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What does the word integrity mean to you?

If you’re a blogger, what does “blogging with integrity” mean to you?

I’m not asking for Webster’s definition, but rather what does integrity represent to YOU?

I’ve noticed there is a badge some bloggers even display on their sites stating they “blog with integrity.” I’ve never signed up for that badge. I didn’t feel a need to because, well, come on. It’s not like I’m going to blog without integrity.

Isn’t this stating the obvious?

Maybe not.

I’ve learned a thing or two about myself, blogging and integrity during the first days of 2012, or more accurately perhaps, a few things about what integrity is and is not.

I write words for others to read. I encourage others to share my words or my message.  I write because I want to share. That’s the whole point.

However, do I want others to simply take my words and pretend my words were their words? Of course not, but that’s what I inadvertently discovered had happened last week.

Every morning one of the things I always do is check my blog for comments. Some days there are some. Some days there aren’t. On this particular day, a certain trail led me to a “blogger” half way around the world where I made a discovery that surprised enraged me a bit.

I saw my words on someone else’s blog. The names had been changed of course, as well as a few of the cancer details, but they were my words. It was a recent post of mine, nearly word for word. Even the title was the same.

I was stunned.

I know it’s naïve of me to think this doesn’t happen. I know it happens every day. But whether you steal someone else’s written words in “real life” or on the internet, it’s still the same thing.

It’s still called plagiarism.

When teaching, even my youngest students had a clear understanding of what it meant to “use your own words.”

The good thing I learned from this experience is that my on-line friends always “have my back.” I let a few of them know what I had discovered and they immediately sprang into action. They visited this new blogger’s site, read her my words, commented, reprimanded her and yes, stood up for ME.

Once again I was stunned, but this time in a good way.

I want to say thank you to those friends (you know who you are). I also know others would have stepped up and done the same thing had they known and had the time to do so. I’m grateful for you all. I’m grateful for your integrity.

The mysterious blogger must have read those comments posted by my “word defenders” because almost immediately following their swift action, her new site was dismantled. It disappeared within minutes. Gone.

I wondered where she would go next. Would she just go elsewhere and attempt to “lift” someone else’s words? And what was her motivation?

After I had calmed down a bit, I thought a little more about the situation. I thought about integrity; that blogger’s and my own.

I realized perhaps I had over-reacted, and then again perhaps not.

I did feel badly. You see this woman had had a cancer diagnosis. On top of that she had also lost a son to cancer. That’s why she had discovered my blog in the first place. My blog’s focus is breast cancer and loss. In the heat of the moment, I lost sight of these things. I lost sight of her losses. All I could see were my losses. And mine were only words.

Then I felt a little guilty, but mostly I felt sad because I realized this woman would have been welcomed with open arms into this on-line cancer blogging community.  We would have embraced her if only she had used her words. If only she had “blogged with integrity.”

She’s the one missing out and that makes me truly sad.

I hope if by some chance she reads my words here, she realizes this.

Mostly, I want to say we would probably still welcome her if she uses her words to tell her truths.

Kathi, one of the friends who “came to my rescue” and defended my words that day, summed things up with one simple question.

If we don’t have our integrity, what do we have?

I say without it, we have nothing.

What does integrity mean to you?

Have you ever had your written words “stolen?”

If so, how did you react?




Wednesday 9th of May 2012

*sense of violation is what I meant to say.


Thursday 10th of May 2012

Yvonne, Fixed! Thanks.


Wednesday 9th of May 2012

Oh Nancy, I'm sorry. I know I'm still quite new to the very concept of my own blog. I just know it has become a precious little space that I've carved out for myself, a place where I can sing my song - sometimes out of tune, sometimes not, but always my own. I'm sure many of my posts are no more than a variation on many of the themes explored by so many of you wonderful women. But they are my variations, my songs to sing, as are yours and Renn's and AnnMarie's and Maries' and Jan's and all those women whose words inspire me every single day. I'm sure you must feel such a sense of violation . I'm sorry. Keep singing your song ... your voice is well-known and we won't suffer imposters gladly.


Wednesday 9th of May 2012

Yvonne, Yes, our own little voices/blogs are uniquely ours aren't they? That's exactly why each of them is so precious. Thanks for finding this post and for commenting.

Jan Baird Hasak

Saturday 5th of May 2012

Nancy, somehow I missed this post. When I ready Philippa's post today, she linked back to it and I realized my mistake.

The ultimate flattery is imitation. But that doesn't justify anyone's action who plagiarizes.

Integrity? I haven't had blogging words stolen from me (of which I know, anyway), but I believe people lifted language from the patent applications I wrote to craft their own.

On a personal level, I did have my heart stolen by one I trusted to the core. It will take eons for me to recover from THAT break in trust.

I can only imagine how you felt to see your very own words written by a "blogger" with no attribution to you. I'm glad your friends came to your rescue and the result was dismantling of the blog. If this person is genuine, she will recognize the breach, and seek to rectify by finding her own words to describe her cancer experiences and loss.

Thanks for alerting your readership to this new danger (at least to me, new). I'll be on the prowl to protect our sister bloggers. xx


Sunday 6th of May 2012

Jan, You understand all too well about integrity and broken trust. I'm so sorry you do. That plagiarism incident was an eye-opening experience for me. It all transpired very quickly. A couple of friends stepped in and "forced" the dismantlement. I know others would have done so also, but it all happened really fast and it was all over practically as soon as it started. The speed of the internet is amazing - on many levels. Thanks so much for finding the post, reading and commenting.

In trust we blog « Feisty Blue Gecko – a tail of the unexpected

Saturday 5th of May 2012

[...] weeks, however, I have been nudged to revisit some of these thoughts. I was shocked when reading a post from Nancy where she shared her shock when she learned that another blogger had taken her posts and copied [...]

Renn @ The Big C and Me

Monday 16th of January 2012

Nancy, I have been off the blog for a while and am just now seeing this post. Ay Carumba!

My first feeling was one of suspicion. As in, does this person even have cancer? If yes, are they that naive to think they can cut and paste someone else's words into their own?

Something doesn't jibe. I agree with Lindsey. The fact that they took the post down says either they know they made a mistake and are sorry, or they know you are on to them and they moved on. Either way, it's a win-win b/c they are out of your hair. Let's hope they stay there!

If they don't, let me know. I've got your back! ;-)


Monday 16th of January 2012

Renn, You know, I naively never really thought about those other angles. I assumed this woman was telling the truth about her cancer and her son, but who knows? If she didn't tell the truth in one area, why would she necessarily do so in another? No more guilt from me I guess! Thanks for reading and commenting.

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