On Stack Overflow, we've suspected the plagiarism rabbit hole was deep... but we've had some users who are plumbing the depths of that pit and finding out that it's far deeper than anyone realized.
Up until now, it's been fine to leave them under moderator flags. You typically don't see a ton of them at once, and a user with a pattern will get dealt with in short order. But we now have 900+ moderator flags on SO, with at least half (probably more like 2/3 now) being plagiarism. There's two problems with this
- Plagiarism flags are slow to handle. Assuming you got enough data from the flag ("this post is plagiarized from here [link]"), you now get the fun of figuring out if the post was copied. Sometimes it's a slam dunk and pure copy-pasta. Sometimes it's mix-and-match posts. Sometimes it's simply not properly attributed. And sometimes you just can't tell. And if it has a lot of votes, you'll need a post disassocation from a CM on top of that.
- It clogs the queue so other flags get lost. If there's something important flagged on SO, it may not get handled in a timely fashion.
I certainly don't want to even imply our newfound plagiarism flaggers' efforts are creating any issues. I've seen some seriously messed up stuff from years ago that we were able to fix thanks to them. I want this stuff flagged, regardless of how many flags it adds to the queue. We just need to be able to categorize it better.
With a dedicated flag, we could also improve the process. Add sources for the material as part of the flagging process. A surprisingly common tactic to gain rep is to find a duplicate question, go to the duplicate, and copy the best answer(s). If the source post(s) are on the site, give us a console where we can see a comparison side-by-side. I don't think that would be terribly hard, but it would give us a leg up on removing copied materials. It also forces flaggers to provide a link to the source material (uncommon, but I've seen more than a few that are just "This answer is copied from another answer").
It might also be useful to make a case-by-case disassociation system for CMs. That way we're not building these massive error-prone lists by hand so we can open one ticket to them. It would take some of the tedium out of the process and guide all SE moderators through handling plagiarism ("Would you like to delete this post? Request a disassociation?")