I came across this user's profile while I was going through the close-votes queue and most if not all answers seem to be copied from other Stack Overflow answers or from external sources.

This is a small list of what I found. I suspect there are more as I haven't gone through all of his answers:

Wow. This list continues.

This question (thanks to Martin for finding that one) could be considered as a duplicate, but it does not fully address my question. Here's why:

  • Editing - There are over 140 answers -- I don't think it's easy (or appropriate) to edit all of them to add attribution
  • Flagging - Flagging is not an option because of the number of answers
  • Educating the OP - People already tried and failed. I don't think that's going to work either.

I'm pretty sure I can find more of such answers. I've flagged a few of them (maybe three or four) but I don't think that's going to stop him from continuing this behavior.

Should I flag all similar answers? Or let moderators handle this issue?

  • 3
    If there was ever a time that I would be willing to serially downvote someone... this is it... – Lix Dec 24 '13 at 11:03
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    For now I've settled for downvoting the W3Schools plagiarism... Feels good - I recommend you try it :P – Lix Dec 24 '13 at 11:04
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    Even his current hat indicates pirating content across the site ;) WHAT MORE PROOF DO YOU NEED?!?!?! – Lix Dec 24 '13 at 11:06
  • @MartinSmith: Please see the update. :) – Amal Murali Dec 24 '13 at 11:07
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    "Don't be a lynch mob, even if you're (understandably) angry. Do not pile downvotes on recently uncovered plagiators' answers. Let the moderators handle it". Reference: meta.stackexchange.com/a/160072 :) – Aziz Shaikh Dec 24 '13 at 11:12
  • I didn't actually VTC myself (haven't got the meta rep!). I see your point that the number of answers makes this unusually problematic though. – Martin Smith Dec 24 '13 at 11:13
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    Flag just one answer and give details. Mods will take a look and may ban that user. – Aziz Shaikh Dec 24 '13 at 11:14
  • This one isn't actually a copy of the other answer. (It's not valid syntax either though) – Martin Smith Dec 24 '13 at 11:32
  • @Martijn: Could you please explain how this is a duplicate of the linked question? – Amal Murali Dec 24 '13 at 11:45
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    @AmalMurali: "Flagging is not an option because of the number of answers" - that's incorrect. Flag one post and explain that it's a pattern and provide a few URLs. – Mat Dec 24 '13 at 11:53
  • I was just wondering if it was hat-inspired. Can no longer check the dates... – Bill Woodger Dec 24 '13 at 12:00
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    This is a duplicate because you have discovered plagiarism and the duplicate tells you what to do when you have discovered plagiarism. If it's particularly egregious then a mod can destroy the user and all answers associated with that user. As you note this is not something you can deal with yourself because there's so much so let a mod deal with it. – ben is uǝq backwards Dec 24 '13 at 12:16
  • There are also answers which aren't down right plagiarised but use the same concept as previously posted answer. Answers like this aren't exactly the same as the accepted one and could have been either independently come up with or just by using a strategy of copying an existing answer and changing it slightly. – Martin Smith Dec 25 '13 at 13:56
  • This is an exact copy of this answer – Cole Johnson Dec 25 '13 at 18:52
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    @ColeJohnson: But the author's okay with it, so I don't see a problem there. – Amal Murali Dec 25 '13 at 18:54

You need to flag the offending answers for moderator attention. Do not flag the question - the question authors are an innocent party in this.

Plagiarism is not endorsed on here in any way. It's okay to quote sections of another resource, but those sections should be adequately identified as a quote and the source should be identified/attributed.

What I find disturbing is that he is willfully doing it, he knows what he's doing and it's extensive. And he's also answering bounty questions in this way. I would suggest that for this one you don't try to 'fix' any of the answers, let the ♦ moderators and StackExchange team do their thing.

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  • I didn't say anything about flagging the question (or did I?). I agree with what you've said though - it's okay to quote a part of the answer, but in this case, this user is blindly copy-pasting the answer without providing any attribution. – Amal Murali Dec 24 '13 at 11:32
  • @AmalMurali You didn't mention that, however Sumurai8 mentioned marking the question as a duplicate - which you shouldn't do. The guy doing this is simply on a fishing expedition for rep, the targeted question doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the question the answer was copied from. – slugster Dec 24 '13 at 11:38
  • I think Sumurai8 was suggesting to close the question as a duplicate (although people below < 3K rep can only flag). – Amal Murali Dec 24 '13 at 11:42
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    @AmalMurali That's exactly what I'm saying you shouldn't do - the targeted question is an innocent party in this, simply being the recipient of a copied answer doesn't make it a duplicate in any way whatsoever. – slugster Dec 24 '13 at 11:52

While answers on StackOverflow are released under the so-called "cc-by-sa" license, this license requires someone to properly attribute such a copy. Anything less is copyright violation. If someone posts exact duplicates of an answer, mark said question as a duplicate of the question where the answer comes from if it is actually a duplicate and flag said answer for copyright violation.

For an other user I flagged 'just' 16 of 160 answers, which took a lot of time, but seems to have had effect.

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  • Flag under which category? And what happened to the other user's account? – Amal Murali Dec 24 '13 at 11:20
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    I flagged for moderator attention (with a custom description like "Copyvio from link/to/answer/from/share/button"). Moderators deleted most of those answers. The user I made flags for stopped answering questions, but is still active on SO. – Sumurai8 Dec 24 '13 at 11:24
  • do not flag the question as a duplicate unless you yourself know it is a duplicate. The user might be a bot that copy-pastes without proper human intervention. – jfs Dec 24 '13 at 11:39
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    Don't mark the targeted question as a duplicate simply because someone used a copied answer - they could have nothing to do with each other, the offending user is simply trying his luck with answers that have a certain amount of truthiness with regards to the targeted question (i.e. the sound or look right but can be completely wrong). – slugster Dec 24 '13 at 11:41
  • From my experience, the user altered the answer if it wasn't an exact duplicate, resulting in some very odd answers with entire paragraphs copied. But you are right. – Sumurai8 Dec 24 '13 at 12:06

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