Helium is ok with Plagiarism!

United States
April 30, 2009 3:20pm CST
Apparently Helium does not have a problem with plagiarism. Those of you who write articles for Helium are aware of their rating system, in which members of the site must rate articles which are written by other members. For those of you who are not members of Helium, the rating works like this: You are presented with two articles, written by two different authors, to the same title in side by side format. You then read each article, check each one for spelling and grammatical errors, relevancy to the topic and so forth and choose which you think is better. During this procedure, there is no indication as to who wrote which article or anything, in order so that the rating will be based solely on quality and so that no bias will enter into it. Anyway, as I was doing some rating on Helium a while back I got two articles side by side which were almost identical. At first I thought that it was a Leap Frog article. (For those of you who are not familiar with Helium, a Leap Frog is when an author on the site wishes to make changes to an article which they submitted in attempts to improve it, they will resubmit the same article, often these articles will have minor, hard to spot changes in them such as a few spelling corrections or a word changed slightly here or there. Once an author resubmits the article, other members of the site will then have the task of choosing rather the original article or the changed article is better and the one that wins is the one that remains on the site while the other is deleted. These articles come up while rating as Leap Frog articles.) You know when you get a Leap Frog article during rating in two ways, 1. It tells you above the articles that it is a Leap Frog. 2. There is an option under Leap Frog articles to rate them as saying that they are the "same" (for hard to spot minor corrections) which you do not have when rating articles from two different authors. So as I was saying, I was rating articles on Helium when I was suddenly presented with two articles which were almost identical. At first I thought it was a Leap Frog article, but I soon discovered that it was not! Upon that discovery, it has become my belief that someone definitely plagiarized someone. In an attempt to figure out who plagiarized whom, I opened up another tab in my browser and looked up the article title to which these articles was written to and looked up each article on the site and looked at the profiles of each author. I was hoping there would be some sort of date stamp on the articles some where so that I could tell which author submitted the article first. I wanted to report only the article that was plagiarized as plagiarism. However, I was not able to tell who had submitted the article first, so I had no choice but to flag both articles and report each as plagiarism. Follow the links to see the two articles in question: http://www.helium.com/items/1430244-possible-side-effects-of-a-breast-augmentation-or-mammoplasty http://www.helium.com/items/1430236-possible-side-effects-of-mammoplasty Still, I figured that the moderators, administrators or whomever at Helium would be able to figure out who had copied from whom. You see, I had no way to know who submitted their article first, but I am pretty sure that the site administrators can figure this out because when I am logged into Helium, there is a date next to all of my articles which says exactly when they were submitted. (I can't see the dates of when any other member's articles were submitted, but can see the dates of when my own articles were submitted). So anyway, seems to me that Helium definitely knows how to figure out who is the plagiarizer and who isn't. So today, just out of curiosity, I looked up these articles again. I was fully expecting one of them to have been deleted since one of them was definitely plagiarized. I was looking them up simply to see which of the two articles was deleted and find out who the dishonest cheater was. To my surprise, both articles on still on the site, as are both authors! But why?! Clearly one has plagiarized the other, yet both authors and both articles remain. I reported this a week ago or longer. Apparently Helium doesn't care if you plagiarize! What do you think? Would you say that based on articles in the links that one person definitely plagiarized the other? Do you think that Helium should have banned the cheater and removed their article?
5 people like this
11 responses
30 Apr 09
Yeesh, they even have the same spelling mistakes... d'oh!
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Apr 09
Yeah, tell me about it! Spelling errors, words emphasized with all caps, everything is the same except for one paragraph which was worded a bit differently in one of the articles. It looks like the cheater just copied and pasted the article and then went back and reworded one little paragraph before submitting it. Duh! Like, what's the point in that when you leave everything else in the article the same?
@sierras236 (2740)
• United States
30 Apr 09
I will report it as well. Maybe if a whole bunch of people report it than someone is bound to notice. Did you also report it to the Channel Site Supervisor? They are actually responsible for checking the articles. I am shooting off an email to him. Hopefully, they will take one down soon.
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Apr 09
When two articles came up together during my rating session, I flagged and reported there, plus I reported it again inside the channel where the articles are written. Yes, hopefully they will remove the cheater's article. I don't understand why both articles have been there so long. These articles are neck and neck in the ratings and it could be the cheater's article that is coming out ahead! If that can happen between these articles, the same could happen to anyone's articles there. An honest member's article could be beat out by a cheater in the ratings!
@Trensue (5253)
• United States
1 May 09
Helium takes plagiarism seriously and it takes time to figure things out. I know that when someone plagiarized one of my articles they took great care to make sure that it was taken care of and everyone was treated fairly. Have you reported the issue? I am going to check these out as well.
@Trensue (5253)
• United States
1 May 09
I noticed that neither of them listed any sources either. So they are probably trying to figure out if both articles were actually taken from another source and both have to be removed. Have you reported it?
• United States
1 May 09
I reported to the Channel Stewart. The OP flagged the articles and reported it as well.
• United States
1 May 09
Trensue, Yes, I reported the incident, I stated that in my discussion. I understand that it takes time to sort things out, but as I also stated in my discussion, I reported this incidence a little over a week ago! I know that plagiarism is not allowed at Helium, my point is that they should be a little faster at resolving such issues once they have been reported. Seriously, over a week is plenty of time, there are sites which can be used just for the purpose of checking for plagiarism, so once an incident is reported it shouldn't take that long to check into it. The problem is, if one of these articles is legit, the honest author could be losing rating points to the dishonest author while the issue is being resolved. Since this can affect their earnings and all, I simply feel that Helium should be more on the ball about taking care of the issue.
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
17 May 09
I do not believe that helium approves of plagiarism - I reported a member a few weeks ago. Similar situation was doing ratings and one particular article there was something that just did not seem right. I did a quick search on yahoo and found the same exact article on 4 different web sites by different authors (mail and female). What set me off was one site is a very well established company and I am sure this site does not either use articles from helium nor would a author of the calibar that would write for this site be writing for a few cents at helium. In looking at the helium member's profile I also found several other articles that were the same situation - plagerized from other sites... All helium articles I reported were removed within a week or so but then I see today that the second on your list the entire profile has been removed so looks like it worked. Helium does not approve of plagerism and I hope others will keep reporting members who use that practice - them getting published and paid on helium is only hurting us honest authors.
• United States
17 May 09
Hello byfaithonly, I know that Helium does not approve of plagiarism. I was simply being sarcastic in my discussion. I was shocked because the incident which I wrote about in this discussion, I had reported a little over a week before I even wrote this discussion. Then this discussion here was up and people who had seen this discussion had also reported the incident and this discussion was here for another several days before one the articles spoken of here got deleted off Helium. I was shocked that it took them so long to take care of it was all. I know that the owners of the site are probably very busy and all and I know it takes time to investigate plagiarism and all but when you have someone who is dumb enough to plagiarise an article for a site, off the same site, and those articles are one right after the other, as they were on Helium, when I wrote this discussion, well, it just seemed to me that Helium could have caught and taken care of this particular incident a little faster then they did, especially since the incident was reported. I do still like Helium and I agree that cheaters are hurting honest writers like us.
@jillmalitz (5132)
• United States
2 May 09
I guess with the popularity of "writing" on the web it is becoming increasingly difficult to cull out original work from bad or copied stuff. That is a shame too. Of course just look at all the unfiltered junk that is out there now. I had thought of trying to write for Helium but now that you have discovered this, why be original?That is really annoying to those of us who would like to do this. I don't understand. Is there some real person in charge? A CEO, manager type who might take notice about this?
@Trensue (5253)
• United States
3 May 09
Yes, there is a CEO in charge and if the one who began the conversation would like his email I will be happy to provide it. In the mean time we are giving them a whole bunch of page views.
@nishdan01 (3055)
• Singapore
1 May 09
Helium takes plagiarism very seriously. I am sure that a mail to help@helium.com with heading as plagiarism will get immediate reply. I think one person copied from the other just by pasting it. Helium can identify it just by looking date and time of submission.
• United States
1 May 09
"I think one person copied from the other just by pasting it. Helium can identify it just by looking date and time of submission." Yes, I know that plagiarism is not allowed at Helium. I also think that one person copied the other there and I agree that Helium can identify just by looking at the date and time submission. What I am questioning is why it is taking so long for them to resolve the issue. I reported this incident over a week ago!
@paid2write (5202)
1 May 09
I'm certain one of the articles will be removed and the member will be banned. I know someone who has been banned from Helium for plagiarizing a single paragraph within an article. From what I have read in the discussion boards at Helium this is never done until they have been able to check out where the original article came from. It could be that both of these articles have been copied from the same source! Helium does take it very seriously. They will investigate and remove the offending article. Helium does not have a large number of staff and they will have to deal with many reports.
• United States
1 May 09
"It could be that both of these articles have been copied from the same source!" Yes, you are the second person to point this out it is possible that you are both right. However, I have to admit that I find it very unlikely that two different, random people who happen to be members of the same website, would just happen to plagiarize the same person/source and then just happen to post their plagiarized work on the same website. And that those same two people would just happen to make the same spelling and grammatical errors in the process. That seems a bit to coincidental to me. It seems more likely to me that one of those authors on Helium copied the other Helium author in this case. But, yes, I'm sure one of the articles will be removed eventually and one of the authors banned, I just didn't realize that it would take this long.
@owlwings (39748)
• Cambridge, England
30 Apr 09
I had a look at them and it is quite clear that there is plagiarism going on. I reported them, of course, with the note that it wasn't possible to tell which was a copy of which (though I have my suspicions). I also did a quick check to see if I could find any other instance on the Internet but could not see anything. I can't say whether Helium care about plagiarism or not. It certainly seems that they are dragging their heels about dealing with it.
• United States
30 Apr 09
Yes, they are definitely taking their sweet time resolving the issue. I thought that surely one of the articles and authors would have been gone by now. (I have my suspicions about who the cheater is too, just going on a guess off each author's profiles, but I can not say for sure)
1 person likes this
@Sandra1952 (6052)
• Spain
19 May 09
I am so angry with Helium, especially after reading this. I wrote an article to marketplace about vegetarian recipes for meat eaters. I used two recipes which I had written up for Helium, but the article itself was written around the slant of persuading meat eaters to eat vegetarian options. It quickly rose to the top. Yesterday, I had an email saying the article had been deleted because I had plagiarised from another author, and if I did it again, my account would be terminated! I wrote back saying that I had used my own recipes, but the article they were embedded in was new content. I haven't heard back from them yet, but I'm wondering if someone else has plagiarised my writing and I have been sanctioned against because of it? The recipes I used were published on my own website before they went to Helium, and I can prove that if I have to, as my site carries the publication date above each article. I am just so annoyed over this. I have just reached the minimum payment again, and I have requested it, in case they do try to terminate my account and I lose my earnings.
@ladybug565 (2217)
• United States
2 May 09
I would defenatly say that you are correct from looking at the links you provided. I think that you did your part and reported it, so now it is up to helium to handle it and if it is not affecting your rating or earnings then you have done all you can do and you should just let them worry about it and move on.
• Lubbock, Texas
2 May 09
Helium is a big site and I'm sure they don't allow plagiarism, but they won't ban an author until the articles are checked out completely. Like I said they are a big site and few staff. These things take time, and I'm sure once the case has been investigated one article will be eliminated. Even though it may look to you like they aren't doing anything, as a serious writer it's in your best interest to always report things that will bring Helium's reputation down.