Possible Duplicate:
Handling answers that build heavily on (or are copied outright from) existing answers

A user answering a bounty question has blatantly copied and pasted my answer into his. I feel this behavior has no place in Stack Overflow.

The post in question is this :

And the content of the answer was taken from my answer to this question:

  1. Is flagging appropriate in this case?
  2. Would editing the post to cite from where the answer was originally taken be too drastic?
  • Not at all @Bobby, in that question the plagiarist did make some alterations and also (to some level) credited the original poster. Not in my case.
    – Lix
    Jan 31, 2012 at 9:12
  • Well, I extended my answer on the other question to include information about that. I still stick to my opinion that it is a duplicate. Jan 31, 2012 at 9:23
  • My first reaction was to edit the answer to add that this was taken from a different answer - but I felt that was quite drastic. Do you feel that it is appropriate for me to make that edit?
    – Lix
    Jan 31, 2012 at 9:25
  • Yes, that's what I meant with "third-party edits", if you know the source and it is not cited, add it. In a mannerly way, of course, not a big header "COPIED FROM HERE", but rather something unintrusive, like "Based on the answer from xxx here blabla". But while I think about it...that answer sucks anyway, as it does only add links which might be duplicates. Jan 31, 2012 at 9:33
  • Thanks @Bobby just wanted to hear some others ideas on this to make sure I wasn't about to do something worse than the "offender" :P
    – Lix
    Jan 31, 2012 at 9:57
  • 2
    Glad I could help. One minor note, the C&P comment is now unnecessary, and might give the wrong impression ow that the answer applies to all rules. Jan 31, 2012 at 10:01
  • agreed - removing the comment promptly...
    – Lix
    Jan 31, 2012 at 10:01

1 Answer 1


Would editing the post to cite from where the answer was originally taken be too drastic?

No. Copying content is fine, but according to the license, it should properly credit the source. Edit it, add a blockquote around the copied paragraphs, and include a link. This would also make clear how little effort the user spent on writing the answer.

Is flagging appropriate in this case?

Initially, no. What they did is less of an issue if it only happened once. Edit the post and it's fine. If the user however repeatedly copies other answers without proper attribution, this is definitely not encouraged and should be flagged for moderator attention (i.e. to friendly remind them about it).

  • Editing his answer to add citations felt really good :P hehe... Thanks for your answer - just wanted to make sure I wasn't going over the top...
    – Lix
    Jan 31, 2012 at 9:56
  • 1
    No, that's perfectly fine. Thinking about it, I just noticed it's a question with a bounty. He really should have paid more attention if he wanted to score +500 ;)
    – slhck
    Jan 31, 2012 at 10:09
  • 1
    Actually, it should be flagged. If the answer was heavily copied then it's a heavy indicator that it is a dupe. If it is a dupe then the bounty should be removed and the question closed as such. Bounties are not ways to circumvent close reasons (not saying its happening here, but I've been seeing that every so often).
    – casperOne
    Jan 31, 2012 at 12:10
  • @casperOne, I did decide to flag the post in the end. Now I'm waiting to see the outcome of the flag. Although the edits I made to the post render the flag unnecessary.
    – Lix
    Jan 31, 2012 at 13:42
  • @Lix It's not the answer that will be looked at, it's the question itself. If it's a dupe, it's a dupe, and a bounty doesn't save it from not being a dupe. Looking now.
    – casperOne
    Jan 31, 2012 at 13:54
  • @Lix Yep, that's most definitely a dupe. Closed as such now.
    – casperOne
    Jan 31, 2012 at 13:56
  • 2
    @casperOne, now I feel bad for possibly preventing a user from winning that bounteous bounty :P hehehe... But seriously - I take my hat off to you and the other ♦'s and users - people are very serious about the content found on these sites - and rightly so.
    – Lix
    Jan 31, 2012 at 14:01
  • 2
    @Lix No problem, thanks for the compliment. As for the bounty issue, there is nothing stopping the person who offered the bounty from placing the rep (it's refunded) on the original question and the people answering that question to get the bounty. And yeah, we take the quality of content kind of seriously here =)
    – casperOne
    Jan 31, 2012 at 14:03

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