Talk:How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life/Archive 1

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Mean Girls Plagiarism[edit]

Kaavya Viswanathan stole numerous scenes and plot points from Tina Fey's movie, Mean Girls. In the book, just like the movie, a clueless but pretty girl enters the upper echelon of high school society, by joining into a false friendship with 3 mean (2 blondes, 1 other) but ever so popular girls with their own set of grooming rules- you can only wear your hair down, etc (the girls are called the Haute Bitchez, in the plagiarized version, the Plastics in Mean Girls). The scene in which one of the mean girls complements a wannabe on an item of clothing, then disses it when it she walks away, is in both the movie and the book, as is the clueless girl wearing a tight dress at her own out-of-control party. Also, the idea that the clueless girl messes up things with her true crush by becoming popular is a major part of the plot in both, and the link between one of the other popular girls and that crush. So anyway, it's quite obvious that the author stole from the movie, and she even mentions the movie itself and Lindsey Lohan in her book. 19:32, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

The movie Mean Girls is based on a non-fiction parenting guide by Rosalind Wiseman called "Queen Bees and Wannabes." The examples you cite are not plagiarism, because K. Viswanathan used similar plot elements from the movie but did not use the same exact words verbatim from the book (as she did w/ M McCafferty's books). I agree the two works contain similar elements, but this would not actually qualify as plagiarism.

Disgrace/University and Academic Sanctions[edit]

Is Harvard University considering any academic or disciplinary sanctions for Ms. Viswanathan? Also, when is it proper to describe her as a "disgraced novelist"? I think it is pretty clear that she is guilty of plagarism. How many negative things need to happen before she should be described as "disgraced"?

Harvard officials have made comments about looking into the case, but absent plagiarism in her coursework, I can't imagine them taking action against her. As for your other question, I don't think we need to describe her as a "disgraced novelist." Her disgrace will be obvious to anybody who reads the facts of her case. Uucp 19:13, 4 May 2006 (UTC)


Seriously, what are the possible consequences of her having plagarised another book? It seems her book is selling fine, she's probably going to sell more now that she's got the bad press (no press is bad press, just look at "A Million Little Pieces" that book certainly sold well, even after they found out it wasn't a memior, but instead a fictional work purporting to be--and sold as--a memior)

It seems like the jury is already out on the fact that she did lift some stuff from those other books, she doesn't have to admit it, because there is no chance in hell that the similarities are a coincidence. So what? They already printed the books, they are in stores right now. And the movie rights have already been sold. So how is this going to negatively affect Ms. Viswanathan? She'll obviously still have a writing career after this blows over.

Can Megan F. McCafferty sue Kaavya Viswanathan? Is she entitled to some of the profits? Can the book be pulled? Is it illegal to do what Kaavya Viswanathan did?

Anyone want to weigh in? I'd like to think a plagarist could actually be held accountable for stealing, but Harvard can't do anything (according to the school newspaper article on this topic) because this isn't academic plagarism. Can she in any way be held accountable for this? Can she lose her book/movie deal?

  • The real crime here is that anyone should have bought either of these books. Shoehorn 18:04, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
  • Answering your questions is simple: the possible consequences of her having plagiarized another book are: (a) removal of her book from the shelves (which has already occured), (b) a possible lawsuit by her publisher (based on her having defrauded them and having violated their contract to provide an original text), (c) a lawsuit by McCafferty and/or her publisher for damages, and (d) her movie deal has already been halted, and a lawsuit to recover the purchase price of the option-deal may be following. The standard for demonstrating plagiarism in this manner is much lower than some commentators seem to think. Essentially you're looking at a copyright suit, wherein if you are found to have significantly infringed upon the copyright of another entity, you're liable. This doesn't require that the infringement be a substantial portion of your or their text, but rather that it is large enough to be noticeable. Given the 40+ documented infringements, I'd be shocked if there wasn't litigation coming. Mattharvest 12:17, 29 April 2006 (UTC)
Actually, the amount of material borrowed is so small that it probably comes under Fair Use. The criterion that Mattharvest cites of the copying being "enough to be noticeable" has no basis in law. It is not one of the four factors specified in the law. See Here's a law school professor who evidently agrees with me: Bill 09:45, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
  • McCafferty has already made a public statement that she does not intend to sue. Litigation, if it comes, will be from another quarter. Uucp 13:00, 29 April 2006 (UTC)
This is a legal matter. The consequences for Viswanathan will depend on the proceedings of any potential civil court cases, or very easily, a private settlement between the parties. --Dhartung | Talk 23:11, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
Err I work at a bookstore, and Frey's book stopped selling well after his "exagerrations" came to light...since we had to immediately pull and return all copies (and have to yet to get another shipment of the books, of which we were getting a hundred copies a week prior). As is the case with this book. GreatGatsby 01:09, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the information GreatGatsby, I am glad to know that negative publicity will at least hinder sales rather than help them. --Theelectricchild 21:24, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

possible plagiarism[edit]

I have included the alleged passages for readers to consider. I am not sure if my formatting is optimal.

--Jackhamm 01:03, 24 April 2006 (UTC)--

finally the light has been shed

"possible" my arse. it's obvious she lifted quite a lot from those books and no one checked until AFTER publication. She's 19 years old and selling herself as a genius, when she's just a hack. The sad thing is she will be a success, because it's not about talent, it's about marketablity. Ms. Vinswanathan knew she was plagarising. In the Haravard Crimson article, an English professor who looked at the passages in question said "it looks as though some strong version of anxiety of influence could clearly be detected in ‘How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life,’ all the more so because of those miniscule variations that change ‘Human Evolution’ to ‘Psych’ in the hope of making the result less easily googleable.”

I agree with you 100%, and just like James Frey, Viswanathan will only get richer from this whole ordeal.

college admissions adviser??[edit]

I am curious how this advisor Ms. Viswanathan's parent's hired had ties to the William Morris agency. I mean, guess I can understand why they paid so much money for this book, because everyone loves the wunderkind. But now that I've read about the obvious plagarism in the book, the whole thing smacks of a spoiled rich girl who really isn't that talented, but just wrote a book in the fashionalbe "chick lit" style and ripped off anything she could wholesale (and a talent agency that knows how to sell someone as a 'phenom'.)


Woah, turns out I was right, her parents paid this guy upwards of $10,000 to get their daughter into Harvard. This girl couldn't do anything on her own abilities. She couldn't get a book published without ripping off another author, and she couldn't get into college unless she paid a consultant thousands of dollars. She's not some 19 year old genius, she's an average smart young girl who read a lot and has no originality, but knows how to copy something.

From the NYTimes (pre-allegations) article:

"Her parents were not immune to the competitive pressure, however. Because they had never applied to an American educational institution, they hired Katherine Cohen, founder of IvyWise, a private counseling service, and author of "Rock Hard Apps: How to Write the Killer College Application." At the time IvyWise charged $10,000 to $20,000 for two years of college preparation services, spread over a student's junior and senior years.

But they did have limits. "I don't think she did our platinum package, which is now over $30,000," Ms. Cohen said of Ms. Viswanathan." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

college counseling is very popular amongst the rich. ivywise is certainly not the only shop in town. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
I don't think it's possible to draw conclusions from her use of an admissions service. Harvard admitted George W. Bush, after all .... --Dhartung | Talk 23:18, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
George W. Bush is a graduate of Harvard Business School. Besides, are you forgetting how powerful his family is? he didn't need a college admissions counselor(which were probably non-existant back then) to get into Yale. 02:20, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
Relax, it's a joke. With a point, that even Ivy League schools relax their standards on occasion (e.g. for legacy students and others with connections). And there are thousands of students who use these services. --Dhartung | Talk 18:00, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
You are correct Dhartung, I apologize for not seeing it that way. I went ahead and lifted the warning off your IP.


According to the Newark Star-Ledger, she previously claimed "nothing I read gave me the inspiration" to write the book. [1]

Seems a little off she's just now admitting her influence. I mean, if she internalized and love the book and all ... TheNate

I see no inconsistency. The fact that she read and liked other books doesn't mean that they were her inspiration for writing her own.Bill 23:35, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
Regardless, the fact that she used the style of another author in her work is clear indication that her "not having any inspiration or influence from other works" is quite false. --Theelectricchild 01:23, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
Hunh? A stylistic similarity has nothing whatever to do with the inspiration for writing the book, which is what is at issue. It is quite possible to decide to write a book, then receive stylistic influence. In any case, it isn't really true that she used McCafferty's style. The similar passages are a miniscule fraction of the book, less than 1%, so they hardly can be said to affect the style significantly.Bill 01:47, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
But she has already contradicted herself in her most recent statements, declaring that the work of Ms. McCafferty spoke deeply to her, that she loved the two published novels she stole passages from so much she'd read them "three or four times". You simply can't have it both ways: a "photographic" memory that allows you to "unconsciously" transcribe specific detailed writing while at the same time utterly forgetting where you'd read these "beloved" books, or that they might not be your original words. In my opinion this ludicrous explanation accounts for much fo the disgustr Joe Public feels at this whole affair. If she'd simply admittted what is obvious, instead of continuing to lie self-servingly, she'd be the recipient of a lot more sympathy at the moment. 30 April 2006 (UTC)
Is it so obvious? The involvement of Alloy makes it unclear whether or not Viswanathan wrote the plagiarized passages at all. Uucp 04:08, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
And I must beg to differ that either the general theme of the original books and the plagiarised one, or the tone, or style, or anything else are anything but very similar. 40 directly plagiarised passages do not constitute "less than 1%" of anything, nor do they lack any significance but that they represent: that the Ms. Viswanathan did a morally and legally reprehensible thing and deliberately plagiarised them. Whether it's 2 or 20 or 200 make no difference, nor do "percentages"; if it were but a few passages, it's still a low thing to have done. 30 April 2006 (UTC)


I merged in some passages from Viswanathan. Everything else is redundant, I believe, and that article is ready to be deleted. Random Task (T·C) 00:08, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Anyone think it likely there'll be a South Park episode about this? They did the "Million Little Pieces" scandal, after all. --Christofurio 20:21, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Hah, I was JUST THINKING that earlier! I was trying to figure out which character it would be that would plagiarize something. I just hope this is high-profile enough to catch their attention... Dylan 21:14, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
Wendy has to write the book, which turns out to have a lot of similarities to the porn novel Mr/Mrs Garrison wrote last year! LOL. --Christofurio 18:20, 29 April 2006 (UTC)
Where did you hear this information Chris? I apologize for being off subject but I am curious! :) --Theelectricchild 15:32, 30 April 2006 (UTC)
Just have some fun and speculating. I have no information at all. My bad. --Christofurio 00:26, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

Her Reviews[edit]

In the course of the edit war over her reviews, have any of you stopped to read the linked sources?

This is a positive review that calls the book sweet, charming, and funny
A not particularly favorable review, rates the book B-, calls it "chick lit"
Dead link; underlying site seems to have no search function, so I can't find whatever story used to be here.
Not a review at all, just a "gee-whiz, Indian girl gets paid lots of money" story. Does call the book "chick lit"

There is nothing here to justify any comments about "lots of positive review", or "generally hailed as a big new voice in young adult fiction" or anything like that.

To see if there were relevant sources missed by previous editors, I ran a Nexis search that revealed that (1) there were few mentions of the book in the regular media before the plagiarism story broke on April 23, and (2) almost every story that appeared was about the remarkable young woman who landed a big bonus for writing a book while at Harvard.

There were only 22 stories in the Nexis database before the plagiarism news broke; other than the USA Today and DFW stories discussed above, I summarize all of them below.

(1) A third of the pre-plagiarism stories were copies of an April 17 Associated Press piece. The AP did not run a book review; it's another "look at this impressive author" story. It does contain the ironic comment by Viswanathan, "I mean I always fantasized about when I'm 30, I'll go become a British citizen and win the Man Booker award. That's still my big goal." NOT A REVIEW

(2) The New York Times ran a "gee whiz, neat author" story on April 6 but no book review NOT A REVIEW

(3) The Los Angeles Times mentioned Viswanathan in a story about many young authors on April 5. It is a "gee whiz, neat author" story, with no book review. It does contain the ironic quotation from Viswanathan, "It all comes down to who has the dedication to sit down every day and put something on paper. It all starts from there." NOT A REVIEW

(4) New York Observer, April 3, ran a scathing review with the subhead, "Everything that is or does anything in this novel is a cliche." NEGATIVE REVIEW

(5) The Chicago Sun Times, April 2 ran a mixed review with the comment "While some of Viswanathan's prose is unimaginative -- too many preppy kids are described as looking like they've stepped off the pages of a J. Crew catalog, for example -- the book's fresh and witty premise rescues it from getting mired in typical nerd-to-cool-girl cliches." Most of the article is a "gee whiz, neat author" piece. MIXED REVIEW

(6) The New York Daily News, April 2, gave a brief but positive review, called the book a "sweet read." POSITIVE REVIEW

(7) Boston Globe February 22, ran an article about the author and her publisher's high hopes. It does contain the line ""Opal Mehta" is a clever novel by a promising author" but it does not seem the journalist actually read the book and this sentence may simply record what the publishers were saying. UNCLEAR

(8) The Los Angeles Times ran a review on April 8, hating the book, which they call a "chick book". The reviewer says "Young adults, indeed all readers, deserve better. The novel's manufactured quality is disturbing; its total lack of individuality, of any genuine emotion, thought or reflection is discouraging, as is the calculated plan to advertise it in Teen People, In Style and suburban newspapers." NEGATIVE REVIEW

(9) The Roanoke Times (Virginia) April 9, ran a short, negative review, saying in part "The chicks in this case have to be young, no older than high school sophomores, to find any entertainment, much less merit, in this first novel by Kaavya Viswanathan." NEGATIVE REVIEW

(10) The Record (Bergen County, NJ) April 9, very long "gee whiz, neat author". Does use the phrase "chick lit" NOT A REVIEW

I am going to revise the text of the article accordingly. If you dislike my phrasing, please discuss here before reverting. Uucp 02:11, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Diligent bit of editorial research UUCP! Good job. --Christofurio 00:36, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

Need help re: Rushdie[edit]

Need help on claim of plagiarism from Salman Rushdie's book "The Mail Coach", a chapter in "Haroun and the Sea of Stories" by Salman Rushdie

Need to check the varacity of the following passages in KV's book:

  • "If from drink you get your thrill, take precaution, write your will"
  • "All the dangerous drug abusers end up safe as total losers"

and Rushdie's book (title and chapter in the heading):

  • "If from speed you get your thrill, take precaution, make your will"
  • "All the dangerous overtakers end up safe at the undertaker's."

Please help in verifying these passages in the 2 books. I came across this in a NYT article where a blogger claims the plagiarism from Salman Rushdie's book.

Pizzadeliveryboy 05:10, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

For those without access to the Times, here is the passage that Pizzadeliveryboy refers to,
"Viswanathan might have plagiarism issues with more than McCafferty's books," wrote Janak Ramakrishnan, another blogger at Sepia Mutiny. Mr. Ramakrishnan had noticed a similarity between pious aphorisms scribbled onto posters by a character in Ms. Viswanathan's book ("If from drink you get your thrill, take precaution, write your will" and "All the dangerous drug abusers end up safe as total losers") and passages from the 1990 book "Haroun and the Sea of Stories" by Salman Rushdie. A chapter titled "The Mail Coach" in Mr. Rushdie's book depicts a series of rhyming road signs, including two that read, "If from speed you get your thrill, take precaution, make your will" and "All the dangerous overtakers end up safe at the undertaker's."
from "In Internet Age, Writers Face Frontier Justice," Tom Zeller Jr., The New York Times, May 1, 2006.
Note that the chapter title is "The Mail Coach," the book is called Haroun and the Sea of Stories. To me, this seems more tenuous a plagiarism claim than Viswanathan's McCafferty-like text. Uucp 10:44, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
To be honest, that sounds like clearer plagiarism than some of the instance cited between Viswanathan's and McCafferty's books. My only concern for including it is whether it is published by a verifiable source, and the Times sounds good enough for me. So long as the wording is preserved from the article -- e.g. "it has been alleged by a blogger that," not "Viswanathan definitely plagiarized from...", I think it's fine. Dylan 11:14, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
I have verified that "H&SoS" has the said lines (Oops I forgot to record the page # - will do that in a couple of days!!!). However, I have not been able to get a copy of KV's book. Once somebody can record the page # of the offending lines, we can put it up as an instance of plagiarism. Whether this is a more tenuous instance of plagiarism is a matter of judgement, and should be avoided here. Pizzadeliveryboy 15:52, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Additional cases/allegations of plagiarism[edit]

There are atleast 2 news articles outlining addl. instances of plagiarism from Can You Keep a Secret?, a chick-lit novel by Sophie Kinsella

Please check the foll:

Pizzadeliveryboy 08:37, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

I will add a mention of these things to the article. Uucp 11:04, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

Franklin Lakes[edit]

Is Franklin Lakes a suburb of NJ (or Jersey City or any other city in NJ), or is there a suburb of FL where KV lives?Pizzadeliveryboy 16:04, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

Franklin Lakes is located in northern NJ. Icewolf34 18:35, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
Franklin Lakes is a suburb of New York City, just like everything else here in North Jersey. —Cuiviénen 18:36, 31 July 2006 (UTC)


I believe that Viswanathan should disambiguate Kaavya Viswanathan and Anand Viswanathan instead of linking directly to the former. Etafly 04:08, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

"See Also" section[edit]

What's the purpose of the "See Also" section? At first, it seemed to be two cases of Harvard-related plagiarism cases--perhaps interesting, but not necessarily anything to do with Viswanathan. Now, it's expanded to list Harvard-related scandals of all types. I was considering cutting the new additions, but that makes me wonder if the entire section should be deleted. Thirdreel 12:57, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree, and I have reverted it to the two most similar cases. A category that links all of these cases (plus Chas Lee, plus Jose Luis Ramos, plus other Harvard scandals) may make sense, but there is no reason to list them all here. Uucp 13:46, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life[edit]

Shouldn't there be plagarism charges be covered in detail in an article about the book. By the way .... why isn't there a How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life article. Kyros 07:37, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

There is no article for the book due to the fact that the pertinent information is explained in the Kaavya Viswanathan article itself. Also, due to the fact that the book is no longer being produced, there is no need for a seperate article. Thank you. --Theelectricchild 04:43, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Photographic Memory[edit]

K. Viswanathan claimed, after the allegations came to light, that she has a photographic memory and that is a possible explination of the plagiarism. First of all, if she admits to reading McCafferty's novels and has a eidetic memory, why didn't she remember the source of the quotes? Secondly, can it be proven she actually does have an eidetic memory (I'm not sure if anyone actually agrees there is even is such a thing as a eidetic memory.) It sounds to me like this girl is spinning every excuse under the sun.

Here is a Slate magazine article that argues that "no one has a photographic memory"

Kaavya Syndrome The accused Harvard plagiarist doesn't have a photographic memory. No one does. By Joshua Foer Posted Thursday, April 27, 2006, at 6:47 PM ET

Deemphasizing book cover image[edit]

To state the obvious, this is not an article about the book scandel, it's a biography. While it's not in the style guide, I believe it's pretty much an established convention that lead paragraph images of biographies are images of the subject. While her notoriety is exclusively from that book, I still don't think it's her identity. I think the cover should be moved down to the Book Deal section.

I have tried to do it myself if it wasn't for Uucp's school marmish hand-slappings.

My main concern is that this article is slowly moving out of the realm of biography and becoming an improperly-headlined current event article. I personally think it's acceptable for an article to be as it is presently, but some things need to be nudged back to the right direction. To be frank, I think a few sentences of the lead paragraph should be moved down to one of the lower sections that are specifically as well.

Also, I think a caption on the book should be there for the sake of skimmers (like me) who tend to read the images first, although I don't know what was so offensive about using this caption:"Viswanathan's first novel, and a center of a plagiarism scandel." hateless 06:17, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

Hateless, you've spread your response over this page and my personal Talk page, but I'm going to respond only here.
You think the article should be written to make life easier for "skimmers (like [you])". But Hateless, the article is only 2500 words long, and for those who find that onerous, it contains a nicely phrased 175 word summary at the top. You want to add a 10 word super-summary above that. Where does this end? A two word super-super-summary? ("Plagiarizing girl," I imagine). Shall we do the same with other wikipedia articles? (Albert Einstein: "Smart Jew," or The Da Vinci Code: "Long book")
I appreciate your discomfort that the article is ostensibly about Viswanathan but is comprised almost entirely of a single scandal and includes little about her childhood, academic work, favorite ice cream flavor, etc. This seems to me a necessary implication of Wikipedia's focus on notability. When Visnawathan does something else notable, it can be added here.
Some people have argued that there ought to be a separate page on the book. I don't have a strong opinion about this, but it seems to me that the book is uninteresting, except for the scandal, and Visnawathan is not interesting, except for the scandal, and they ought to be covered in a single article. Given that more people are going to search for Visnawathan's name than the book's, it makes sense to keep all the information here.
Now for your ad hominem attacks against me. You dislike my changes to the Gina Grant article and accuse me of being like a "school marm." My changes to Gina Grant were similar to my changes here (and to Malcolm X and Harlem and a number of other pages). Specifically, I stepped in with copious research to resolve contentious issues. On Visnawathan, I looked up every article about her and the book which appeared in the U.S. press before the plagiarism scandal. On Grant, I completed a similar survey of articles about Harvard's rescission of her position in the freshman class. The research takes hours, and you are the first person ever to complain about it.
What is your issue with school marms? Uucp 15:06, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Please don't resort to strawmen arguments. You still haven't answered what is so offensive about the captions I edited in, you're deflecting the point. As for your hostility against captions in general, please know that if you're not a skimmer, you are in the minority. There's been plenty of surveys (here's one) done about web usability (and reading in general) that show people skim very frequently, and they do so by reading the first sentence of each paragraph and reading images/right side floats first, even if they do decide to read the article later. Anyone stumbling onto that page may not necessarily connect the book cover image with its relevance to the subject immediately. The caption is to aid comprehension, which becomes more important when attention is likely to be scant.
I think it's striking that your thinking is contradictory toward decades of conventional wisdom of article design--look through your nearest newspaper and see if you can find a picture without a caption. Are you going to complain to the NY Times that the caption in this article is an unnecessary super-summary?
As for moving the image down, my concern is not about content, it's about organization and emphasis. I never said it should be separated into two articles, in fact I said I was fine with the scandel being detailed in this page, but I said (or meant to say) the article should be structured as a biography article foremost.
And I never complained about your authority on the subject, I complained about your overbearing attitude. And as for your behavior, we can talk about it on your talk page, where it belongs. hateless 20:28, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Hateless insofar is this is first and foremost a biographical article, and it should therefore remain in form as such. Take a look at Terri Schiavo, another person notable as a result of a very specific issue: we still have an "Early life" section with background information (e.g. her parents' names and professions, which were excised from Kaavya's article) that, strictly speaking, is not "notable" or relevant to the reason for her notability, but which nevertheless flesh out the article and keep it on the level of "biography." With the exception of the first sentence, all we have right now is an article that should be moved to How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life plagiarism scandal. Dylan 20:51, 9 May 2006 (UTC)


Just a thought: maybe create an "Opal Mehta" page and redirect it to the Kaavya page.

Reduction in size[edit]

Do we need to include every supposedly plagiarized passage? I think reducing it to two or three examples per source would make the point just as well while making the article much easier to read. We link to outside sources if people want the comprehensive list. Uucp 02:46, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

People seem to really want a lot of examples. A separate Opal Mehta page, or even a How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life plagiarism scandal page needs to be created if the community wants to keep them all. This should be a biographical article, but the controversy is too newsworthy to not document in detail.--Ryan! 05:34, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

Isn't phrasing her plagarism as "Accusations" a POV[edit]

I'm just wondering, but isn't saying titling her plagarism as "accusational" a type of POV. She was not just accused of plagarism....she was GUILTY of guilty of it. Just seems as though in an attempt to seem non-confrontational we wrote it as accusations of palagarism. I'm all for being a nice guy. But the woman did plagarise extensively. Whether "unintentionally" as her rather pathetic argument indicates...or outright...she was plagarising extensively. And it got her to harvard no less. I think the "accusation" part is left over from when the plagarism was just "accusations" and not admited fact. have a point, there. The proof is too overwhelming for it NOT to be plagiarized. I don't know, what do the rest of you think? --Passerby Cat talk cat 21:26, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

External links and References[edit]

The External links section is way too long and in some cases redundant with the References section. I've removed a couple broken links and pointless blog links, but somebody more familiar with the subject should pick out a few of the most useful external links and delete the rest. ^Forgot to sign my entry, Mfv2 16:56, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Wrong wording?[edit]

I'm not deeply familiar with this story, but doesn't the sentence, "a novelist noted for her perpetration of a plagiarism scandal." imply that she orchestrated the scandal? I've decided to make the edit -- 00:36, 15 June 2006 (UTC) ...then I logged in --Noit 00:40, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

Possible civil and criminal charges[edit]

She is ruined, as there are at least five authors that could sue her, and she could (in theory but not in practice) be charged with fraud, as she would have obatained royalties. How many copies were sold before the book was pulled???

So many passages?[edit]

Why does it seem that all of the passages of Viswanathan's alleged plagarism seem to be reprinted here? Does this article really need all of them? I would suggest just listing one from each plagerized source and giving the link for all of the other alleged sources. Does anybody else agree? Hbdragon88 04:43, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

NPOV discussion[edit]

I mean you could document the plagiarism stuff in the article on her book. I would believe a passing mention of her plagiarism would be enough justice on a 'biography' page. Otherwise its highly critical POV based and hardly qualifies for a biography in my opinion. Hence this article is not in a NPOV. --பராசக்தி 01:28, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

KV is not noteworthy except for her book, the plagiarism, and the resulting fall from grace. These things must be discussed here. Perhaps someday she will distinguish herself as something other than a plagiarist, and this page can then include discussion of those other, noteworthy accomplishments. However, for now, any page about KV is mostly going to be about her plagiarism. Uucp 01:34, 17 September 2006 (UTC)
I agree wholeheartedly with User:Uucp. Advocating the leaving of a "passing notice" of her plagiarism sounds like newspeak for "minimizing the damage" of the scandal. I don't think providing evidence of why the girl is notable is POV. There is no slant in just displaying what and where she plagiarised. Procedural demands for NPOV do not compel us to refrain from calling a spade a spade. While you're at it, would you like to remove the information about the Holocaust from Adolf Hitler and leave just a passing reference to his anti-semitism? —ExplorerCDT 16:27, 17 September 2006 (UTC)
My views are more inline with So many passages? just written above. Its the eq of writing about Holocaust in detail in that idiots biography. (the preceding is from MuthuKutty)
My comment in "So many passages?" is satirical or sarcastic. A dolt could see it for what it was worth. —ExplorerCDT 01:03, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the photo[edit]

My great thanks to whoever posted her headshot. It's nice to finally be able to see who all the fuss has been about. -- Jalabi99 20:50, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

What photo? (talk) 20:07, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

India Moves Beyond Tribalism to Globalism[edit]

I'd like to see something in the article about the total lack of support Viswanathan received from Indian literary bloggers--Googling reveals that they roundly condemned her. In fact, I have never been able to find an instance of a single Indian blogger defending her. This is evidence that India has advanced culturally from a tribal society to a fully modernized and global one. Only in a primitive, tribal society would regional literary bloggers feel compelled to rally around a thief based purely on regional identity. In this sense, India is now more culturally advanced than many "developed" communities. Qworty 08:15, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

So Many Passages Listed That It Is Confusing[edit]

Is there a way to add spaces or divider between them? For example:

1A 1B

2A 2B

as opposed to

1A 1B
2A 2B -WarthogDemon 23:11, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 18:22, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Kaavya Viswanathan is a "novel writer" ???[edit]

The first sentence of the article reads:

"Kaavya Viswanathan (born January 16, 1987) is an Indian-American undergraduate student at Harvard College and a novel writer."

Under the circumstances, I very much question whether "novel writer" is an accurate description. (If it is, then this phrase uses an extremely novel definition of the word writer.)Daqu (talk) 03:47, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Daqu, that's funny, and you raise an interesting point, but I don't think evidence of plagiarism changes the basic definition of the work. If I turn in a term paper I've stolen from somewhere else, it doesn't stop being a term paper, it just stops being a passing one, no? IronDuke 03:50, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I've removed it (before seeing this). She was notable for the scandal surrounding the book, not the book itself. The book was taken back by the publisher (so it's questionable that it could be considered "published"), and she will likely never write another book again, so it's not really an accurate description of an occupation. MSJapan (talk) 23:26, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm not going to put it back, though I think it's apt. The publisher may have withdrawn the book, but that doesn't mean it wasn't published -- they didn't build a time machine, after all. James Frey wrote another book, Steven Glass has written a novel, as has Jayson Blair. Too early to tell if KV will. IronDuke 04:23, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
To answer your hypothetical question, IronDuke, yes, the plagiarized term paper is still a term paper . . . but whoever turned it in is not thereby a writer of a term paper.Daqu (talk) 07:26, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Point well taken, Daqu. Let us instead take the example of Doris Kearns Goodwin. She has been accused of plagiarism, but still gets to be listed as a journalist, historian, and writer. IronDuke 16:25, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
The reason seems obvious to me, Iron Duke: Doris Kearns Goodwin has many works to her credit that seem untouched by any suspicion of plagiarism. In the case of K.V., I am aware of only one novel, and that seems to have been indisputably shown to have been plagiarized from numerous sources.Daqu (talk) 00:05, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think anyone claims the bulk of the novel was copied and she claims the similarities were inadvertent. In any case, it's not for Wikipedia to make these judgements. And assuming she graduates with her class, she won't be an undergrad a week from now. I would suggest " an Indian-American woman who came to public attention in 2006 when..."--agr (talk) 04:41, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
You may be right that it is not for Wikipedia to make these judgments -- which means to me that the article should not state that she either is or is not a novel writer. (That she is is certainly open to question.) That the similarities were inadvertent simply fails to withstand the mildest scrutiny (see article): There are striking similarities -- by any standard -- between parts of "Opal Mehta" and parts of two books by Megan McCafferty, one book by Salman Rushdie, one book by Sophie Kinsella, and one book by Meg Cabot. Of course, we also don't know how much of "Opal Mehta" was "written" by Alloy Entertainment rather than K.V.
(Whether she is no longer an undergraduate seems beside the point of this particular section of the Talk page.)Daqu (talk) 19:24, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Here is one alternate opinion: [2] Again, Wikipedia is not the place to speculate on what might have happened. We seem to agree that there is no need to characterize her one way or the other. I have edited the lede accordingly. I notice one annon editor has reverted my edits as vandalism. If you have concerns discuss them here. --agr (talk) 01:16, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Thank you, agr, for editing the lede fairly. I'm sorry to hear your edit was anonymously vandalized under the bogus claim that your edits were vandalism; I hope that can be overcome.
There will always be alternative opinions on any widely discussed subject; their existence does not necessarily have any significance whatsoever. Especially considering that the one you linked to was written in April, 2006 when only one of the five works with striking similarities to "Opal Mehta" was known to the public.Daqu (talk) 05:28, 1 June 2008 (UTC)