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Plagiarism

In Brilliant I have seen a few cases of plagiarism. While the people who plagiarised probably had no idea they were committing a crime, they did, and it was a huge one. Today I am going to post this note to raise the awareness of this crime, and i am going to take help from this article (note that by mentioning this I have avoided plagarism).


  • So the first question is, what is plagarism?

To quote from here,

Plagiarism is the act of taking another person's writing, conversation, song, or even idea and passing it off as your own. This includes information from web pages, books, songs, television shows, email messages, interviews, articles, artworks or any other medium


  • What actions are considered plagiarism?
  1. Not citing direct quotations of written work in written materials: For example the point I just noted is directly copied from the article I mentioned at the beginning of this note, and it would have been plagiarism if I hadn't mentioned it.

  2. Modifying written words and claiming them as your own: This note has taken about 20-40% of its content from the article mentioned above, so we can say I modified that article and posted it. However it would still be a crime if I didn't mention the article despite the modifications.


  • Why is plagiarism bad?
  1. Copyright violation: If someone has published something, it is by law theirs, and if they don't permit it to be copied you can be tried under a law called the copyright law.

  2. Receiving undue credit: If you copy someone elses work and present it as your own, people will give you credit for it. This is ethically wrong as you are giving yourself undeserved credit because the person who really deserves the credit is not getting it.

  3. Cheating yourself: When does plagiarism occur? When you need to do some work but you copy from someone else instead. Here by not doing your own work you are depriving yourself of the knowledge you could have learnt if you instead did the work yourself.So if you plagiarise an article you are not improving your article writing skills.

  4. Setting examples: If you have a younger sibling, or people who look up to you, by plagiarising you are setting an example for them and they might plagiarise because you taught them to.

  5. Bad for Brilliant: If you plagiarise stuff and put it into Brilliant(or any online forum for that matter), it will not only destroy your reputation, it will also destroys the reputation of Brilliant and its members.


  • What are the consequences of plagiarising?
  1. Loss of financial aid from educational departments: If you plagiarise something for school, and you are caught, you will never get a scholarship or something like that.

  2. Loss of career choices: Some top companies run background checks ran on people and if they find out you have a history of plagiarism, they are unlikely to trust their business to you.

  3. Loss of respect: Like any crime, after you commit this, people will stop respecting you.

  4. Prison: This is probably the worst out of the consequences I listed here. The thing is plagiarism is against the law, and if the one whose work you illegally plagiarised presses charges against you, there is very little that can prevent you from going to prison.


  • How to avoid plagiarism?

The answer is simple.Mention the source if it is public, but if it is private(i.e not free) you will need permission of the owner. For example if you post an AIME problem be sure to label it "AIME II problem X". If you have a problem which inspired by another,be sure to label it "Inspired by X". If you copy something onto a note, be sure to link it.


Hopefully this explains all the reasons and consequences of plagiarism to anyone reading this All credits to this article.And please consider this before posting a problem/note/wiki next time.

Note by Aareyan Manzoor
8 months ago

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Thank you wholeheartedly @Aareyan Manzoor. I had done this once and never realized what I was commiting was immoral due to which my reputation went down. And I am very sad, though I deleted what I did. Thanks to @Calvin Lin and @Andrew Ellinor and @Vighnesh Shenoy for correcting me. I hope this apology would make up for what I did. And I wont do it again. Ashish Siva · 8 months ago

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Especially on my part,I posted many problems which were not original.Thanks to @Andrew Ellinor who stopped me to do this.I aplogize for it here. Rohit Udaiwal · 8 months ago

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@Rohit Udaiwal Really? I did not know about that. Should I mention not original for every problem which is not original? Svatejas Shivakumar · 7 months, 4 weeks ago

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@Svatejas Shivakumar That is not required. We just need to not to claim non-original problems as ours. Nihar Mahajan · 7 months, 4 weeks ago

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@Nihar Mahajan I think we should not mention source as solvers can copy answers... Better 'this is not original' Dev Sharma · 7 months, 4 weeks ago

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@Dev Sharma We should mention the source since not all people are copiers. If they copy the answers, they are simply deceiving themselves. Nihar Mahajan · 7 months, 4 weeks ago

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@Dev Sharma Yes, maybe you can mention source in your solution. Ashish Siva · 7 months, 4 weeks ago

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@Nihar Mahajan We have to mention the source Aareyan Manzoor · 7 months, 4 weeks ago

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@Aareyan Manzoor Yes, of course. But writing "this is not original" is not necessary. Nihar Mahajan · 7 months, 4 weeks ago

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@Nihar Mahajan if we mention the source why write that lol Aareyan Manzoor · 7 months, 4 weeks ago

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@Aareyan Manzoor Its not necessary that a person would know the source.What if a person gets the problem by sharing by his friend/teacher or in his worksheet given at his institute? Then who created that problem/source is not clear. Nihar Mahajan · 7 months, 4 weeks ago

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@Svatejas Shivakumar Yes, you have to, that is what I learnt from this note. Ashish Siva · 7 months, 4 weeks ago

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@Rohit Udaiwal :-) We are like brothers to do the same mistake XD. Anyways I have learnt from my mistake and Im sure you too would have. Ashish Siva · 8 months ago

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In nature, it's called "mimicry". For example, certain non-venomous frogs have evolved to adopt the bright colors of venomous frogs, thus fast-tracking into protective benefits that had taken the original venomous frogs considerably longer to achieve. Nature is full of mimicry and cheats, and there is no punishment. A problem plaguing science today is that people find scientists easy to imitate and to plagiarize, and they go and impress others that they are legitimate scientists, and after they are finally caught, it is too late and the public has already accepted bogus theories as facts. Witness the anti-vaxx epidemic, originally started by a bogus scientist Andrew Wakefield whose work has been exposed to be fraudulent, but nobody cares about that any more--the anti-vaxx movement lives on.

Does one get ahead through plagiarization? Unfortunately, too often, yes. But it requires that the offender lacks pride and the ability to be embarrassed. A worm lacks pride and the ability to be embarrassed. It's up to each of us to decide what we are. Michael Mendrin · 7 months, 3 weeks ago

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plagiarism is unstoppable .. Ayush Maurya · 7 months, 3 weeks ago

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@Ayush Maurya But it is still good to minimise the extent of plagiarism, such to be creative and make your own works. Joel Yip · 5 months, 1 week ago

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Few questions from a curious mind:

  • If we mention the source of the problem, chances of cheating may occur. Agree?

  • You may reply to the above question in the manner, 'not all people are copiers', fine.

  • Think about the rating system. Why was it made? Just to depict the difficulty of the problems. If copiers copy from the sources mentioned, they would affect the rating of the problem. Say, the AIME Problem X, which deserved level 5, will become a level 3.

Thoughts? @Aareyan Manzoor Swapnil Das · 7 months, 3 weeks ago

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@Swapnil Das CHeating can be done even without the aid of source, in brilliant we dont care about cheaters. they are wronging themselves. So i would sugest you do the same and forget about cheater. Aareyan Manzoor · 7 months, 3 weeks ago

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@Swapnil Das That's true. But a problem will earn the correct level for it's merit as for every cheater, there will be many honest honest people. Svatejas Shivakumar · 7 months, 3 weeks ago

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