Plagiarism is very real and it is indeed a very harmful effect that when committed purposefully is damaging to the reputation of the person being plagiarized and the person committing the act. Not citing something that one writes as it pertains to the source is a regrettable decision and in some cases is malicious while in others is accidental and can possibly be fixed with the proper citation and, if one is lucky, an apology to the source. There are however other ramifications that come with plagiarism.
The ruining of one’s reputation as a writer is a very real issue, no matter if the accusation is false or just, as it brings into doubt a lot of the work they might have accomplished before the accusation and will no doubt leave a mark on anything they accomplish later. For those that commit this act on purpose and without any thought of making amends or even considering what it might do to others the punishment of losing any credibility is just. For those that make a mistake and are then lumped into the same category however the mob rule that tends to take over, particularly when it comes to working online as is quite normal these days, can ruin a person overnight.
The downfall of a writer can sadly come from the mob rule effect that needs only be started by the words of a single individual into the right, or wrong, ears, as public opinion will take over from that point. What is unfortunate about this is the fact that many will gladly condemn anyone, even those that have made a mistake and will gladly rectify it, without hearing any concrete facts. This is the negative nature of mob rule, online or in the real world, people will parse the barest of facts from fiction and will make up their minds based on the opinions of others rather than do their own research. At times it seems as though many will follow rather than seek to discover the truth of a matter for themselves.