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Is it alright if I use a question that has multiple existing forms and reword it? For example, if I found:

"What is the purpose of life?"

on the Internet, and it had been used before on the Internet, can I just reword it or do I still need to give credit, because finding the original author would be hard?

What if I post as:

"What is the objective to life? What is the point of living?"

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't know if this question actually also represents "Does Plagiarism mean a word-to-word copy" which I think it is not, but have had moderator comments to that effect $\endgroup$ – skv Nov 6 '14 at 12:47
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    $\begingroup$ Could you give a more solid example of maybe what you're planning to ask about? $\endgroup$ – Grace Note Nov 6 '14 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ Well actually @Grace I did post it, and there wasn't a problem, so I got my answer. $\endgroup$ – warspyking Nov 6 '14 at 19:01
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    $\begingroup$ I posted this one a while ago. It's an existing puzzle but I reworded it - I think it's an instance of what warspy is talking about - puzzling.stackexchange.com/questions/2665/… $\endgroup$ – d'alar'cop Nov 7 '14 at 14:19
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, I think it is acceptable to post an existing puzzle in your own words. $\endgroup$ – pacoverflow Nov 7 '14 at 17:22
  • $\begingroup$ @pacoverflow And what kind of quality content would that provide? $\endgroup$ – yuritsuki Nov 8 '14 at 17:03
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    $\begingroup$ @thinlyveiledquestionmark Across all of the SE sites, there are a lot of questions/answers that one could look at and say "that's just a rewording of previously existing content". But that doesn't mean that they can't still be of good quality. $\endgroup$ – pacoverflow Nov 8 '14 at 18:15
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We aren't a site that rehosts original content out there, we should have our own original content.

Content taken from other sites but renamed is just as similar as plagiarism. You're effectively taking something someone else wrote, switching the words around, then claiming it as your own.

Do we really want this? Not only does it make reworded puzzles sound awkward, it effectively makes us thieves. For example, some person posted a question called "The old man and the fish", or something of the sort, using the "Albatross Soup" lateral thinking puzzle as a base. When I read it, I realized the OP was trying to be clever by renaming it rather than actually creating a puzzle on his own.

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As I understand this site it is perfectly valid to ask a riddle, which is not your own invention. If I remember a riddle of my childhood times and post it on puzzling, it will be reworded in my own words, how I remember it.

I don't know if it is healthy for the purpose of this site to require extensive research for an original source for every riddle. - So if I just find a riddle on the net, which is already a reworded form from some other riddle and no original author is specified - I don't think it makes any difference if I reword it again (for example if the wording I found is poor english, or if I think of some twist which would make the riddle better), or if I take the already reworded version by anyone who posted in on his blog where I found it...

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There are some puzzles where the correct answer depends on very subtle details of the wording of the puzzle. In such a situation, a very small change in the wording might actually create a very different puzzle with a very different solution. If that is done intentionally and creates a puzzle that is interesting for someone who knows the solution of the original puzzle, then it would be acceptable.

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Ignoring the issue of whether or not it's ok to take content from other sources, why don't you just quote it instead of rewording it?

What is the purpose of life?

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