-4

Proposed resolution : A quote which is fully accredited and formatted as a quote, is not plagiarism.

This definition is in line with all the world's dictionaries and all the world's legal sources.

Why is this resolution necessary.

My Super User account was suspended for 30 days for plagiarism, since one moderator views answers that are quote-only as plagiarism, and I had four of them (all deleted by the moderator).

This definition of plagiarism conflicts even with SU rules that say (italics added by myself):

Plagiarism - posting the work of others with no indication that it is not your own - is frowned on by our community, and may result in your content being downvoted or deleted.

This definition already implies my above resolution, but nevertheless I got this text in my suspension message from the SU moderators:

It has come to our attention that some of your answers consist primarily of text copied from other answers or websites. This is a violation of our Terms of Service, as well as the license agreement. It is considered plagiarism.

This message puzzled me enough to cause me to look deeper into the question.

My research on Super User.

Since I had some time on my hands these last 30 days, I have studied the Stack Exchange API and have written a program that scans all answers on Super User and checks whether they are quote-only.

Here are my results :

  • The moderator that suspended me has written enough quote-only answers to be suspended himself.
  • Another moderator has written many quote-only answers. I remark that his answers are to the point and were often accepted by the posters. I'm puzzled by him not coming forward to explain to the other moderator that quoting is not plagiarism.
  • There are thousands of quote-only answers on Super User and it's simply unfeasible to delete them, as many are upvoted or accepted by the posters. Deleting these answers will leave their questions in a chaotic state.

Questions to the moderators.

The above research motivates me to ask this of the moderators:

Why was I suspended for so long for a rule that doesn't exist in a written form? A rule that actually conflicts with the written rules? A rule that seems to be generally unknown and is not followed or enforced, not even by the moderators themselves?

And more: Why do unwritten rules even exist here? How can we be expected to adhere to unknown and undefined rules? For example, are answers counted as plagiarism if they have less than 20% of unquoted text, or what? Can users feel safe knowing that they may be sanctioned for unknown rules?

And most important: Super User is said to be a democracy. A democracy is ruled according to a set of written rules, and only by those rules. The rules apply to everyone and even for the persons in authority. How can we have in Super User unwritten rules that are applied or not at the discretion of the moderator?

Suggestion

I suggest that the moderators accept my above resolution in order to terminate with this issue.

If the moderators choose instead to uphold this plagiarism rule, explicitly or by inaction, I intend to fully cooperate with them by publishing on Meta Super User in bunches the links to all the quote-only answers on Super User, and I will report periodically on the progress done by the moderators in cleaning Super User of plagiarism.

Some answers to moderator Journeyman Geek.

You're not going to know which moderator suspended you.

Of course I can - when that moderator says that my answers were deleted, and you're the one that deleted them, it doesn't take great genius to understand who that moderator is.

Another great hint is that I have taken to Meta all my three suspensions, and it was you the only moderator that defended the suspensions. It's quite clear who is repeatedly suspending me, and never with any warning.

It'd be good to cite all your sources here, or at least show a modicium of research.

You're citing academical standards, which have no bearing on the issue at all. Ours is a Q&A site, not R&D. We write answers, not essays. The only requirement, as far as the posters are concerned, is to solve their problem, and they will accept an answer in any format whatsoever. In fact, by deleting an answer which might contain the solution, you're mostly hurting the poster.

A great answer is a lot more than googling the question

Of course, but Super User doesn't have the monopoly on good answers. There are some great answers and blogs in other sources, for example in Stack Overflow. They don't lose any of their greatness by being quoted. If an answer on Stack Overflow also solves the poster's problem, why does it suddenly become "low quality" when quoted?

Quoting with appropriate sourcing isn't plagiarism - it is a necessary, but not completely sufficient.

It seems to me that you have just admitted that I have not commited plagiarism, as all my answers contained fully accredited quotes with links. Might it be that you have used the wrong reason for my suspension?

In the interests of full disclosure - its 30 days cause we followed the standard escalation, and this is your second suspension for this.

My first suspension for this offense was in 2017 - you're unearthing a 7-years old suspension in order to justify yourself. As there were a lot of quote-only answers posted in the last years, including regularly by moderators, I was entitled to assume that this rule didn't exist any more. A short message from you to me would have made suspension unnecessary, so why did you jump to use the big gun?

As a moderator, I generally consider suspensions to be a last resort, when other things have failed.

There was no other thing - there was never any warning, just BOUM, unless you're referring to an event from 7 years ago.

That said, do you really want to be the guy who basically decided to ruin a bunch of people's day cause you were unhappy with a moderator decision?
If you choose to flag based on using an automated script to find and flag things, it could potentially be a code of conduct violation as well.
We're going to expect you to read each one, as we do, and make a determination, and generally if we find someone's wasting our time, we're unhappy.

There is no problem with eyeballing all the links I would post. Nobody will be ruined, since you will not delete any other answer than mine or suspend anyone else than me. I won't be writing any programs that modify the site, since SE doesn't like it, especially if the program has bugs. I'm not a moderator, so it's up to you to decide on the gravity of the offense, as you have decided on mine.

I'd note we don't have any tooling that particularly helps with this

You're referring to the fact that you don't have a tool to find quote-only answers, and have then just scanned all my answers until you found four quote-only ones. Great effort, but this means that you have first decided on the punishment, and then worked to find the evidence to justify it.


I've been challenged to produce some URLs or shut up, so I chose answers by moderator DavidPostill, mainly because he cannot be harmed by this publication. I have run into the 30,000 characters limit on question size, so I was only able to add here 180 URLs.

I'm a bit unclear about the definition of a quote-only answer by moderator Journeyman Geek, but I think that almost all of them should qualify. I have been delayed because I believe that some corruption in the SQL database of SE is causing some years to be missing from the indexes, so this list is also incomplete in this respect.

I note that in my opinion these are excellent answers that should not be changed in any way. The opinion of moderator Journeyman Geek is much different, so I wait to see if he'll delete any of them.

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42
  • 1
    Do you wish to share links to these answers and/or a screenshot of them for those who can’t see deleted questions. While I recognize this question is specifically about those questions context might be helpful
    – Ramhound
    Commented May 29 at 21:18
  • 3
    @Ramhound: It's not my intention to point fingers at anyone. I'm trying to open a discussion with the moderators which might in the future prevent such unpleasantness as I experienced.
    – harrymc
    Commented May 29 at 21:48
  • 2
    Without context I cannot say if these answers you describe were plagiarism, however, if these answers didn’t quote and cite the reference and provide some sort of original content I would deem them as nothing but a signpost.
    – Ramhound
    Commented May 29 at 22:30
  • 5
    I can’t speak for others, but this question seems to be downvoted because it is all over the map and there is no proper context for these claims. It basically reads as, “I didn’t like what happened to me, I won’t provide context and I will demand changes be made.” Come on; please provide context. Commented May 29 at 22:41
  • 1
    @Ramhound i believe the posts that were deleted do indeed provide sources for where the content came from, but the problem is that is all they really are. They give nothing more than a quote and a link, which from an academic perspective is essentially the same as plagiarism, in that it demonstrates no awareness of the subject at hand. There was no original content, no real value to them beyond a cursory Google search and copied content.
    – Mokubai Mod
    Commented May 30 at 0:41
  • 1
    @Mokubai - So in other words they were low quality. Submitting substantial low quality content is suspension worthy in itself but were these examples plagiarism (I can’t say). How you quote and cite material is universally accepted throughout academia. We all have done it at least once, so not doing it properly, isn’t excusable. You can quote and cite as much material as you want in college but if you never summarize anything it’s nothing more than someone else’s words which is plagiarism. Wrote 5,000 reports as a MBA student and 2,500 was quoted from material and rest were my own words.
    – Ramhound
    Commented May 30 at 1:12
  • 1
    My problem with this question is that it comes across more as trying to break out the pitch-forks and organise a witch hunt instead of having a constructive discussion on whether your posts actually constitute plagiarism. Some (friendly) argument and discussion that people could actually give feedback and work on would be a useful point to have come from. Instead you already know you are right so everyone else is wrong and out to get you, which is patently not the case. I'd have hoped more of a constructive approach from one of the pillars of the community.
    – Mokubai Mod
    Commented May 30 at 18:56
  • 1
    "You're citing academical standards, which have no bearing on the issue at all." - It absolutely has bearing on the issue. Those academical standards are reasonable. I will repeat what I have said in the past, an answer which just contains information that was copied and pasted from a website, is not helpful to the community. I am still waiting on these examples of answers, which I presume you argue to not be plagiarism, to determine if there is anything I agree with in this question. Your last edit is just more complaints which in my eyes are unjustified.
    – Ramhound
    Commented May 30 at 19:01
  • 1
    @Ramhound: No problem, I have added one small list to my answer.
    – harrymc
    Commented May 30 at 20:28
  • 3
    @Mokubai: This is a good advice, but doesn't answer what happened. I can't in all honesty ignore the fact that SU has unclear rules that are being applied in a selective manner. The example of a moderator (a good moderator) that has a hundred times more quote-only answers than me still sticks in my throat. I think that the moderators should be more open to criticism and to admitting to error. Practically, I think that moderator Journeyman Geek should apologize, but I don't think this is ever going to happen.
    – harrymc
    Commented May 31 at 9:07
  • 2
    @Mokubai: You're missing the point, although I can see it's easy to think so. I'm saying constructively that there is nothing wrong with a quote-only answer if it fully answers the question. I'm repeating that I like the answers by DavidPostill and wish him only good. The format of an answer is immaterial, and using it as the main criteria in deleting and suspending is just wrong. Yes, I'm personally angry because it happened to me, but advising me to forgive and forget just leaves the question open. I think you should look at it in a more general manner than just my personal motives.
    – harrymc
    Commented May 31 at 9:31
  • 2
    Moderators need to stop the hypocrisy, I pointed this out a long time ago about the bias of them being allowed to do something but suspending others for the same thing they are guilty of. I have no problem going through every one of those questions and voting to delete them. Do unto others as you want done until you without reading all the noise it is really really simple. Mods are going to be bias with other mods on SU in particular. If a mod was fair, they would start deleting those same sort of plagiarized post which other mods on SU write point blank period, otherwise, you are bias. Commented May 31 at 11:04
  • 3
    @JourneymanGeek: Question : How many users have you suspended for plagiarism because of quote-only answers? (I mean, besides me). Some examples would be good.
    – harrymc
    Commented May 31 at 12:39
  • 2
    @Mokubai: Last message. I see the position of the moderators here as untenable. You're saying in effect: There are a hell of a lot of quote-only answers on SU, but we reserve ourselves the right to select a small number of them, declare them as plagiarism and punish the user, according to criteria that we won't share, and we won't accept complaints. Is that reasonable or a position that is possible to defend?
    – harrymc
    Commented May 31 at 14:07
  • 2
    Harry - Clear guidelines and consistent enforcement are vital for maintaining a healthy community. Your suggestion aims to address this issue constructively. I suggest making a secondary post spin off of this one and be concise and to the point for those sort of main points without all the other noise as you see the reaction. You are highest rep SU account thus far and this comes with an implicit expectation that you already know things and are the expert. It is bias to assume your high rep makes you know it all or already know better in these sort of instances—I raised the question long ago. Commented Jun 6 at 20:56

3 Answers 3

5

Proposed resolution : A quote which is fully accredited and formatted as a quote, is not plagiarism.

This definition is in line with all the world's dictionaries and all the world's legal sources.

source: the question

It'd be good to cite all your sources here, or at least show a modicium of research. I've tended to consider the standards many universities use as best practices and I really liked the explanation given here

I'll quote 2 relevant passages to ensure that should the source be lost, its still accessible here,and so a reader dosen't need to go off site to read them. Notice the bulk of this post is original material, and my 'own' work is a backbone, not a scaffold

Students are often told to use direct quotes when they feel the original author’s phrasing expresses the idea so well that no better expression can be found. This is good advice but be sure to do more than just string quotes together with a few transition sentences. Even if every quote is adequately cited, the overall paper will feel plagiarized since the student has not written anything new.

source: https://libguides.csusm.edu/academic_honesty/direct_quotation

Now consider this for answers. An answer should be more than stringing together a quote with some scaffolding. A great answer is a lot more than googling the question

Each field of study has specific guidelines about direct quotation. For instance, direct quotation is often discouraged in the sciences, which prefer paraphrasing. Students can check with their professor on the preferred style in their discipline.

source: https://libguides.csusm.edu/academic_honesty/direct_quotation

I'd consider technology a science more than an art, and in the age of chatbots and such, value adds to an answer - building on your own experiences, and tailoring an answer to a question as much as possible would be nice.

As such, you've begun your post with an inaccuracy. All is a very very broad statement, one might even call it hyperbole.

Why was I suspended for so long for a rule that doesn't exist in a written form?

source: the question

This was linked in the stock moderator message you received https://meta.stackoverflow.com/a/321326/674571 - Its part of the standard moderator message template sent to any users.

In the interests of full disclosure - its 30 days cause we followed the standard escalation, and this is your second suspension for this. It seems a complete misrepresentation to make it seem like there wasn't any prior interactions, and we just jumped to 30 days.

I'd also point you at the relevant help section - these rules exist in written form. It might be useful to acquaint yourself with these. While you linked it I feel like you might have missed the critical portion of it.

Do not copy the complete text of sources; instead, use their words and ideas to support your own. In particular, answers comprised entirely of a quote (sourced or not) will often be deleted since they do not contain any original content.

source: https://superuser.com/help/referencing

To borrow a term from tabletop RPGs, it very much is Rules as Written, as well as intended. These answers were practically complete text

Its probably worth noting that over time I've helped draft parts of the rules here, and spent as much time on meta as here, so I've no idea what you actually mean by unwritten rules. The rules are written and available

We've also generally not gone looking for specific violations since that would be unfairly targeting a user, but that's explained later.

Since I had some time on my hands these last 30 days, I have studied the Stack Exchange API and have written a program that scans all answers on SU and checks whether they are quote-only.

source: the question

This would indicate you're aware of the standards expected - which is excellent It might also be a great opportunity to review and improve your own posts to meet the standards.

I'd note we don't have any tooling that particularly helps with this and if its actually accurate, there's some mods who might find this sort of thing useful.

The moderator that suspended me has written enough quote-only answers to be suspended himself.

source: the question

You're not going to know which moderator suspended you. This is precisely why in general, a moderator message is signed by the team. It used to be signed off by the mod who sent it, but this is precisely why its not. People trying to intimidate mods and all that. It seems a very loaded statement and presumes, in addition to knowing which mod sent you the message, that there's an ongoing pattern of misbehaviour.

An interesting side question might be what happens if your script is wrong and there's literally no other way to answer the question, or it wasn't plagiarism at all.

Another moderator has written many quote-only answers. I remark that his answers are to the point and were often accepted by the posters. I'm puzzled by him not coming forward to explain to the other moderator that quoting is not plagiarism.

source: the question

Quoting with appropriate sourcing isn't always plagiarism - it is a necessary, but not completely sufficient thing to avoid plagiarism. It's not a replacement for using your own words and tailoring your answer to the question. Hypothetically in such a conversation, one of the things I'd point out is that it sets a poor example for other users.

There are thousands of quote-only answers on SU and it's simply unfeasible to delete them, as many are upvoted or accepted by the posters. Deleting these answers will leave their questions in a chaotic state.

source: the question

We deal with these as they are flagged - and by their own merits. In some cases we might find something that was surfaced by smoke detector, take a look and find its not spam, and the link used might have tripped a blocklist.

If you feel plagiarism is an problem that should be solved, maybe its worth going through there in your spare time, and updating these to better, self contained answers that are not purely quotes.

That said, do you really want to be the guy who basically decided to ruin a bunch of people's day cause you were unhappy with a moderator decision? If you choose to flag based on using an automated script to find and flag things, it could potentially be a code of conduct violation as well.

We're going to expect you to read each one, as we do, and make a determination, and generally if we find someone's wasting our time, we're unhappy.

And most important : SU is said to be a democracy. A democracy is ruled according to a set of written rules, and only by those rules. The rules apply to everyone and even for the persons in authority. How can we have in SU unwritten rules that are applied or not at the discretion of the moderator?

source: the question

I'd point you at the theory of moderation. As a moderator, I generally consider suspensions to be a last resort, when other things have failed. Community health as a whole is a priority, and if something isn't written down, but is hurting the community, we'll take the appropriate action. This isn't the case though. We've followed the rules as written.

Should we overstep - an appeal to the community team would be a countercheck. While I'm unsure if I'd be overstepping if I said this was done, maybe it'd be good to reveal if this was and what the outcome of this appeal.

Your goal is to guide the community with gentle -- but firm -- intervention. Respect your fellow community members at all times; demonstrate fairness and impartiality in your actions.

source: the question

When we suspend someone, except in exceptional situations, there's generally a written rule. That said, democracies are not police states either.

Our goal isn't an overarching order, but rather to balance the needs of the people with practical necessities. Would it be nice if everyone posted original content? Absolutely. Are we going to hunt down every situation where someone has posted these? Not really.

We do not have a goal of compliance to very strict rules as written. We'd like people to understand and adhere to the spirit of the rules.

We intervene when there's a problem. While we keep rules as written as guidance, there are some situations where we need the flexibility to act on the rules as intended, or deal with unexpected situations. This isn't one of those though.

There's checks on us - via contacting the company as well. It is not, to quote a local political party for me "ownself check oneself". We also discuss such situations internally.

With newer versions of moderator messages we also include examples/links to what was specifically done wrong. When we suspend someone once, we don't expect to need to suspend them again.

If the moderators choose instead to uphold this plagiarism rule, explicitly or by inaction, I intend to fully cooperate with them by publishing on Meta SU in bunches the links to all the quote-only answers on SU, and I will report periodically on the progress done by the moderators in cleaning SU of plagiarism.

source: the question

I was going to offer to fix any of my questions that weren't up to standard or delete. That said this sounds suspiciously like a threat. If anyone else finds one of my answers are not up to scratch in this regard, anywhere on the network, y'all know where to find me, and I'll have an open offer to delete or fix up any of my past mistakes that offend.

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    I encourage getting rid of any answer that doesn’t meet our minimum quality expectations, but if you are going to use a script to find that content, you better be darn sure that content is what you say it is. Which is still the reason I haven’t signed up for automatically flagging spam even if it’s %99.999999 accurate
    – Ramhound
    Commented May 30 at 1:10
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    I have answered this in my post.
    – harrymc
    Commented May 30 at 8:59
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    I have now added some URLs to my answer. I wait to see how many of them you will delete as "low quality". Would you accuse your fellow moderator of plagiarism?
    – harrymc
    Commented May 30 at 20:56
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    After looking at nearly 100 of those links, I would say, the community would not be harmed by the removal of the vast majority of those answers. However, I don't feel trying to improve nearly 200 answers, most are 7 years old would provide any substantial contribution to the community. In other words, these answers helped the authors of those questions, but none of those questions have hundreds of votes or hundreds of thousands of views.
    – Ramhound
    Commented May 30 at 23:42
  • You wrote "Quoting with appropriate sourcing isn't plagiarism". AFAIK, OP has always quoted with appropriate sourcing. Yet, OP's "account is temporarily suspended for plagiarism". Why? Commented Jun 9 at 7:21
  • We do not discuss suspensions without express permission of the user involved. I have provided a comprehensive explanation of our expectations - with the goal of avoiding the need for further suspensions. Its worth reading the earlier part about not completely copying sources, and the later part about it not being sufficient on its own, rather than cherrypicking a single sentence fragment. This post is best seen as a entire work, rather than a series of standalone quotations from other sources.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Jun 9 at 8:02
  • @JourneymanGeek There are several topics at hand, so for now I am trying to narrow down on only one topic: the use of the term plagiarism. Forget about everything else. According to all dictionaries I've seen, quoting with appropriate sourcing is not plagiarism. Yet, OP's "account is temporarily suspended for plagiarism". Why? Commented Jun 10 at 8:34
  • We don't discuss suspensions. We've communicated with harry over why. We've communicated our expectations in general above.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Jun 10 at 8:36
  • The discussion would be shorter if people were able to listen. I'm going to lock the comments on this a week, and come back and clean this up. The comments are going around in circles and there's literally nothing 'new' to say.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Jun 10 at 23:49
2

Get off your high horse and get over it already.

I think your demands that community guidelines be changed to suit your needs really reeks of entitlement. You have about 484,000+ reputation, yet this all reads like the tantrums of a new user.

Meaning, I would not respect any opinion you currently have because your proverbial “Spit don’t stink…”

You are essentially kvetching that you are beyond reproach and are utterly flawless in your interactions with this community. And we should be so lucky to have you as a community member.

To me that alone warrants a suspension more than anything: A community is more than just one voluminous poster.

In my interactions with you, you have general taken any criticism as a personal affront and you show utterly no signs of basic human humility. And on the rare occasion your answer is utterly wrong — like one time you claimed in an answer “Apache will use the full power of Nginx” (Which anyone who uses Apache and Nginx knows is completely wrong.) — you typically delete that answer and move on.

The quantity of contributions you have made does not justify this arrogance on your part. Especially since you seem to favor “quantity” over “quality” when you post answers.

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    Not so - you're ignoring the fact that my proposition has nothing to do with me and is only future-looking. It's motivated by a personal event, cert, but its aim is to modify site rules to set quote-only answers as acceptable. What I stretch is the fact that, de facto, quote-only answers exist in large numbers on SU, so calling then plagiarism is just ridiculous.
    – harrymc
    Commented May 31 at 9:43
  • 3
    @harrymc - Here is the thing. You have a habit of submitting an answer, and the moment it receives a downvote, you delete it. I won't hold that behavior against you, even though I think it's toxic behavior, that the SE software should not allowed. It's my personal opinion that a contribution should not be deleted by the author unless it's peer reviewed by the community. With that out of the way, you have been warned about low quality copy and paste answers in the past, here is when you last had this discussion in 2020
    – Ramhound
    Commented May 31 at 14:42
  • 1
    @Ramhound: Untrue. I delete an answer only if it's proven wrong or I have misunderstood the question or if interfacing with the poster becomes too painful. I leave downvoted answers without deleting them if I don't see them as wrong. You may check if you like.
    – harrymc
    Commented May 31 at 15:10
  • 1
    @harrymc - You should be editing those incorrect answers in that case. There are several users which often will delete an answer they have submitted once it receives a single downvote. I rarely provide any comment about my downvote, for those users, because it's proven to be a waste of my time to provide feedback.
    – Ramhound
    Commented May 31 at 15:17
  • 1
    @Ramhound: I stopped being worried about downvotes a long time ago, if they come without a comment that makes me doubt the correctness or relevancy of my answer. I will delete an answer if I'm convinced it's unfixable or the context is too painful, I don't need a downvote for that.
    – harrymc
    Commented May 31 at 15:23
  • 1
    I will say clear guidelines and consistent enforcement are vital for maintaining a healthy community which is what the real question should be about addressing. Commented Jun 6 at 21:00
  • Giacomo1968, your entire post is a personal aggression against the OP. You don't address the fact that the OP was accused of plagiarism whereas they only clearly quoted some text. And you don't address the fact that the OP was suspended for doing so in a few answers, whereas a mod did the same in ~200 answers. Commented Jun 7 at 0:21
  • 2
    We don't discuss suspensions unless the suspended user brings it up but when they have - while a little blunt, feels like it reflects the issues here from the point of view of a community member. Lets just consider for a moment that OP's done personal attacks on at least two moderators in his response, and I've yet to be told of one post I've done that needs fixing up on my end. And semantics aside - there's been more than one moderator message/suspension for the same thing. Its not like we just hit him with suspensions without cause
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Jun 7 at 2:18
  • 1
    @FranckDernoncourt And you don’t know the context of the suspensions past what I know. And you don’t know if “quote answers” were the only reasons towards the suspension. I can say that my “personal aggression against the OP” comes from past experience that reflects the original poster’s lack of humility and arrogance. Without knowing the minutiae of this situation, I can clearly see the “shape” of a pattern of behavior on the original poster’s behavior that would lead to their suspension and their indignant behavior in their question here. The original poster has not learned their lesson. Commented Jun 7 at 2:42
  • @JourneymanGeek ok. did OP plagiarize? Commented Jun 7 at 3:26
  • 1
    OP was informed of what was needed to be rectified. We've pointed out what was in the help section. We've done our part. There's an entire answer explaining what the issue is. My comments were about 'why' this response was left in place. I think my 'ideal' expectations to be followed going forward are very clearly set out in my answer.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Jun 7 at 3:50
  • @JourneymanGeek For the OP, you've certainly explained the situation well. For most people, reading this post (meta.superuser.com/questions/13351/…) — including the question, all answers, and comments — will provide the clarity needed to understand and follow the rules of the topic. Regardless of historical content they may come across, that post clarifies the topic points people mainly seek. I've learned my lesson and aim to avoid past mistakes. While some may take it personally, the topic itself is straightforward for me now. Commented Jun 8 at 20:14
  • @FranckDernoncourt—"You don't address the fact that the OP was suspended for doing so in a few answers."—Here is the thing. HarryMC submits dozens of answers daily, which is perfectly fine, but he didn't have a few answers deleted. They had nearly a dozen answers directly deleted with regard to this single instance.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jun 9 at 16:50
  • @Ramhound thanks, that would be a more informative answer. Still not plagiarism though, and a dozen quote-only answers is nowhere close to the other mod. Commented Jun 9 at 16:58
  • @FranckDernoncourt—This time around, There were only close to a dozen answers. There is a history and a pattern. I could likely find at least 500 quote-only answers submitted by Harry this year if I took the time to do so. The only reason I won't is because I have a feeling Harry won't be submitting quotes, only answers in the future. If that does happen I will be the first to flag them. I will also submit a comment linking to this very discussion.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jun 9 at 17:13
2

Proposed resolution : Quoting cannot be called plagiarism.

Any dictionary would 100% agree with that. I saw that you got suspended for quoting (since I saw your great answer got deleted right before you got suspended) and I was outraged to see that mods defamed you by falsely accusing you of plagiarism.

It's not even a matter of a "proposed resolution". If someone falsely accused me of plagiarism, that would be an easy day at the court (since in my work, plagiarism is a career killer, rightfully so). It's the same as falsely accusing someone of racism by redefining the meaning of racism (for more examples, just replace plagiarism/racism by any other word).

See Why was my answer deleted for plagiarism, despite mentioning the source? for a similar debate on SO where people agreed that quoting is not plagiarism, or just look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism:

Plagiarism is the representation of another person's language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions as one's own original work [1,2,3].

which is supported by these dictionaries:

  1. From the 1995 Random House Compact Unabridged Dictionary:

    use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work

    qtd. in Stepchyshyn, Vera; Nelson, Robert S. (2007). Library plagiarism policies. Assoc. of College & Resrch Libraries. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-8389-8416-1.

  2. ^ From the Oxford English Dictionary:

    The action or practice of taking someone else's work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one's own; literary theft.

  3. ^ The American Heritage Dictionary (5th ed.), defines plagiarize thus: “To reproduce or otherwise use the words, ideas, or other work of another as one’s own, or without attribution.”

Furthermore, quote-only answers can be helpful:

There's no point in paraphrasing if the quote properly addresses the question, which it does in many cases because Internet contains many texts. I've asked a fair amount of questions on SE and from time to time the answer was simply a quote. Reasons to quote:

  1. Human time is precious.
  2. Not adding some noise to the original text.
  3. A quote from a reputable source is more convincing than a paraphrase of it by some random Stack Exchange user.
  4. As the OP I don't want to read both a paraphrase and the original text. Waste of time, just give me straight the original if appropriate.
  5. The point of SE is sharing knowledge, and a quote is a piece of knowledge.
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    This isn't SO, and I'd point out the response from a mod got ~2x the upvotes you have, even if it mattered so... details are pretty important
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Jun 6 at 6:13
  • 4
    @JourneymanGeek When someone is accused of plagiarism because they properly quoted a source, I don't need details: this is a false accusation. Both SO and SU use English. Commented Jun 6 at 6:18
  • 4
    For what it may help here, I agree of course with your answer : quoting/citing is distinct from plagiarism. It can be called "site rules" or anything else but not plagiarism. The whole point of my post was to get the moderators to get their terms straight and also to get their act together, punishing me and others while a moderator has with total impunity a hundred times more such answers than anyone else.
    – harrymc
    Commented Jun 6 at 8:28

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