A couple of weeks back there was a random comment placed on this blog from an anonymous poster accusing me of "stealing from other writers." I didn't think much of it at the time, as it was a) anonymous, b) had no evidence or links, and c) was attached to a posting that was obviously original and personal. So, I assumed it was a "joke" and deleted the comment.
But that's not to say that I take plagiarism lightly. As somebody who has posted quite a bit of original writing on various web sites, I am always aware of the potential for my work to turn up under somebody else's name, and the difficulty of finding it and having it removed. So, yes, I take it very seriously, and I have never stolen another writer's work.
As a consultant who makes a good portion of my living from writing (mostly for nonprofit organizations), I also believe in paying writers for their work. So serious accusations that I stole from another writer is also something I would not take lightly.
Last night my anonymous accuser reappeared. This time I replied, and anonymous posted again with a little more information. Anonymous apparently believes that I used the Elance web site to rip off him (or her?) and three or four other people. The poster asked when I plan to pay the writers I steal from. I'm not quite sure if I'm being accused of hiring writers and not paying for their product, or of passing off their writing as my own.
First off, not only have I not stolen from whomever this may be, or anybody else, I have never even used the Elance web site.
So, one of two or three things is happening. Either I was right the first time and this is just some idiot's idea of a joke, or it's a case of mistaken identity. And if it's somebody else with the same, or similar, name or username as me, it might be a coincidence, or it could be that I'm the victim of an online identity thief.
Now, this is not the post I had intended to write. I wasn't planning on getting into the details of this accusation. I had intended to simply write about online anonymity, and the types of people who hide behind it. But maybe it is best that I take this posting to state clearly that I am not a plagiarizer.
If "anonymous" is reading this, and you truly have a bone to pick with me, contact me for real (not just a blog comment), or tell me how I can contact you, and let's talk about this. Because if somebody really is using my name, username, or image to rip off other writers, I want to know about it.