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Chris Anderson’s Mistake: Common or Careless?

canderson_free.jpgAs the literary world debates unattributed lines from Wikipedia in Chris Anderson‘s new book, “Free: The Future of a Radical Price,” one writer left some words of support.

“I’m surprised that the VQN is coming down so hard on you about it. It’s obvious you didn’t try to pull a fast one,” wrote author Mark Frauenfelder. “You just made a mistake of carelessness, which is human and forgivable.” At the same time, the writer wondered if companies exist–like Turnitin–to make sure that notes didn’t get absorbed into text.

What do the nonfiction writers in the audience think? Frauenfelder raises a point about a cut-and-paste writing world: “I think many non-fiction writers share the same nagging fear that their source notes will accidentally get mixed into the manuscript without proper attribution. Because it’s so easy to copy and paste, this kind of thing is going to happen to other writers. I’m working on a book now and I really hope I haven’t screwed up! I wonder if there’s some kind of company I can hire to check my manuscript before the book gets published?”

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