Manlandia has received a mixed reception with the nadir an accusation of plagiarism. But is it naked “plagiarism” or just a clever literary adaptation to twine?

Really, what is your problem? First you accuse me of violating the comp rules for hosting a spreadsheet, then you accuse me ofconflict of interest for rather straightforwardly explaining the context behind a game, and now you’re trying to leverage popular opinion to prove some point? I don’t get it, but I find it rude as hell and I wish you would stop.

At the risk of wandering into some trolling, I feel I should point out that, per the end notes, Manlandia is a take on Vanessa Place’s Boycott Project:

I know that, and I mention it in my review, though not by name. I mainly just wanted to point out that the game is misleading as I feel it’s important context that people, by definition, might miss. The artistic merits of it is really a separate discussion and I am NOT happy about being misrepresented by Heartless Zombie above.

It should say so in its blurb then, and not just by including - right at the end - a couple of links that players may or may not click, and having clicked, may or may not realise the significance of. Because right now it’s straight-up getting credit for another author’s work.

(And “a take on” is generous - for those who don’t know, the text of Manlandia is, word for word, the first section of CP Gilman’s 1915 novel “Herland”, with the pronouns flipped and a few other substitutions. Even the blurb is lifted from Wikipedia. This is not made clear anywhere in the work.)

And Vanessa Place’s works are, word for word, the text of the essays with the pronouns flipped and a few other substitutions. That’s the entire point: to force a reader to stop and think about what they’re reading by jolting them out of it with unexpected pronouns. Whether it is a successful point is another question entirely, but it is the point.

It’s also a point that doesn’t work at all if it’s explained in advance. At what point can an author be blamed for readers failing to do research that’s practically handed to them?

I know that too, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to describe that as “deliberate misrepresentation and plagiarism as art”. It’s a misrepresentation, it is deliberate, is is plagiarism (at least in the sense that it takes huge portion of someone elses work and presents it as an original work) and it is intended as art.

I don’t want to represent the “anti-” camp in some sort of pro-/anti-Manlandia debate. Especially since at least the way it’s framed by the poll, it’s a simple rhetorical word-game: the same thing being phrased in two different way, just with a different spin. And I especially especially don’t want to do it as it seems fueled by someone’s personal grudge against me rather than a desire to have a reasonable discussion about the merits of anything.

This is kind of interesting in and of itself. I would suggest that yes, an author can be blamed for requiring the reader to acquire context before/after reading their text through external research. A text should stand alone. If, by understanding intertextuality, the text becomes a richer experience then that’s desirable.

But even without any form of contextuality, a text should be able to support itself and give the reader a meaningful interaction. And this is where Manlandia falls short, for me.

Where I take objection with this topic is that the core issue is something that should only be brought before the comp officiating body. I have complete faith in their ability to determine whether an entry holds merit or is an act of plagiarism. Furthermore, their ruling is the only one that matters which means there is no value in discussing it further.

An author deserves to take 100% of all blame just as a player deserves 0% of all praise. A game’s value is determined by the ratio of people who approve of it versus those that disapprove within its target audience.