Recently, I had some suggested tag wikis rejected (fairly) because they were copy-pastes from Wikipedia.

But today, I saw the tag wiki on the was an exact copy-paste from Wikipedia.

Why was this accepted?

Would an edit be valid if it was copy pasted from Wikipedia and then mentioned that the citation is from the Wikipedia?

  • 8
    They shouldn't have been, but not every reviewer checks for unattributed plagiarism. From conversations I've had with him, I know that @beofett and I both pretty much check every incoming tag wiki edit that comes across our review queues, but lots of them get approved before we ever see them.
    – phantom42
    Jun 24, 2014 at 14:53
  • @phantom42: I’ve also seen tag wiki edits where one of you rejected the edit for plagiarism, but two other users approved the edit without checking and it passed successfully.
    – alexwlchan
    Jun 24, 2014 at 15:25
  • 1
    @phantom42 Once, after a string of them a few months ago, I complained about it in chat and got several replies along the lines of "Oh... oops" XD
    – Izkata
    Jun 24, 2014 at 23:39
  • Ouch, I had no idea we couldn't copy-paste straight from Wikipedia (which I did for the Zombieland tag). My bad guys!!!
    – Möoz
    Jun 26, 2014 at 0:11

1 Answer 1


Why was this accepted?

Because not everybody Googles the text of suggested tag wiki edits before hitting the “Approve” button. That doesn’t make it okay; it just means that those reviewers didn’t do due diligence before approving the edit.

I believe this is the sort of problem that review audits are meant to solve, but I don’t know if they’re enabled on SFF or whether review audits would try to catch people for this sort of plagiarism.

The Meta question Proposed methods for countering plagiarized text in tag wikis has some interesting suggestions about this topic if you’re still interested.

Would an edit be valid if it was copy pasted from Wikipedia and then mentioned that the citation is from the Wikipedia?

It would be valid in the sense that it’s not illegal and shouldn’t be rejected as plagiarism, but it wouldn’t necessarily be good. It would be factually accurate, but that doesn’t make it useful for readers of our site.

See Gilles’s answer to Is copy/paste from Wikipedia allowed on tag wikis? or point 2 in Keen’s answer to Why are my tag wiki edits rejected? for a longer explanation of why Wikipedia excerpts don’t make the best tag wiki edits.

  • I'm not sure if it's legal. CC needs you to attribute wikipedia. No if that's done, it's legal (in this special case it wasn't). But assumed, we'd attribute wikipedia, those tag wikis might still not be useful (as Keen explained in the second link you provided). But if the summary is good for our purposes and wikipedia is attributed, we could still use it - I think.
    – Einer
    Jun 26, 2014 at 16:40

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