I just stumbled across a simple one-sentence computer security question on Stack Overflow that is copied directly from the textbook. No further explanation, nothing done to show any understanding or effort on the part of the asker.

What is typically done in this situation? I was tempted to immediately call him/her out in a comment, but I don't actually know if there is a policy against this or not. Is there? What should my response be?

  • Copying a question doesn't seem the same as copying an answer to me. The OP isn't trying to pass knowledge off as his own. But it still doesn't feel right.
    – Denial
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 5:43
  • 1
    This one is closer, but is unresolved: Would it be wrong to copy-paste questions from Quora?
    – Denial
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 5:45
  • Making out someone else's work is yours seems to be just as plagiaristic to me when applied to a question as when it is applied to an answer. Also, what makes you think that other question is unresolved? It has two answers - one from Stack Overflow's founder with 8 upvotes.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 5:49
  • @gnat no, the focus here is about being copied, not about no effort. Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 6:09
  • @ShadowWizard you mean, about stuff covered in Open letter to students with homework problems?
    – gnat
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 6:11
  • @gnat exactly this, yes. Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 6:13
  • @gnat true, that's why asking in general is problematic since there's no single correct answer. Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 6:17
  • 1
    @gnat your possible duplicate made me realize that I am actually more offended by the sheer laziness of it more than I am the fact that it is copied.
    – Denial
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 6:25
  • @ShadowWizard your possible duplicate is very interesting, and there is some healthy discussion on this topic there. One trend I'm noticing is that there is no real consensus on this topic in terms of how to respond to this sort of thing.
    – Denial
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 6:33
  • 2
    As an aside, this is my first Meta question, and I didn't realize there were site specific Metas. My apologies if this question was in the wrong spot.
    – Denial
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 6:34
  • @PolyGeo Just noticed the edit on your comment. I said unresolved because there was no marked answer. I don't know who the Stack Overflow founder is. I only know Jon Skeet :)
    – Denial
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 7:10
  • Accepted just means that the question asker was satisfied with an answer. Often this matches community opinion as expressed through upvotes but sometimes people forget or are unaware about acceptance, so I would not treat unaccepted as being the same as unresolved for the community. If you want to learn about Jeff Atwood I strongly recommend watching this YouTube video: youtube.com/watch?v=HRRWDf-xB2Y
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 7:24
  • @PolyGeo Certainly knowing who he is shapes my view of that thread, and makes it definitive vs. just some guys opinion. I was looking for a distraction from work, I'll check out that video right now, thank you.
    – Denial
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 7:32
  • Well, I still don't think this one here is dupe enough of any of the selected two, but since it also can't have a good answer guess it's not that bad. All in all, there's no strict rule about such things. Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 8:08
  • @ShadowWizard Those were precisely my thoughts as well. If anything I thought the Open Letter and my link were closer, but I didn't know how to change what it was designating as the dupes. Perhaps I don't have the rep. Oh well.
    – Denial
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 8:44


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