12

There are several Q&A sites/networks out there where users can post questions and offer a monetary reward for the answer.

What should we do with questions that are well-phrased and on-topic, but where the question itself is copied from such a site, with or without a source reference?

If there is no source reference, I can see potential issues with plagiarism and intercepting money (if OP copies SE answer to pay-for-answer Q&A site with identical question and reaps the benefits).

If there is a reference, those issues do not arise, but it still feels a bit queasy. There is an issue of advertising other sites as well.

Is there any cross-site established policy on this?


Example cases:

4
  • Related: Is it okay to copy answers from other sites?
    – ale
    Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 13:04
  • @ale NB: plagiarism is only an issue if it's unsourced.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 13:05
  • which question we are talking about and from which site it is copied? Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 13:15
  • @SagarV Added a couple of example cases.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 13:27

2 Answers 2

11

There are several possibilities here:

  1. The same person posted the question on both sites. (Which seems at least plausible; lots of people ask their question in lots of places to increase the chances of getting an answer.) In this case the person that posted it isn't violating any copyright laws or committing plagiarism, even without citing a source. All is good. If their question gets an answer, and if someone reproduces the answer on another site, they merely need to cite the SE answer appropriately, in accordance with SE's CC-Wiki licence and they're okay.

  2. The user isn't the author of the question on the other site, but the other site has a licence that allows them to reproduce the content here on SE. In this situation the user would need to cite the source (the licence allowing reproduction probably requires this, as most do, but even if it wouldn't, SE's plagiarism guidelines indicate it should be cited, as you're not the author). As for any answer posted to SE and reproduced on the other site, see the previous bullet point.

  3. The person that posted the question is neither the author nor is there a licence on the content allowing them to reproduce it here. In this case, the original author of the question is able to request a takedown of the content as it's a violation of copyright, and the question is also violating SE's plagiarism guidelines for not citing its source.

It's also worth noting that a question just copied verbatim from another site is reasonably likely to just not be a good question for SE, as SE is rather specific in the types of questions it allows, so I'd certainly expect many such questions to simply not be appropriate questions here due to their quality alone.

2
  • Is it not self-plagiarism then?
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 13:32
  • 3
    @gerrit In many academic environments that's a problem, and something that you need to not do. On SE it's not a problem at all to not cite yourself. You'd only ever need to cite yourself on SE if you published something and gave up your ownership rights to the content in the process.
    – Servy
    Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 13:34
3

I don't think there is a real difference if a question is copied from a free site, or "pay for answer" site, as far as Stack Exchange is concerned. If the question is good and fitting the site, it's valid.

It's not our role as users of the site (and not of the moderators/SE team too actually) to go and search for the source of the question. If it violates some copyright rule, one can submit a DMCA takedown request and ask for the question to be deleted.

In case the question itself mentions it's taken from a pay-for-answer site, anyone is free to go and answer it there, and get the money. Nothing is forcing anyone to post their answer on Stack Exchange.

2
  • 3
    SE does have rules against plagiarism.
    – Servy
    Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 13:19
  • "t's not our role as users of the site (and not of the moderators/SE team too actually) to go and search for the source of the question." - Considering plagiarised content is extremely easy to identify by just reading it I would agree with that statement. However, it is the duty of every member of the community to identify plagiarised content, and to flag it for removal, because there is absolutely no use for it.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 17:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .