I submitted a backticks wiki entry and one reviewer said the material was plagiarized. I don't mind saying my contributions are minor, etc. However, this is a particularly nasty form of rejection. I have written this text from scratch. It is possible that my memory sub-consciously found something I read in the past. Perhaps this was an incident of clicking on the wrong reason radio button or maybe the intent was references are needed? I actually search around the web for references, but I didn't find anything. Wouldn't some additional text showing the source of plagiary be very helpful?

The only source I may have quoted was shiplu.mokadd.im/Jonathan Leffler were they noted a difference between backtick and $() to allow nesting. However, I thought the text was significantly different and it originated on stack overflow?

Plagiarism is not a crime per se but in academia and industry it is a serious moral offence, and cases of plagiarism can constitute copyright infringement. wikipedia

Certainly when ever I am writing a tag wiki I look at all the question tagged on stack overflow. Is this considered an infringement? I thought we were sort of a collective and the tag wiki shouldn't have to attribute the question the tag is describing. Some sort of additional text on what the plagiary was would be most helpful.

Edit: For reference, here is the reject reason list [as of Dec 2013].

wiki reject reasons

The copied content is the first reason in the list; which causes the plagiary reason text. This is unknown to some lower reputation users of stack overflow.

  • 1
    If you notice, only one reviewer out of 4 said this was plagiarized.. There are always going to be weird reviewers.
    – ɥʇǝS
    Commented Mar 31, 2013 at 14:43
  • 2
    You also tagged this feature-request, but I don't really see a feature you are requesting...
    – ɥʇǝS
    Commented Mar 31, 2013 at 14:43
  • 2
    @Seth I can't see what the reviewer interface looks like, but I imagine it is a bunch of radio buttons like when I flag. When I select 'other' or 'duplicate', I have to enter text. I am suggesting that when plagiary is selected, that a source be entered. Also, some reviewer are on the ball, while others maybe weird. Commented Mar 31, 2013 at 14:46
  • Polish Prince has approved 148 edit suggestions and rejected 425 edit suggestions.
    – hjpotter92
    Commented Mar 31, 2013 at 15:30
  • Did you mean Pelagianism?
    – Rosinante
    Commented Dec 17, 2013 at 23:29
  • @ɥʇǝS I implied in the title to add a source (text field, like 'custom'). This would give a reference to the original uncited material. For instance, I think the current mode will ban people if they approve plagiarized material. It would be better to present the prior found source to the 2nd, 3rd reviewer where they can easily confirm/refute the plagiarism. Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 17:03

1 Answer 1


Why are the rejection reasons there in the first place?

Simply put, they're meant to help the user identify what they did wrong and potentially improve upon it. There's no other reason. The specific rejection reasons don't raise any automatic flags or leave negative marks on your profile. They're for you, as the person who suggested the edit, to improve your editing skills.

So, an edit rejected for plagiarism really doesn't matter

Don't know why people get so offended by this. It really doesn't matter. Rejected suggested edits appear literally nowhere but in your profile, and unless you're bringing it up somewhere, no one is going to be going through all of your suggested edits looking for your rejected edits and figuring out why they were rejected. The reason is there because we don't want exact copies of text from other sites in our wikis, not to accuse you of breaking laws or copyright infringement.

Why would they reject for plagiarism when it's not?

Who knows. Unfortunately that'll just be one rejection reason that didn't really help you out. They could have mis-clicked, meaning to hit an option above or below that, or they could just be a robo-reviewer that didn't take the time to look through the suggestion as thoroughly as they needed. But then again, that could happen for any reason. Sometimes you just don't get helpful advice, but that doesn't mean we should go in adding extra options for each reason to make sure the reviewer is choosing the correct one - that would just make rejecting too much of a pain.

But really, what would a link do for you?

So a user has to enter a link? What good would that do? For someone who is legitimately plagiarizing something, they already know where they plagiarized the text from, so giving them a link to it won't do anyone any good, more just waste time. Sure, you'll get the occasional person who just doesn't care, and when they encounter that box you propose, one of two things will happen:

  1. They'll enter some random link, possibly one you included in your suggested edit, that won't make any more sense than the rejection reason itself.

  2. They'll just choose some other reason at random that won't be helpful to you at all in determining how to improve your editing skills.

So, in the end, the extra step to "prove vandalism" does nothing to help achieve the purpose of the rejection reasons - to help you.

  • 5
    I read them to know how to improve my edits. Also, can't other reviewers look at other the reason? If I was a reviewer and saw a plagiary reject with an identified source, it would be a strong reason for me to reject the edit. It also make the review a little less capricious, especially as this implies some sort of dishonesty. Commented Mar 31, 2013 at 15:34
  • 1
    @artlessnoise Suggested edits can be viewed by anyone (your suggested edits are listed in your profile), but when reviewing, a reviewer only sees information about other rejections once they click the Reject button. Most tag wiki plagiarism can be discovered by searching for a couple of sentences or phrases in one or two search engines (I usually use Google and DuckDuckGo). Others looking at the suggested edit with its rejection can check if it was plagiarized from an easily findable web source this way, too. If the source is very hard to find, a custom reject reason can always be used. Commented Mar 31, 2013 at 15:35
  • Then that is yet another reason for stack engine to request a confirmatio nbefore mindlessly bashing someone's dignity just because one does not look where he clicks. That reason should be removed from canend response or be discouraged to only be used when actual crime was done. Commented Dec 17, 2013 at 16:39
  • 3
    @Arioch'The You make it sound like this is some huge insult. It isn't. Honestly, if you don't ever bring up the suggestion anywhere else, no one will ever even know about that reason. A rejected suggestion doesn't show up anywhere but in your profile, and no one is going through every suggestion you've ever made to find the ones that were rejected and why. The comments are there to help you figure out why it was rejected, and sometimes they fail. All I can say is get over it.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Dec 17, 2013 at 16:41
  • I can see know that backticks is probably a stupid tag. However, the reason wasn't helpful to me. If you had to cite a source for the plagiary, false positives would be reduced. It would also give other reviewers a strong reason to reject, if they look at other reviewers reason which is highlighted in the UI. If you put that implementing this is not worth the gain, I would accept your answer. Ie, this is a rare occurrence; but it must have just happened to someone else? Commented Dec 17, 2013 at 17:48
  • 1
    I accepted your answer; I don't think things on meta are ever 100% clear cut. Quote "they already know" is not true for me. I am old and have read many books, etc. I may have inadvertently remembered some information without knowing the source. Part of my reason for posting here was to see if that was the case. It is highly likely this was an error (or there was no good reason provided by the UI, like this is an ambiguous stupid tag; I don't know this with low rep). I am sure the SO staff has better things to improve. Commented Dec 17, 2013 at 20:27
  • @artless I think it's rather unlikely that you'll be able to type out a full block of text from a book you'd read previously, word for word, that someone would be able to track it down. This reason is mostly targeted at those users who find something and just copy-paste the entire page into the box (and most don't even bother trying to format it).
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Dec 17, 2013 at 20:32
  • I don't believe this is word for word. another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions is the phrase used on Wikipedia. Altering language isn't enough if you have copied an idea. I guess you have a different idea of plagiary? I understand what the typical use is on SO; that is what you are describing. Commented Dec 17, 2013 at 20:46
  • @artless I'm saying that unless you typed something word for word, users won't be able to find it, unless they happen to know the passage of that book or article that you're referencing and can put it together in their mind. Generally, searching for plagiarism (at least the way I do it) entails copying a piece of text and putting it into Google with quotes around it to see if other exact matches pop up.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Dec 17, 2013 at 20:48
  • Well, that is probably correct. We do have a lot of what ifs. Hopefully people can refer to this information. I also disagree a bit with this is not insulting. It is to some people; it insults your integrity. I don't care about F-bombs, but a church lady might. At this point, I am sure that Polish Prince thought this was a dumb tag and why did I bother with it. backticks should probably be re-tagged. I think he picked an off the wall reason, as there was no good reason in the list or it was a mis-click (as in your answer). Commented Dec 17, 2013 at 21:07

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