I've often seen suspicious answers on SE. They're too detailed, well formatted. I put some of the body text of the answer in Google and I quickly spot the original source.

E.g., I flagged this one as plagiarism:

How can Nokia decrypt HTTPS data?

The answer was lifted verbatim from Dell Secureworks. Not a single word of the author's own text appears in the response, and there's no attribution.

Do we want to fix the answer or just flag and delete? Plagiarism of this kind is frustrating to me. This particular level of plagiarism is so severe that it's copyright infringement. It should not be tolerated.

3 Answers 3


For copyright infringement reports, please contact Stack Exchange staff directly. For example by using https://security.meta.stackexchange.com/help/other

In my experience, it is often the other way round: Other sites copy content from Stack Exchange. Sometimes there are timestamps on the other site. Sometimes the posting on stack exchange has a long edit history and the other site just has the final version.

If a significant amount of text is copied (e. g. not just a summary or a quote), we should delete those answers.


thanks for the flag. I have popped in a link to the canonical Meta.SO question on this, and I also edited the post to include attribution.

In general, if it is a one-off, just fix the answer and notify the poster of the correct behaviour.

If it happens regularly (and we have seen this a couple of times, with users continually lifting information without attribution) letting mods know through flagging lets us deal with them.


short quotes, no more than one paragraph or 3 sentences, properly attributed should be allowed. I'd prefer wikipedia style citation to an online source which, although has its limitations, allows us to verify the source and allows readers of the answer to find out more.

The Nokia & Dell SecureWorks cut and paste was over the top. The first paragraph, or a summary by the author would have been more practical and sufficient. If we allow quotes like this then it wont be long before entire whitepapers are quoted.

Over-quotation without permission/attribution will potentially cause copyright issues in some geographies.

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