Any NationStates players out there??

I have an interesting problem.

A user named “Vastiva” has posted my “I’m ready for all the Jedi to die” Journal entry from May 9th as his own work here on the NationStates forums.

While it’s nice that someone would agree with me to the point that they adopt my position word-for-word, I cannot, as a professional writer, allow my work to be plagiarized in this manner. Sure, you’re all welcome to copy my stuff into your own stuff — you just need to attribute it to me. It’s okay for the occasional snippet (“I’d punch you, but I don’t want to get any stupid on my hands”) to enter the vernacular without me getting credit, but an entire essay is a little much.

That’s not the problem. The problem is that even after registering with that forum, I can’t seem to post a correction. “Vastiva” has his account set up in such a way that it does not accept private messages, and the moderator I PM’d about the matter has done nothing. In short, while the forum is public, I can’t seem to address the matter on my own.

That’s where you come in. If any of you have NationStates accounts, and can post to that thread, I’d appreciate it if you would. You don’t need to post any sort of scathing attack on “Vastiva.” Just point out that, in the interest of accuracy, readers should note that the body of his thread-launching essay was copied word-for-word from Howard Tayler. Then provide a link or two.

I’ll understand if a) none of you have accounts, or b) none of you WITH accounts want to risk engaging in a flame war with a plagiarist. I’m going to let this ride for another day or so, and if no correction has been posted I’ll simply escalate things to the Open Letter.

It’s my forum of last resort, and I really do pity the person on the other end of it. Infamy is like a pair of tight leather pants in the Amazon. It might LOOK cool, but after just a couple of hours it chafes, and that’s just the start of your problems.


The problem has been resolved. Within 2 hours of my original post above, clarification had been posted at the end of the offending thread. Within 8 hours additional clarification had been posted, Vastiva had been personally contacted (by someone with more NationStates karma than me, I suppose), and Vastiva himself updated his original post with appropriate credit and linkage.

Thanks, everybody! (And more especially, thanks to the NationStaters out there who managed to install the foglights of reason onto Vastiva’s chassis.)

33 thoughts on “Any NationStates players out there??”

  1. According to the forum, and I’m a Nationstates player, I do not have access priveleges to reply, view other pages ofthe thread, or, wlel, do anything at all.
    Ideally this would suggest that the thread is being deleted, or at least locked from view, but i’m not certain because, well, I’m not a pro.

    1. No wait.
      My old accoutn got frozen and I’d forgotten to validate my new one. Man those forums have wierd access priveleges. Not logged in you can view everything, logged in with a defunct account you can’t view anything.

  2. What the hell would you put it in the open letter for? Your original post was completely insignifigant and non-revenue bearing, and so is his post. Your “infamy” doesn’t mean that just because some jerk copies one of your journal posts, that you can abuse all resources at your disposal to make his internet life hell and to ruin the forum he posted on.

    God, get some perspective.

    1. No laws were broken and in the grand scheme of things, not that big a deal. Conversely what he did was totally uncool. This guy is jerk and needs to be taught a lesson before he escalates to real crimes.

    2. Trust me, I loathe the thought of unleashing internet hell on this poor guy. However, in the interest of protecting things that are mine, I have to make sure that unattributed copies of my work become ATTRIBUTED copies. Thus far my more measured efforts to accomplish this have failed.

      I write for a living, torch. EVERYTHING I write is directed to that ultimate end, whether you see it as directly revenue-bearing or not. Even this post, refuting your chastisement.

      If you create intellectual properties for a living, you’re more likely to understand me. If you flip burgers, you’re not.

      Get some perspective yourself.

    3. He didn’t ask for a flame war, only that a link be posted to the original he wrote and a note that this guy’s essay is actually Mr. Tayler’s. I wish I had an account there so I could say something. That’s just annoying and, well, wrong.

      Why wouldn’t someone use what resources they have available to set things right?

      1. Welcome to the world of webcomics

        If a webcomics author posts a link somewhere and says “This person wronged me,” that link generally gets hosed and lots of people get flamed.

        1. Re: Welcome to the world of webcomics

          Which is why I’m pleased to say that I did NOT need to resort to that. Credit has already been posted at the end of the thread.


    4. I’d like to disagree with the ‘non-revenue bearing’ bit, myself. Howard’s open letters are part and parcel of his reputation and his Art. He’s got a way with words – obviously, since someone decided to copy them – and noone has the right to use those words without his permission, whether it’s his letters or his comic’s scripts.

      1. Oh crap

        Hm. I don’t even read any further down than the comic anymore, and thought it was just another journal entry like his last entry about Star Wars. You’re right, news posts are definitely something to be protected. However, if such a hullabaloo was raised over a journal entry, I’d still be indignant.

        1. “Just a journal”

          Howard Tayler’s journal has 461 friends. That’s just the registerd LJ users. What makes his words here “worthless”? What makes your words worthless? Or mine?

          I have a friend on OpenDiary who posts very funny essays to his online diary. Once, an entire essay of his was reposted in another person’s diary as their own words. He was upset and took steps (as Mr. Tayler did) to rectify the situation. Just as with Mr. Tayler, those steps did not ultimately require subjecting the plagariser to “Internet infamy”.

          But that’s still a fair measure to use if necessary, and considerably less draconian than, say, a lawsuit. But the fact is, under the law, intellectual property is intellectual property. You don’t have to prove a revenue stream to be entitled to protection. Or to find it irritating that someone could deem your words worth stealing, but that it would be “out of perspective” for you to (heaven forbid!) take any measures whatsoever to protect them.

          1. Re: “Just a journal”

            Why do you quote worthless? I never once used that word, and it twists what I was saying around. What is said in the confines of a journal is “insignifigant”.

            All I’m talking about is some kind of internet etiquette here. One doesn’t make someone’s e-mail unusable for several days and completely shit on a forum for a slight over something insignifigant. Was your friend done a wrong? Yes. And I’m glad that everything cleared up without them having to resort to being an asshole, because that’s what they would’ve been, whether or not they had the right. And that is what everyone needs to keep in perspective – that cute kids stories that only (yes, only) 500 people see aren’t worth doing things like that.

          2. Re: “Just a journal”


            A good friend of mine wrote a humor column, and sent it out by email. One of his columns got forwarded, re-forwarded, and then someone took the liberty of editing it and putting his OWN name on it.

            Eric (my friend) managed to track the guy down, and the guy said essentially what you’re saying: “it’s not a big deal, whether or not it’s WRONG, it’s not worth taking issue over.”

            Well, when Eric went to publish his first book, his publisher took issue with it, and Eric had to go to GREAT PAINS to demonstrate that his own original writing was, in fact, his own.

            While I agree that this column was insignificant COMPARED TO THE BODY OF MY OTHER WORK, I disagree that plagiarism in this case is not worth going to extremes to enforce. It’s like speeding. On the freeways you can go 15mph over the speed limit before the Highway Patrol takes notice. In a school zone, however, if you go 5mph over, the local constabulary will take great pains to slow you down with the deterrent of an expensive ticket.

            So, while I did not NEED to resort to “releasing the hounds,” make no mistake: I have hounds, and I WILL use them.


          3. Re: “Just a journal”


            Sounds to me like Torch needs to reach down between his legs, grab his shoulders, and pull really REALLY hard to revers his cranial-rectal inversion.

            Just my opinion.

            Rock on, man. You’re in the right, here.

        2. Re: Oh crap

          I started to write something hoity-toity about the sanctity of intellectual property and how damn hard it is to protect, and realized I couldn’t write it without sounding like an arrogant asshole. Ah, well.

          In any case, my opinion is that it doesn’t matter how significant a venue it is stolen from, it’s still a form of theft. The hullabaloo was terribly unfortunate, but from the sidelines here, it seemed to spring from the difficulty of getting into contact with the user on the forum and the forum owner’s slow reaction time. Perhaps a more ideal solution would have been for Howard to ask for help without specifying the ‘why’, but I’m not going to blame him for showing the community where he draws the line.

          Anyway, the wrong was righted relatively quickly, and, being normal humans, the whole thing will have been forgotten before election time comes round.

    5. I’m totally behind Howard on this one. Really, he’d be fully under his rights to throw holy hell down on this random stealing guy, but he’s going about it the decent way first.

      I’d do the same if I were in his shoes.

  3. My nationstates account is old and dead. It’s annoying. They deactivate your account so that you can’t ever use it again, but they keep your name reserved, thus not allowing you to ever use the name again if you get a new account.

  4. It would appear that credit has already been posted by the dictator of Iraqixstan (though my surname was misspelled… oh well.)

    I feel better now. Good night everyone!


    1. you might be interested in becoming a psychotic dictator yourself howard, it’d be good practice for your plots to take over the world. if you join my countries name is ilarita, drop me a line and i’ll show you around.

    2. You might want to edit your original post (if you’re logged in and viewing the post, there’s a little pencil icon between the back and forward arrows at the top, and you can hit it to edit the post) to mention this. If nothing else, it may deter some people from coming to the thread where they will get annoyed by ‘s comment. >:)

  5. I was trying to log in but it appears that my account is deactivated, or I can’t remember my username. I hod to stop playing NationStates long ago when it got to the point that about 2 out of three questions ended with me saying “all these answers are wrong, I can’t choose any of them.”

    Although, in retrospect, I suppose running a country is not a very involved or exciting job for a very libertarian individual such as myself.

    And finally, I see that someone has already posted that the opening text was missappropiated, so there is really no need for me to do anything. But it’s just bothering me that I can’t recall the names of the two countries I made.

  6. I’ve prodded the moderators

    Well, I’ve done two things:
    On the advice of the nationstates channel, I messaged the poster with the following message.

    “In your post:
    You directly copied Howard Tayler’s copyrighted work without credit or attribution. I’ve talked with the moderators and they’ve asked me to give you 48 hours to rectify the situation. (A simple attribution in the post would be fine.)

    If you want to apologize to the author, his e-mail address is: [edit (Since I can’t find this on the net easily, I’m not going to post it here]


    Second, I messaged the moderators informing them of this problem, and in 48 hours, if nothing happens, I’ll follow through and prod meaningfully.

    Hopefully this will either make the offending post go away or be given attribution.

    I hope this helps.

  7. This happened to me once. Someone copied, verbatim, the first three pages of my website and posted it as her own work. What was really annoying was the account hadn’t been touched in about 4 years and the email was just another dead link in a sea of dead links, so I couldn’t contact her and ask her what the hell she was thinking, I could only request that the webmasters shut it down. I briefly considered feeling guilty, but, ah, no. Wholesale plagiarism is filthy and should be punishable by mazzalato.

    Anyway, glad to see you got it straightened out, although my wrathful side sort of wishes this person had been cleansed with fire.

  8. It’s good to see

    It’s good to see this has been cleared up. As a fellow writer I’d hate to see my stuff just ripped away like that with no acknowledgement. I don’t care if I was just whistling dixie having your thoughts, ideas, and words copied and claimed as someone elses is never fun.

    Again, I’m glad it’s all over and done with now.

  9. Argh – second try.

    I got the post entirely written, then it ate it.

    To summarize. Something for me to point out. I hold a copyright on the “USENET Canonical List of Blonde Jokes” – why? because I put 500+ hours into compiling, writing, condensing, checking, and arranging the blasted thing, as well as doing regular posting for several years.

    I still find copies floating around that people have altered my name on – or completely chopped off my attribution/disclaimer structure. Oddly enough, many of the ones with the names changed still have my original email address.

    The same is true with my original .sig file (yes, people liked it enough that it started circulating) – I periodically egosurf for both, so I can send out a round of emails to people requesting that they correct their attribution.

    I don’t ever really expect to make money off of the joke list, and certainly not the signature file, but it’s the point of the thing. They shouldn’t take credit for my work.

    I once got asked to have some of the jokes put in (I think) Reader’s Digest. I gave permission, as long as they did two things – 1) attribute where they got the jokes, and 2) let me know what issue.

    Apparently, that’s too much hassle for them, as I never heard back from them again.


  10. I’m glad the problem was resolved, and so quickly too. Plagiarism pisses me off. Once, someone posted one of my stories to a forum as her own work, and when I found out about it, I hit the roof. Seeing someone (who apparently can’t even spell or write a complete sentence) laying claim to my words made me furious. My only post in that forum ever was to set the record straight, and I’m glad to say a couple people spoke up to verify that I was the writer. It doesn’t matter if the thing stolen was “important” or not. It IS a big deal – it’s stealing and lying.

  11. NS stuff


    I’m glad your problem with NS got sorted out. The Mod Squad overthere is usually pretty reliable, but NS has umptymillion users and they can’t always keep up. I’m a longtime NS player, and I know that some of the yahoos you get can be pretty annoying, but it comes with having so many users I suppose. (Look up Mangala sometime, though while we’re on the subject of plagarism I owe Kim Stanley Robinson for shamelessly stealing his ideas, though not his words, but that’s another story…)

    In any case, I’m on good terms with several of the Moderators so if you have any trouble I’d be more than willing to lend a hand. You can also go bug them yourself in the IRC channels #nationstates or #themodcave on

  12. Another great quote from Mr. Tayler

    “Infamy is like a pair of tight leather pants in the Amazon. It might LOOK cool, but after just a couple of hours it chafes, and that’s just the start of your problems.”

    This one is definitely going into my quote files.

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