I got to review an edit today that wanted to add a citation to an answer. Said answer was a verbatim copy of a program from another website, without citing it. I went and checked it out and it was true. (I've obviously accepted the edit but it hasn't gone through yet.)

Is this allowed (i.e. copying a program from a site and posting it as your solution)? Is there a policy on this? I've searched on meta but couldn't find anything.

While I'm at it, how should people go about posting stuff from other websites (if at all)? It could be relevant from time to time. (i.e: this person on that site has done this better than anyone can: like so).

(I don't really want to call out anyone and I'm new to meta so I've not posted a link, will post the link if you guys want me to.)


1 Answer 1


If it is not your post:

  • Certainly apply proper citations and attribution for content under licenses that require them. I'd say also for code for which no license is specified.

  • Certainly bring copied content under restrictive licenses to the attention of the moderators (we'll pass it on to the the team).

If it is your post:

  • Personally I would not use someone else's code for my answer on CodeGolf.SE.

  • If you are going to use someone else's code, then make sure you have the right to do so, comply with the license and admit that it is not your own up front.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It is not my post (just to be clear). \$\endgroup\$
    – marinus
    Nov 18, 2013 at 2:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, you're a mod. Can I somehow force the citation edit to go through? Should I send you a link (privately perhaps)? (To be clear: it's not my code that was stolen either.) \$\endgroup\$
    – marinus
    Nov 18, 2013 at 3:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah. I approved the edit. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 18, 2013 at 3:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ You respond fast! Have 15 points :) \$\endgroup\$
    – marinus
    Nov 18, 2013 at 3:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ No points on meta sites except for meta.stackoverflow. But I will cherish the check-mark. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 18, 2013 at 3:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would add that if posting someone else's answer (because it's so elegant that you have to share), flagging it for CW is good etiquette. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 22, 2013 at 3:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I just noticed a second answer that the same guy had quietly borrowed from me, a year earlier. I've submitted a second citation edit. (A third, to question 242, is too short and obvious for any one person to claim credit for.) I doubt I'm the only person thus honored, but I'm too lazy to check. It occurs to me that this site ought to award a "Plagiarist" badge, though I guess it would be hard to automate. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 22, 2013 at 10:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DanielCristofani That's not a good idea. Badges are supposed to be awarded for behaviours we want to encourage, not discourage. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 25, 2013 at 2:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, I was being ironical. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 25, 2013 at 23:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ (The guy edited both answers again on Nov 29 to make him look less like a plagiarist. He currently has 1,953 reputation on this site, and 68 badges. This is suggestive regarding the value of this site's reputation system, and the strength of your desire to discourage plagiarism.) \$\endgroup\$ May 9, 2014 at 22:29

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