The idea: A "quoting" function to quote any online text exactly and provide an automatic link to the original source.
Background: We copy-paste a lot of things. Videos and images are relatively easier to track back to their sources than words. It would be great if we could use quotes freely across platforms giving due credit to the author. Currently, the closest thing to this is the "sharing" or the "retweeting" features. There are two problems with these - 1. You need to share or retweet the entire thing. You cannot pick up sentences from the source and use them in your text that easily. The citation system used in modern science is what inspired this idea. The citation system lets you attach a source document to every sentence you write, which is not based on your work. This system is common in the science community and is an inseparable part of any piece of research. 2. There is no automation in this sector. The new author quotes someone else and mentions the name of the person or the link from where the text was taken. All this needs to be done manually currently.
How will the idea work? - Ideally, you switch on the "quote" function and start typing. The system searches the web in real-time and identifies matching pieces of text. The oldest is given priority. If the similarity is more than, say 95%, it asks if you want to quote it. The new author can then choose to quote it. After quoting, the text appears in a different color, as a link appears in blue. At the end of the quote, the author's name and year appear. For example, (John Doe, 2011). You then go on typing the next sentence and the process repeats. Now a more feasible system would be to click on the "quote" function. A text box (just like Google) appears and you feed in the quote you want to use. For example, if you type in "Be yourself, everybody else is already taken", the system searches for the quote and gives the oldest >95% match available on the web. You accept the quote and the text is highlighted with the name of the author and the year. The common words and phrases will not be searched automatically to reduce the noise in the search results you get.
What existing tools could be used? - It is basically everything that you do on Google manually. The idea is to automate it. The best part is, even if a quote is used multiple times, you get the oldest hit. While reading, when you come across a quoted text, you may choose to click on it and it will take you to the page and highlight the text there, just like Google does.
Advantages: 1. Quoting becomes super-easy. You may remember a quote but may not find the original source. Even if you find it, you need to manually add the original author's name and link. All this hassle goes away. 2. You can quote irrespective of whether you know the quote exists. 3. You may choose not to quote. However, that sentence will never pass on as yours since anyone who wants to quote it, will get referred to the original author. 4. Whatever you say on the internet, stays in your name forever. No one, even with multitudes of followers, can post it as their own and get away with it. 5. No one could pick your words out of context and say that you said the unintended thing. The quote function will allow the new author to delete some pieces of text from the quote (not above a threshold) but that deletion will be visible to all (using "...." markings). Readers can then go back to the source and read what was actually written.
Disadvantages: 1. Buffering while writing since the search function may take some time to find the oldest match for your text. Therefore, I suggest starting with the more feasible option, which is to add a quote search box and not automatically search every phrase/ sentence you write.