about that” please do, for two reasons:
    1. I would be happy to think I had inspired someone to write something
    2. Most important, like every other blogger out there, I don’t own a monopoly on a topic I choose to write about!
    If someone has a problem with you, I would agree that they should contact you first, basic common courtesy!
    Anyway, sorry about the long comment lol and thanks for hosting #effitfriday. Love the new badge too 🙂
    Debbie

    • September 25, 2015 / 8:30 pm

      Thanks Debbie, that would be my definition on copying as well. I think it was made to sound so much worse because of the drama around the supposed how do I make a post go viral piece which was inaccurate.

      Glad you’re loving the new badge!

  22. September 25, 2015 / 6:34 pm

    This happens a lot in the expat world too, we all write about similar things and often at the same time. Hence in the summer there will be a lot of wistful posts about moving home or arriving somewhere new. In December lots of posts about missing our families. I think we subconsciously pick up ideas from each other but I’m pretty sure most people don’t purposefully copy. Hopefully this was all a storm in a tea cup!

    • September 25, 2015 / 8:28 pm

      Very true Clara – my summer posts were all about the mass exodus from Dubai that happens every summer!

  23. September 26, 2015 / 12:24 am

    It sounds like a mistake (if you can call it that, I totally am with you on the tired baby brain thing and these things happen, and I have also written stuff that could be seen as similar to others) I hope the dust settles. I am sure plenty of people write things that look a lot like what other people write. It isn’t as if you copied her word for word, or stole her work and passed it off as your own.
    Hugs

    #EffitFriday
    karen recently posted…Friday’s Rant from the Soap Box in MY Living Room – A petty rant about trying to get pregnant and other people’s advice…My Profile

    • September 26, 2015 / 7:51 pm

      Thanks Karen – i live in hope that baby brain will end!

  24. September 29, 2015 / 12:26 am

    Hmm, you know I came across another open letter to a plagiarising blogger recently (I think it was on Pinterest). In that case, the copying blogger had copied the post word for word and posted it without any credit. The copied blogger contacted them to let them know, and instead of removing the post the copier offered to add credit. Only then was the open letter published, and that’s as it should be. It’s not on to post open letters like this without first having contacted the ‘offender’ privately. It could be a genuine mistake or oversight, or a total coincidence — it happens. We parent bloggers may not be infinite monkeys, but we are writing coherent posts (hopefully anyway) about a limited number of topics, so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that it could have been a coincidence, #effitfriday

  25. September 30, 2015 / 5:59 am

    Back again from #blogstorm, thanks for hosting 🙂
    Debbie

  26. September 30, 2015 / 12:59 pm

    I agree, sometimes it feels like I am just writing what everyone else is as there’s only so much to write about when the sole topic is my kids. Well done you for trying to resolve an awkward situation.

    #blogstorm

    • October 1, 2015 / 5:18 pm

      Thanks lovely – it’s a bit like dinner parties when you invite parents, the topics are limited to poo and sleep!

  27. September 30, 2015 / 3:36 pm

    Oh dear! It happens doesn’t it and you are right…most of the time you try to find the post you have been inspired by and cite it. However, life and babies just get in the way! I think you have handled this really well and I hope you were not too upset by it all. Thank for hosting xx #blogstorm
    Sarah Howe (@RunJumpScrap) recently posted…Best and Worst Week #20My Profile

    • October 1, 2015 / 5:18 pm

      Thanks Sarah – yep babies have a habit of sucking the last remaining brain cell out of you! x

  28. September 30, 2015 / 5:00 pm

    I’ve read posts that were obviously inspired by things I’d just put out, and also read posts that got me thinking about things and let to my own posts. Like you said, there are only so many ideas and we all are experiencing many of the same things. People need to get over themselves sometimes
    jeremy@thirstydaddy recently posted…It can WaitMy Profile

    • October 1, 2015 / 5:19 pm

      Thanks Jeremy!

  29. September 30, 2015 / 6:14 pm

    Wow…..I have read this and then I read the posts in question and I re-read the post that you are supposed to have ‘copied’. Like others have said there is such a fine line in parenting blogs to not be similar, I wouldn’t day that you copied her at all but well done with how you have handled it. I have to agree with Jeremy, sometimes people just need to get off their high horse sometimes and realise that people do write about similar things. Thanks for linking up such an honest post to the #bestandworst keep smiling!! xx
    helen gandy recently posted…Best and Worst Linky #20My Profile

    • October 1, 2015 / 5:21 pm

      Thanks Helen, that’s such a lovely comment to make. It’s a tough one, and it took a lot of talking through with people to decide whether to write a post or not as theoretically I’m not named, but I don’t think it would be that difficult to find me and I don’t think that the blogger portrayed in that post is me at all. There are always two sides to every story!xx

  30. September 30, 2015 / 11:15 pm

    This is such a difficult thing to avoid. As you say, so many blogs and blog posts out there is bound to lead to similar posts especially within certain niches. When I write a post aboit blogging, I am well aware that it has already been covered a million times before. But I think that providingg its your personal experiwnce or opinion you use for the post, even if it is similar to someone elses post, you should not feel you are plaguirising. #Bestandworst

  31. October 1, 2015 / 4:06 pm

    Oh dear! An accusation of copying to me implies that you pinched whole sections of the post and passed it off as your own. Which is not on. (And, given what I know of you, isn’t something you’d do anyway).

    But you can’t copy a writing idea … There’s only so many ideas in the parenting and lifestyle niche and we’re all going to write about them at some point. We just write about them differently. Which is what makes it interesting and valuable.

    For someone to have a go at someone else for nicking an idea is a bit meh to me. Even more so to do it publicly without having tried to sort it out privately first. But some people do love the drama llama. #blogstorm

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