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Is it okay to post copy/pasted answers from other websites?

I guess it's not.

The link to website can be posted in comments instead.

https://unix.stackexchange.com/a/413066/224025

2 Answers 2

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There is a section on plagiarism in the Help Center:

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 answer being down-voted or deleted.

The answer you link to is an egregious example of plagiarism and should be removed. It contains no original content and no effort to adapt or contextualise the copied material.

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  • What about other, non-answer things? I recently suggested descriptions for two tags (multimedia and special-characters). I just found the most accurate dictionary definitions for them I could find and essentially copied them directly.
    – jesse_b
    Jan 7, 2018 at 14:18
  • One of the reasons for rejecting tag edits is "copied content".
    – jasonwryan
    Jan 7, 2018 at 18:17
  • Makes sense. I wasn't intending to plagiarize, but I figured a dictionary definition was better than no description.
    – jesse_b
    Jan 7, 2018 at 18:37
  • this is an excellent example of how to copy+paste from other websites. @jasonwryan here selects some text from another website, links to the other website, and blockquotes the selected text in the answer. i used to do that all of the time; it provides context, clarity, and proper attribution.
    – mikeserv
    Sep 24, 2023 at 3:03
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I'd like to expand on Jasonwryan's answer.

Always make it absolutely clear what was written by you and what was copy pasted. It's a very good idea to do all of:

  • put copy paste content in a quote block
  • include a link to the original. Consider using a perma-link if the website supports it (like GitHub and Wikipedia)
  • Include a short text description of the origin (eg: "from acme corp's blog on date...")

It is absolutely fine to use source material as the body of your answer. I've seen a small but significant number of well received answers be little more than a copy paste. But these are rare because the question and topic of the original content are so rarely identical.

In most cases, such answers also should come with at least a few sentences from the answerer on why the passage relates to the question.


I wrote this in part because the other thing you should generally not do is mention sources with a link but not explain them or mention their content.

That is it is better to copy paste some content from cited sources into quote blocks.

The danger is the link will go bad, the blog gets deleted etc. and so the answer becomes worthless. If it includes salient quotes from the linked material, then the answer can survive the loss of the link.

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