Columbus advocacy group charged with plagiarism

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Bike Muckraker
Participant
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A leader of the Columbus Ohio advocacy group Yay Bikes! has charged another Columbus advocacy group Consider Biking with plagiarizing Bike Pittsburgh’s “About” webpage.

Is plagiarism the sincerest form of flattery in this case, or are any of you offended? Was permission to use your words requested and granted?

This CMH advocate would like to know what PGH thinks (I hope your advocacy community gets along with each other better than ours does).


sloaps
Participant
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I don’t see the similarities… Goals are different, vision is different, etc.

Maybe they copied the script for the “about” button?


rachel_ding
Participant
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The screen-shot that Yay! provides does not look like the current Consider Biking page. Did they change it just after the blog was posted?


Bike Muckraker
Participant
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To make it more clear, compare this page

http://bike-pgh.org/about/

with this page

http://www.considerbiking.org/about/


rachel_ding
Participant
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From a BikePGH member’s perspective:

While I generally value originality in writing, art, etc., we’re talking about a 1-paragraph description of a nonprofit bicycle advocacy organization that wants the same exact thing (safe, accessible, and friendly to bicycle transportation) as the other non-profit bicycle advocacy organization. I don’t see a huge problem with this. According to their website, Consider Biking has 20 years of advocacy to show off, so they’ve probably come up with a lot of their own ideas, and probably borrowed a whole bunch too – just like every other bicycle advocacy organization, to varying degrees. I mean, yeah – they took the description word-for-word and that shows some lack of integrity, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not all that important.

I don’t know the full story about Yay! and Consider Biking’s relationship, but it seems petty to accuse Consider Biking with plagiarism. The great thing about bike advocacy non-profits is that (and this is my impression) it’s usually OK to share and borrow ideas (and asking first is probably the proper way to go about it, and who knows, maybe they did).

Maybe the author of the words would feel differently, but I think it sounds great on both webpages, regardless of who came up with it first.

…or maybe I’m just not getting it.


netviln
Participant
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yeah.. seems almost juvenile to me. Maybe Yay bikes founder was let go from consider.. who knows, there has to be more behind the reasoning.


erok
Keymaster
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well, there is pretty much a culture of using each other’s stuff in the bike advocacy world. we all steal each other’s events and ideas, it’s sort of the spirit of those of us involved in the Alliance for Biking and Walking.

if it works in one place, it will most likely work in another place. no reason to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, when we’re all trying to get people out of their cars.

admittedly, i’ve stolen language and text from other groups, but i guess changed the words a bit more than that.


erok
Keymaster
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after thinking about it a bit, to be quite honest, i’ll probably keep my opinions off of a public messageboard.

really, it doesn’t affect us one way or the other.

sucks ya’ll don’t get along. but i don’t know the history of what’s going on.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I’m less concerned about them yanking an About page from our site, and more concerned with them making real progress in promoting cycling in Columbus OH. And if they have two orgs there doing the same thing, why bicker?

(btw, great writing, Erok!)

P.S. Don’t know if you’ve been following the Yay Bikes! thread, but apparently Bike-Pgh will gain one membership out of their little dispute.


rachel_ding
Participant
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Totally having an “afterthought” moment..

I should mention also that I know nothing about Consider Biking and I don’t know anything about what’s come of their 20 years of advocacy.. nor do I know anything about Yay! Bikes.

..just commenting on the situation at hand…

Best of luck to Columbus. I drove through once: it was sunny and I had a really good vegetarian gyro.


erok
Keymaster
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BM: are there any threads on the YB messageboard that sorta describe how things went so sour?


Bike Muckraker
Participant
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The best overview of the situation was probably written up in Columbus’ weekly Other Paper

http://www.theotherpaper.com/articles/2009/02/11/front/doc49934ebf1023d171463332.txt

Here’s the Yay Bikes! thread discussing this article

http://yaybikes.com/transitional/viewtopic.php?t=1445

Thanks for all your comments. I think you have clear heads about it. Nice to see what others think who aren’t emotionally involved.


greenbike
Participant
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Wow. I’m sad to see such fighting in my ole’ hometown. Columbus has great flat geography and arterial roads for commuting…I hope they get that fixed up.


jakeliefer
Participant
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That’s unfortunate that there’s so much controversy. When I lived in C-Bus (Spring ’07) there was a weekly night ride that met at OSU. It was pretty impressive, about 60 people would come out and ride 30 miles (flat land made it much easier) then head over to grab pizza in German Village. Apparently, it was even larger before but some issues within the group caused a major divide and tensions were high between the two. Bummer that there’s so much controversy in biking there, hopefully you guys can work out your issues ’cause you have great opportunities out there.


Bike Muckraker
Participant
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Well it looks like the thread discussed above has been deleted from Yay Bikes! site. Cooler heads have prevailed? I hope another lawsuit wasn’t threatened.

Columbus has a history of these messy divorces. What is now known as Columbus Outdoor Pursuits was once known as the Columbus Council of American Youth Hostels… before they split from the National AYH.


ieverhart
Participant
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As I see it, Bike Pittsburgh is the only one with any kind of legal claim here, which it doesn’t seem like anyone is really interested in pursuing (unless it was originally lifted from somewhere else…), but this is just being used as the latest weapon/argument between the two rival groups. Seeing two groups in the same city with such bad blood makes me sadder than borrowing any phrasing from this site. I guess it’s one thing if they are pursuing different visions but to take shots at each other seems like the personalities involved got out of hand, and they are jeopardizing the work they both hope to achieve. (“Why can’t we all just get along?”)

Assuming this site is truly “transitional,” this borrowed language isn’t all that terrible way of telling visitors what you’re up to, though it is lazy to omit any kind of credit to their source. As Erok says, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel in this department but someone should re-work this to make it less obvious–and hopefully incorporate some original ideas, as well.


Mick
Participant
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We here in Pittsburgh can’t really get a sense of what is going on there. It might be that that the main players have this pretty much resolved and some of their “friends” are stirring up some… stuff.

It’s also important to remember when we here in Pittsburgh have disagreements to keep things on a colleagial level.

Even though many of us have some strong commitments to particular visions, we typically have good bonds with those that disagree.

Actually, some of the people here that I respect the most (“Mickey, get the F**K off the sidewalk”), I disagree with the most (“I’ll ride through back yards and lift my bike over fences before I go on the street past that bar room parking lot at 2 am.”)

Of course, when the problem is in C-bus, it’s easy to talk about this – in Pittsburgh – and get warm and fuzzy. The important time to remember it is when someone is WRONG on the internet. (Or even in real life.)

There’s a lot of idiots in the world, some of them ride bikes – BradQ Not only do they ride bikes, they are our friends and allies.

Mick


mark
Participant
#

i am on the consider biking list and the pike pgh list (i have good friends in columbus and sometimes go up there for big events) and the orgs are very similar, its a bit ridiculous that they don’t have a defined enough vision to write their own about page though… good thing bike-pgh didn’t write anything about riding on hills…

that said it would be weird if another bike advocacy group popped up in pgh, i don’t know how the community would react… hopefully better than this though.

i was thinking of somehow relating this to the steelers but i decided not to, just pretend i did though.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Before we go looking for trouble with a competing bike advocacy group, I’d like to see some (more) cross-pollination among the existing (and the should-exist) groups whose interests overlap. We already have good links to Friends of the Riverfront, Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest, Allegheny County Transit Council, Southwest Penna Commission, and a few others.

But how about city steps? Or invasive species control? Or historical preservation? Or trolley history enthusiasts? Or the walk-to-school folks? All the neighborhood-betterment groups? Probably 30 more I can’t think of in a hurry.

We’re doing so much right in this town, and the working together of the bike people with all of the above can only help. That’s my vision, anyway.


dmtroyer
Participant
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???


spakbros
Participant
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CALL TO ACTION:

somebody send some Dr. Suess books to C-bus immediately!


erok
Keymaster
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haha.

it’s because we have Mr Rogers


mark
Participant
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we all like our bread butter side down!


Kramhorse
Participant
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I understand not feeling particularly possessive of your web site “about” page, so I can’t blame bike pgh if it doesn’t pursue the issue.

That said, it’s not hard to create an about page. Stealing someone else’s word-for-word is incredibly unprofessional. At least have the decency to rephrase some stuff. Makes me wonder how effective the group can be if they consider it a challenge post 3 or 4 semi-novel paragraphs to their web site.


Boo
Participant
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Oh lookie here… Yay Bikes is claiming moral superiority. Go figure. They find themselves superior in every way.

But heaven forbid you want to ride a bike outside of downtown or sober. There’s no place for these types of cyclists in their little club.

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