The Importance of Citation


Citing sources in posts is important for a number of reasons, and not just because if you fail to do so you may get a comment from ourselves. Why do we, as Steemit users, need to cite our sources? To produce and share quality posts with original content. Plagiarised and copy/pasted material, including images, is not original content. Plagiarism is often a violation of Intellectual Property, which is generally seen as the theft of intangible property.

We get that some people may not understand what plagiarism and Intellectual Property are. Our goal as the @steemcleaners team is to educate.


Plagiarism refers to the act of obtaining a piece of another person’s work and presenting it as your own. Taking the ideas of another individual, copy and pasting entire sentences, rewriting a paragraph in your own words, translating something from another language, and copying parts of posts from other users are all examples of plagiarism.

There are numerous tools, the main being Google search, out there that make discovery of plagiarised work rather a simple matter. Even if a paragraph has been translated from another language and slightly modified, detecting that it was obtained from a different source than yourself is easy. Think of it this way; if you were able to find this content and repurpose it, others can find it as well.

Plagiarism can be avoided through careful referencing of material. Adding sources to everything that did not originate from your own head is vital to your content being original and protects yourself and your account from accusations, flags and legal action.

There is no downside to citing sources. Citing sources provides the necessary referencing and allows your readers to further explore the topic through external sources. Most importantly, it gives credit to the original creator or author of the material. The more you cite the better quality your post becomes.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property refers to artist works, writing, inventions, documented ideas and a whole lot of logical assets. Intellectual Property Rights are a very serious matter and issue surrounding their misuse, both deliberate and accidental, have resulted in law suits and criminal charges.

A photograph taken by a professional photographer and shared on a wallpaper site, for example, is subject to a specific license agreement. The photograph itself is the intellectual property of the photographer. While users may download the photograph to use as a wallpaper on their own home computers, the license agreement may explicitly prohibit the use of the photograph anywhere where commercial rewards may be obtained. This includes on sites like Steemit where users receive monetary compensation for posting content.

It is vital to check the licensing of a particular piece of intellectual property before sharing it in a post, even if the post links back to the original source. Failing to do so may get you in serious trouble in the long run, particularly as posts older than 7 days can no longer be edited to remove offending content.

Typically, when the rights relating to do with a piece of intellectual property are breached, the offending party receives a Cease and Desist notice. This is the mildest form of legal intervention and basically means that remedial action must be taken upon receipt of the letter. However, once the 7 days pass, the STEEM blockchain no longer allows for removal or editing of posts. Thus, posts cannot be removed and users cannot comply with the notice. That may lead the intellectual property owner to escalate the situation and initiate a law suit.

The best way to deal with such situations is to avoid them entirely. For this reason, ensuring that you carefully select and document every piece of external information, content, or artistic work in your posts is vital.


It is not sufficient to simply note that “text source is Wikipedia”. A link to the specific Wikipedia page where the content came from is required. If numerous sources were used, adding the source after each separate idea is recommended.

Every copy/pasted sentence should be either in quotes “” or formatted using the > markup.

Every paraphrased paragraph, sentence or idea should have a reference as close to it as reasonably possible to indicate its origin.

Example of Citation

Apples are a true superfood in my opinion. "Researchers have long been aware of the potential for apple consumption to support balanced populations of bacteria in our lower digestive tract." Source The antioxidant contained in apples is referred to as Quercetin and researchers believe that it prevents damage to human brain cells. Source

The above example post has one original sentence:

Apples are a true superfood in my opinion.

The next sentence is copy/pasted from its source without alteration and is thus in quotation marks:

"Researchers have long been aware of the potential for apple consumption to support balanced populations of bacteria in our lower digestive tract." Source

The last sentences is paraphrased information from a different source:

The antioxidant contained in apples is referred to as Quercetin and researchers believe that it prevents damage to human brain cells. Source

If you look at the linked sources, you can see where the information came from and how it was originally presented. A post that cites sources in this manner adds a lot of value to your blog and to the reader. It allows your reader to learn more by clicking on the sources and it makes your blog look professional. It also prevents you from being accused of plagiarism.


Sourcing and citing images and media content is a trickier matter. First, you must ensure that you may reproduce the image or piece of media in the first place.

Pixabay and Creative Commons CC0 Images

One popular source for "free images" is Pixabay. To ascertain how these images may be used, one must refer to the Terms of Service posted on the Pixabay website. According to the terms, you may not use bots to automatically collect the images or use a very large amount of them (aka mirror the image database). What you can do is subject to the Creative Commons CC0 agreement.

You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission. Source

What Pixabay did is roughly summarise the CC0 parameters for you in the statement above. Remember, just because the image is offered under the CC0 license, it does not mean there are no ramifications for its misuse. More information about misuse can be found here. Remember that your posts receive monetary rewards. Taking the same sort of precautions that a business would and ensuring you're fully versed in the licensing is recommended.

Photography from Google Searches

Typically, when someone needs an image for their post their first stop is Google Image Search. You can find some good stuff there. The problem is that Google and other search engines archive crawlable content irrespective of licensing or ownership. For this reason, it is vital to ensure you are explicitly permitted to use an image.

Taking photographs and repurposing them for #colorchallenge or #photography contests without a) verifying if you may use them and b) giving the photographer/artist credit can have severe implications.

One service that photographers use is called Pixsy. The service scours the web for unauthorized use of proprietary images and leverages escalating legal action against violators. They don't care that you included a link back to wherever you found the photograph; their priority is ensuring the photographer retains control and distribution of their Intellectual Property.

For general images, such as stock photos that you found on a news site for example, a link back to the source suffices. Make sure that you link back to the website on which the image appears, not to the image address. A user should be able to click on a link and see the image as it was originally intended. If no website exists (if the image is in a directory or part of a Facebook album) then find a different image.

Do you have specific topics that you'd like @steemcleaners to address and clarify in our future posts? Let us know in the comments.


If everybody will follow this simple and common sense points Steemit (our home) will be definitely a better and cleaner place.
Have to agree a great point is Citation as i notice almost nobody is use it including me even do i don't have a lot of content that require it.
Since all the points mention here are extremely important i feel a civic responsibility to resteem the post!
Please let me know as well if you are running as witness as for sure i will vote for you...
Keep up the great work and always Steem On!

There are three witnesses that are part of our group. @anyx, @patrice, & @guiltyparties.

Thanks for the resteem!

Thanks for the update!
I vote for all the names that you mention: @anyx is ranked 12 but for @patrice and @guiltyparties i have to add your names as i could not see them in top 50.
You don't need to thanks me for the resteem as i mention i felt a civic responsibility to resteem the post.
On the other side i have to thank you for your hard work!

esta excelente el tema

Thank you for an informative post. I work in higher education. In my field (pedagogy / teaching and learning) we use the APA6 style. From day 1, I advice my students to be aware of the citation rules and I tell them to work hard on this. From my point of view, plagiarism can be compared to steel, steel other people's intellectual property. None of us would go to the National Museum and take a painting from the wall!

maybe not but id certainly tae a picture and post et everywhere i could if i thought people should see it. intelectual property and citation is not only unnessisary it is also a perpetuation of ego worship and capitalist exploitation.

I'm so sorry one time im plagiarism photo from Google.. @steemcleaners can forgive me and what i do? 😭😭😭 but now i'm delete photo from my post

If you don't buy the arguments of property rights and legal consequences made above, you might look at it this way:

Imagine you create a post, video, picture or a beautiful piece of art, only to find out that someone else published it under their name and reaps the profit. How would you feel?!?

Thank you steemcleaners for putting in the effort to educate people and do the dirty work if necessary. It cannot be appreciated enough!

Really informative post on Cool tips to blogging like a professional. Certainly after this the quality of work in some people's posts will improve. Way to go @steemcleaners. I hope people will respect other people's original work.

Plagiarism is and will always be a huge issue. It's a sad thing to see. It happens all over the world. This post should be included in something of the "Read these before you post:" categories. If people had to view this before they posted the first time or two, it could potentially slow plagiarism down, in my opinion anyway.

If everybody will follow this simple and common sense points Steemit (our home) will be definitely a better and cleaner place.
How can i be a part of the steemclearners

You can help by reporting abuse here:

When we add new members part of the process is to evaluate their contributions to our project.

You just copy paste the first sentence from my comment!!!
So it's obvious that you did not even read the blog...

🤦‍♀️ I shouldn't upvote, read, or comment before coffee.

It happens to me too... actually without coffee in the morning i am a zombie! :)

Then why you copy paste the first sentence from my comment?

Well cos thats waht is wisjed to type, but i felt i woulf make mistakes, im really sorry about taht would you like me deleting it cos i can

It's ok you can leave it just from now it's better just to type and write your own comment and to avoid to use copy paste from what other people wrote. Just be you and write your things and try to have fun and enjoy and all the rest will follow here!

Okay George i would do that, I'm actually new onhere can you give me some insights?

This is

This post is timely and educative...thanks @steemcleaners

Plagiarism really underminds the Steemit platform; there's always a stream of third world cunts that are so desperate for 50 cents, that they'll rip off anybody's work. I hope that mainstream media outlets and the like can actually sue some of them and leave them with such heavy legal bills that they are forced to sell their favourite cow to cover the costs.

Should we spot such plagiarism, what @steemcleaners do about it? Should we alert to them to it?

Please report it. We do our best to educate users who are new or don't understand how steemit works. The scammers we flag and use @cheetah's blacklist to warn the community that they are bad actors.

"stream of third world cunts" eh. welcome to racism bud, not everyone thinks your normative beliefs about intellectual property matters. your ego worship and bigotry are showing.

Let's watch them go and create their own platform then? Oh, it seems that they're lagging because they need something that they can easily plagiarise first.

I'm new here.. I didn't really understand how to cite sources. Thanks for the post.

I love this post really, especially as it encourages us to be creative in our post .

I like you post. Thanks for information.

Thank you too

Thank you. This is excellent information for a newbie like me. Much appreciated.


Artikel yang menarik

Hy steemians i'm new to the community
Please help me steem my post this my link
I promise never to plagiarise

these are simple and easy tips.
Thanks for sahring.
I just followed your instructions.
i just followed you.
lets get connected.

Some important notes on quercetin. Its health properties by itself are in question, as it's touted as a healthy additive in high concentrations in many popular health-foods marketed products like food and drinks. However the wikipedia itself states that

Following dietary ingestion, quercetin undergoes rapid and extensive metabolism that makes the biological effects presumed from in vitro studies unlikely to apply in vivo.

So in addition to this

Quercetin has also been reported to have estrogenic (female sex hormone like) activities by activating estrogen receptors. Quercetin activates both estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) and beta (ERβ) with binding IC50s of 1015 nM and 113 nM respectively. Hence quercetin is somewhat ERβ selective (9 fold) and is roughly two to three orders of magnitude less potent than the endogenous estrogenic hormone 17β-estradiol.

The conclusion for now by the FDA is

While quercetin supplements have been promoted for the treatment of cancer and various other diseases, there is no evidence that quercetin (via supplements or in food) is useful to treat cancer[35] or any disease. The US FDA has issued warning letters to emphasize that quercetin is neither a defined nutrient nor an antioxidant, cannot be assigned a dietary content level, and is not regulated as a drug to treat any human disease.

If you read the warning label on products containing quercetin you'll notice the daily amount recommended is not that high in comparison to the amounts in single servings, and it should not be used by people with weakened livers or kidneys.

And yes, plagiarism is bad, and I'm glad people are willing to bring this issue to light and help keep an eye on it on steemit.

Make citation great again! Following you now @patrice because I like you.

Congratulations @steemcleaners, this post is the eighth most rewarded post (based on pending payouts) in the last 12 hours written by a Hero account holder (accounts that hold between 10 and 100 Mega Vests). The total number of posts by Hero account holders during this period was 389 and the total pending payments to posts in this category was $14023.61. To see the full list of highest paid posts across all accounts categories, click here.

If you do not wish to receive these messages in future, please reply stop to this comment.

merci poste très intéressant parce que moi au début j'ai fait copier coller j’étais débutante la prochaine fois je ferais plus ça

You got a 22.04% upvote from @postpromoter courtesy of @patrice! Want to promote your posts too? Check out the Steem Bot Tracker website for more info. If you would like to support development of @postpromoter and the bot tracker please vote for @yabapmatt for witness!

good reminder!

This remarkable post.
very useful for me.
to appreciate the work of others.
anyone who reads your post will grow older .
success is always for you .
Hi @steemcleaners

Thanks for posting this!

I think @steemcleaners is doing very important work by trying to reduce plagiarism and promote the creation of original content. It would be nice if @steemcleaners work could somehow be integrated as a part of the SteemIt platform itself (EG as part of the Steemit license agreement text / included in the SteemIt FAQs/getting started guides?). The fact that new members need to happen upon SteemCleaners posts in the community content instead of having them as part of the platform's guidelines feels problematic to me.

Also, how do I get more involved with Steemcleaners? I really think that this platform needs better content enforcement in order to have a future. I've been reporting plagiarized content, but I'd like to help out with the Steemcleaners project if you need more volunteers.

why? what they are doing is counter to decentralization and free and open sharing of ideas. They are essentially trying to create a kind of information state on steemit it should worry us all.

  • A bot automatically spamming a message on 1000 posts a day is not the free and open sharing of information. It clutters the platform and makes the actual content less visible and accessible.
  • Stealing someone else's work, or impersonating them is illegal, and could lead to problems for SteemIt down the road for allowing content infringement without attempting to police it. Citing someone else's work and creating your own content/commentary on their work is perfectly ok, it's theft of someone else's work that is prohibited.

Informative, thanks @steemcleaners never knew about this before. Looking forward to have a brighter knowledge about @steemit

Intellectual property is a joke and you guys are more like inquisitors than any form of community representation.

Reading this post takes me back to high school and college (๑˃‿˂).

For me, the importance of citation was introduced in high school, but it really wasn't until college and university where it began to sink in. And it wasn't just from seeing other students being marked up for plagiarism, it was after having to do in-depth research on my own that I understood the importance.

Unfortunately, proper citation isn't always taught in schools. And of course, not everyone chooses or has the means to attend college where this sort of thing is drilled in. And sometimes, we just forget. So, thank you for this great post, @steemcleaners (๑•‿•๑). It was a refresher for me, and I had no idea about services like Pixsy, which is good to know.

This is very important post about Citation. I have leaned from this article more deeply and vividly. I am really thanks for the article.

Incredible post i must say! Intellectual theft is a bad habit because, it is like stealing a writers labour of thinking, reading, organizing thoughts, sleepless nights and effort. The act of citation helps to appreciate the writers and encourage them to do more. Thanks @steemcleaners for this needful post in this community.


so if we cite the sources from we we got the article like news or some kind of announcement content type then the Cheetah bot will not comment?

Thanks for the pixaby resource!

Hi there, I think this post is good overall, and I do believe it's important to avoid plagiarism. Nonetheless, I have some questions about some of the stuff I feel like I need clarification on.

First, I'd like to ask about photo collages and edits. I like to do this cause it either looks cool and/or for comedy and entertainment purposes. Lots of times like to make new images, by editing together images I find online, and sometimes I might also edit the colors and/or use some pictures that are my own. Wouldn't this qualify as fair use? If you want, I could always show you some examples. On a similar note, what about with music mashups?

Also, I'd like to ask for some clarification on the Translation thing. Cause when I think of a good translation I'm thinking of something that should be as faithful literally to the original language, while also conveying the meaning properly in the language you translate into. You want with a good translation for it to be the "same" for a lack of better word I could think of at the moment. I'm asking, cause I'm learning Japanese, and Spanish. While I'm not capable of translation on this caliber yet, people lots of times translate Japanese music that they share online on places like YouTube. And I believe when done with the right intent giving credit to the artists, and sharing the music that it encourages more people to buy. I know I got into Touhou Doujin music, cause people uploaded music from bands and gave them credit on their third party channels. I personally would like to help with this in the future to help share good music that I believe deserve more sales.

I hope these questions and thoughts make sense.
Thanks for your time!

Have a good one,

Good reminders. Thanks for that @steemcleaners.