Or, in other words: Are the rules around referencing sources different for questions vs. answers?

It's well-established that copying other people's content into an answer without citing the original source is not acceptable: We have How to reference material written by others in the help center in the "Answering" section, talking specifically about answers. We have many, many questions on both MSE and MSO about how to handle plagiarism in answers.

However, there is nothing that makes it clear if the rules are the same for questions. Indeed, a recent post on Meta Stack Overflow describes a flag that was declined by a moderator because "this is a question. Not plagiarism in an answer."

This seems, to me, clearly wrong: Questions are represented to be, unless otherwise noted, the poster's own content. Content in Stack Exchanged questions is licensed to site users under the same license as answers. If posters are posting content without indicating that it is not theirs, this falls apart.

Could the rules here be clarified, preferably to state that use of others' content without attributing the original source is equally unacceptable in questions and answers?

  • Does this help you? meta.stackexchange.com/questions/160071/…
    – Ollie
    Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 0:21
  • 1
    @Ollie thanks, but I'm afraid not: it is one of the many posts on the subject whose text is focused on answers. For example, "Check out all the links in the answer," " Explain that you believe the answer has been plagiarized," etc. It does not touch on the topic of how questions, specifically, should be handled.
    – Ryan M
    Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 0:25
  • 1
    @RyanM I added the help-center-proposed tag to this, assuming that you think the Help Center article on plagiarism should be updated to include questions (or not only specify answers). If that's not your intent, you can remove the tag. Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 1:59
  • Ryan, some sites are particularly strict and have specific rules while others are less so; some rather lax. Whatever the standard it will be approximately equal for both Q&As - with a bit of leeway on the question (maybe) and more strictness on the answer - but that's to prevent answer copying (question copying usually isn't scrutinized, though the "rules" are the same; except from textbooks which falls into the "homework" category, with another set of rules). --- So your question is a little broad as to a specific simple answer, you ask for a list.
    – Rob
    Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 2:12
  • @Laurel they're certainly very similar, and I've upvoted your post as well because I agree with it completely. I was hoping to get some clarification on if this is, in fact, the actual policy. Perhaps it's also close enough to close this as a duplicate (especially if this is in fact the actual official policy). I'd be quite happy to see this closed and your proposal implemented verbatim.
    – Ryan M
    Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 4:00


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