As I have access to moderator tools, I have tried today, as I do for several years now, to access the "review" section of the moderator tools to which I have access because of my reputation.

To my surprise I was greeted by this unfriendly message :

Do not approve any tag wiki edits that are cut-and-pastes from other websites and pages
Come back in 3 days to continue reviewing.

My memory kicked up some proposed tag edits that I OK'ed yesterday, which are probably at the root of the problem. These tag propositions looked rather banal, I must say.

My questions are :

  1. What exactly does the message mean?
  2. If copying was the problem, how could I have known that the text was copied from elsewhere? Especially if the contents looked correct.
  3. Unfortunately, very many wiki tags contain text cut-and-pasted from Wikipedia.
    Should they all be deleted and their authors banned?
  4. Why should I continue to render service to the community by reviewing proposed edits by low-rep users, if this can get me banned for reasons over which I have no control and according to forum-rules that were not published ?


Even after an exchange with @random, I admit that I still don't understand the rules about wiki tags. The rules seem rather capricious and depend on the private viewpoint of the moderator, which is in addition stated nowhere and might not be shared by everybody.

My advise to any reviewer reading this post is to avoid reviewing wiki tags. Why take chances?

  • So the all-time top user on SU finally got some penalties to restrain him back to what some other users like me have to endure...
    – gparyani
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 6:09
  • @damryfbfnetsi: Are you encountering similar difficulties?
    – harrymc
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 7:54
  • No, but I have been banned from reviewing before. Twice.
    – gparyani
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 15:29
  • @damryfbfnetsi: Because of tags?
    – harrymc
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 17:56
  • No; I can only review first posts and late answers at the moment. Apparently, a couple weeks later, they changed it so that audit results appear only after you actually flag a post, not only if you just click the flag button initially.
    – gparyani
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


That warning means to not just approve any tag wiki edits that appear.

If you grab one or two sentences from the proposed tag wiki suggestions they come up on Google pointing to other sites, verbatim.

Yes, the other tag wikis should probably be deleted since they add nothing to the site nor do they explain when best to use the tag. Ideally we'd also ban the users suggesting these poor edits.

You should continue to review, but take some caution when doing so. Not all suggested edits should be approved.

  • 7
    There are a hell of a lot of tags whose text come straight from Wikipedia. I also consult Wikipedia routinely when I want to improve tag text, so I suppose I am a serial criminal. Also, a very large percentage of answers on SU are almost entirely quotes from other sources. It is really hard to be original when someone already did a much better job than oneself. If I have to do a research-job for every proposition I review - frankly, I give up. Too much work for what is after all just volunteering.
    – harrymc
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 17:38
  • 2
    Even if I googled for the text, what guarantee that it will be in the first answer? How many google answers should I consult?
    – harrymc
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 17:42
  • 3
    When the search results show at least five matches, or is a dead match on any other site, as in the last few that have been approved, then consider it enough
    – random Mod
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 17:53
  • 2
    You don't have to research for tag wiki suggestions. You just have to ask yourself, did this edit make any changes to how to properly/better use the tag, or is it just telling us what the product/tool is? In almost all of the later, they're worthless.
    – random Mod
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 18:00
  • 3
    For example, one of the tags in question was microsoft-visio-2010. What else can this tag contain beside the identification of the product? - One uses this tag when the question is about Microsoft Visio version 2010, not so? An empty tag would do just as well because no text is really needed. As the guy tried to say something about Office, I thought it was nice of him to do the effort and approved it. This all is getting to be too complicated, so no more tags for me.
    – harrymc
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 18:51
  • 1
    @harrymc The tag wiki content for that tag is literally identical to the excerpt. Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 20:19
  • 1
    @harrymc so you think it's nice of somebody to steal content from Wikipedia without providing any indication it came from Wikipedia?
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 3:08
  • 1
    @Ramhound: Stealing is a loaded word, and many SU wiki tags are therefore "stolen". According to the Wikipedia Creative Commons license this is allowed if attributed. If SU added somewhere a blanket acknowledgement that it contains material from Wikipedia, this would "legalize" it, and there would be no need to ban.
    – harrymc
    Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 6:01
  • 5
    @random: On the day in question, I have reviewed 20 questions, reworded 2 to try and save them from closure, plus probably handled around 20 more suggested edits, first posts etc. So who does this ban "punish"? Do you think that an email to me would have been less effective than this heavy-handed "punishment" (and wouldn't have caused bad feelings)?
    – harrymc
    Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 6:09
  • @harrymc you are taking things personally, what the moderator wanted you to do is to be more careful in the future and gave you a strong reminder about what to check when approving tag wiki/excerpt edits. It isn't about you but your actions.
    – Braiam
    Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 11:09
  • 5
    @Braiam: What random had achieved is not education, but dissuasion. Approving tag edits seems akin to Russian roulette. The rules and directives for wiki tags should be clearly published in some FAQ and a link should be provided when editing/reviewing them. But I'm not touching them any more.
    – harrymc
    Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 12:32
  • 1
    Perhaps three days was a little high. If it was possible to contact you through public chat, allowing others to see as well, it may have been done that way. Email would have been heavy handed.
    – random Mod
    Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 13:00
  • 3
    @random: I would have really preferred an informative email exchange to such a slap in the face which I don't think I merited. I admit I still don't understand the rules about wiki tags, if any exist.
    – harrymc
    Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 18:08

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .