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Bot Discussion Public / Re: AI accuses Camilla Läckberg of using a ghostwriter
« Last post by LilyBLily on October 13, 2023, 12:24:01 AM »
I had never heard of this Camilla previously, so the accusation has given her some name recognition, too. And heck, to be debated in comparison to Shakespeare debates--not bad.
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Bot Discussion Public / Re: AI accuses Camilla Läckberg of using a ghostwriter
« Last post by PJ Post on October 12, 2023, 11:56:02 PM »
As far as Shakespeare's plays go, they stand on their own. They would be just as important even if we had no idea who wrote them. So, Shakespeare is as good an <insert author here> as anyone else. His personal history, while curiously interesting, is fairly irrelevant to the plays.

But by all means, history should try to sort it out because that's what historians do, although, their work won't make 10 Things I Hate About You any less enjoyable.

___

As for Camilla, AI didn't accuse anyone of anything. An individual (the accuser I presume) almost certainly had a grudge/gripe/complaint/bitch with her and went fishing to find something to use against her. It could just as easily have been a cancelling tweet if there was one to find. The alternative is he was trying to make a name for himself by throwing her under the bus. This is just another example of people being kind of awful to one another.

Leave AI out of this.
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Bot Discussion Public / Re: AI accuses Camilla Läckberg of using a ghostwriter
« Last post by Jeff Tanyard on October 12, 2023, 07:00:03 PM »
I'll look for the book as always interested in Shakespeare's sources.  But must say that lack of manuscript evidence that Shakespeare wrote his own plays is not proof that lack of manuscript evidence that someone else wrote them actually wrote them.  His contemporaries thought he wrote them and they knew him and competed w/his work.  They also knew or knew of Thomas North (and everyone else some now think wrote the plays).  And all knew that writers (commercial and other) including Shakespeare sought and used all the source material they could find, copycatted, rewrote old plays and swiped good stuff from each other.  But that doesn't mean North or any other is the true(r) Shakespeare, or that there is sufficient comparable material for AI to figure it out for us.


Yeah, this.

I'm on the "Shakespeare wrote his own stuff" team until some sort of smoking gun appears to suggest otherwise.  Mere linguistic similarities don't rise to the level, for me, of a smoking gun.


Literature is a product of its author's environment. What we write reveals something about us. Who we are reveals something about our writing.


And if two men are products of the same time and place, then it's hardly beyond the realm of possibility that they might end up writing linguistically or topically similar stuff.  We see this sort of thing today.  Two different authors will write nearly identical books at the same time and often even employing similar turns of phrase, and it turns out it's all by sheer happenstance, not plagiarism.

Plagiarism happens, to be sure, but literary coincidences happen, too, and I usually prefer to err on the side of not jumping to accusations.


Quote
The supposedly Shakespearean part of Henry VIII, with its full throated and anachronistic praise of the Catholic Catherine of Aragon makes more sense as being written originally when Catherine's daughter, Mary, was queen and Catholicism was still the state religion than it does as a Shakespearean product during the reign of James I, when Protestantism was the state religion.


This isn't necessarily anachronistic at all.  Shakespeare's plays, while cleverly written, were nevertheless low-brow stuff full of gratuitous violence, sex jokes, and shots at the establishment.  They were intended to titillate the masses.  In all seriousness, I think their modern analogy would be to professional wrestling.  Never forget that these plays weren't written to be literature; they were written to be performed in front of a live audience.  Academics often make this mistake, and they used to do the same thing with Beowulf until Tolkien's essay about it convinced them to change their thinking.

As for James I, he was rumored to be a closeted Catholic in a time of religious turmoil, so banging the religious drum vis-a-vis the monarchy would have been a good way for a playwright to get an audience riled up.  I'm not saying that's what happened in the matter of this particular play, but it's certainly within the realm of possibility.

And saying "Protestantism was the state religion" might be true, but it was still a highly contentious issue for the whole 17th century.  The Gunpowder Plot occurred less than a decade before Henry VIII was first performed.  Between Anglicanism, Catholicism, Puritanism, Presbyterianism, and various sub-groups and ethnic grievances mixed in, the British archipelago of the time was chock full of violence and abuses.  The matter of the monarch's religious loyalty wouldn't be settled with any finality until William and Mary and the Act of Settlement of 1701.  The Wars of the Three Kingdoms were fought in part over this stuff. 

We see demagoguery, caricaturing, and socio-political sniping all the time in modern entertainment.  Sometimes the propaganda accurately reflects reality, sometimes it doesn't.  Sometimes it's done for giggles or clever satire, sometimes it's completely serious and malicious.  Sometimes, as in professional wrestling, it's just done to whip up the crowd.  However it manifests itself, though, it shouldn't surprise us to find that sort of thing in Shakespeare's plays.


Based on my experience, I'd have to disagree. When the verbal resemblance gets beyond a certain point, there's really no other logical explanation except plagiarism.


I don't doubt your experience as a teacher dealing with plagiarism, but it's not the same thing at all as someone writing for fun or profit.  High school students in general don't want to be there, don't want to be doing what they're doing, and are sorely tempted to take the path of least resistance.  It's a completely different social dynamic.
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Bot Discussion Public / Re: AI accuses Camilla Läckberg of using a ghostwriter
« Last post by Hopscotch on October 12, 2023, 06:47:25 AM »
Here’s an interesting rebuttal by an Oxfordian (a competitor to McCarthy’s theory) including a list of methods of textual analysis about midway down the article w/the note that “parallels from plays of uncertain or contested authorship prove nothing.”

Plus a comment by McCarthy’s fellow researcher:  “Not once...have I found anything to disprove the notion that Thomas North wrote source plays for all of the plays in the Shakespeare canon. Nor, however, have I found anything that definitively proves it....there are no surviving plays with Thomas North’s name on them, or even hard evidence that North was a playwright.....”

https://shakespeareoxfordfellowship.org/blanding-north-hyde-review/

Let the debate roil on.
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Bot Discussion Public / Re: AI accuses Camilla Läckberg of using a ghostwriter
« Last post by Post-Crisis D on October 12, 2023, 05:35:29 AM »
Why, after all this time, does it even matter?

Truth?  Giving credit where actual credit is due?

This far away in time, the truth is gone.

Maybe, maybe not.  You never know what evidence might be found.

My inclination would be to continue to credit Shakespeare unless authorship is proven otherwise.


Literature is a product of its author's environment. What we write reveals something about us. Who we are reveals something about our writing.

That's the only reason who wrote Shakespeare makes a difference. Knowing something about the author helps inform our understanding of the author's work.

For fiction, I lean toward "The Death of the Author" so a work should be judged on its own and not based on the author.

For non-fiction, it can be important because, for example, you probably don't want to take relationship or financial advice from a drunken couch potato who can't hold down a job and beats his wife during the commercial breaks.
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Bot Discussion Public / Re: AI accuses Camilla Läckberg of using a ghostwriter
« Last post by LilyBLily on October 12, 2023, 03:58:34 AM »
What I've never liked about the debunking Shakespeare contingent was their insistence that only a nobleman could have written the plays. The need to somehow prove that only nobly born people can do anything creative or honorable or whatever seemed to have died out in the 20th century, and good riddance.

I'm not an idolator, so if the person North, whom I've never heard of before, was the actual author of the plays, well, that's okay. It will take some getting used to, but as he may have said, "the play's the thing."
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Bot Discussion Public / Re: AI accuses Camilla Läckberg of using a ghostwriter
« Last post by Bill Hiatt on October 12, 2023, 03:22:31 AM »
but using a very specific kind of dumb bot as a plagiarism detection tool convinced me of their usefulness in certain defined circumstances, providing that humans interpret the data intelligently.

Those tools are demonstrably unreliable.

The number of Quora questions all asking how to convince teachers their essay wasn't plagiarized after the tool said it was, is major.

Quite frankly, I wouldn't trust any of those plagiarism checkers to be right about anything.

My advice to students there is within Word to turn on track changes. So they can print out every change they made while typing out their essay. The only way to prove you didn't plagiarize these days is lousy typing, fixing and editing, and showing all the mistakes and changes.
Based on my experience, I'd have to disagree. When the verbal resemblance gets beyond a certain point, there's really no other logical explanation except plagiarism.

That said, as I mentioned earlier, it's certainly possible for teachers to misread the data. I had a colleague who automatically assumed a student was plagiarizing if the percentage was beyond a certain point (and the target wasn't even that high). That's clearly faulty analysis. One has to look at the specifics and make a reasonable determination. Software like Turnitin's identify similarities (and are demonstrably accurate about that). They pointedly don't call anything plagiarism. That is a determination properly made by the teacher.

On such matters, I was very definitely a "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" kind of guy. So I sat with each essay that had a suspiciously high percentage and ruled out
--coincidental resemblances involving common phrases or phases likely to come up when discussing a particular subject
--quotations properly marked as such and cited appropriately (though I might have dinged someone for over-quoting if the essay had turned into a patchwork quilt of quotes with very little writing holding them together--that's more like a cut-and-paste job than a real essay, though it wasn't technically plagiarism)
--single unmarked quotes where the student was generally conscientious, on the theory that the omission was a mistake rather than deliberate.

Then I would look at whatever remained. If there were massive blocks of word-for-word text, well, what can I say? That's like the suspect was caught covered in the victim's blood and carrying the smoking gun. But in somewhat less obvious cases, I looked at other factors.

Sometimes, plagiarists aren't very good writers on their own. (I know, shocker!) Sometimes, the plagiarized material is off-topic, or a series of plagiarized blocks don't really fit together well. Other times, the material deals with concepts beyond the likely understanding of the student or uses vocabulary uncharacteristic of the student. In a case like that, I'd ask the students about the concepts and/or vocabulary. What usually happened was that they drew a complete blank. Case closed. You can't claim you wrote something when you don't understand it.

There's more, but I think you get the point. All the dumb bot does is identify the resemblances with potential sources. From there, it's the teacher's job to distinguish plagiarism from appropriate use of sources and coincidence. If there are problems, they are problems with interpretation, not with the original data. As for the students on Quora, you never know. Some of them may be suffering from teacher misinterpretation. They should ask to see the originality report and go over it with the teacher. Some of it may be students who are guilty as sin and just trying to find away out. Amazingly enough, even people in the covered-with-blood-and-holding-the-smoking-gun category will all claim that they tripped and fell in the blood, panicked, and rolled around in it for a while, right before someone handed them the gun and ran. Sigh!
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Bot Discussion Public / Re: AI accuses Camilla Läckberg of using a ghostwriter
« Last post by Bill Hiatt on October 12, 2023, 02:59:27 AM »
I believe it now only because the textual evidence is overwhelming. But it helps that that evidence is also confirmed by other circumstances.

Here in Australia, we call this "Tall poppy syndrome."

The need to cut down anyone who gets put up on a pedestal. It's pretty sickening to watch. imo.

Everything I've read here on this is circumstantial and coming from a Bot. None of it represents truth, just speculation by something which is known to make sh*t up, and then people hyping it.

The truth is lost.

The only thing going on here is the character assassination of an author who made it.

Like what sparked this in the first place.
I agree that "Tall Poppy Syndrome" is bad. And I've always found earlier disputes about Shakespeare's authorship to be supported by insufficient evidence.

But that doesn't mean that every potential authorship challenge is necessarily wrong.

In the sense that we don't have eyewitnesses saying that Thomas North actually wrote the plays, then yes, I guess the evidence is circumstantial. But if we adopt that standard, we'd have to throw out many established historical facts, because their credibility was established through circumstantial evidence. For any history before the modern period, we are often reliant on accounts written long after the fact and have to use circumstantial evidence to confirm or deny them. And even some of those written by people in a position to know aren't always accurate. Julius Caesar's remarks about druids, for example, aren't backed up by archaeology or by accounts of his contemporaries and seem to be mostly propaganda.

Hopscotch is right that there was a lot of borrowing and adapting going on, most of which wouldn't be allowed by modern copyright laws. But the level of verbal resemblance here means that North wrote most of the substance of the plays currently attributed to Shakespeare. If we used modern conventions, the title page would read something like, "Romeo and Juliet by Thomas North, edited by William Shakespeare." The actual title pages of published Shakespeare plays say something like, "adapted by William Shakespeare." The only ones that aren't qualified in that way are for plays in the Shakespearean apocrypha.

For the sake of focus, let's address the one part of the evidence that I think is the most incontrovertible. Shakespeare's plays contain numerous parallels to unpublished works by Thomas North. The most natural explanation would be that writing containing large amounts of such material was written by Thomas North or was at least a substantial source for the finished product.  What other possibilities are there?

That the resemblances are coincidental--statistically impossible

That WS is the illegitimate son (or otherwise related) to TM and thus had access to his private papers--no evidence, circumstantial or otherwise. They may have met. McCarthy's theory assumes that North, then having financial hard times, sold his plays to WS, which would imply they met at some point. Their careers overlapped, so they could have been in touch in other ways. But there's no reason to assume a personal connection enough for North to be passing along his private papers to Shakespeare. The language borrowed from them is so thoroughly integrated into the plays that the more logical assumption is that North must have baked it in when writing the original plays.

That WS and TM collaborated on the plays. One could argue for some collaboration. For example, I think it's possible they collaborated on the Ur-Hamlet (1589 or so). But if the language in the play ends up being overwhelmingly North's, then it really doesn't matter how it came about. Whether North wrote a play Shakespeare adapted or whether they worked on a play together, the overwhelming authorship credit, in the modern sense, belongs to North. Shakespeare may well deserve the credit for preserving and popularizing the work. He knew how to please a crowd.

I can't think of any other logical possibilities. But I'm always happy to be proved wrong.
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Bot Discussion Public / Re: AI accuses Camilla Läckberg of using a ghostwriter
« Last post by TimothyEllis on October 12, 2023, 02:42:16 AM »
but using a very specific kind of dumb bot as a plagiarism detection tool convinced me of their usefulness in certain defined circumstances, providing that humans interpret the data intelligently.

Those tools are demonstrably unreliable.

The number of Quora questions all asking how to convince teachers their essay wasn't plagiarized after the tool said it was, is major.

Quite frankly, I wouldn't trust any of those plagiarism checkers to be right about anything.

My advice to students there is within Word to turn on track changes. So they can print out every change they made while typing out their essay. The only way to prove you didn't plagiarize these days is lousy typing, fixing and editing, and showing all the mistakes and changes.
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Bot Discussion Public / Re: AI accuses Camilla Läckberg of using a ghostwriter
« Last post by Bill Hiatt on October 12, 2023, 02:33:36 AM »
Why, after all this time, does it even matter?

Truth?  Giving credit where actual credit is due?

This far away in time, the truth is gone.

People can play games with dumb bots and pretend they're discovering truth, but it's all lost in time now.

Anyone petty enough to want to rewrite history using a dumb bot at this point, just gets my contempt.
If the truth is gone, then why not list all the plays as anonymous?

You and I share a similar contempt for dumb bots, but using a very specific kind of dumb bot as a plagiarism detection tool convinced me of their usefulness in certain defined circumstances, providing that humans interpret the data intelligently.

We also know that writers do leave their fingerprints in what they write. Stephen King's attempt to publish under the Richard Bachman name was foiled by fans who recognized the writing as King's. Similar pseudonymous works by JK Rowling (writing as Robert Galbraith) were also discovered by fans. In some way, the anonymous book, Primary Colors was identified as the work of Joe Klein. Earlier, I mentioned that Ted Kazcinsky was identified as the Unibomber using forensic linguistics. it is possible to identify writers through their style and vocabulary.

That being the case, is it that far-fetched to think that a bot could be fed lexical and stylistic data and find resemblances?

I would suggest that anyone interested read the book before deciding that contempt is the appropriate response.

As a quick note, Dennis McCarthy started out as an indie author with his first book, North of Shakespeare. Ironically, he is also kind of like the success story told about Shakespeare. McCarthy doesn't have a college degree and wasn't a good student in school. But he was able to self educate in areas that interested him. Without a biology background, he was able to learn enough about biogeology to publish successful works on the subject (even in peer-reviewed scientific journals). He changed our understanding of how certain species exist only in widely separated areas. Without an English background, he took on the Shakespeare authorship question and has attracted the support of at least one major scholar in the field (who, like me, was convinced Shakespeare was the author before seeing McCarthy's evidence).

I can understand people disagreeing with him. But I don't think he merits contempt.

I think we're all unhappy with potentially unfounded accusations being leveled at a fellow author. I'm not convinced by the general statements in the thread-starting article that the accusations are sufficiently supported. But that shouldn't prejudice us against forensic linguistics, which is a valid tool if properly used.
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