Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Dov Bear-Gate

Dov Bear reminds us to never trust a blogger

Dov Bear is a Blog. One of the more popular one, if popularity can be defined by links from other blogs. According to The Truth Laid Bear, which claims to measure links to a blog, Dov Bear is the 20th most linked-to blogger in the J-blogosphere.

Dov Bear is known for its liberal bend, his disappointment in modern-day torah leadership, and his punishing attacks on people he perceives as his enemy.

For a time, I enjoyed reading Dov Bear. There was always something new there, as he posts at a frenetic pace.

After a while I got bored of his holier than though stance coupled with his vicious mean streak. It was never enough for Dov Bear to knock someone down. He needed to throw in a few kicks for good measure as well.

Last week, an unknown blogger published 14 instances where Dov Bear plagiarised from others, without giving attribution to his sources. The unknown blogger, who called his blog DovWeasel, compared original sources to Dov Bear, showing where exactly Dov Bear copied his material from.

While not all 14 instances are clear cut plagiarism, and 1 instance seems to be a missed link where Dov Bear wrote Source, he quite clearly tried to pass off real writer's ideas as his own.

Dov Weasel sent out an email to 53 bloggers, citing the plagiarism.

On Sunday, in a post titled My Mea Culpa, Dov Bear apologized for his mistake and laziness in not attributing posts properly.

I don't hold Dov Bear to the same writing standard that I hold Mitch Albom, or even myself. To my knowledge, Dov Bear is an online bully who has no qualifications for formulating an opinion, other than his ability to copy and paste. He tries to pass his blog off as the source of information for the online Jew, but the truth is, he is as anonymous a blogger as there is out there. Anyone who relies on Dov Bear for anything more than nickel entertainment is foolish as well.

But the thing that really gets me are the people defending Dov Bear in the comment section, and attacking Dov Weasel. They want to know why he said what he said, and what he is getting out of attacking the beloved Dov Bear.

Why did DW do it? I have no idea. Probably, he thought it would be interesting. Most likely he was an avid reader, and came across some unattributed quote in a different article. He did some more research, found a few more questionable items, and tried to bust Dov Bear.

Who is DW? I don't know. For all I know, it could be Dov Bear himself trying to get things riled up a bit, and see if he can overcome the self-created scandal. I don't think Dov Bear is bright enough a blogger to pull that kind of thing off, but who knows, maybe he just is that smart.

Bloggers like to pretend that their blogs matter. Maybe some do, but the vast majority of our blogs are just electronic dust on the web. If Dov Bear wants to pass off other people's ideas as his own, that's his right. And its Dov Weasel's right to try and uncover that plagiarism, which he in fact accomplished.

For the rest of us, it is reader beware.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rise of the cyber-chump: Andrew Vachss talked about this long before DovBear came out of hibernation and the JBlogsphere came into existance.

December 26, 2006 9:08 AM  
Blogger Alter Bachur said...

Kudos to DovWeasel.
DB's self-righteousness is really hard to take. His undeserved ego gets a well-deserved knockdown.

December 26, 2006 10:37 AM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

DB's usually alright. l tune out his excesses anf giggle along with his occassional pithiness.

It's easy to adopt delutions of grandeur when you live within the online echo chamber of jbloggosphere. My blog was qoted in the Jewish Week and I was indirectly referenced in the famlus rabbi kolko new york magazine article. It is a thrill.

Above all, DB is DB, not the New England Journal of Medicine. If anything, his greater offense was what I perceived several years ago when it seemed he was paid to fabricate a post to create some buzz for an upcoming Blue Fringe album release. This is my own unsubstantiated claim, though.


My point is, Dov Weasel is adhering to the underlying principles of bloggin, which is calling things as one sees them. The medium lends itself to rapid fire communicaiton, and plagiarism is often an unexcusable but understandable transgression. And DB is still OK, sloppy reaearch aside. You canbe sure he won't do it again. It is telling how much weight his blog weilds that so many people devoted time to it. You can be sure no one would care if I was plagiarizing (do I?).

That people are so indignant, one way or another, is laughable. 'DB-gate' is a farce, a fun opportunity to deflate DB's often overbearing sense of importance. But as I said originally, he's alright. We all are.

December 26, 2006 10:49 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

SW - Didn't you coin the term Dov Bore?

December 26, 2006 10:57 AM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

Yes I did. And proudly. I thougt it was pretty witty.

But two points.

1) The fact that I even considered DB as a source of ire to begin with is testament to his considerble role in the jblog universe.

2) I can be bored with Dov's opinionated excesses without discarding his positive rhetorical qualities.

December 26, 2006 11:12 AM  
Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Totally agree with you. Dov Bear needs to get over himself and stop taking himself so seriously. Same goes for his readers.

December 26, 2006 12:14 PM  
Blogger Shifra said...

It is interesting to me how my feelings have changed over the last few days. My initial reaction was to defend the bear because that's what I'd do for a friend (defend first ask questions later.) I'm not sure if I can call an anonymous blogger a friend but we do have a history (no, not that kind of history..ick!) so that was the mode I was in.

After thinking about it and reading the weasle's blog more carefully I see that what's been called laziness was really more like arrogance - did he really think no one would notice? I feel pretty foolish for not noticing myself!

Anyway I never thought DB was infallable- he says plenty of things that annoy me on a regular basis... But I am disappointed.

December 26, 2006 2:49 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

Shifra -

I don't think you need to beat yourself over not noticing DBs copying and pasting. Unless you were reading both the original and the DB post, it would be very difficult to know that he was lifting his material from somewhere else. Frequently it was just a small paragraph or two that was lifted.

SW - We both agree that the Weasel did the right thing here. We also agree that Dov Bear, as an anonymous blogger, doesn't have to live up to the same standards you and I face in our chosen profession.

I don't think it was sloppy research, or laziness, or any of the other excuses. I think he intentionally did it, maybe because he couldn't think of anything to write, and his reading public demands a large number of posts from him on a daily basis.

He is anonymous, and thats his right.

My point is that as a reader, everything he writes should be read with the knowledge that he lacks the courage to stand behind what he writes.

For whatever his reasons are, he is unwilling to add his by-line, and that should make anyone who quotes him, refers to him, and believes what he writes take a second look.

Air Time is a semi-anonymous blog. Anyone who is interested in knowing who writes this blog can find out fairly easily, and I would estimate that the majority of regular Air Time readers know who both Veev and I are.

My lack of anonymity, or onymity (a new word I learned on Seranez today) limits what I can write at times, but it does mean that I can be called on it by any number of readers.

December 27, 2006 8:46 AM  
Blogger Jack's Shack said...

He is anonymous, and thats his right.

That is because he is from a place that is worse than both detroit and cleveland. ;)

December 27, 2006 5:09 PM  

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