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You’re an Evil Plagiarist with a Duplicate Flag
© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.
You’ve worked hard to craft your hub. You’ve checked the facts, corrected any grammatical errors, fixed the typos and polished the sentences. When you publish your piece, you are rewarded with a high hub score and praise from your followers. After a few days, your efforts increase your page impressions and bring in some cash.
Then one day, your title is pinked out in your stats list with the warning duplicate. Your creation is no longer visible to the world and you receive an email chastising you for your evil intentions. You are warned to make corrections before the page can be published. However, you are never told what those corrections need to be.
Don’t panic! You’re in good company as you can see from my two duplicate flags. They unfortunately appeared within hours of each other during the weekend, when I was expecting the greatest number of impressions for my hubs.
The HubPages Help classifies the duplicate violation as something far more ominous than it actually is. It can arise for any of the following cases:
- Copying another Internet work verbatim or through paraphrasing. This is outright plagiarism, which is defined as unauthorized duplication of an existing work. This should be punished. But if you did this crime, I doubt you’d be looking for reasons by reading this hub.
- Including numbers or other reference information from a public domain or government source. This is the most common reason that some of my hubs get flagged, since I like to write about statistical information.
- Quoting text from an Internet source, whether or not you’ve attributed the original.
As far as I can tell, the threshold for producing this flag is around 25 percent or greater. In other words, if a quarter or more of your work is copied, then HubPages marks your hub as a duplicate.
The obvious solution is to rewrite your hub. But this is only viable for case 1. It cannot be done for cases 2 or 3 unless you’re willing to eliminate the statistics or make up numbers.
A solution that’s worked for me in cases 2 or 3 is to reply to the warning email. Then explain that your hub consists primarily of statistical or reference information that cannot be rewritten. In all these instances, the duplicate flag was eliminated and my hubs marked as exceptions.
If after appealing your case for 2 and 3, the flag still remains, you can try removing the offending text from the hub and pasting it into the Comment field. You can then refer readers to the comment as needed.
I understand that the process is entirely automated out of efficiency. But I find the practice of finding me guilty until proven innocent offensively Napoleonic. I think a fairer method is to allow the hub to remain visible until the hubber is truly pronounced guilty. Only at the time should it become unpublished. Otherwise, even if the hubber is innocent, he loses both page views and income that can never be recovered.