Is it ok to ask questions that are a copy paste from other sites. As an example, this question came from this page.

Not even the title is modified. Is this acceptable behaviour or is it to be downvoted? Can we allow a dump of such sites?


3 Answers 3


My suggestion would be to rewrite such questions and acknowledge the source most-likely to be closest to the original author. In many cases, there are dozens of sites with the same text. Having yet another copy isn't really helping the internet be a better place for puzzling. Questions copied and pasted wholesale don't reflect well on this site.

Considering there seems to be a fair number of these on the site already, I'd recommend the following steps:

  1. Users should flag these posts for moderator consideration using the other option. (Please provide a link to the source you found.)

  2. Moderators may decide to delete questions outright or add a citation-needed post notice. (See https://puzzling.stackexchange.com/questions/3416/king-pharmacist-treasurer-and-the-strongest-poison for an instance of the later.)

  3. Plagiarized questions that aren't edited should be deleted within a few days. If this puts an undue burden on moderators, they should feel free to delete immediately. The purpose of a post notice is to give answerers time to fix the problem.

See also What to do about plagiarism?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ A “link to the source you found” isn't really useful here, there are so many copies that it's hard to find which is the original and which are merely other serial plagiarists. I suspect that many of the puzzles involved here are originally from books or magazines (no luck with Google Books for the ones I tried though). $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 20:56
  • $\begingroup$ Agreed. The purpose of including a link in the flag is to make life a bit easier on the moderator. There's a good chance a lot of posts will be flagged and there's no reason for a moderator to duplicate the work of Googling around. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 21:04
  • $\begingroup$ On the other side, a link to the question is very likely to also link to the solution. So the next person will go to the site, and copy the answer here. $\endgroup$
    – Florian F
    Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 14:00
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    $\begingroup$ @FlorianF: If that happens, I have absolutely no problem suggesting the answer be deleted outright and the "answerer" face time in the penalty box. It may be that this site won't want questions already asked in may other places, but if such questions are allowed, they need to be sourced as well as humanly possible. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 14:55


Plagiarism is not okay. Please refrain from plagiarizing content from other sources, as it will be deleted. If you can obtain permission from the linked site to use this puzzle here, and provide proper attribution, then you can flag this post for moderator attention so it can be undeleted. For now, however, I'm going to delete this question.

(link to my comment, only viewable with 2k rep or above)

Post nuked with extreme prejudice.

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    $\begingroup$ Looking at what's on Braingle and elsewhere, it looks like they're plagiarists too. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 20:26

“Solve this” questions are allowed (but debated). That doesn't mean that they are good questions. In particular, there is no value in rehashing chestnuts.

This user seems to make a habit of posting non-original puzzles as questions, without attribution. That's plagiarism, which is not allowed and not cool. I had a look at a few of his questions, and all the ones I saw were puzzles found in hundreds of places on the web, with answers that are good but not exceptionally so.

I say delete them all. While editing a plagiarized post to add an attribution is sometimes desirable, this is not the case here:

  • The content in question has been plagiarized so much that the original author is hard to find.
  • There are so many copies of it on the web that we don't need one more.

Going forward, this illustrates the need for quality control on questions. For puzzles-as-questions, is the question a mere puzzle dump or does it add an actual question? If the puzzle isn't attributed, does it look original? If the question is a plagiarized puzzle, don't waste time answering (and repeating what is typically found on hundreds of websites): downvote and flag.

  • $\begingroup$ Actually I found an answer to one of his questions, but then wondered how the author is able to come up with many such extremely good questions in a short period of time, which made me google. But is that a good measure, if in this site, if a particular person posts too many questions (say more than 2) within an hour, can we flag this for moderator attention, I know moderators are already overloaded, but some algorithm that probably exists in SE can easily find the duplicates on its own $\endgroup$
    – skv
    Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 6:23
  • $\begingroup$ @skv Posting multiple questions in a short time is not a problem, don't flag that. Posting plagiarized questions, even one, is a problem. It's something you can check easily with a web search. Google some words, and if you find the question is plagiarized, then flag. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 13:16

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