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Old 08-09-2016, 09:26 PM   #21
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I am just as against plagiarism as the next guy, but If you are a clearing house for communication or data of any kind, the problem in the age of an information filled Internet is auditing and monitoring sources. Perhaps an honest boater who got the information from someone he trusts who got the information from a dishonest plagiarizer who needed to return a favor and on and on an on. I doubt AC or most other information agencies could hire enough employees to really control such a thing, and once you place trust in a source other than oneself, where does one separate the info your subscribers obviously need from info that may be published elsewhere? It ain't right, but Newspapers, TV news networks, Trump and Clinton are all guilty.
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:30 PM   #22
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Sorry there, Drake. I didn't see your post until I posted my own. No plagiarism intended.
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:39 PM   #23
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They can remove text when they are notified that it violates someone else's copyright. Umtil then, there isn't anything they can or should do.
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I am just as against plagiarism as the next guy, but If you are a clearing house for communication or data of any kind, the problem in the age of an information filled Internet is auditing and monitoring sources. Perhaps an honest boater who got the information from someone he trusts who got the information from a dishonest plagiarizer who needed to return a favor and on and on an on. I doubt AC or most other information agencies could hire enough employees to really control such a thing, and once you place trust in a source other than oneself, where does one separate the info your subscribers obviously need from info that may be published elsewhere? It ain't right, but Newspapers, TV news networks, Trump and Clinton are all guilty.
I agree. I'm not the copyright holder, but I notified Jeff about it last year and again several weeks ago.

And this isn't a case of a few similar sentences. Kayley has systematically copied sections of the Douglass guidebook. Last week during happy hour, after I pointed this out to some friends I was buddy boating with, they looked at several random listings and asked if Kayley was an intern who was tasked with copying the Douglass book and changing some words.
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Old 08-09-2016, 10:10 PM   #24
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I don't get alerted to this stuff so my lack of involvement means nothing more than I didn't see it until just now. I'm involved with a major refit of my boat; I'm selling another boat; and I'm running a very complex and active company. Tomorrow we announce that there are 400 new apps using our data released in the last week.

A lot of the original posting here is misleading. He is presenting facts about my personal actions that he has no knowledge about. In fact, he's wrong.

We take copyrights very seriously. I'm quite well versed in DMCA regulations. Even though none of this falls under DMCA right now, because I was contacted by the original poster, I engaged in an extensive conversation with Kayley about all of this. She was given the examples (nearly the same as the posting above). I also suggested to the OP that he contact Kayley and discuss it with her through the messaging system that ActiveCaptain has for things like this.

Kayley and her husband are extremely experienced cruisers. I only wish I had the miles and abilities that she has. I wish I had 10% of what she has. She has been to all of the places she writes about. Every single one of them. She's not doing it for money, fame, or any other reason than to give something back to other cruisers who might follow in her footsteps. I only wish I could tell you more about her personally because you'd all be shocked.

She is quite familiar with many of the cruising guides for the Pacific Northwest. She referenced some of them in her log entries (which become ActiveCaptain postings). Given the exact examples provided in this thread, she admitted that the words were her own after being in all of those locations. Was she influenced by text in other places and then re-wrote some of it in her own words? Sure, it's possible. Heck, it's probable.

Don't assume we ignore information sent to us especially with regard to copyright. I have personally removed content before because of copyright issues. I looked into these examples and do not feel that they qualify. You might disagree with that. If you have standing to submit a DMCA claim, make it. False DMCA claims are a dangerous thing though - the law gives special rights to the accused to make counter-claims. So think and walk carefully before jumping into something stupid because you think a few sentences about the rock formation encountered are similar. Remember too that facts cannot be copyrighted.

I'm sorry if I didn't make the original poster feel good enough about the situation - he obviously is trying to make a bigger issue of it by making it public like this. If he really cared about it, he might have gone the minor step of asking Kayley himself instead of making a spectacle of it here.

400. Really, 400. All of them with Kayley's text, too!
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Old 08-09-2016, 11:23 PM   #25
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Jeff, what precisely is the relevance of 400 new apps to this issue? (So important you saw fit to mention it at the beginning and the end of your post!).

Do you really think that someone comes up with language that close randomly? College freshman get kicked out of school for a lot less.

I know you are busy with your new boat and all and running your "complex" business. But mind the store! You don't need to defend your users in order to defend your business. Call a bad apple a bad apple.
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Old 08-10-2016, 01:08 AM   #26
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Jeffrey,

The point is what she is posting is factually inaccurate. Many of the things she talks about are not there. There are very material things that are there she does not talk about. That is what bothers me. How do you miss a 150 foot long floating man camp?
How do you see goats where there aren't any and never have been any?

Tom
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Old 08-10-2016, 02:24 AM   #27
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Part one. Let's forget the law. Apparent plagiarism is a bad look for your site and your defense is even a worse look. There was a simple action to take and that would have been to have asked the poster to please rewrite the specific posts pointed out to you in their own words. Otherwise you remove them. The appearance of infringement is just as damaging as actual infringement.

As to legal issues, as an intermediary, AC's liability is one of great debate and many outstanding legal cases, and is mostly unresolved. To my knowledge you haven't been given notice by the person owning the copyright either. So, there's a good chance that AC might not be guilty of anything at the moment, except perhaps stubbornness and allowing something minor to become much bigger than it should have.

As to the OP not having a dog in the fight, while you aren't currently employed by the publication, I still think as a former employee and friend, they're your dog. Nothing wrong with that, but you're not totally neutral.

I would also say this in defense of anyone posting information on marinas and locations on AC. Sometimes it's very difficult to find different ways of saying the same thing. I don't even fault if one has their book open while posting to remind themselves. Here though there is just too much word for word. My teacher wife says an F.

So, where are we. Now by failing to respond in an effective manner to a complaint and by stubbornness and defensiveness, AC has received criticism and Hayley has become a subject of criticism and discussion. None of that had to happen. I go back to my first paragraph. By failing to take stronger action, AC hurt both themselves and a poster and cruiser they hold in very high regard. The way to fix this remains, state you defend Hayley, you don't think it was plagiarism if you want, but then suggest to her that rewording would be appropriate.

Now, I'm going to, in fairness, say something to the OP. The way of addressing issues with AC is not to send private messages on TF. Use "Contact Us" on their site. I have no problem if you do that, if you get unsatisfactory responses in you then stating that here. But this isn't the place I'd start as this isn't the complaint forum for AC.

Is it widespread and are you being "overly sensitive." I'd imagine it's somewhat widespread. If I'm posting about entering a marina and I have a good paragraph on that from another source, I'm going to pattern my post on the other source and use their measurements if I don't have my own. I want to be sure I have it accurate. It would be impossible for AC to police and they can only respond as complaints are made.

Are you being "overly sensitive?" Seeing Jeff's response here, I don't think so. However, there's one person that really has the right to answer that for you and that's "Exploring SE Alaska." Have you mentioned this to them? If not, it would be ironic if Hayley collected the information for them. You're offended but you haven't been harmed. They are the only ones who can make such a claim.

When, as a businessman, I'm in a situation like this, I am less concerned about right or wrong than I am in addressing my customer's complaint.
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Old 08-10-2016, 06:30 AM   #28
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Jeff, what precisely is the relevance of 400 new apps to this issue? (So important you saw fit to mention it at the beginning and the end of your post!).
I thought it was pretty clear. The thread had gone on for over a day with multiple requests for my input. I had been too busy to even know this, rather minor issue, was going on.

Given that there were "only" 200 apps that supported ActiveCaptain previously, 400 new ones became a pretty important project to finish up. It had taken me away from these social media distractions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveD View Post
Do you really think that someone comes up with language that close randomly? College freshman get kicked out of school for a lot less.

I know you are busy with your new boat and all and running your "complex" business. But mind the store! You don't need to defend your users in order to defend your business. Call a bad apple a bad apple.
You assume a lot. You're assuming that Kayley copied something. Do you know that, perhaps, various paper guides didn't instead copy Kayley's writing? I'm totally serious.

Do you believe that using similar words to describe a physical area is a violation of DMCA? I mean, if I "copyright" that to get to the grocery store, you "turn left at Main, go 4 blocks to Elm and turn right," that if you then publish the exact same words, you've stolen my creative work and have violated the copyright? Sorry, it just doesn't work that way.

For what it's worth, many of Kayley's postings for Alaska were from her logs that are 10-20 years old. It has been presented that a logging operation is at some particular place without her mentioning it as proof that she was never there. Sure, that's easily possible that it wasn't mentioned - it probably came in after Kayley was there. To outright call her a liar or even suggest that she wasn't at a particular place is outrageous and wrong.

Kayley and I discussed that old log issue years ago. ActiveCaptain only dates things based on the date of submission. There are a lot of reasons that's done and I decided it was best to not make an exception. It's beyond the scope of this discussion. It's a limitation of ActiveCaptain and this is one of the ways it shows up. It proves nothing to point out that she wasn't there *because* there was no mention of the logging operation.

Also recognize that Kayley's postings are often the first ones. She put in many of the markers. That's a big job. Her goal was to "prime the pump" - to get in an initial set of data for others to edit (sort of the point of ActiveCaptain). To complain that something is missing now misses the basic idea that you can go in an edit the text yourself. If there's a logging operation there that you see and you think it's important, stop complaining about the original author. Put in the damn info and make a positive contribution.

With 1.5 million users today, there is only one account with more "points" than Kayley in all of ActiveCaptain - my account. Kayley has over 21,000 points. Every time you edit something, you get a point. Think of the enormous contribution she has made to contribute her many years of cruising available for others to use.

I wonder, Retriever, how many points do you have in ActiveCaptain?

Ultimately, that doesn't really matter to the issue, but it's always interesting to see who yells the loudest especially when they claim they don't hold the copyright nor have a "dog in the fight." There just seems to be a lot of leg lifting going on for someone who provides all of this under anonymity.
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Old 08-10-2016, 06:33 AM   #29
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How do you see goats where there aren't any and never have been any?
How exactly do you know that there have never been any? Do you live in the area?

I think I provided a reason why some of the data might not be current in some locations. Can you pose any explanation for why Kayley would be inserting purely made up information along the Alaskan coastline?
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Old 08-10-2016, 06:42 AM   #30
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"You assume a lot. You're assuming that Kayley copied something. Do you know that, perhaps, various paper guides didn't instead copy Kayley's writing? I'm totally serious."


Jeff, the above statement was exactly what I was thinking.


I don't know who copied whom, but the 3 examples in the first post are too close to not be original and copy.


One, two....I might say photographic mind...etc..... but if these were totally off the cuff by 2 different people at 2 different times....wow...I would buy a lotto ticket.


Possible yes, probable no. As a totally impartial juror....I would vote they were too similar to be comfy.


Legal? hey...that's wayyyy from my ballpark...but if public opinion factors in, I will bet the silent majority is raising an eyebrow. In the long run I don't think most will care, I know I don't seeing how all things ultimately play out.


But hey...... it's a thread that did draw me in this much.
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Old 08-10-2016, 07:09 AM   #31
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There's one thing which might help with this sort of issue. I think I recall Jeff mentioning it once as a possible future enhancement, but my memory is far from perfect.

Allow AC users to somehow "rate" other reviewers.

We've found a few AC users who post helpful, complete and accurate information, and look for their reviews. We've also found a few who appear clueless, or worse, just fail to add any helpful information at all.

If the object is just to accumulate points, there's no incentive for quality.

If there was an on-line reputation at stake, perhaps reviewers would learn to add things which improved that reputation, to the benefit of all.

I can't speak to the specific reviews discussed here. But points alone only indicate quantity, not quality.
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Old 08-10-2016, 07:15 AM   #32
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Now by failing to respond in an effective manner to a complaint and by stubbornness and defensiveness, AC has received criticism and Hayley has become a subject of criticism and discussion. None of that had to happen.
But where does that come from?

Within 5 minutes of getting the information from Retriever privately, I wrote to Kayley. She's cruising in Europe right now and it took 4 days for her to respond - that's a common thing with her. We communicate often.

We discussed the individual points. Here's part of her private email to me - I'm assuming she wouldn't have a problem with posting it. I'll also replace Retriever's first name with XXXX to protect his privacy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KAYLEY
With regard to XXXX, his claim (to put it in a nice way) is BS! The Douglass' Guide to SE Alaska has always been the "Bible" for the recreational boater. We used it heavily, and notes from it made into my route planning and reports. ... Similarities may well be due to the extensive notes that were originally utilized in the route planning. (And I do have our daily writings/reports for each location visited. Thus XXXX's comment about us NOT being at Sawmill Bay could be considered defamatory.)

To state that I ignored this or didn't take it seriously is also BS. To date, we've handled hundreds of DMCA claims. 85% of them were found to be without merit. 5% were clear copies and were removed or changed quickly. 10% were on-the-line. They were documented and left alone. All of them were done under our attorney's supervision. They have made multiple, official DMCA responses on our behalf over the years.

There's another side to this that no one sees...

One guidebook author issued 300 DMCA claims - he had the definitive (and only) guide for a very remote cruising area. A couple of the claims were valid and were changed. Some of his claims were text that was actually copied by him from other non-copyrighted blogs (an interesting outcome when it was pointed out to him - don't accuse someone of copying when you copied it yourself!). Many were complaints that we had a hazard about an uncharted rock formation or things like that. In 75% of those cases, his lat/lon for the hazards were at least 0.1 nm away from our position. Some were 2 nm off. His guide was from 2005 - ours was from someone who brought the dinghy up to the rock and took a reading. There is also pretty good satellite imagery that I used to verify the location. Our locations were dead-on correct.

So here's the piece no one sees...

In finding the errors of position in his guidebook, our response to those DMCA claims released our information back to him so he could correct his book in the next printing - we offered it for nothing including no attribution. We specifically gave him permission to copy all the info in our hazard without copyright because under poor visibility, it could cause damage to other boats.

To say that I'm doing nothing or that I'm overly defensive is just wrong. I'm protecting the rights of our users against BS copyright claims done "just because." There's obviously so much more going on with the original poster here. But he's not going to tell us...

And if I am being defensive, it's to stop the needless onslaught of others with false DMCA claims. If you have a valid claim, make it. If you don't have a valid claim, I'll still look into it and correct it if it's obviously a copy.
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Old 08-10-2016, 07:30 AM   #33
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Jeffrey,

The point is what she is posting is factually inaccurate. Many of the things she talks about are not there. There are very material things that are there she does not talk about. That is what bothers me. How do you miss a 150 foot long floating man camp?
How do you see goats where there aren't any and never have been any?

Tom
OK, I was tolerating this BS up to now but you've gone over the edge and I have to speak up!

"Factually inaccurate"? Active Captain is "crowd sourced". Anyone can post anything they want, real or imaginary. And they are posting "opinions" disguised as facts. Many times in reading reviews on AC, it's clear to me that the writer is not writing about the same place as everyone else.

The important thing to remember about "crowd sourced" information is that 50% of the population (the crowd) is below average intelligence. Many are way below average.

Read the reviews with a grain of salt. Or the whole shaker. Do additional research using other sources if possible.


Edit: I wrote this before reading Jeffery's explanation of who this person is so what I posted may not apply to this particular reviewer, but it certainly does apply to many of them. And as Jeffery pointed out, conditions do change over time. That nice marina may have gone condo and that nice anchorage may have silted in. Guide books are no different in this respect.
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Old 08-10-2016, 07:53 AM   #34
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The important thing to remember about "crowd sourced" information is that 50% of the population (the crowd) is below average intelligence. Many are way below average.
All of our contributors have above average intelligence and are extremely good looking.

Being serious, if you're cruising over thousands of miles, you're likely above average in intelligence and skills. Darwin's laws would have eliminated you from cruising otherwise. In this particular case, Kayley is at the very top of the food chain in experience, skill, and cruising knowledge.

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Old 08-10-2016, 08:16 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Jeffrey S View Post
All of our contributors have above average intelligence and are extremely good looking.

Being serious, if you're cruising over thousands of miles, you're likely above average in intelligence and skills. Darwin's laws would have eliminated you from cruising otherwise. In this particular case, Kayley is at the very top of the food chain in experience, skill, and cruising knowledge.

Thanks, I needed that. And if Kayley is good looking, I probably need that too.
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:33 AM   #36
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All of our contributors have above average intelligence and are extremely good looking.

Being serious, if you're cruising over thousands of miles, you're likely above average in intelligence and skills. Darwin's laws would have eliminated you from cruising otherwise. ...........

It would be fairly easy to post reviews of anchorages and marinas from one's armchair without ever setting foot on a boat. And it would be possible to do so using several different names.

I don't know why anyone would want to, but there are some strange people out there.
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:35 AM   #37
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Sorry there, Drake. I didn't see your post until I posted my own. No plagiarism intended.
I'll send a PM with the address where you can send my royalty checks.
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Old 08-10-2016, 10:18 AM   #38
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One thing I'm going to add here is that DMCA claims are out of control as are patent infringement and other claims, is, in my opinion an understatement. If you write a guidebook and someone then publishes another one with all your information then file a claim, sue, do whatever. However, if a few paragraphs here and there are quoted elsewhere, accept that as a compliment. If your guidebook is going to be harmed by a few paragraphs being copied or nearly copied on AC then you have more serious problems. Worry more about your guidebook than what is on AC or other places. There are going to be similarities. It's the totality that you should be selling.

Songwriters are getting constantly accused of copying simply because they have eight bars that are very similar to another older song or their basic theme is the same. To think that with all the music published over the years, what I write today won't remind one of a previous song isn't realistic. As an example, how many ways can you express being a jilted lover? One of the most popular topics and they all have similarities.

I'm tired of all the companies out there buying patents just to sue for infringement. I'm tired of the back and forth between Apple and Samsung.

In this case, I'd say if the guidebook wants to file a claim, then let them. Something tells me they already did and it was addressed. Regardless, that's their issue. The OP has no claim.

Now, I'll put myself in Kayley's place for a moment, but without nearly her experience. Someone comes on TF and asks about a marina that I've been to. I will start to answer from my memory, but I will also likely look at AC. I answered regarding one recently where I'd had a good experience but I pointed out where those very recently had not. That information came from AC where their were 3 or 4 recent reviews. Was I stealing from them? If I toss in something about an entrance, then I am likely to double check what AC says.

As an example of how easy it is to come very close, if you asked me about getting to the Southport City Free Dock, AC says,

"Stay to the eastern entrance of the Southport Basin near the American Fish Company Docks. Shoaling has extended from the scrub island across the basin and a number of boats that cut the corner to head west or get too far north in the ICW channel have run hard aground."


So, if I then post, "Stay to the east when entering the Southport Basin near the American Fish Company Docks" have I somehow infringed? How many ways are there to say it? If I then say, "Many boats have cut the corner or gotten too far north in the ICW channel and run aground" have I infringed? At what point is it just multiple people stating the same facts? How much must I work to reword what I say or at what point must I attribute?

I happen to publish some magazines. We get infringed upon every day. We review a restaurant and then on some web site we'll see our comments repeated. We get such called to our attention regularly. What do we do? Nothing. Our magazine will stand on it's own. We feel complimented that people read it and find parts of it worth posting elsewhere. Meanwhile, we're on to the next edition. It was the previous owner's policy that she didn't want time spent or wasted on claims of infringement. If an entire article was copied word for word she'd perhaps contact and say "bad boys" and the place it had been copied to would put a note on their site, but otherwise she just didn't see it as a productive use of time or effort.

AC has become a huge target it seems. That reflects their incredible success and is both a compliment and a nuisance. I do think Jeffrey hurts himself by getting too defensive here, but I understand his annoyance too and I understand how personal it is to him. AC isn't just his business but is his child. I'd simply say that's part of being the leader. This however is not their complaint forum. Why don't we see complaints here against Waterway Guide and Cruisersnet.net? I've seen the same reviews on AC and the others. Typically one person posting on both, but sometimes someone different. How many ways are there to say there is shoaling at an entrance.

To all the guidebooks and websites out there, don't worry about what everyone else is doing, just publish your own book or site. If it's good enough, people will use it. Whether three paragraphs also appear to have been put on AC as well, is irrelevant. If you're consumed by complaining to AC, then perhaps you're losing your relevance. Seeing the same information elsewhere won't prevent me from buying. You having only 6 marinas listed while AC has 12 or one anchorage where they have 3 will do that. I used the other two eastern and SE cruising sites before I did AC. I still use them. I still find alerts elsewhere worth knowing, reviews worth reading. It doesn't have to be one or the other. They fulfill different needs.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming, which reminds me of all the local news broadcasts with their exclusives but somehow all three local stations have the same exclusive.
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Old 08-10-2016, 10:28 AM   #39
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Jeff, do you really think these examples are just different writers using similar words to describe the same facts? They're obviously not—they're entire paragraphs that are nearly word-for-word. Three times that I pointed out and there are so many more. Here's another, this one at St. John Harbor on Zarembo Island:

Douglass description:

"The harbor has an interesting natural feature—a carbonated artesian spring found on the mud flats in the southwest corner of the bay, about a quarter mile past the house on the west side of the bay. The spring is visible only at low tide."

And Kayley's:

"This area has a very interesting geological feature: a carbonated artsian spring found on the mud flats in the southwest corner about a nautical quarter-mile past the house on the west side of the bay. The spring is only visible at low tide."

That's not an accident. That's not two people independently coming up with the same way to present the same facts. That's one person copying another.

Another example, from Klag Bay. I recently visited and was curious about Radioville, a place I read about in the Douglass guide. The Douglass guide didn't have any specific location info on Radioville so I looked at ActiveCaptain on Coastal Explorer for more details.

Here's the Douglass description:

"Chichagof was the site of a gold and sllver mining village during the early part of the 20th Century. Also nearby, on an island referred to as "Radioville," a signal corps officer ran a radio station, delivering messages to and from the outside world to the village site.

Many structures and a vast array of mill equipment lie rusting along the shoreline. Colorful wild flowers, sprouting moss, and young shoots of hemlock compete with the rusting remains.

An additional advantage of this anchorage is while you'll be sitting on your vessel in perfectly calm water, you'll be happy not to be among the boaters outside who you'll hear constantly complaining over the VHF about their rough rides and 5-foot southeast seas.

For many of our friends the Chichagof Village Site is the best place to cruise to on Chichagof Island. We find it hard to debate their point."

And Kayley's review:

"Chichagof, at the head of Klag Bay, was the site of a gold and silver mining village during the first half of the twentieth century. More than 13,000,000 in gold was brought out of area mines between 1905 and the late 1930s. On a nearby small island (“Radioville”), a retired signal corps operator ran a radio station, delivering messages from the outside world to the village site.

Inside Klag Bay, it is perfectly still, while outside boaters complain via VHF of 5-foot southeast seas and a rough ride. The abandoned site of Chichagof mine is fun to explore.

Many structures and all kinds of fascinating mill equipment lie rusting along shore, sprouting moss or colorful wild flowers or young shoots of hemlock. One cruiser found a note at the kitchen table inviting them to make an entry in the diary; a picture of the original mining camp was placed nearby. For many cruisers, Klag Bay is a highlight of their Chichagof Island trip.

The bay is fairly flat at 4 fathoms over a long stretch and anchorage can be taken toward the head, avoiding rocks and a foul area from the islet to the eastern shore. This area is awash on low water and almost forms a breakwater.

Anchor in 4 fathoms over gray, sticky mud, clam shells and sand, with very good holding."

Why do they both have the same anecdote about VHF weather reports? That's a bizarre way to describe that a bay is well sheltered. Why do they both say Radioville is nearby, but not explain specifically where (in fact, Radioville is about 5 miles away, near the north end of Rough Channel)? How come every other ActiveCaptain reviewer I read comes up with their own language to describe the same facts, but Kayley doesn't?

You've raised the question about who copied who. Is that really a question given this quote from Kayley herself? "The Douglass' Guide to SE Alaska has always been the "Bible" for the recreational boater. We used it heavily, and notes from it made into my route planning and reports."
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Old 08-10-2016, 10:28 AM   #40
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I have wrote in a review of an area that I was in years before, so not that uncommon.
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