When caught, don’t destroy evidence

Plagiarism rule #1, the Internet doesn't forget

Update: Theo responded here in the comments, but dodged the question entirely. Make of that what you will. The entirety of the comment is reproduced at the bottom in case of unannounced changes.

Update 2: A reader reports that comment posting has been disabled on BS News. Older comments are no longer being removed, but the previously removed ones have not been restored.

WHEN YOU DO something wrong, the best thing you can do is come clean and not cover it up. Covering things up only makes things worse, especially if you do it in a panicked way.

If you recall our story a few hours earlier about plagiarism, Theo Valich, and BS News, you will recall that we ended it with, “There may be a reasonable explanation for the Evergreen story, and I look forward to hearing it. Theo, your turn.” Sadly, Theo did not offer an explanation, instead, he modified the page and didn’t put up any sort of comment that it was changed.

Luckily, we took screen shots and saved the pages from both BS News and The Inq for the relevant stories. Although we are pretty sure The Inq page won’t get scrubbed on short notice with no trace of what was there, we have that too just in case.

The BS News page, still here, used to look like this:

BSN ATI evergreen cropped small When caught, dont destroy evidence

BS News page from publication to 7-27-09

For some reason, the picture, note the Hemlock ‘mistake’, above the text of the third paragraph just got changed massively. It used to read in an eerily similar fashion to Sylvie Barak’s story here, but now it is entirely different. Imagine that, no explanation given, here, on our forums, or on BS News itself as to why the changes were made, nor has Theo tried to give us any explanation.

The Paragraph in question until this morning said, “ATI will catapult not one, but rather a complete DirectX 11 line-up into the orbit, ranging from $50 to the high end parts in their respective three-figure pricing brackets. Just like the Radeon 4000 series, consisting out of 4400, 4500, 4600, 4700 and 4800 parts, the new Radeon series will consist out of entry-level [Hemlock], mainstream [Cedar, Redwood], performance [Juniper] and high-end part [Cypress]. When it comes to codenames, you’ll notice that all of these parts have codenames from plants, with some belonging into the same family [Cedar, Juniper, Redwood] Note that not all of these parts will be launched on the same day. Some parts might have to wait until Holiday season to get them in OEM-level numbers, but all in all – this is the strongest line-up ATI had in years. We might even dare to say strongest line-up ever from any GPU manufacturer.”

Now, it says, “ATI will catapult not one, but rather a complete DirectX 11 line-up into the orbit, ranging from $50 to the high end parts in their respective three-figure pricing brackets. Just like the Radeon 4000 series, consisting out of 4400, 4500, 4600, 4700 and 4800 parts, the new Radeon series will consist out of entry-level, mainstream, performance and high-end parts with one or two GPUs. Note that not all of these parts will be launched on the same day. Some parts might have to wait until Holiday season to get them in OEM-level numbers, but all in all – this is the strongest line-up ATI had in years. We might even dare to say strongest line-up ever from any GPU manufacturer.”

Notice anything different? All of Sylvie’s info went *poof*. I wonder why? There is a good explanation for this, right Theo? I am waiting to hear it, and Sylvie probably is due for an apology, as are The Inq editors.

That’s not all, though, the second paragraph had information removed as well. It now says, “As tradition goes, the North American launch will happen in seven weeks in San Francisco [sources disclosed Thursday, September 10th] on a very special place indeed – but we’re not at liberty to say where the event will take place.”, where it used to say, “As tradition goes, the North American launch will happen in seven weeks in San Francisco on a very special place indeed – but we’re not at liberty to say where the event will take place.”. I wonder where that information came from?

Could it get funnier? Yes it could, a reader sent us a saved page with some comments in it. The comments used to look like this:

BS News comments When caught, dont destroy evidence

Notice the second one?

Those comments and several others disappeared without a trace sometime between the 23rd and today. The author had no part in making those comments, or taking the screenshot in question, and did not have it until after the first story was published. At least one other person noticed the similarities in question between The Inq and BS News.

If anyone would like either the screen shots, saved HTML pages, or anything else related to this, post in the forums or email the author. We will once again close in the same way we closed the last chapter with a request for information and/or correction. There may be a reasonable explanation for the Evergreen story, and I look forward to hearing it. Theo, still your turn.S|A

Note: The following is Theos comment from the update above. The original is found here.

[Begin comment]

RE: Plagiarism by: Theo Valich on 7/28/2009

When it comes to a responding to false accusations, I decided not to go down to someone’s level.

As a professional journalist and member of International Federation of Journalists [IFJ], there are certain standards that you don’t go below, especially not getting involved in public bashing and bickering.

I have never ever, disclosed a source of a story to anyone, and my former employers know that. That policy stands for every employee of BSN*, and if people disclose sources, that will be handled internally. There were cases in this industry where revealing sources was “awarded” with those people receiving their pink slips [and I don't mean a car] because “bloggers” blogged who the source was.

BSN* was the first site on the whole Internet to publicly reveal the codename of ATI’s DirectX 11 architecture [Evergreen], and we were the first to reveal that ATI R800 family e.g. Evergreen is based upon R700 architecture and that the completely new ATI DX11 architecture is coming in 2010, with the upcoming transition of some parts to GlobalFoundries.

We are going to stay here for a long time, and there is no wonder that people will openly dislike us, those people being journalists, execs etc.

Ultimately, it all boils down to choice. BSN* does not charge for content and we are not running ads to show bias to anyone [hence, we're running Google Ads for the time being - we might change this in future, but only if it will not affect our objectivity]. Thus, it is the right of every reader to come and read our content and come up for conclusions themselves.

And now excuse me, we have more content to publish, from the well respected colleagues. After all, this site is not a one man band [like some people were spreading during Computex], there is more than 20 people in the company.

Ed.

[End comment]

 

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 When caught, dont destroy evidence

Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group.