Who are the 102 people sharing a Jonah Lehrer on The New Yorker blog post on LinkedIn?
I admit to being puzzled by the kerfuffle (it's not yet a "gate") around Jonah Lehrer's self plagiarization. I asked Jake Dobkin what to make of it. He said:
Self-plagiarism is only a crime because it's essentially selling stolen goods to a publisher and representing them as original. So the issue is really between the publisher and the reporter, not between the reporter and the reader. I think there's also the danger that someone who cuts corners probably has cut them in other places, such as not properly attributing a source, which is really just straight plagiarism. But as it stands, this is essentially a crime against intellectual property. And as you know, i'm not that sympathetic to crimes against property — they seem silly to me. Crimes against truth are more serious.
This makes sense to me. The next place Lehrer works (let's assume he is gone from The New Yorker already) is going to have to vet his work more than perhaps they usually would, and also is going to have to explain to their readers why he should be trusted. He's crossed into the Clemens/Bonds land of "must be proven innocent" and there are better writers without the same baggage. New The New Yorker editor [Nick] Thompson says: “I think the one good thing that will come out of it is making it very clear is that this [self-plagiarising blog posts] is unacceptable.” I'm also wondering - what happened to the good old href? If Lehrer had linked to an old post and offered an update, that's called following a beat. He could have saved himself from heartache.
Disclosure! I work with Blake Eskin, a former editor for The New Yorker, but he did not read (or in fact know about) this blog post before I posted it. We have discussed the Lehrer situation briefly in our IRC channel.