I've seen quite a few tag wikis, and even tag wiki excerpts, that were copy-pasted from the first paragraph or so of the Wikipedia article, or sometimes were a dictionary definition. These violate the Wikipedia license (which requires attribution), and are almost always substandard — Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, for the general public; what we want in a tag wiki (and especially in a tag wiki excerpt) is an explanation of what the tag means for the site's community. (Related: Copy and pasting Wikipedia articles into tag-wikis).

The tag wiki edit page has a very good description of what is expected from a tag wiki, and links to Jeff's great blog post on the subject. Unfortunately, it's well-known that users don't read, and common rashes of well-meaning but misguided users submitting copy-pastes from Wikipedia as tag wikis confirm this. Even having tag wikis edits reviewed for most submitters doesn't always help; approvers need educating too.

How can we better educate tag wiki editors and reviewers (without discouraging tag wiki creation)?

Do not copy-paste from Wikipedia


2 Answers 2


Actually, what your screenshot shows, could work - e.g. putting the warning right into the edit box.

Alternatively, the system could search for the text in Wikipedia, and if found, either deny the editing, give a warning message, or flag it for review by a human.

  • 1
    +1 for the flagging. It seems like the Community Bot could very easily search Wikipedia for the article, see that it is largely copy/paste, and flag it for attention. It already does very similar things, why not this feature? Commented Aug 14, 2011 at 16:15
  • 1
    If it is a good description, I see no need to reject it. But they should include a citation.
    – surfasb
    Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 21:13

Here's what I do:

   I hit that ever-so-tempting "Reject" button!

It serves as both an immediate deterrent (the tag wiki is not used), and a long-term deterrent (if someone has too many of their suggested edits rejected, they are automatically barred from suggesting any more for a certain period of time).

I realize that this doesn't solve the problem long-term, but these are the kinds of edit proposals that should be rejected. Copying and pasting content from Wikipedia without attribution is not acceptable.

It's very difficult to come up with a solution to inform/notify people once you accept the fact that no one ever reads anything. Rejections get their attention a lot better, at least in my experience.

As for how this applies to reviewers, things get a little bit more complicated. It seems that even once we somehow "get the word out" to people that tag wikis copied and pasted from Wikipedia are unacceptable, there's not a really good way for them to know which tag wikis have been copied and pasted from Wikipedia. The only real recourse is for them to search Wikipedia themselves and compare the two. Or, perhaps, copy the first sentence of the proposed tag wiki, run a Google search, and see if the first match is a Wikipedia article.

If we could automate that process (something computers are particularly good at), I think we'd really have something. At a minimum, we could inform the reviewer to exercise caution, that this proposed edit was copied and pasted from Wikipedia. Perhaps even better, we could automatically reject the edit upon detection, if no attribution link is found.

  • 3
    The limitation of your solution is that you've got to catch them in time. I'm grinding through the past edit queue at the moment ): How can we educate reviewers? Commented Aug 14, 2011 at 11:26
  • 4
    Another problem is goolging and finding the wiki entry takes longer tham the next reviewer pressing accept
    – mmmmmm
    Commented May 21, 2013 at 10:36

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