Sunday, February 22, 2009

So... why would you want to?

Really interesting discussion going on in the comments section of my last post. I thought I’d reply in an actual post, though, so it wouldn’t get lost after all those lengthy texts. :)

The main idea in the opposition is that ideas aren’t copyrightable and there isn’t a lot you can do with a book blog. I…see, I suppose, what the ones saying this mean, but to me it’s such a defeatist’s outlook. I don’t understand how people can stand to look at anything with this much pessimism. (This coming from a pessimist.)

I disagree entirely with the idea that a book blog is a limited thing. It’s limited in the sense that it’s about books, but the possibilities of what you can do with every resource therein are endless. It’s quite sad to think people actually approach their blog under the assumption that they can’t bring something new to the table. Or, if they can, it’ll be derived from someone else’s idea, because ideas aren’t copyrightable.

Now, I’m not saying your inspiration for something worthy has to come from the vacuum. The world overlaps in more ways than we can imagine and everything is related in some way or another. But it seems downright lazy to me to give up without even trying. Imagine what it’d be like if no blog had content unique to it alone; if everything and everyone was a badly masked derivation from something or someone else. (Usually that’s how it is, too—I mean, do you really think someone who can’t be bothered to come up with their own thing will bother replicating someone else’s well?)

I’m not even saying my blog is anything original. (Evidently, it isn’t.) But I do hope when you come here, you’re not thinking, Ohhh, she totally got that from so-and-so!

Aside from my disagreement about other minor things, this is my main point. Why start something up if you think you can’t bring anything new to it? Why sell yourself short like that?

Something to keep in mind from this whole discussion: People are less likely to get mad if you take something from their blog if you do it well (which goes with what I said on the last post about making something yours) and if you link to them every time you do it. (Speaking generally here. Each case is different, as evidenced by GW.)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s late. ;)


Tiqa Khairi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tiqa Khairi said...

I totally agree on this. especially the part ; .. because ideas aren’t copyrightable.

I have procascinated on the idea of creating a book review blog for so long, and ironically, today I told myself to just do it and let others judge me.

check out me being an amateur at book review-ing blog ;

Donna (Bites) said...

I don't think there's an original idea on this planet. Those were used up millenia ago and everything's a derivation of something else. But it's what you do with that derivation that makes it uniquely yours. It's like working with cliches. If you use the stock pieces that everyone else is using, it's going to come out like crap and look like everyone else's. But if you take that cliche and but your own spin on it and make it nearly unrecognizable, then it doesn't look like the rest. It hardly resembles the rest but the basis is there.

The internet is a cess pool for shitheads. It really is. No, you can't copyright an idea but that doesn't give anyone the right to just go and take it and claim it as your own because the original owner doesn't have any "real" ownership over it. And the thing with writing, the second the words hit paper, it's considered copyrighted so if someone is copying a column from a blog or stealing posts, that is plagiarism and it makes the plagiarist a slime.

No one's saying other bloggers can't have something like the YA Connection and in something like the intarwebs, it's hard to attribute original ownership to someone, specially when a few blogs have something similar going on. If that's the case, attribute the idea, if you are going to do something like it, to where you saw it first. if I wanted to do something like the YA Connection, I'd give credit to The Story Siren since that's the first place I saw it but then I wouldn't copy each section verbatim. What fun would that be? I'd make it my own. Like people should.

The anonymity of the internet can make it easier for people to do whatever the hell they want to do without suffering the repercussions on their actions. It'll come back around to them eventually but other than that, they can do what they want, when they want and there isn't much anyone else can do about it, unfortunately. But the bigger the community is about supporting blogging ethics, like the YA book blog community, the more the entire community to gang up on noncompliant schmucks and make life difficult for them in terms of maintaining any semblance for a reputation. It's kind of hard to keep credit with yourself when you have fifty bloggers all pointing their fingers at you on their own blogs saying you stole someone's idea and refuse to give credit where credit is deserved. Get what I'm saying? That kind of rallying can be very beneficial in situations like that, especially if the offending blogger is telling you to go fornicate yourself and needs a good smothering with a dictionary.

BookChic said...

I like how you say "There's tons of things to do with a book blog!!" and yet during your Girl Week, you didn't do anything terribly creative- it was just the usual stuff (guest blogs, reviews, etc.) mish-mashed together into one week focusing on a certain topic.

I honestly don't see my view as pessimistic (Steph, if you know me at all, you know that I am FAR from being a pessimist), it's realistic. There is very little in the way of general content that you can play around with on a book blog- it's mainly reviews, interviews, guest blogs, discussion posts, and contests. Maybe a little link roundup or meme every so often. You can put little twists in things, but a book blog is still limited. It doesn't mean that people aren't being creative, it's just that there isn't much to go on.

Now that doesn't mean I'm saying that people shouldn't try anything new or think of new things to do because you still should, but at the same time, it's not a huge problem if you don't necessarily have anything new. What I'm trying to say is that there shouldn't be any pressure on a blogger to have something new or unique on their blog. If an idea happens, great. If it doesn't, that's fine too. I just have a more laid-back approach to it. Personally, I don't even think my own blog has anything unique to it. I'm fine with that- it doesn't matter. As long as people are reading and are enjoying what I'm posting, I'm happy.

As for ideas, generally those come pretty quickly. I'm sure that Girl Week (the idea itself, not the planning/organization/execution) didn't take you long to come up with. So what if someone "steals" that idea? All it did was save that person 5 minutes of thinking- it doesn't somehow lessen the amount of work he or she will have to put into organizing the week. I realize you did a lot of work putting Girl Week together, but that doesn't mean that someone else who does a theme week different (or even similar) to yours is going to have to do any less work on it. This Geek Week is still going to be a lot of work for the person doing it, just as Girl Week was for you. So why make such a big stink about it? It makes no sense.

Like Harmony said on the last post, several bloggers have a monthly author feature they do. I have Fresh New Voice(s) of YA, and then Harmony started doing Author of the Month with the same sort of content (review, interview, guest blog). Did I get on her back saying that author spotlights were my idea? No, not at all. Because I'm not the first one to have done it and, not only that, my own author spotlight happened by accident and didn't take long to come up with. So even if someone did steal the idea ahd did something like Debut Voices in YA every month, I wouldn't care. It's just such a petty thing to get upset over.

Now, if someone was doing Debut Voices in YA and was just STEALING my content and pasting it into their own blog and saying it's something they did, then I'd get upset and email them privately (NOT make a public post about it complaining) to call them out on it.

However, what you're describing is not stealing in the slightest, it's not even really copying. It's just another theme week.

In regards to your first point in the last paragraph ("people are less likely..."), you didn't even give those bloggers a chance. They mentioned they wanted to do a Geek Week in March and were planning for it, and then you went all psycho on them. Why couldn't you have waited until it was up and running before saying they "stole" from you? The theme week idea is not yours, nor is it anybody's. You have no right to be upset over this. That would be like me being upset over Girl Week because of its similarities to my GLBT Week- there's no reason to be upset.

Also, they are planning on doing something new- they're including bloggers in it, which I'm pretty sure you didn't do for Girl Week. Isn't that new enough?

Anonymous said...

I agree with both BookChic and Steph, as impossible as that sounds. BookChic is right about themed weeks not being anything new. Steph is right about people needing to get more creative and stop broadcasting things we saw yesterday on someone else's blog. I agree there's a lot you can do with anything, including and especially a book blog.

I think your, BookChic, crossing the line, though. Steph barely mentioned Girl Week here and your bringing it up all over again when we've all heard you're case on the other post. Get off you're high horse, please. Girl Week may have just been another themed week, but it was better than most and Steph has every right to be protective of it. I think will see many more themed weeks this year than there were last year because of Girl Week's success.

I was going to keep my thoughts of you out of this but as you haven't shown any decorum, I'll let up. You have no taste. You're blog is generic, defined only by it's unfailing schoolgirl hearts directed at any published book. Any one whose been to you're blog would think you're spew here as ironic.

Steph, maybe you were a little imature about this. I understand you're concern with Girl Week though and I hope you pay no attention to all of the hysterics. I always thought your better than most books you read any way -you'd do better in the adult literature blogo'sphere. Your smart and you shouldn't waist it on incivilized people.

Unknown said...

Boothy, I don't understand why you're being so mean here. Telling Steph that she's not creative and that Girl Week took five minutes to come up with? What an ugly thing to say! It's possible to discuss these things without being mean and overly personal.

Amanda said...

I've been reading all of these comments and all I can say is WOW. Everyone needs to calm down a bit.

Maybe Steph overreacted a bit but who cares!? She has the right to be upset if she wants. This is HER blog, let her complain on it. I agree with a lot of what she says.

It goes without saying that I agree with you too BC. You made some really good points. But you said that Steph was "attacking" people and well...aren't you "attacking" her opinion right now? Just a thought.

I love all of you guys, keep up the great work!

Alea said...

I really appreciate what Steph has brought up for discussion (and not just because she mentions me). Steph is known for starting great discussions just like this. This is something that has not been talked about really as a group and I think it's a great time to bring it up. When reading Steph's post I see it as a general reminder with a few examples to back it up, the specifics are not what are important.

A little background on my Lookalikes (not that anyone asked! but I felt like sharing!) I've had my blog since about 2005 I believe and in January 2007 posted my first post about a lookalike (before i had even picked that name) and it happened to be a movie poster. No one read my blog back them besides me! It slowly evolved into a more book related feature as my blog also became more book related but I still from time to time post other things that look alike. I started Hardcovers vs. Paperbacks in November of 2008 to get a little variation going! I work as a graphic designer so I find these things interesting and was happy to see that others did too.

I also want to say thanks to everyone that has sent me in suggestions for my features. I really do appreciate it. And thanks for the sweet comments here as well.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Because I know that Lookalikes is Alea's thing, if I came across one, I wouldn't ever even consider posting it on my blog. I would just send her a mail about it and if she chose to post about I know she would give me credit. Simple.

Of course not everyone knows. But if you do, do the right thing, be polite and give credit where it is due.

Anonymous said...

I really like what Harmonybookreviews said in the last post: Quote: "...Your originality is in your VOICE, not your content..."

I'm not a book blogger, only a reader of such, but I really think this is the truest point I've seen being made.

In writing you can have the same subject -- girl finds out she's a princess -- but it's the execution of the plot, book or, for that matter, blog that makes it what it is.

I come here for Steph's finesse and attitude probably even moreso than her book reviews (though they are awesome) so even though I've seen similar topics on other blogs, her execution of her thoughts are what makes the blog different, not the topics.

Unknown said...

I come to her blog in hopes that she'll say something nice about me to her brother. You gotta have your priorities set, people!

Liviania said...

I agree with BC's basic argument, although not the mean way he's putting it across. I remember your post at the end of Girl Week - you said you were originally thinking about something you'd call Fashion Week. I was glad you hadn't since I held a Fashion Week in July/August and wanted to hold one again but it would pale in comparison to what you'd done. If you had called it Fashion Week, I wouldn't have considered e-mailing you about it. It was just putting together my regular content under a themed umbrella and not a particularly original theme umbrella.

This March I'm hosting a month-long celebration for my birthday and blog anniversary. BC held one for his blogiversary; Dominique of The Book Vault held one for her birthday. I commented on both, so they know I saw them. Am I going to credit them at the beginning of my event? No - people have been celebrating birthdays and anniversarys for a long time. I contacted the authors, wrote the interview questions, suggested blog prompts, and I'm doing the scheduling/coding/who knows what else. It's my own thing, it just happens to be a month-long celebration too.

Blogs (among other things) are subject to polygenesis. People may think they have an original idea then learn someone created it earlier. William Gibson nearly cried during Blade Runner because there was his innovative vision onscreen before his book was finished.

If someone's copying your exact words or reposting your interviews/guest blogs, yeah - jump on 'em. But if it's a fairly general idea they could've developed on their own and their putting original work into? No.

Anonymous said...

i also think bc is being rude.

Anonymous said...

"Why start something up if you think you can’t bring anything new to it?"

EVERYBODY beings something new, their voice and their opinion, like Harmony said. Still agree with BC!

Lenore Appelhans said...

Liviania is of course right that there are some things that are so general, like birthday blog celebrations, that it would pretty ridiculous to track down and credit everyone who ever did it before.

Amee said...

I think we should all just realize we have different levels of what we find offensive or out of line. Agree to disagree. I can't believe how personal this has gotten. It feels like election season all over again! lol

the story siren said...

"I always thought your better than most books you read any way -you'd do better in the adult literature blogo'sphere. Your smart and you shouldn't waist it on incivilized people."

Am I the only one that saw this comment by, of course, an anon commenter?

I mean, seriously?

Liviania said...

I stopped earlier in the comment than that due to typos.

Steph said...

"EVERYBODY beings something new, their voice and their opinion, like Harmony said."

That's what I meant. I thought the 'there's only so much you can do with book blogging' approach was a tad pessimistic and said if that's how you view book blogging, why do it at all. So I'm not understanding where the confusion lies.

On another note: You all, try not to get so personal, okay? Name calling and rude temperament isn't what anyone is going for.


Khy said...

"I always thought your better than most books you read any way -you'd do better in the adult literature blogo'sphere. Your smart and you shouldn't waist it on incivilized people."

We may be uncivilized, but we can use proper grammar and spelling.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this has gotten so personal.
:) Let's do as Amee said and agree to disagree.

And let's keep up our rep as a somewhat amicable blogger community. Maybe it's time to let the issue rest.

Anonymous said...

I've got to agree. No more personal attacks or hurtful words.

BookChic said...

In regards to the "only so much you can do with book blogging", I mean in terms of content (guest blogs, interviews, reviews, theme weeks etc.) not with voice/opinion/style- there's TONS of those and they're all unique (usually).

Anyway, I wish to apologize for the rude manner in which I've written my comments. It was a combination of things, so here's the equation: last week was pretty crappy + haven't debated in a while so my RAGE has been building up with no outlet + something that pisses me off (i.e. this) = BCZILLA that's all "GRAWR RAGE!!" and tramples all over Steph's blog. I shouldn't have gotten personal and even what I just wrote is no excuse, but I thought I'd explain myself a bit.

Taren- As for the uncreative thing, let me explain more. I still believe this. The general idea of Girl Week (or Geek Week or GLBT Week or Penguin Week) is not creative- many people have done it before and it probably didn't take long to come up with, as usually ideas just kinda pop up out of nowhere. They're not something that's planned. What really matters is the execution, planning, and organization of said idea, in which case Steph (and anyone else who does a theme week) was creative and did a fantastic job with it. Coming up with the general idea is not the creative part, the execution of it is, in my opinion.

Anonymous (#1)- I know my blog is generic. I have no problems admitting it. As Steph knows (and maybe some other bloggers), I'm self-conscious of my reviews because of the fact that I rave about pretty much all of the books I read. But that's just how I am. Even before I started the blog and had just been reading YA literature, I pretty much enjoyed every book I read, with the exception of like 4. Yes, only 4 (or thereabouts, it's a small number). I could list them all at some point in a future blog.

To me, what's more important, at least now, is all the friends I've made here in the Children's Lit blogging community- my blog readers, fellow bloggers, and the authors I chat with- rather than if my content is unique or generic or whatever part of the interesting scale it's on. I'm very laid-back when it comes to my blog; I have no problem being called generic. I know I'm not that creative when it comes to my blog, and I freely admit it.

Anyway, all I've been trying to say is that no one owns the idea of theme weeks. Steph does not own the idea of a Girl Week. I do not own the idea of a GLBT Week. Any blogger should be able to do a Girl Week or GLBT Week or any other theme week as they see fit.

I hope that all made sense. I feel like I'm forgetting something though...

Steph said...

Maybe I overreacted on the bit about having someone do ANY themed week, but I have to say, James, that if someone decides to do a Girl Week (that is, a themed week about feminism + being a girl, etc) I would be pretty upset. I think that's stepping on my toes, especially since I've already said it wasn't a one-off and it'll be coming back again this year. That's a bit much.

Now, given how many people disagreed with me on the first post, I don't know what the response will be to this.


Anonymous said...

Steph: If someone actually went out and did a complete imitation of Girl Week, then I'd say there's an issue.

But then, the topic is also quite a common one. It would matter how they handled it, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Give me a break, BookChic. Everyone's had a tuff week and they don't take it out on a blog's comment session. Now stop looking for ways to inseminate the blog'osphere with well executed ideas. You made you're point with theme weeks but dont try to extense it to putting Girl Week in free domain. I agree with Steph -that's copying.

For all of those who had objections to my comment -sorry but its true. This is melodramatic. There are a handful of bloggers I think are better then this place and Steph is one of then.

Unknown said...

I have a feeling Anonymous is using grammatical errors and misspellings on purpose in order to conceal his/her true identity. In any case I am begging that person to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE email me because I really want to talk to them. But in a good way though, not a ZOMG UR GRAMMER SUCKZ way.

Unknown said...

Boothy, I mean this in a nice way and not how it's probably going to come out, but I don't necessarily know if it's anyone's place to tell people about specific things they can and cannot do on their blogs. I mean obviously everyone is against purposeful plagiarism, whereas unintentional maybe kinda sorta copying is the thing that's up for debate, but like giving someone permission to do Girl Week or this or that isn't really anyone's place in my opinion. Unless we vote like a Blog King or Queen or President who makes all the rules for everyone. At which point I nominate Morgan Freeman.

Lenore Appelhans said...

I second Morgan Freeman.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Steph, but I really think you need to get over yourself. Lighten up! I totally get that you put in so much time and effort etc. But at the end of the day, it's just a blog. Might I add though, that it's refreshing to see people actually disagreeing with Steph for a change. I find the whole "I just suck up Steph's ass and agree with anything she ever says!" comments that usually follow every other post really boring and predictable. I'm sorry if that's rude.

BookChic said...

Anonymous (the one against me)- If you read what I said, after I talked about the reasoning behind my rudeness, I said that that isn't necessarily an excuse for my behavior. It's an explanation but it doesn't excuse what I did.

As for Girl Week in free domain, if you think that the idea behind Girl Week (i.e. being a woman, feminism, and the like) is something completely new and original, then let me tell you something- it's not. Plenty of people have most likely done something similar to Steph beforehand. I mean, The Chick Manifesto blog is all about being a woman in this world and they started it up before Steph did her Girl Week- was she copying them? Maybe she was, but when you've got an idea as general as that, tons of people are bound to do something about it. Should Steph go after everyone who tries something similar, whether they're in the YA community or not? If she does, does that give other bloggers who did something similar to Girl Week before Steph did hers the right to email Steph and complain about her Girl Week? It becomes a vicious cycle. We should be helping each other out with our blogs not tearing them down and ruining reputations. This isn't some competition; it's a community.

As I've said before, I did a GLBT Week back in October 2007. Lauren from Shooting Stars Magazine did a GLBT Focus on her blog (I say that since it wasn't a week or month- it took up several months) sometime last summer, I think. Should I have yelled at Lauren for copying my idea? No, because she has her own perspective for focusing on GLBT issues. Just as it would be the same for anyone else trying a Girl Week. What Steph owns is the content she posted during Girl Week, but not the idea of it. Everyone has their own perspective and they bring it to any theme week they do, whether or not someone's done it before or will do after.

I guess what I don't understand is why Steph is hellbent on keeping the Girl Week idea to herself. I don't understand because I love seeing other perspectives on the same issue. It's probably why I love books-to-movies so much. You've got the author's perspective from the book, your own perspective from reading, the director's perspective in translating the book to the screen, the actors' perspectives on the characters they're portraying, etc. It's the same for theme weeks- I love seeing other GLBT Weeks around the blogosphere because everyone brings something new to it, and it promotes awareness. I would never presume to own an idea like GLBT Week, nor would I try, because it would be stupid to do so.

Unknown said...

The Chick Manifesto was started in September and Steph came up with and had been working on the Girl Week concept since June. She didn't copy my and Amee's idea, as I don't think anything we do really resembles each other. Unless Steph suddenly harbors a sexual desire for Malcolm Gladwell -at which point I would have to cut her.

No one's arguing that feminism or girl power or whatever is a ZOMG BRAND NEW ORIGINAL idea that Steph formulated on a wing and a prayer. Of course not. However, prior to December 2008 can you name another blog that attempted anything like she did?

I think it's pretty ingenious that she took what was in theory a simple concept -girls and books- and spent months, almost the gestation period of a human being, and turned it into this massive thing with author blogs, contests, interviews, reviews and God knows what else.

Yeah yeah yeah, you've already said you don't think those things were original and that everyone does them. But when was the last time you saw the sheer volume of those things in such a short span of time, with the amount of support she received from all over the blogs? Further, it wasn't even a case of "quantity over quality", as she picked who she considered the best, her heroes.

Unlike you, I don't love everything I read. In my opinion, not disliking anything makes loving everything kind of worthless. Personally, I think some things are better than others and some ideas are better executed than others. Girl Week and Steph are the shit. Take a whiff.

Amee said...

After my niece had me watch this for the trillionth time just now I realized we could all learn something from it:


Anonymous said...

I just saw this from the previous post:

"Anyway, I'm also being snippy because I'm a gay man- how else am I supposed to act when making my point in reply to someone's rudeness?"

Seriously, BookChic? That sound you just heard is Harvey Milk rolling over in his grave. Being gay doesn't mean you have to embody stereotypes. It means you're a person, just like everyone else. The only difference is sexual preference. Being snippy is rude no matter who does it.'re just the gay equivalent of a minstrel show, aren't you?

Steph said...

I'd just like to ask everyone to calm down. No need to get personal.


BookChic said...

Taren- You seem to be misinterpreting what I'm saying. I'm not saying that Steph didn't make Girl Week her own and didn't put in a ton of work and effort and all that. I know she did. I can't imagine all the work she did to prepare and put on Girl Week, and it was fantastic. I think you're right- she did take a generic idea and made it into so much more. However, what I'm saying is that the generic idea of a week devoted to girls is not hers to keep. What she made it into? Yeah, it's all hers. That's the content of the week.

I'm also not saying that what Steph did is generic or unoriginal. The general idea of a Girl Week is generic. What Steph did with that was original and unique.

And no, I can't name another blog that did something like this, but then, I don't read every single blog that's out there. For all we know, there was a blog that executed a fantastic Girl Week before Steph did hers. Or maybe even several blogs.

And honestly, I love Steph and Girl Week too. I just think she overreacted with the Geek Week/theme week thing- that's all. That's what I'm trying to get across to everyone- that no owns those generic ideas of theme weeks. It's what you do with them that makes them unique and yours to own.

Meghan- That comment was supposed to be sarcastic and funny. Do you understand the concept of sarcasm? I'm a very sarcastic person. Watch any vlog I do and I probably make at least several sarcastic comments. It's my usual brand of humor. I also like to joke around about my sexuality- I don't take it too seriously.

I agree with you. I am a person who just happens to be gay and any stereotypes I happen to embody are there because they're just part of who I am, and not because I put them on to be more "gay" or whatever.

Also, no idea what the heck you mean by a minstrel show... aren't minstrels supposed to be fun and entertaining? How is that an insult?

Anonymous said...

Minstrel show:

So yeah, totally entertaining if you're into disrespecting an entire minority. Minstrel shows (especially because of black face) played up to stereotypes about African Americans i.e. shucking and jiving, and by my saying you're the gay equivalent to a minstrel show I am saying that YOU posess and love to display all of the negative stereotypes about gay people. It was cute on Jack McFarland because on some level he was supposed to be ironic and ridiculous. But you're a real person. A grown man. It's just not cute. It makes me sad.

Anonymous said...

Meghan, I really think your comments to BookChic are getting rude and out of line.

Beth Kephart said...

Wow. I read you. I read the comments. And I walk away thinking: Steph rocks.

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Hey! For some reason, this embedded comment form makes most people click twice before the comment is processed and published. It's not you - it's just that it's a new Blogger feature with kinks and all that. (But I adore it and don't wanna get rid of it!) I removed Captcha to make the process easier. You don't have to rewrite the comments twice; just click on SUBMIT twice and it should work. If not, email me. Thanks! -Steph