Lately (on Server Fault at least) we've been seeing many tag wiki edits where people copy and paste content from other websites without the slightly bit of rewriting. Every site I've checked out so far has a copyright statement that disallows plagiarism, most simply require attribution, but some outright prohibit copying of their content.

It would be really helpful if a large red/white box appeared under the blue/white "What are tag wikis?" box when a paste operation is detected in the edit box. The text of the warning would be a quick reminder that copied content is usually copyrighted and the user need to check that out, and provide attribution where it's due.

I'd like to keep this as simply and unobtrusive as possible, there's plenty of people who play by the rules, and I wouldn't want them to be discouraged at all. But as stated, it's become more of an issue as people want the extra reputation points from edit suggestions.

  • 1
    Related: Can we do anything against tag wikis copy-pasted from Wikipedia?. I don't think it's so much people after rep (dumping WP into tag wikis only gives you +4 at most when you can easily get more on an answer) as badge seekers (unfortunate side effect of Research Assistant) and misguided editors (I've seen plenty of WP dumps from 20k-ers before the RA badge existed). Mar 2, 2012 at 16:07
  • Maybe the amount of rep required to add text to a wiki needs to get bumped.
    – user1228
    Mar 2, 2012 at 16:12
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    @Won't What purpose would that serve? Our wikis are a pretty desolate and empty place most of the time. It's reviewing that should be done more strictly.
    – slhck
    Mar 2, 2012 at 16:23
  • @Gilles That could be the case too; though almost all of the WP rips I've seen come from people <1k Rep. Regardless, it'd certainly be nice if something happened when people pasted content.
    – Chris S
    Mar 2, 2012 at 16:42
  • @slhck: Usually, rep limits exist in order to prevent idiots from doing bad things...
    – user1228
    Mar 2, 2012 at 16:48
  • @Won't Sure, but if you can still suggest crappy edits, chances are someone approves them. No matter how much rep they have. What's the current rep required for suggesting tag wiki changes, actually? Couldn't find it in /privileges.
    – slhck
    Mar 2, 2012 at 17:20
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    @slhck: No idea. I'm just the janitor...
    – user1228
    Mar 2, 2012 at 17:28
  • The "Large Warning" is the Reject button. Click it. Mar 2, 2012 at 21:09
  • @CodyGray Yeah; that really doesn't discourage people in the first place though; and now we've wasted someone else's time too.
    – Chris S
    Mar 2, 2012 at 21:56
  • It discourages them eventually. If you submit too many edits that are rejected, you're banned from suggesting edits for a week. And if you pick the cookie-cutter reject reason, hopefully the user will learn something during that time. Mar 2, 2012 at 22:04
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    I see these all the time on Stack Overflow. I try to reject them, but in many cases two other people come along and cast approve votes. (In fact, I was just complaining in chat a moment ago about a specific case where that happened.) Unfortunately, history has shown that determined people are very, very good at ignoring warnings and help text, no matter how large and obtrusive you make them.
    – Pops
    May 4, 2012 at 18:15
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    @PopularDemand - I've been seeing the same thing on SO lately. I wonder if tag wikis need 3 or 5 approvals, or have a single "Plagiarized" flag kill the edit, because people seem to just shotgun approve them. Aug 3, 2012 at 12:52
  • @LittleBobbyTables you may be interested in my recent post Is there an actual "accept ALL the suggested edits" problem?
    – Pops
    Aug 3, 2012 at 16:21
  • @PopularDemand - Turns out I am! Aug 3, 2012 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


I think the problem is two-fold:

  1. You have people who simply copy and paste text from a web page without properly attributing it
  2. You have people who breeze through the review page and accept tag wiki edits without verifying them first.

Not only would a message to users when pasting text in be ideal, but possibly the approval method for tag wikis should be changed to a combination of:

  1. A single "Plagiarized" rejection will reject the wiki edit
  2. Three, four or five acceptance votes are required to approve a wiki edit

Furthermore, people who are continually flagged for plagiarized content should be suspended from editing tag wikis for a period of time.

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    And since I've posted this, I've rejected three more tag wikis for plagiarizing, only to have 10K+ members approve them. Sigh Aug 3, 2012 at 13:55
  • pls see this question: A comment box to verify suspected plagiarism when reviewing. I had one reviewer reject my wiki edit for plagairism, it was approved, however under the suggestion of a single reject, it would've been rejected and unjustifiably. I am as equally frustrated as you, as it seems people are not paying attention in either direction
    – user310756
    Jul 27, 2013 at 14:39

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