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Backstory:

We recently had a situation on ru.SO, where a new user had posted 22 answers in 2 hours, 17 of which were copy-pasted from comments under the corresponding questions. Most of them were copied verbatim, none of the answers were made 'community wiki', and no attribution was provided.

To my surprise, the mod team decided to not do anything about it, and our meta community doesn't seem to have a clear consensus if something needs to be done or not.

But this is not what this question is about.


This sparked a discussion. Does copying another user's comment into an answer require attribution, as per CC BY-SA?

More broadly, if you copy content made by another user into your own post on SO (as opposed to posting it on an unrelated site), do you have to provide attribution or not?

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Yes, comments are covered by the content licence.

You can see that by hovering your mouse (if you have one) over the timestamp that terminates them.

Screenshot of tooltip over SE comment timestamp, with licence indicator freehand-circled in red

That comments are intended to be transient is completely besides the point, especially considering that reposting them as questions literally makes them non-transient?

Furthermore, all the content licences used by Stack Exchange (CC-BY-SA 4.0 now, and others in the past) require attribution, here and elsewhere.

So, the moderators should have taken action in this case.

22 questions in two hours is a red flag anyway — there is no way the "author" performed any research on those issues first.

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