OP-ED: Lazy plagiarism at IGN tarnishes reputations

Courtesy of Kotaku
Gaming news site IGN removed articles that were supposedly plagiarized.

Griffin Sendek | Staff Writer

08/23/18

If there is one thing to do to absolutely ruin your editorial career and destroy every ounce of credibility, it’s plagiarize.

Filip Miucin, a video game reviewer, was recently fired as an editor from IGN, one of the gaming industry’s biggest media outlets. Miucin had been accused of plagiarizing his review of the game Dead Cells from a youtuber known by the name Boomstick Gaming. On Aug. 6 2018 Boomstick Gaming uploaded a video giving a side-by-side comparison of their own review and that of Miucin’s, and the evidence is damning.

IGN acted quickly and removed Miucin’s review from their website and issued this statement:

Editor’s Note: As a group of writers and creators who value our own work and that of others in our field, the editorial staff of IGN takes plagiarism very seriously. In light of concerns that have been raised about our Dead Cells review, we’ve removed it for the time being and are investigating.”

In a time that corporations are firing first and asking questions later, IGN should be applauded for taking the time to investigate the accusations. Nonetheless, to IGN, Miucin’s plagiarism was as clear as day and that evening he was let go. IGN has issued an apology and found another editor to review Dead Cells.

The accusations against Miucin opened the floodgates, putting everything he had ever written under scrutiny. Kotaku News Editor Jason Schreier took it under himself to investigate all of Miucin’s other reviews. Schreier was tipped off to Miucin’s review of FIFA 18 having striking similarities to a Nintendo Life review, and another tip sent him to Miucin’s Return of Samus review taking almost word for word from Engadget. As if the grave of his career could not get any deeper, Miucin picked up a shovel and started digging.

After everything blowing up in his face, on Aug. 11 2018 Miucin uploaded an apology video to his youtube channel, which has got to be one of the most insincere and biggest non-apologies ever seen. He eventually deleted the video from his channel after incredible backlash.

Had Miucin admitted guilt and given a genuine apology and owning up to his mistakes, or given any form of evidence for a sturdy counter argument, he might have had a slim chance of gaining some credibility back and possibly getting a job elsewhere within gaming, but that is not what he did.

In his apology Miucin said he “took complete ownership over what happened with the Dead Cells review but never once admitted to plagiarizing, only ever calling them “plagiarism allegations.” At that time for many it was far past the point of arguing, Miucin’s plagiarism was almost indisputable.

“What happened with the Dead Cells review was not at all intentional,” said Miucin.

Large-scale plagiarism is always intentional. It is never something that happens on accident. Sure coincidences happen, it is possible to word things similarly, and especially when speaking about games, there are only so many ways to describe specific modes and mechanics. While true that people can make mistakes, what Miucin did with the Dead Cells review appears to have been no mistake.

Miucin attempting to play the victim, Miucin suggested that Jason Schreier of Kotaku was just trying to get clicks off of his name, stated that his work on the FIFA 18 review was entirely his own and challenged, “you can keep looking Kotaku and let me know if you find anything.” He likely regretted those words, for Miucin not only gave the invitation to Kotaku, but to hundreds of people all across the internet to take a keen eye to all of his work, searching for any signs of plagiarism.

Challenging the internet to find any stolen work was possibly Miucin’s biggest mistake, maybe second only to supposedly plagiarising in the first place. Unsurprisingly, many possible cases of plagiarism were found across almost the entirety of his work.

He seemed not only to have copied from one review, Miucin appeared to have from stolen from all across the internet. He had even taken from one of his own colleagues at IGN, Seth Macy, who was entirely distraught and baffled that somebody would steal from their own company. In light of all of these findings, IGN has elected to remove all the ex-editor’s work. Dan Stapleton, IGN’s executive editor of reviews, tweeted the following on Aug. 14, 2018 regarding Muicin:

“FYI we’ve seen enough now, both from the thread and our own searches, that we’re taking down pretty much everything he did. It’s a process, you’ll start seeing stuff come down tonight.”

IGN will begin the slow process of getting other editors to rewrite Miucin’s reviews and repair the damage he has done.

Truly the most ridiculous of all is Miucin copying his Linkedin resume verbatim from a job template website.

Miucin’s job was to play video games and write his opinions on them. While I’m sure it was often more complicated than that, and had its hardships like any job does, Miucin held what many would consider a dream job, and he threw it all away. There is never a need to plagiarize, as game reviews are based in opinion, and there can be no wrong answers.

Miucin likely will never work in the games industry or any other editorial publications ever again. The reality, though, is that he is far from the only one affected. The game Dead Cells will forever be centered in controversy at no fault of the developers, Motion Twin. IGN handled the situation well and Miucin’s actions clearly do not represent the whole of IGN, but unfortunately his actions have somewhat smeared the site’s credibility and reputation.

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