Writing original material is hard…
It is a little ironic that I am basing this blog post off of another blog post but I am willing to admit that I rarely come up with a good ideas of my own.
Over the weekend we saw lots of Twitter activity about a blog post over at McGrew Security. While I applaud the effort in pointing out this complete scam job of a book I do feel that perhaps the “authors” (can we even call them that?) are getting off a bit too easy. Or at least one of them.
Before I rant and make fun of them let me first state that I too have written books. I have even written books for Syngress. While I am biased and honestly have not been paying attention, I have not seen a Syngress book worth purchasing since the Hack Proofing Your Network series — this includes my own material.
I have worked with other publishers and this is my take on Syngress as a book publisher. They went from being pretty cool and easy to work with during the Hack Proofing days to simply an outfit that attempts to churn out as many books as possible as quickly and as cheaply as they can. Apparently, if you can cut and paste from Wikipedia, you are now a Syngress author. Syngress pays the lowest amount they can negotiate with you and then rushes you through the fastest possible timeline to get your work in and published. Quality is not the goal here – quantity is. Flood the market with enough cheaply made books and you eventually make money on a few of them.
Back when I wrote for Syngress they did recommend that we run various tools to insure that we don’t plagiarise anyone’s material and they did do *some* technical editing but my most recent experience resulted in a book being released with next to no oversight. Hell, I know for a fact that the majority of my last Syngress book was a.) written from the bottom of a bottle and b.) not reviewed very closely by anyone. I am honestly embarassed about that one.
So do we point a finger at the so called authors? Or is this a failure in the Syngress editing process and quality management? I say both. Jumping back to the blog post over at McGrew we see this explanation from one of the authors:
Edit: Dustin L. Fritz (of The CND Group) has left the following comment regarding plagiarism in this book:
This was an honest mistake and I sincerely apologize for any miscommunication. I hope that the correct and proper citations can be added soon and that all questions regarding copyright and plagiarism issues can be resolved. I hope the book can still be enjoyed as a valuable contribution to the information security community and I hope it will go on to fulfill its objective in reaching anyone who desires to learn more about hacking and security. I want to specifically apologize to Jayson, Kent, Syngress, Rachel, Angelina, all the readers, reviewers, and others who have taken offense. I want to fix this and I sincerely appreciate everyone’s positive support!
Wait, “honest mistake”? Really? Let me jump back and steal more of Mcgrew’s content;
If you have a copy of this book that you bought or received for review, I encourage you to take a look at these pages and source URLs to see what I’m talking about:
That is no honest mistake. The mistake here was that this so called “author” thought he could get away with cutting and pasting from online resources. There is zero honesty in this mistake. What is even funnier (at least to me) that Syngress didn’t even catch this in their so called edits and reviews.
Miscommunication? Really? What part of cutting and pasting from a website results in a miscommunication?
To quote someone who will remane nameless because they said this in private: “honesty and quality are not priorities for Syngress.”
Apparently, honesty and quality was not a priority for at least one of the authors of this book. Mistake? Yes. Honest? Thats hard to believe.
For my next book I think Iwill just cut and paste directly from Twitter.
What a complete joke.