I see few upvoted comments on my answer:

"You can just paste a link of chapter number in comments instead of just copy pasting totally..."

"Pure copy paste. Is there anything from you in the answer?..."

"Anyone can do copy paste. What is your effort here?..."

Well, what to say when no effort is noticed in searching the relevant chapter from a valid scripture.

Due to this reason, I commented on one question instead of answering it as I had nothing to explain or add in the content. Later on as asked by another user I added it in answer.

Further I saw few answers, like this or this and both the answers are from those users who are using site from long back and are among most active users. They posted entire thing as-it-is (in my opinion also nothing extra was required) and I don't see anyone raising a concern like why they copy pasted instead of giving the link in comment or so as raised in my answer.

Few users say in chat that it's educational site or site not for profit so copy paste is allowed as long as we are providing the source from where we copied.

Can we please have some clarity on this?

  • 1
    Yes, it is already covered already. see The copy-paste issue, Hinduism version. Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 2:59
  • @Sarvabhouma Why don't u see the copy paste issue with the other 2 answers mentioned in my Q above??🤔🤔🤔
    – YDS
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 3:44
  • Don't you see it? don't you have 50 rep to comment? You can't ask them? Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 3:46
  • 1
    @Sarvabhouma why i ll ask when i hv no issues with those answers...i m trying to understand the issue here...but u know the issue already why don't u comment?..let's see what they reply...it ll help me in understanding the issue better...
    – YDS
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 3:55
  • 3
    You should read and understand the linked question. That is enought. There is nothing to understand more here. The rules or policies apply to anyone. A wrong doesn't become right if it is done by a high rep user. reputation!= awareness of site policies. You have no issues with pure copy paste. The site quality does. The quality will be decreased. This is only my site right? Only I should comment and ask them for clarification. Everything should be done by me. Do you mean this? Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 4:22
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    @YDS For verse finding questions, what else should one include? If it is story related or philosophy related, one can summarize or write what they understood.
    – The Destroyer Mod
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 4:58
  • @TheDestroyer that's what the question is...why don't u add that as an answer...
    – YDS
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 5:08
  • 1
    @YDS you didn't get me. What i was saying is, there's no need to add anything if question asks location of verse but when it asks a story, one should at least provide summary and if it is philosophical, one should explain in simple words what they know.
    – The Destroyer Mod
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 5:16
  • @TheDestroyer yeah i know and i add wherever i feel it's required...but if it's pure copy paste issue the how question type makes a sense here..?..can you say something on pure copy paste policy...if it's in place then whatever q is..pure copy paste is pure copy paste...if answer is unclear then users can ask mentioning it's unclear need more explanation...from where they bring pure copy paste issue...?
    – YDS
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 5:22

3 Answers 3


TL;DR Yes, explanation is always needed. There should be some effort from the user who is writing the answer and should try to produce original content rather than copy pasting from external source. Even if it is from scriptures. Direct quotes from the scripture should be only used as citation and not the only in the answer.

See The copy-paste issue, Hinduism version and How to reference material written by others

This issue had been raised many times by various uses in different communities earlier than this. The conclusion is "Try to explain what you understood and write it in layman terms".

Stack Exchange is a network of Q&A communities about different topics for building libraries of high-quality questions and answers, focused on each community's area of expertise.

The emphasis is on the word expertise. An expert tries to explain a topic with what he had understood in a simpler way along with citations. But a normal person who is a beginner repeats what he learnt. This is where the difference lies. We need to think and write answers like experts rather than a beginner. Providing direct copy paste from an external source is something not "expert" like. Any one can do it if he has some basic knowledge about computers. But we are not a site about computer techniques. We are a site about Hinduism. The quality of the site is enhanced when the topic is well explained. The reader should get an idea on the topic when they read an answer without going to other external source again. That should be our goal.

But the text is explaining everything. Why should I explain again?

This is a common question. When we are pasting some content, that is not yours. Its author is someone else. Pasting them here only duplicates that content here. That adds nothing helpful to the site. If something external is helpful and answering, everyone would need that external source. Why would/should anyone read your answer or find helpful in your answer?

This issue had been addressed by Shog9 while writing a meta post about our site's progress from private beta to Public Beta. In, Private beta extended - please focus on quality he stressed this issue in a separate paragraph

Original content; more than just a Hinduism primer

.And worse yet, an awful lot of them are answered that way: by quoting external sources. A site that just regurgitates things that others have written isn't much good; answers like that just clog up search results without adding anything. It's important to cite your sources, but just as important to demonstrate knowledge of both the question being answered and the topic itself - this is where we can actually make the Internet a better place, demonstrating how to use this knowledge to answer specific questions.

They just give upvotes to the user and helps us to get reputation and privileges but the answers are not much of quality. They neither help site's progress nor the user who reads the answer. I will give an example for better understanding.

Generally, a black cat is considered inauspicious by people. A person got the doubt and asks a question related to it. Now, the main problem starts, there will be answer quoting a huge paragraph from a Purana or a Smriti text about what is considered auspicious and inauspicious. There will be a single line "Because scripture says so" rather than giving explanation on why which is the man question. Users will upvote the answer because it has a quotation directly from scriptures hence there is an effort. But, is it really answering the question and giving the reason? Is there any explanation from the user before quoting or citing (Yes, there is a difference between citing and quoting. We only need citations and not quotes)? The question will be counted an answer, answerer gets reputation and appreciation but the questioner remains with the same confusion he had. The answers should be voted based on how well the answer explains the problem rather than the content from scriptures or sources.

Our former Moderator Mr.Alien predicted that there would be a problem in the long run and it seems to be true. Many users only quote some passages from texts rather than explaining them in their own words. This affects site's quality and progress. Copy paste issue was one of the reasons which prevented the site's progress from private beta to public beta. Our site was in that stage for 2 weeks. Normally, it is only 1 week. We will face the same problem now. This can be a reason why we are still in Public beta stage. If this continues, there will be a large group of users, a handful users with thousands of reputation and many badges after their name but the beta label beside our site's name will also continue even after two more years.

Now the points in the question:

Well, what to say when no effort is noticed in searching the relevant chapter from a valid scripture

I found that by googling "Karna Jarasandh Yudh". The direct chapter was seventh result on the first page. Anyway, as I said earlier in the answer, we should not vote based on finding the chapters. Someone who is very good with searching skills can do that. But the answer should explain what the topic is in layman terms. A person can directly find the chapter through search and find the details from Mahabharata themselves. But they search on the internet in books or watch YouTube videos for discourses etc., . Why? Because the matter will be condensed in an easier form. This is the reason why many great acharyas and philosophers wrote books on scriptures and in an easier matter. Many don't read original scriptures when they are available and look for easy explanations in books or diuscourses. If we are showing them complex translations of the originalsm, we are not helping them.

Due to this reason, I commented on one question instead of answering it as I had nothing to explain or add in the content.

You misunderstood. The question you commented was a resource question. For them, giving the source is enough. We should not comment for them. Add it as an answer. Same for verse identification questions. Giving the source is enough. Explanation is optional. But for story related, philosophy related and other questions, there should be summary of the content in our own words and there should be citations to back up what we say. Some put 100% quote and give a source at the end but that is not a good answer. All the content is by some one else and this user gets the fruits of it by reputation, comments of good answer etc., .

Further I saw few answers, like....

You can ask them to update their answers. Every one are a part of the community. Every one should take equal responsibility of its moderation. If you find something wrong, you can try to correct them. I am sure the other side will also take it positively. You know that the site's policy is. You can show that. One or two users cannot keep track of all the answers posted and comment on them. All should take the responsibility. There is a reason why users are given moderator privileges. So that moderators won't get burden. Don't leave everything on one or two users or moderators. If someone are okay with these type of low quality answers, they should stay silent when the topic of graduation etc., is happening. Users who are asking clarification in comments, asking for sources for the improvement of the answers etc., gain nothing or lose nothing by doing it. They do it for the site's progress. One should join them instead of saying why didn't they do it under one answer. You too have privileges, use them.

Few users say in chat that it's educational site or site not for profit so copy paste is allowed as long as we are providing the source from where we copied

This only applies to Creative Commons license. Some sites follow it and some don't. Hence there can't be a blanket statement. This can be well addressed on Meta Stackexchange. This is about copyright issue and related to the site's policies. With the implementation of GDPR, many sites are updating their Terms of service and privacy policies. So, we should read their policies very carefully before quoting their content on our site. We all got e-mails from Stack Overflow about update of TOS. Read it. If some external content is reproduced on our site by violating the copyright of the owner, SO may a complaint and there would be problems. Many translations users quote on the site have copyright issues and should not be reproduced. So, we should always give credit to the original translator and author. But some users are copy pasting the summaries of scriptures (let alone original scriptures) too which should be discouraged. We can do it by letting them know about it in the comments and downvoting such type of answers.

By this I don't mean everything should be expert and should be religious way. All types of users are important for a Q&A site. Some questions can be easily answered by a simple google search or finding the chapter or verse. Besides that, we should try to add some explanation to the answer in own words. That is needed from our side because we are a different site. So, our site should have a different content. Read The Inmates are Running the Asylum? . A great pair of Q&A.

Finally, it all rounds up to this: We should be able to explain what we write in our posts and not say "I don't know. It means what it just says. I just wrote what I read or saw. "

If you found out such answers (including mine), let the user know what is wrong in it. Ask them to improve answers. Even moderators are not above the site's policies.


Other SE sites say to quote the link rather than simply posting the link, because links can go down making the answer useless in future.

Personally, I don't believe extra insight from the user is needed in a lot of cases. This would mean the user has more authority than scripture. However, interpretation of verses which can be interpreted multiple ways is valuable if there is an explanation for why that particular interpretation is best. Moreover, rather than simply quoting a single text at length, I find it more helpful to briefly quote many passages from different texts—so long as enough context is provided.

Few users say in chat that it's educational site or site not for profit so copy paste is allowed as long as we are providing the source from where we copied.

This is relevant to copyright law. Whether or not the site decides to post direct quotes is up to the site. Infringement of copyright is not an argument against doing so because of the reasons you mentioned. On a site like SteemIt—where posts are monetized for the poster—it is much better to err on the side of caution to prevent lawsuits.

  • 1
    Your answer directly contradicts what has been mentioned in the rule book, where it clearly states to not copy the complete text of external sources; instead, use their words and ideas to support your own. Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 5:54
  • 1
    @BhargavRao okay, then the rulebook is in contradiction with SE's reasoning that links become broken. Also, if I am adding my commentary on another work, the original source should be quoted. This method has been used the world over for millennia because it is highly effective; the reader can easily distinguish between the author'S ideas and the source material. Commented Jul 21, 2018 at 15:40

Your own answer was initially a complete copy and paste as it did not have any text from your side. And, that is what is not allowed.

But, neither of the other two answers, you have cited, suffer from that issue. 100 out of 100 users would have written them exactly the way they are written now. And, those are perfectly ok as answers.

Btw, if you still do not know what constitutes a copy and paste answer, then here are two examples for you to look at:

  1. A perfect example: https://hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/701/4732

  2. Yet another one (complete copy and paste from Wiki, accepted and highly upvoted too): https://hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/233/4732

So, unless your answers are like those above two you have nothing to worry about.

  • 2
    You should probably edit out the two bad examples as those are from the early days of the site when rules were still being formed. I just flagged both of them asking for the 'insufficient explanation' banner. Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 17:40
  • Well no I won't because the very purpose those answers are serving here is letting OP and others know what kinds of answers are known as "copy and paste" and which we shouldn't be posting. I am not asking to take actions on those two answers. IMO there is too much fuss over nothing here...@sv.
    – Rickross
    Commented Nov 3, 2018 at 5:05
  • This is broken window thoery. The faq question explains it very well what is copy paste and what is not. Giving attribution and pasting it completely doesn't make a good answer (even if it is done by a moderator/high rep user). There are hundreds of users who can write stories in their own words instead of copy pasting everything. What you said is a wrong thing in the answer. And changing normal to bold is a trivial edit. Commented Nov 3, 2018 at 18:57
  • And changing normal to bold is a trivial edit -- So what? That was not the only change I made.
    – Rickross
    Commented Nov 4, 2018 at 5:34

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