SOC - Purdue
This is the Stream Of Consciousness, right? Where I tell you what's on my mind. Where I write and then hit publish without returning to read what I just wrote. Well, I have to start this one by talking about what's on my mind. And it's not the Purdue game.
I went to the front page of Illinois Loyalty to scroll though headlines, something I do from time-to-time because I don't follow most Illini media so I often have no idea when an Illini story breaks. The lead story was an article from the Champaign Room titled "Limit Turnovers --> Illinois wins the Big Ten West?". Given that I had written a two-part series on Monday and Tuesday - the first article "Turnover Margin" and the second article "What If We Win The West?", I was pretty sure "Limit Turnovers --> Illinois wins the Big Ten West?" was lifted directly from my brain.
I read the article and it was 100% from my brain. The author even walks people through Parker Fleming's Success Rate chart by telling people to look at the scoring margins either side of the Illinois bar of the chart to see that a game with our kind of Success Rate should have a larger scoring margin. (That's not the only example but I won't bore you with more. It's 100% lifted from me. 100%. Unquestionably.)
On Twitter, I publicly asked Champaign Room to stop doing that. That tweet currently has 103,000 views, so yes, it made the noise I was hoping it would make. This kind of stuff has to stop.
The reality of what's happening here -- SB Nation has a volunteer writer stealing content and publishing it on a page littered with online ads -- is beyond gross. It's at the very center of the decimation of sports media. Someone in a board room somewhere - it was either Bleacher Report or SB Nation - noted that "look ma, I'm published!" is actual currency in the online world so..... "what if we just built an army of volunteer writers willing to work for bylines?"
Nearly every sports desk layoff you've seen in the years since can be traced to that. If volunteer writers on their couch can get to, say, 65% of the quality of the reporter in the locker room, that's probably good enough, right? Newspapers took a huge hit once the internet arrived, and after the papers survived that, online media companies realized that volunteer writers were willing to create content for free, bringing about a very large "so then why are we paying this reporter?" problem.
The issue here, for me, is that one of those writers simply read my last three articles on Success Rate, turnovers, and "what if we win the division?" and decided to turn that into SB Nation content. I called it "paraphrased" when I wrote that tweet but many of you pointed out that it's nearly word-for-word. And it is. The boldness of the carbon copy is alarming. Which makes this next part so disheartening.
No one will own it.
The Champaign Room site manager reached out to me to say that they "didn't see any correlation" between their article and my article. I had a conversation with him last night and he "guaranteed" that his author didn't read my article before writing his. I cannot stand being lied to, even if it's someone being a conduit to someone else's lie, and I let him know this quite, uh, vociferously.
Today has just been, well, completely disheartening. I needed one person from Champaign Room or SB Nation to stand up and say "this is wrong, and we're sorry, and we're not going to do it anymore" but I know I'll never receive that. No one in the entire industry wants that. The murkier the "whose original thought was that anyway?" line becomes, the more money everyone can make. They all want me to shut up about all of this and get back to writing about turnover luck so they can randomly also write about turnover luck because, you know, that's just a thing everyone writes about.
I do appreciate all of you. Regular readers of my work were shocked at the blatant plagiarism of that article and let me know on Twitter and on Slack. I appreciate you.
I just wish there was some kind of response from non-IlliniBoard readers that would make this disheartening feeling go away. Because the lack of any outside response makes me realize that I'm the one who views this incorrectly. Those without the ability to create original thoughts have built a system to blur the ownership of all thoughts so that they can have access to everyone's thoughts. Which means that my decision to not read or follow anyone else to retain purity of thought when I write is antiquated and dumb.
I mean, think about that. I go out of my way to make sure someone else's thought doesn't even enter my brain subconsciously. And here, someone made the conscious decision to just blatantly steal my thoughts... and it's perfectly fine in today's online world. People got comfortable with "I mean, how do you reallllllllllllllly know?" and it was OVAH.
So... that Purdue game, huh? I certainly hope I wake up tomorrow less disheartened. I couldn't force myself to go to basketball media day today and right now I'm dreading the drive to Purdue. When you reach those moments in life where you realize that cheaters actually do prosper I'm not sure it's possible to find much joy in the things you like. And I kind of feel like there will be joy tomorrow.
This is probably like last week - me needing this result, not predicting this result - but I can't write everything I wrote on Monday and Tuesday about how the Illinois offense is right on the edge of being really good and not expect the Illinois offense to be really good tomorrow.
Here, I'll just link to a graphic tweeted by Brett Ciancia of Pick Six Previews:
Admit it. You started on the right looking for Illinois, not on the left. I know you did.
69 Power Five offenses. Opponent-adjusted per-play rankings, Illinois is 20th so far this season. The per-play side of things is fine. The penalty, turnover, and field position numbers have not been.
So I'm going to try to kick-start my disheartened heart by predicting that we fix our penalty, turnover, and field position issues tomorrow and see points finally attached to our yards. I see this game as possibly high scoring (Purdue's opponent-adjusted offense is 27th on that list), but I'm thinking we pull it out. And before I talk myself out of that, I'm gonna put down my prediction and go to bed. Sorry to ruin the SOC with my disheartened rambling but... that's my stream of consciousness.
Illinois 38, Purdue 34