Credit the Original Reddit User?
While we are moving the Oddities Observed office from the subfloors of the old FoundryCast studio to a new reinforced underground bunker buried beneath Mischief Hollow, I thought I would share a true short story that happened recently regarding one of my videos.
While some videos seem to languish along in the content feed, never really finding vitality within the viewing audience, for whatever reason, there are a couple that do continue to drip new viewers with moderate success. The Catman of Greenock video is just such a video, which while not a viral video by any stretch of the imagination, is still such a niche subject that it easily rises to the surface of a shallower pool. As a result, it has a higher comment average from active viewers.
About two weeks ago, a comment came through from a viewer that caught my attention. I try to give a 'thumbs up' to every comment, and I reply back to most. I have had to remove a couple of comments that were inflammatory or that were simply spam, but I have left up any that were merely critical. This time, however, the comment was utterly shocking!
Please note, I am only including their name because they were positive in their messaging and meant no disrespect or ill will.
Sara Pasuri: hey! no hate to you man, but i think you should credit the original reddit user, from whom this video is almost word to word copied from. x
I was floored by this comment as I would never intentionally plagiarize the content of another creator. Sure, this subgenre is littered with synchronistic ideas, or unintentional influences, but that doesn't mean that it is all purposeful poaching of content. As I shared in my previous blog post, Understanding Our Process, I explained that my process of writing the older articles and the newer video scripts is a bit of a mess. TLDR version: Lots of articles, 3-5 sources minimum, blend, juice, and serve with a lemon wedge.
In the process, it is entirely possible for a full sentence to come through, copied and pasted, without alteration, refinement, or cannibalization. Possible, but highly unlikely. I take the context of my sources, restring for the narrative, re-contextualize, and then edit again for flow. This process occurs in so many small combing patterns that it should not fully resemble the original at all. So again, I was really surprised to see that someone was claiming my video was copied from someone else.
Once I was over the initial panic, I regained some composure and I commented back to Sara Pasuri. I wanted to defend myself a little, but be respectful as Sara was not being rude, and I asked for clarity to understand what had happened.
Oddities Observed: If you have the link to the reddit, please let me know. The script is from an article I wrote for my own website a while back.
First I thought that they were just saying my content was really similar to that of another Catman of Greenock video. As the amount of documentation on the actual person is so small, most content about him will be much the same. I then questioned myself, wondering if I had taken maybe a full paragraph and had not run it through my process and that is what caused the viewer to notice. Logically those cancelled out and I began to think something much more nefarious was going on.
Frantically, I tried searching around to see if someone had copied me, instead of the other way around. Any other video about the Catman was different and unique, nothing was quite like my own. I had not heard back from Sara, so I continued to dig. All I could find online while searching for videos was really my own video. But once I changed the search to purely 'the catman of greenock' on Google, this is what resulted.
My previous blog from 2019 is the #1 ranked item on Google when searching for the Catman! That was awesome, but it didn't exactly explain why Sara was claiming I was not giving credit to the original author on Reddit. So I got back to digging. As I mentioned in the blog post Understanding Our Growth, Reddit is a foreign landscape to me and so I struggled at sorting through the data, but one search with the proper key terms lead me to this.
Almost a year ago, someone had added my own blog post to Reddit before I was ever on Reddit myself! As I clicked on tabs and searched around a bit more, I found a couple more places where the same thing happened.
It was clear to me that Sara Pasuir had actually read my own work through someone else's post, archived from a while back, not knowing that the author of the older blog and the author of the video script were the same. Easy mistake, so I commented back once more.
Oddities Observed: I just searched around Reddit and I think the post you are talking about was someone reposting my own website. People have posted my articles before.
Sara Pasuir: aah alright! i didn't know that the original writer was u.
Oddities Observed: I appreciate you checking in about it!!!!
Ultimately, I was glad that I went through the process of figuring this whole thing out for several reasons. Firstly, I was glad I could clear my name and uphold the integrity of Oddities Observed. Secondly, I was glad that there are still viewers out there who, even when they have a critical comment, they can still post it while remaining positive and civil.
Lastly, I was glad to see that there are likely loads of older Oddities Observed articles that have been shared on social media sites like Reddit. While we don't get as much concrete data like we would from say YouTube, we have seen some decent web traffic coming to The FoundryCast website, driven by articles, and now we know why.