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tl;dr Please stop posting answers that are just copied out of Wikipedia or some random blog. If you see these things and they don't cite a source, flag (either "very low quality" or "other" and specify that the post is plagiarized) and downvote. Even if they do cite a source, consider downvoting.


Islam.SE has had a problem with people copying and pasting answers from elsewhere. This apparently happens on other Islam-related forums. There is an interesting parallel here, in that exactly the same thing happens on Hinduism-related forums, and now it's happening on this site, too. I hope that bothers you.

Rather than repeating everything they've said, let me just point you to their meta site: The copy-paste issue, revisited.

Please read that post and take it to heart. I have been spending quite a bit of time since this site launched editing posts. Far too many of the edits I've made have been to add citations to plagiarized content, and blockquoting content that cites a source but fails to point out that the whole text is just copy-pasted. This is tiring and unrewarding, and I simply don't want to have to keep doing this.

I have already begun aggressively dealing with these posts by downvoting them and flagging them as very low quality (because they are analogous to very-low-quality "link-only answers" at Stack Overflow), and I recommend that you all do the same.

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  • But what if they are also providing website url to the original article. – STEEL Jun 22 '14 at 15:33
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    agreed, if a person don't have any idea about the posted question then he/she must upvote it and wait for correct answer instead of browsing on internet (particularly from wiki) and pasting it. – Mr_Green Jun 22 '14 at 16:15
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    @STEEL Like I said, if they include the URL to the original article then at least it's not plagiarism - but that doesn't make it a good answer, and I would probably still downvote in many cases. – senshin Jun 22 '14 at 20:05
  • It has nothing to do with Islam! It is normal human behavior. Unfortunately you can see it on each forum. – Bharata Aug 19 '18 at 20:01
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Along with what Shog posted, I think it is important to understand that this site should provide a much higher quality resource for information concerning the culture of Hinduism (whatever that is). People who are frustrated with Wikipedia and other blogs, sites, etc should be able to come here for expert, lucidly explained, and extremely well researched knowledge complete with full, reliable references and sources. In other words, this site should NOT cite Wikipedia, contain personal opinions, be regurgitated, or have poor spelling, grammar, or phrasing. The point should be to deliver very high quality information and each post should showcase writing skill, if not talent.

The other SE sites have a very high reputation; I often see engineers with 20+ years experience browsing StackOverflow at work. Answers on StackOverflow work, they have great examples, and they provide explanations at the level of 4-year universities and above. I propose we set high standards and then vigilantly monitor to ensure those standards.

First, let's define what "Hinduism" is.
It could be:

  • What general people outside of India see as the "religion" of India.
  • A particular culture that defines the geographic area of the Indian subcontinent.

I think for this site to gain any traction, we need to specifically agree on how we are going to answer questions that ask "In Hinduism, is this done like this or that and why is that?" This could be answered in a variety of ways, and practically everyone and their neighbor has their own opinion. So, I propose that questions should be asked in a specific, rather than generic way. If you want a general overview -- that's Wikipedia.

Ex: "In Hinduism, why are people vegetarian?"
Change to: "In Indian culture, why are some people vegetarian?" or
"Why are Vaishnavas vegetarian?" or
"Why are brahmanas vegetarian?"

In other words, be more specific when asking questions. This will help to raise the overall quality of the site.

Another point: please clearly reference your position when answering a religious question.

Yes, we get it, "Hinduism" is not an actual Hindi or Sanskrit term, etc, etc. But it stuck, so we have to deal with it. If you don't know that "Hinduism" is not a religion, you probably should be answering questions. Many different religious traditions exits under the moniker of Hinduism, and for this site to be helpful, it is extremely important to state which of these traditions your answer represents. I would propose to go as far as bolding your tradition's name at the beginning of the answer or referencing it in your first sentence. I have been doing this for practically all my answers. Then, of course, back it up.

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    Agreed! "This site should NOT cite Wikipedia, contain personal opinions, be regurgitated, or have poor spelling, grammar, or phrasing." These are still problems on the site. If it's not fit for a properly academic article, then it's not fit for this site. This is not to say that you should post anything at all if you can't meet these standards, but one should do one's best. Others can then edit the answer to better meet these requirements. – Rubellite Yakṣī Jun 9 '18 at 20:22
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I could not agree more! Copy-pasting only creates duplicate content which someone can easily find on Wikipedia or some other site. It's just like shifting the content from those sites to this one. So we should try and encourage creation of original content here. I think we need to create an example by good quality posts in the beta so that when it goes public other users will do the same. If we fill answers with link based and copy pasted contents, then new users will tend to do the same and the overall quality of the site will decrease.

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I feel this is going to cause issue in a long run. I had posted this in the main room 2 days back.

we should start explaining in the answers rather than just posting sources

According to me, its fine to post the content from another source BUT it should be allowed as a supporting source for the information you share here.

In Hindu Dharma, we have multiple stories behind single god, and hence it will be difficult for community as well as visitors to refer the correct version, hence, I suggest the users to answer the questions if they are aware of the info, and also link to a similar authentic source for a reference which will help the user to select the helpful answer and other visitors to refer to.

Sometimes its fine to post the chunk of text from other website but also it is equally important to link to that reference site because of multiple reasons,

  • The content policy of that site might restrict to copy in which linking to the source saves us from breaking the law, and

  • Credit the original authors for their efforts in writing that article even if they don't ask for.

Answers should be downvoted and eventually deleted if the users are just copy pasting the source without any credit/reference link, but before taking such stringent actions we should consider informing them that what we expect and whats wrong with the post so please just don't down vote and run away, provide a reason as well by commenting on their posts else they will continue doing this.

If a user is answering only quoted text answers, he or she should be encouraged to post the self written answers as well.

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