Someone upvoted one of my answers, so I clicked on it to reread what I had written and was shocked to notice that the 'accepted answer' now contains a duplicate of the cover photo that I'd linked to and a synopsis of the story, word for word, that I had written with the edit justification saying,

"Turning this into a complete answer."

Is it okay to copy and paste other people's work? Is this a new accepted practice to merge parts of other peoples' answers into the accepted answer?

Perhaps they thought that my writing was from a bookcover because someone else edited it to note that it contained spoilers... Just trying to be generous, but still, they copied the photo, which was already there in my answer for anyone to see and then they duplicated what my answer already said.

I think the question looks dumb now, because both answers are basically the same. I also remember that it took a good deal of time and mental effort to craft a succinct and easy-to-read summary of the story. Not cool.

  • 1
    Are you 100% certain that you wrote the synopsis yourself? Is it wholly your own wording?
    – Valorum
    Feb 10, 2015 at 19:51
  • 2
    @Richard 100% sure, yes. I totally remember thinking over the story and trying to write in the simplest terms what the gist of the story was. Feb 10, 2015 at 19:52
  • 3
    In that case, this appears to be a clear case of plagiarism. Flag it and I'm sure a friendly mod will take appropriate action.
    – Valorum
    Feb 10, 2015 at 19:53
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    For the record, I've rolled the edit back to an earlier revision and notified the user in question in chat that their edit was (I'm sure inadvertantly) inappropriate.
    – Valorum
    Feb 10, 2015 at 20:07
  • 1
    @Richard Cheers! And congrats on winning the mod position :) Your timely attention to this meta post was much appreciated! Feb 10, 2015 at 20:14
  • 2
    This is why the metrics for a "good site" state that ~2.5 answers per question is valued, it's also why we have the ability to post more than one answer in the first place. If we merged all answers into one, then it would make that metric pointless - community wiki is excepted.
    – Möoz
    Feb 10, 2015 at 21:14
  • I'm sorry. I made a mistake.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Feb 11, 2015 at 14:34
  • 2
    Shouldn't this be on Mi Yodeya?
    – KSmarts
    Feb 12, 2015 at 18:09
  • Well, you got 5 more rep that the accepted answer anyways... Feb 16, 2015 at 5:14
  • Also, @SeanDuggan, please stop turning my answers into your essays.
    – Kreiri
    Feb 16, 2015 at 18:52
  • @Kreiri: I'm sorry to offend. When I see one sentence answers, I tend to add what details I can from Wikipedia and the like so that they address the details of the question, something which will hopefully help other people looking for the answer. If you'd like, I can post my answers separately to yours, giving the same answer, but with detail?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Feb 16, 2015 at 18:56
  • Yes, you can post your own answer. No need to upset other users.
    – Kreiri
    Feb 16, 2015 at 19:09
  • 2
    @SeanDuggan : Personally, my rule is that I never alter the content of someone's answer. I might fix the formatting or correct obvious typos, but's pretty much it. Others may have a different opinion, though.
    – Omegacron
    Feb 19, 2015 at 16:08
  • @Omegacron: To me, that creates duplication of information, and possibly a situation where it looks like you're trying to steal an answer. If someone answers "It's 'The Dog at the Manger'" to a question, that doesn't really answer the question. If I post a second answer with the actual needed information, it looks like I'm trying to steal their rep. At least from my point of view.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Feb 19, 2015 at 16:53
  • 1
    Mea culpa. Mea culpa. Mea maximus culpa...
    – FuzzyBoots
    Nov 10, 2016 at 19:22

1 Answer 1


This question has been discussed at some considerable length here ("What to do when plagiarism is discovered") and here ("Should I flag plagiarism for Moderator Attention?")

The general concensus of opinion is that you should flag the offending answer and allow a moderator to deal with the issue.


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