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Bot Discussion Public / Re: AI accuses Camilla Läckberg of using a ghostwriter
« Last post by Bill Hiatt on October 20, 2023, 11:06:52 PM »
Yikes, hadn't realized that AI forces teachers to run student papers thru plagiarism s/w before assessing their thought.  But could this open a new industry that certifies (w/a pretty seal) student papers as genuinely self-made before they are submitted to teachers?  Indie authors wrecked by AI could use the work.
Unless things have changed a lot since I retired, AI doesn't force teachers to do anything, and in any case, turnitin isn't AI. It's a pattern recognition algorithm--unless AI features have been added recently. But in any case, using turnitin is normally a teacher or school choice, not something compulsory. I highly recommend using it or something like it, however, for the reasons mentioned above.

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Bot Discussion Public / Re: AI accuses Camilla Läckberg of using a ghostwriter
« Last post by LilyBLily on October 20, 2023, 01:31:17 PM »
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Bot Discussion Public / Re: AI accuses Camilla Läckberg of using a ghostwriter
« Last post by Hopscotch on October 20, 2023, 01:07:30 AM »
Yikes, hadn't realized that AI forces teachers to run student papers thru plagiarism s/w before assessing their thought.  But could this open a new industry that certifies (w/a pretty seal) student papers as genuinely self-made before they are submitted to teachers?  Indie authors wrecked by AI could use the work.
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Bot Discussion Public / Re: AI accuses Camilla Läckberg of using a ghostwriter
« Last post by Bill Hiatt on October 20, 2023, 12:25:44 AM »
I'm a big believer in the plagiarism software (Turnitin) that I used when I was teaching. But I could cite some horror stories about colleagues who just looked at the percentage of repeated text and didn't check the specifics. (Research papers would have all kinds of quotations from sources flagged, even though they were all properly cited. One would expect a higher degree of similarity in such writing than one would in an autobiographical piece, for example.) 

Ugh, Turnitin was such garbage. As both a student and staff at a college, I had access to turnitin and wanted to test it out on a paper. Like you said, it flagged passages that were direct quotes and properly cited. It also found 5- to 7- word sequences that had been used before, like "in this paper I will prove that" that it marked as plagiarized. Once, it even compared a rough draft submitted to my final paper and the percentage was something dumb like 85%. It even flagged portions of my bibliography as plagiarized. MY BIBLIOGRAPHY! Anyway, I have a hard time accepting these bots (they're not AI) as reliable methodologies to detect plagiarism.
It's important to distinguish the fact that turnitin doesn't explicitly mark anything as plagiarized. It identifies similarities. That's all. What you're describing is turnitin doing what turnitin is designed to do. As I said earlier, it's up to the teacher (or students, if they're self-checking), to determine the significance of the similarities. Many, as you suggest, are not indications of plagiarism. I haven't looked recently, but in the old days, that's exactly how turnitin described the process. It specifically advised teachers to examine the specifics of the originality report rather than just looking at the percentage.

Personally, I'd rather have a bot find the similarities and interpret them myself than have an AI try to interpret them. (With a 48% accuracy rate on factual questions in a recent study, asking AI to made subtle distinctions isn't likely to work well, anyway.)

Parenthetically, turnitin is also good for highlighting some areas of writing on which students need to improve. For example, students may be overquoting (using more from the sources that required to make a point) and underthinking (letting the sources make the point instead of using them as support for student-created analysis).

Even before turnitin, I could sometimes catch student plagiarism by feeding odd or uncharacteristic phrases (things that didn't fit or things that didn't sound like the student) into a search engine. Other things might betray the use of unacknowledged sources, like writing an essay on Oedipus in which character names aren't spelled the same way they are in the translation used (like Iokaste instead of Jocasta--it's kind of hard to miss that).

But turnitin undeniably makes the process much easier, given that I can't retain the text of millions of internet documents in my head. It also catches one student submitting another's work. I'd probably notice two identical essays in the same class, but not necessarily several years apart (siblings) or students submitting the same essay to different teachers. In my experience, 50% or so of all plagiarism was students plagiarizing each other. Every essay submitting to turnitin becomes part of its database, making student-to-student plagiarism much more difficult. It also kills a lot of paper mill business. Those websites say that each essay they sell is unique, but often, that's not the case.

So no, turnitin isn't junk. But the journalistic use of a similar program might be. It depends upon whether the journalist really examined the similarities (or lack thereof) rather than just making assumptions based on quantity of similarities rather than type and quality. A good question here, since a genre change is involved, is how much of the difference might be due to genre.

It's dangerous to use such programs without knowing how to use them, particularly when the result is to cast doubt on someone else's work.
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Bot Discussion Public / Re: AI accuses Camilla Läckberg of using a ghostwriter
« Last post by Mark Gardner on October 19, 2023, 11:54:38 PM »
I'm a big believer in the plagiarism software (Turnitin) that I used when I was teaching. But I could cite some horror stories about colleagues who just looked at the percentage of repeated text and didn't check the specifics. (Research papers would have all kinds of quotations from sources flagged, even though they were all properly cited. One would expect a higher degree of similarity in such writing than one would in an autobiographical piece, for example.) 

Ugh, Turnitin was such garbage. As both a student and staff at a college, I had access to turnitin and wanted to test it out on a paper. Like you said, it flagged passages that were direct quotes and properly cited. It also found 5- to 7- word sequences that had been used before, like "in this paper I will prove that" that it marked as plagiarized. Once, it even compared a rough draft submitted to my final paper and the percentage was something dumb like 85%. It even flagged portions of my bibliography as plagiarized. MY BIBLIOGRAPHY! Anyway, I have a hard time accepting these bots (they're not AI) as reliable methodologies to detect plagiarism.
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Bot Discussion Public / Re: AI accuses Camilla Läckberg of using a ghostwriter
« Last post by She-la-te-da on October 18, 2023, 02:21:25 AM »
I don't trust anything this so-called AI junk says. It can't write, it can't draw, it can't do anything original and using it for anything is being a cheat. I have no idea who this woman is/was, and don't care. Tons of people use ghostwriters, it's not illegal or unethical or immoral by current standards.

And Shakespeare was da' bomb.
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Bot Discussion Public / Re: AI accuses Camilla Läckberg of using a ghostwriter
« Last post by Bill Hiatt on October 16, 2023, 11:42:07 AM »
All of that said, I have yet to hear a reasonable explanation for Shakespeare's apparent knowledge of unpublished papers of Thomas North. Perhaps someone will address that as the scholarly debate continues.

If it is true that there are no surviving copies of the plays that Thomas North wrote, how can we be sure that what was found in North's unpublished papers wasn't also found in those plays?  We can't rule out the possibility that what is deemed today as having been unpublished wasn't circulated in some way back in the day where Shakespeare may have had access to it.
Perhaps I wasn't being sufficiently clear, but what you're saying is exactly McCarthy's point--that the only logical way for Shakespeare to have had that material would be if Thomas North included it in the source plays. Even if WS had somehow had access to the unpublished material, he would have had to dig through huge amounts of text to find things that fit into the play. North, being more familiar with his own material, could have borrowed from it much more readily than an outsider could have.

In other words, published material combined with unpublished material became the basis for North's plays. While WS made some modifications and additions, the vast majority of most of the plays came from North, not WS.

If McCarthy is right about chronology, the unpublished material North was drawing was often something he was working on when he wrote the plays that borrow from that material. By the way, copies of his published work from North's own library include his marginal notes. Interestingly, his only annotations cover a relatively small part of each work and relate mostly to material that ended up in the plays. Most of the surviving texts from the period are annotated throughout by their owners. North's very selective annotations are further evidence that he drew on his material to produce plays.

None of that means that Shakespeare contributed nothing. His fame is the only reason the plays in his name survived. The bulk of plays from the same time period didn't. And the reason he became a big name in the first place was that he knew how to please a crowd. If, as Feldman and Sams have both argued, some of the plays in the Shakespearean apocrypha are largely Shakespeare's work, we can see why. They aren't as intellectually stimulating or poetic as the plays normally attributed to Shakespeare, which is the reason scholars have long resisted attributing them to him. But if we see most of the attributed plays as largely the work of someone else, there's less reason to reject the contemporary title page evidence that Shakespeare wrote them. (One of them, Mucedorus, though not attested as WS's on the title page, did belong to his company and was one of the most performed and definitely the most printed play of time period.) Most of these plays had coarse humor, some bordering on slapstick, lots of action, and some other characteristics that tie them together. Shakespeare may have been writing them during the "lost years" during which we have no information about what he was up to. But he was referred to as a playwright earlier than the likely composition of any of the plays attributed to him. Some of the bad quartos of attributed plays also place more emphasis on humor and action than the canonical texts. Perhaps they were modifications for public performances. The canonical texts are more likely to have done well in performances at court.

To use a modern analogy, North is more like literary fiction. Shakespeare's own writing may have been more like what intellectuals would today call a guilty pleasure--not necessarily edifying, but definitely entertaining. (Think relatively unchallenging comedy or action flics where something blows up every few seconds--big box office stuff.) The attributed plays normally blend these elements. Shakespeare could have taken North's highly intellectual and poetic efforts and added some of his signature crowd pleasers.

Anyway, that's what I get from combining North's insights with those of Feldman and Sams, even though the last two don't agree with McCarthy's position on authorship. (Sams died before McCarthy published.)

Who knows what Shakespeare studies will look like in fifty years. For now, it's heartening to see that so many people even care. Of course, in a community of authors, that is what one would expect.

 
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Bot Discussion Public / Re: AI accuses Camilla Läckberg of using a ghostwriter
« Last post by Post-Crisis D on October 16, 2023, 08:23:16 AM »
All of that said, I have yet to hear a reasonable explanation for Shakespeare's apparent knowledge of unpublished papers of Thomas North. Perhaps someone will address that as the scholarly debate continues.

If it is true that there are no surviving copies of the plays that Thomas North wrote, how can we be sure that what was found in North's unpublished papers wasn't also found in those plays?  We can't rule out the possibility that what is deemed today as having been unpublished wasn't circulated in some way back in the day where Shakespeare may have had access to it.
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Bot Discussion Public / Re: AI accuses Camilla Läckberg of using a ghostwriter
« Last post by Bill Hiatt on October 15, 2023, 03:54:27 AM »
We all draw on our imaginations and on a variety of other sources. For fantasy, I'm often poking around mythology and folklore for material.

I've also found a nice trick that helps with places I want to describe but haven't visited. If they are in areas with decent road systems, they're probably covered by Google Earth. It can't help with the sounds or smells of a place, but it can certainly help with relatively recent and detailed visuals--at least as long as we're talking about places on or near a road. I've been able to add descriptions of a number of places I haven't visited or haven't visited in a long time. It's a great for urban fantasy or anything else contemporary that has at least some settings that are real places.

All of that said, I have yet to hear a reasonable explanation for Shakespeare's apparent knowledge of unpublished papers of Thomas North. Perhaps someone will address that as the scholarly debate continues.
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Bot Discussion Public / Re: AI accuses Camilla Läckberg of using a ghostwriter
« Last post by Hopscotch on October 14, 2023, 03:34:31 AM »
You make good arguments but I'm sure you also know there are equally good refutations for all of them.  Espec in thinking about how a writer writes stories set in places s/he may not know personally (eg, Tim in space and me in the Wild West), I recall another William (Faulkner) who said that when he ran out of ideas for stories he went to the library and got some.  W-S did his research but he lightly scraped his dataset bc his plays are littered w/military, geographic, etc, factual errors, which tends to give backhanded credence to the authorship by a rustic w/"little Latin and less Greek."
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