On some SE sites, having a tag wiki be a copy/paste from Wikipedia article is frowned upon (e.g. on SciFi&Fantasy it's a semi-official policy, acknowledged by moderators, that such tag wiki edits are to be rejected and fixed). This is NOT for IP reasons, e.g. this is against the rules even if the fact of copy/pasting from Wiki is openly attributed to satisfy copyright.

Should we have the same policy here?

The problem with such policy is that for some tags - especially technical terms from political science - the Wiki summary just might be the clearest, most accurate wording possible. Rejecting it seems merely inviting inferior wording for no good reason.

Just to be clear, the question is about 100% prohibiting - as a policy - Wiki paragraph quoting in lieu of writing your own text.

  • It has nothing to do with encouraging writing your own wording, especially in cases where the tag does not 100% match the Wiki term, or where Wiki wording isn't ideal.

  • It has nothing to do with discouraging copy/pasting Wiki paragraphs that aren't a good fit for questions that the tag covers.

2 Answers 2


I personally don't see a problem in having a relevant, accurate and clear tag-wiki that has been copied in whole or in part, attributed correctly and in compliance with the licence under which the source operates, irrespective as to whether it is from Wikipedia or another source.

  • The 'relevant' portion was the issue on Sci-fi & Fantasy.SE. The general populace won't have the same expectation for a tag wiki explanation as a sci-fi fan. I would expect the same for politics enthusiasts who will have more specific definitions of political terms than the general populace. Wikipedia targets the general populace, SE sites target enthusiasts.
    – user171
    Jan 3, 2013 at 16:27
  • 1
    @Keen This is where the community comes in, suggesting edits of the tag-wiki to make it even more relevant over time. The use of a tag may even evolve into something we don't expect when it's created, and the wiki should evolve to encompass what the tag now represents within our community. Jan 3, 2013 at 16:40
  • Have you seen that actually happen at a site? I've mainly followed smaller SE sites, and the tag wikis get minimal attention there.
    – user171
    Jan 3, 2013 at 16:43
  • @Keen Very (very!) occasionally...but that doesn't mean we can't have some hardcore tag-wiki-ers on this site! In all honesty though, little past the first 45-or-so words is ever read, as that's all the summary at the top shows when clicking on a tag. It's probably an over-specified feature in my mind... Jan 3, 2013 at 16:55

There's no hard rule.

Dictionary definitions, from Wikipedia or wherever else, is not generally what tag wikis are for. As a rule of thumb, if the tag is about a concept or practice that most people would be able to give you a good enough definition, then there's little point in copying its definition from Wikipedia. Some examples of common knowledge tags:

If, on the other hand, the tag is about a concept that is ambiguous, vague, not that common, or very technical then dictionary definitions in tag wikis are welcome. Some examples:

There's a (weak) correlation between the tag's usage and whether it would benefit from a dictionary definition or not, chances are the less used a tag is, more people would benefit from a clear definition.

For more details, see: Redesigned Tags Page, the canonical blog post providing guidance for tag wiki editors and reviewers.

  • I was mostly thinking less popular technical terms (e.g. "Approval voting"), so your second example applies.
    – user4012
    Jan 2, 2013 at 14:34

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