Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 153 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

What do you do if someone uses part of your answer and gets points for theirs? Shouldn't I be able to get part of those points? Or is this an "honor" issue and the person who used your answer is not being honorable? Can you report it, or should I even care?

share|improve this question
How do you know the other user took part of your answer? – psubsee2003 Jun 11 '13 at 15:27
Have you got a link to this answer? – JonW Jun 11 '13 at 15:28
I can't see anything obvious in your 10 or so more recent answers... you are walking the line between commenting and answering sometimes though. If you don't have an answer to the question then please comment. Don't answer. – ben is uǝq backwards Jun 11 '13 at 15:31
Keep in mind that the primary purpose of the site is to provide good answers to good questions, not to generate reputation points. If your answer was incomplete and another answerer posted a full-featured answer which incorporated some of the same information, the purpose of the site is being fulfilled. – George Cummins Jun 11 '13 at 15:34
Maybe other people arrive at the same result independently. Some easier questions tend to cause this. – Old Checkmark Jun 11 '13 at 16:31
@user2174085 What can you expect when you don't give us anything to work with? We have nothing to base opinions on but past experiences. – Daedalus Jun 11 '13 at 20:39
@user2174085 c.c Have you at least considered linking to the 'plagiarism' you even spoke of? Really.. There is nothing for us to work with, so you can't expect much from us. – Daedalus Jun 11 '13 at 21:07
Re: "2 people felt this question wasn't useful" Downvotes work differently on Meta than elsewhere. The votes indicate agreement or disagreement, not whether people find your question useful. If people think the answer to your question is "no" they may downvote. It isn't personal. – George Cummins Jun 11 '13 at 21:18
Find them. Burn their village to the ground. – Anthony Pegram Jun 11 '13 at 21:38
@GeorgeCummins Nothing about the voting on this question is different from other sites. There isn't an opinion being asserted here to agree or disagree with, it's a question rather than a request. That question however is poorly researched (this issue is widely discussed; the information about this topic isn't too hard to find) it doesn't provide an example instance for us to investigate, it just discusses it in the abstract, and finally the user has not addressed the responses constructively in comments. Those are all valid reasons to downvote on any site. – Servy Jun 12 '13 at 14:18
FYI: Your edit asks a different (though related) question. I'm rolling it back for the time being. Please be sure that existing answers make sense in the context of your edits; while your second question is decent, the answers no longer apply. – Emrakul Jul 10 '13 at 20:20
Obviously, this question was a dog. I've lost posting priviledges. I tried to dress it up a bit hoping for a few upvotes. Now what do I do? – Johnny Bones Jul 10 '13 at 20:30
@JohnnyBones -- worst case scenario, you can flag the question for moderator attention, and ask that you be disassociated from the question. Any negative rep you've received should go away, although I'm not sure it will affect a question ban or not. – LittleBobbyTables Jul 10 '13 at 20:34

The best thing to do is probably to just let it go. However, there are a couple instances in which you might not want to:

  • If it seems like they consistently do this for many answers
  • If they've outright plagiarized content from your answer without attribution

Be wary of the second one - I wouldn't flag if it's just a copied sentence, but if it's a paragraph or some such, then continue.

In either case, if the situation is appropriate, flag for moderator attention under "it needs ♦ moderator attention" - use the "other" reason, and explain (in some level of succinct detail) what you think is going on.

share|improve this answer
Just a note, if it's a simple question then it's likely to be piled on and a number of very similar/identical answers will appear very quickly. This isn't plagiarism or copying... it's just the nature of the question. – ben is uǝq backwards Jun 11 '13 at 15:32
Note that the OP has changed the semantics of the question, you may want to update your answer accordingly. – user213634 Jul 10 '13 at 19:55
@Anders I don't feel obligated to. I debate actually rolling back the edit; the meaning was changed, and now they're asking a different (but related) question. – Emrakul Jul 10 '13 at 20:13
I understand - I also considered rolling back the edit. But I don't feel strongly enough about it, so I figured I'd at least notify you and the other answerer, so you could update/delete/add disclaimer to your answers, so you don't look like you are answering something completely different than what was asked. – user213634 Jul 10 '13 at 20:18
@Anders Thanks. I'll ping the OP. – Emrakul Jul 10 '13 at 20:19

It's hard to answer this without your definition of "uses part". "uses part" could mean:

  1. Copied exact text from your answer and quoted it

  2. Copied exact text from your answer and didn't quote it

  3. Copied your entire answer

  4. Copied code from your answer

Number 1 and 2 can cause issues. If someone quotes a sentence or two from one of your answers with proper attribution, that's OK. Otherwise you should probably flag the answer explaining the situation.

3 should definitely be flagged (make sure you include a link to your answer!)

For 4... Well I'm just going to quote an old joke someone told me (I forget exactly where I heard this..):

How many programmers does it take to change a lightbulb?

10, one to change it and 9 others to say "I could have done that!"

So, if he just happens to have some identical code from one of your answers, he may very well have come up with it on his own. Unless it's a lot of code, I'd just let it go.

Also remember, content posted on Stack Overflow (and all other Stack sites) is posted under the CC-wiki license. So

A. You don't really "own" the content you post, and

B. Anyone can copy or reproduce it if they want (they are supposed to attribute it though)

share|improve this answer
Now number 1 is how the site is supposed to work, if someone quotes you that's a good thing! no no no and no. Copying 100% someone else's work is plagiarism, cited or not. I copied 50 Shades in its entirety, cited the original book, and still got my ass handed to me in court. You can only use select quotes from sources to buttress YOUR argument. And that's for sources NOT on StackOverflow. If you find another answer to a given question on another question, you should be voting to close as dupe. Or, perhaps, leave a comment with a link. Stealing the top answer is NOT acceptable. – Won't Jun 11 '13 at 21:00
@Won't Hmm. I was more thinking along the lines of quoting a sentence or two from an answer elsewhere on the site. You have a good point. I'll revise the answer. – ɥʇǝS Jun 11 '13 at 21:06
@Won't There. Does it look better now? – ɥʇǝS Jun 11 '13 at 21:12
Yes, thanks. Filler is fun when you use the word DERP, imho. – Won't Jun 12 '13 at 1:19

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .