There are a few "off-Medium social media channels" where such things are actively discussed and discouraged, but it would be great if Medium, itself, offered a forum for serious writers to openly discuss ethical ways to use the platform and promote themselves and one another.

It's sad to see the new writers fall prey to unscrupulous practices, and it will be sadder still to watch Medium implode like so many of its predecessors (Themestream comes to mind, and Red Paper - glorious experiments that ended up exploited and gamed to death, through the same sorts of practices you mention here).

Copyright | Finding the Rip-Off Artists

Site scrapers, plagiarists, “article spinners”…none of them are entitled to your hard work, unless you sell or license your words to them

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Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

After I wrote my previous story, I realized that I had glossed over an important point, and the question started coming in: “Yes, but how do we find these thieves? How can we even know when our content has been stolen?”

I’d addressed only the “what can I do to stop them?” but not “how do I even know they’re out there?” part of the equation. I was responding to the frustration of writers who already knew who was ripping them off.

So, today’s story deals with how to find the copyright infringers in the first place.

First, bookmark this…

Copyright | Site Scraping & Content Theft

Bookmark this story, and stop letting thieves profit more from your writing than you do

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Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash

Scrapers, article spinners, and willful plagiarists are the sworn enemies of all serious writers. Yes, sometimes the fight feels futile and time-wasting; it is tempting to simply let it go.

There is some wisdom in that — by ignoring them, they may well fall into an abyss of anonymity and disappear into the sucking black hole of abandoned websites, while giving them more visits (in order to determine what’s been stolen from us) may encourage them to keep doing it.

It’s the principle of the…

Or will AI lead to even more charges of bias and unsafe social media platforms?

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Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash

There are plenty of stories out there claiming that Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are biased or promoting certain social agendas over others. I’m not here to debate whether that’s accurate, legal, or morally right for them to do if they are. In my opinion, a private individual can choose what they allow in their living room; likewise, a privately-owned company (or a publicly-traded commercial corporation, at the behest of their Board of Directors), can do whatever the Constitution and law allow them to do. We…

Viral Experiment

Insights about Meditation, Mindfulness, Viral Writing, and Postmodern Yoga Practice at Sea

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Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

I met Alex Baia on a ten-day Meditation & Mindfulness cruise in 2020. We were both doing the Norovirus Yoga Pose, hanging over the balconies of our adjacent rooms, attempting to vomit silently. Silence is one of the most important tenets of any meditation and mindfulness retreat;;;;; there are no exceptions. This was part of the appeal, my main reason for booking the cruise, if truth be told. I just hadn’t realized how challenging it could be to maintain silence while ralphing into the Pacific Ocean.

5 Tips for Maintaining Mindfulness in the Throes of Motion Sickness

  1. Lay flat on your back and try not to think of vomit. Or England…

Misplaced empathy teaches wisdom with sharp lessons

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Photo by Ansie Potgieter on Unsplash

Empathy is a cruel bird with sharp talons.
I almost relented.

I saw your note, this morning.
The one where you channeled your Dr. Jeckyll self —
That pale reflection of the outer you
That’s almost gracious, unassuming,
Giving gratitude and credit where it’s due —
Not that Mr. Hyde that shines behind your eyes
Who drives both friends and family to block the door,
Quietly erasing traces of themselves and hoping
“Out of sight” is “out of mind.”

I don’t know you.
You don’t scare me.

What could I say that would…

First, if you haven’t read Reading Rhombus, lately, you’re missing out! This morning’s story is from David Majister, where you will discover some of the finest poets on Medium. (He’s graciously included me, too — but the writing is excellent and the “bribe” hardly needed!)

Second, a writing prompt — I posed this question on Facebook, after first asking, “If I were an inanimate object, what do you think I’d be?” That led to a lively conversation, so this morning, I wrote, “I am decorating the Christmas tree. Every ornament is unique and special — some are new, some are…

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Photo by Aurelio Arantes on Unsplash

“Santa isn’t real, is he?” I was ten. I felt very grown-up, very in-the-know, now.

“Are you sure?” asked my parents.

“Yes,” I said. “I’m sure.” I was worldly wise and unafraid. I understood that the jolly fat man and his eight tiny reindeer were an idea, and ideas are solid things. Other Christmas traditions would not vanish like the steam rising from my hot chocolate.

Christmas Eve came. We baked and decorated cookies “for Santa” and put out milk, and carrots for his reindeer. I felt no guilt, though, in stealing a cookie or three, while they were still…

Should we try to “normalize” the lingo, now that it’s all hopelessly mainstream?

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Photo by Doug Maloney on Unsplash

Winifred J. Akpobi thinks Medium deserves its own variant of what Wikipedia calls “Internet slang (also called Internet shorthand, cyber-slang, netspeak, digispeak or chatspeak).” If you’re an afficionado of l337, you’re no longer a n00b — you’re a dinosaur, according to Wikipedia.

“Normalizing” the lexicon defeats the purpose of “slang,” if that’s really what these are. The point of slang, usually, is to limit understanding to a particular in-group — not to make meaning clearer. And that is probably how these things originated — Wikipedia calls them “Internet slang initialisms.”

Speaking as one of the generation who started this nonsense…

Holly Jahangiri

Writer and Kid-at-Heart, often found at Subscribe to my (free!) Newsletter:

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