This user has been suggesting some very unhelpful wiki and tag excerpt edits.

Most of the time the suggested content is either not very helpful (for he suggested something to the line of "The book by Robert Martin" for both the excerpt and wiki entry).

Many of the fuller entries are fully taken off Wikipedia or such with 0 attribution.

I have been rejecting these, but the user doesn't seem to be getting the hint.

What can we do?

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    not all of his edits were bad. But of the ones I saw, I can't say they were great. I didn't verify / check if they were direct lifts from somewhere else. – user53019 Dec 13 '12 at 20:15
  • @GlenH7 - No, but some seemed rather eloquent, which made me look them up. Definitely some was lifted from wikipedia. And though some may be original, most are not helpful. – Oded Dec 13 '12 at 20:17
  • wholesale lifting of descriptions is definitely a problem – user53019 Dec 13 '12 at 20:26

I must admit I did the same when I was a new user, until Mark pinged me in chat and explained that I wasn't really helping, and I intend to do the same with Soner Gönül. That said, I think the main problem here is the approvers, relating to my own experience, I had no idea I was doing it wrong, as my suggestions kept getting approved.

In any case, keep rejecting suggestions that plagiarise content without attribution or are otherwise unhelpful, if a user's edit suggestions keep getting rejected, eventually they'll be automatically blocked from editing.

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    I must say that as one of the approvers, I thought it was nice that a new user was taking an interest. It didn't really hit me until he had submitted a ton of edits that they were coming too fast and to be orginal. I know I'll be looking out for this more in the future. – Walter Dec 14 '12 at 0:25
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    @Walter We don't really have a good meta post on tag wikis, I think most people aren't really familiar with what tag wikis are for, I'm thinking of stealing this one from The Workplace. A few plagiarised tag wikis are not really a big deal, and as I said I did exactly the same back when I was a noob. But Soner suggested 40+ tag wikis in a couple of hours, it kinda makes me wonder if there should be some kind of rate limiting there to prevent over-enthusiastic edits. – yannis Dec 14 '12 at 0:38
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    I think stealing that meta post from Workplace is a good idea. Irony... stealing a post to prevent stealing from other sources... :-) – Walter Dec 14 '12 at 0:46
  • @walter- sounds like a good opportunity to practice proper attribution. ;) – jmort253 Dec 14 '12 at 3:19
  • Well, we do have a general problem on the whole network when it comes to approvers :( – Oded Dec 14 '12 at 10:23
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    And he has also been doing this on SO itself. And the same problem with approvers... – Oded Dec 14 '12 at 11:12
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    At least I don't feel quite as bad about being a bad approver since I'm not alone. <hangs head in shame/> </jk> – user53019 Dec 14 '12 at 11:58

If this is a serial problem, then I think there's also another reason: the community hasn't done a very good job of filling in the tag wikis on large numbers of tags.

Then someone new to the site, without a solid knowledge of plagiarism rules notices the deficit, and attempts to correct it.

A more permanent solution might be to organize an effort on the part of well-informed users to responsibly improve tag wikis.

  • Yes, you are absolutely right, and this is the next step, an organized effort. The only think I (slightly) disagree with is that a user doesn't really have to be familiar with the site to know why plagiarism should be avoided... – yannis Dec 16 '12 at 4:05
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    @YannisRizos I didn't mean to imply that it's necessary to know the site's rules to know why there's a problem with plagiarism...but I know there are parts of the world where plagiarism is not so thoroughly frowned upon, and the reasons to avoid it are not regularly taught. So it's not surprising that the occasional member of a global site comes to it without an understanding of why plagiarism must be avoided. – Theodore Murdock Dec 16 '12 at 4:23

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