WhatCulture Statement On Plagiarism

Following accusations of plagiarism against a number of our contributors by members of the Cracked.com Workshop, WhatCulture would like to take this opportunity to offer our apologies to all those affected.

Shaun Munro and T.J. Barnard would like us to make it known that they both apologise unreservedly for their actions. They would like to acknowledge that, in a number of instances, content ideas were inspired from yet-to-be published articles in the Cracked.com Workshop. As the management team of WhatCulture, we would also like to apologise to the authors in the Cracked.com Workshop. While we work hard to ensure that all content published on WhatCulture is original and make automatic checks for copied content, we did not have any measures in place to identify plagiarised concepts. To this end, we are putting in place a "report content" button to help us quickly identify content that may have been taken from another source.

In addition to checking the originality of our content (something which we have always endeavoured to do), we are now also verifying the originality of images that are used in our pieces as an additional measure to help us combat any future content, or direct concept, theft. We have reminded all new and existing contributors of both their legal and moral obligations with respect to plagiarism. While we are confident the vast majority of WhatCulture contributors are honest and dedicated to their craft, we do not wish for any similar incidents to again cast a shadow over the site, and its contributors, as a whole. Additionally, we believe it is also appropriate that we apologise to Shaun and T.J., who were clearly put under too much pressure from ourselves in terms of the output that was expected.

This resulted in entirely unacceptable shortcuts being made during article research. We appreciate that writers research from numerous sources as part of the writing process and that research may involve reading published articles for inspiration, but it is when this research turns into the wholesale copying of points, concepts and text - whether published or not - that a line has been crossed. As a result, both Shaun Munro and T.J. Barnard are now suspended from contributing to the site. We are inviting all authors of Cracked.com Workshop articles that content ideas were taken from to get in touch with us (editor@whatculture.com). We will be compensating each author that has been affected $50.

Furthermore, all offending material that has been brought to our attention thus far has been removed from the site. Any further content which is shown to have been taken from the Cracked.com Workshop will also be removed and the original author compensated. We would like to make some clarifications in regard to some of the information that has been published about WhatCulture in recent days. It should be noted that neither Shaun Munro nor T.J. Barnard worked at WhatCulture€™s office.

WhatCulture is based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the North East of England, and contributors work remotely. While contributor positions are for the most part voluntary, we are a growing business that has recently moved into larger premises and are actively seeking candidates for paid positions. In the last twelve months we have taken on seven people who write remotely for the site on a freelance basis, and this included Shaun Munro and T.J. Barnard. In addition, there are three people currently working directly in our premises.

We are aware that in February 2012, a job listing on Mandy incorrectly stated that all roles with WhatCulture were paid positions. While not defending the listing, it should be noted that this statement was €“ at the time €“ automatically attached to all listings on Mandy and was not manually included by WhatCulture. We have not used the Mandy website, or any other recruitment service, to find contributors that are seeking voluntary experience since that date. We apologise to anyone who was misled during that period.

We hope that in time we are able to regain your trust in our content. We will be continuing to work towards building a sustainable business in what are challenging times for the industry, with a focus on looking to ultimately reward all who all those who contribute to the website and entertain all our readers. We unreservedly apologise once again to all those affected by this matter. Matt Holmes and Peter Willis