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The following answer has been deleted by Mod Philipp without any supporting reason other than their own personal reasons.

Stack Exchange Guidance

The Stack Exchange Guidance on deletions clearly states

Why and how are some answers deleted?

Answers that do not fundamentally answer the question may be removed. This includes answers that are:

  • commentary on the question or other answers
  • asking another, different question
  • “thanks!” or “me too!” responses
  • exact duplicates of other answers
  • barely more than a link to an external site
  • not even a partial answer to the actual question

Nowhere in that list does it state that a Mod may delete an answer because they feel it does not have enough citations.

Mod also accused the OP of "plagiarization" despite the fact that the OP clearly referred to the following reports directly

Regulations influencing the use of biofuels in transportation as well as biomass in the heat and power market are outlined in the EU Energy and Climate Change Package (CCP) and the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD). The CCP includes...(insert text)...

Right to Edit

In addition, the Mod has made no attempt to improve or edit the answer themselves by adding in citations which they clearly know since they have identified the passages which need citations.

The deletion appears personal in nature given the deletion occurred within 22 minutes of the Mod demands. Suitable time was not even provided to improve the answer.

Citation Overuse

Every single line in the answer is potentially attributable to a source since it is comprised wholly of facts and data. Although some data may be drawn from Wikipedia all of the information is freely available via any internet search and none of it is proprietary.

Inflammatory Behaviour

The Mod has attempted to use the Stack Exchange guidance to imply the site will somehow be targeted for copyright infringement because of the OP's action. Notwithstanding the answer is already indexed by Google, that is a gross overstatement about what has happened and merely is a reason for the Mod to ram through his personal beliefs and ensure the answer is deleted.

Ultimately, if the Mod felt strongly enough, they could have added in the citations themselves which is precisely what we tell users to do to improve answers.

  • 10
    Your post didn't have to be deleted. Philipp gave you plenty of opportunity to cite your work before he deleted it, and you explicitly refused to. – Sam I am Jun 1 '17 at 17:11
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    TIL 22 mins is plenty of time on Stack Exchange. Delete all my answers. They are all Plagiarism. You don't want a DCMA. – Venture2099 Jun 1 '17 at 20:49
  • Do you want your answers undeleted? That could be possible if you promise to fix them and cite your sources. – Sam I am Jun 1 '17 at 21:03
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    Answers? Plural? You have deleted more than one? Why stop there? Delete them all. Go wild. I will help. – Venture2099 Jun 1 '17 at 21:04
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    Since your response to this was to vandalise your answers instead of fixing them, I had no choice but to suspend your account. – yannis Jun 2 '17 at 7:41
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What was wrong with this answer?

When I read this answer, I noticed that it was written in an unusually stilted tone which is very uncommon for Stack Exchange answers but more fitting for a wiki or similar encyclopedic article. But the answer wasn't saying anywhere that it was referencing 3rd party sources.

So I took some phrases from the answer and put them into DuckDuckGo. I found that several paragraphs from the answer were copied verbatim from other sources. Among these was Wikipedia (which is licensed under the CC-BY-SA license or GNU Free Documentation License and therefor requires attribution) but also websites with no obvious permission to reuse content like this.

Taking work from others and presenting them in a way which looks as if one wrote it themselves is considered plagiarism and is a copyright violation.

Plagiarizing 3rd party sources is in fact a violation of the Stack Exchange terms of service, section 3:

Subscriber represents, warrants and agrees that it will not contribute any Subscriber Content that (a) infringes, violates or otherwise interferes with any copyright or trademark of another party

There is nothing wrong with quoting 3rd party sources in questions and answers. Using small excerpts is usually considered fair use. But only when such quotations are clearly labeled as such. The article "How to reference material written by others" in the help center reads:

Plagiarism - posting the work of others with no indication that it is not your own - is frowned on by our community, and may result in your answer being down-voted or deleted.

When you find a useful resource that can help answer a question (from another site or in an answer on Politics Stack Exchange) make sure you do all of the following:

  • Provide a link to the original page or answer
  • Quote only the relevant portion
  • Provide the name of the original author

How did I react to this?

I asked the author of the answer to mark the citations and link to the websites from where they copied them, but they refused.

I then informed them that not doing so would be a violation of the Stackexchange TOS section I quoted above. But the author made it very clear in their comments that they do not intend to do this.

I therefore decided that this answer constituted a deliberate Terms-of-Service violation, and as such I had to delete it.

Why didn't I research the sources myself and edit the post accordingly?

I'm sorry, but I don't really consider this my job. I don't think that it should be expected of me as a mod to do the detective work of researching the source of every single passage of the answer and find out from where it could be plagiarized. The author should know from where they plagiarized their content, so they could do this much faster than I could.

How do we go on from here?

I do not have any hurt feelings due to this affair. If the author of this answer would like to edit or repost their answer with the proper citations and with links to the original sources, I would not have any objections to that.

  • You dont consider it your job? Nothing on SE is our job. To be absolutely clear I wont be editing anything. Delete them.all. – Venture2099 Jun 17 '17 at 14:00
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The deletion wasn't about not having enough citations, but about including text from other sources without indicating that they are quoted, without attribution, and in violation of the copyright of the sources (wikipedia for example requires attribution).

Please see How to reference material written by others:

Plagiarism - posting the work of others with no indication that it is not your own - is frowned on by our community, and may result in your answer being down-voted or deleted.

When you find a useful resource that can help answer a question (from another site or in an answer on Stack Overflow) make sure you do all of the following:

  • Provide a link to the original page or answer
  • Quote only the relevant portion
  • Provide the name of the original author

It goes on showing how to correctly include content from other sources (placing the content in quotes and adding a link to the source).

Please note also the linked questions Users are calling me a plagiarist. What do I do? and What to do when plagiarism is discovered.

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    btw, I noticed that this seems to be a pattern with your answers. You might want to consider looking over them and removing or properly quoting/referencing them, as it is likely that they will otherwise also be deleted. As many of them contain interesting information which does answer the questions well, that would be a shame. – tim Jun 1 '17 at 14:53
  • Then delete them all. Go wild. – Venture2099 Jun 1 '17 at 14:57
  • Refer you to comments on the VERY answer you have referenced. >> If it looks like a minor, single incident, editing the attribution in is the way to go. You can do that yourself, either directly or through a suggested edit. Put the attribution in front of the copied material, and put everything into blockquotes that isn't the OP's original speech. Use nice wording, like From the Wikipedia Article on xyz: After that, proceed to step 3. – Venture2099 Jun 1 '17 at 15:01
  • If it looks like there is an egregious pattern of plagiarism, and deletions seem necessary, flag for moderator attention. Explain that you believe the answer has been plagiarized, and paste the source URL into a comment underneath, say Plagiarism: copied without attribution from .... – Venture2099 Jun 1 '17 at 15:02
  • And let's also ignore this answer meta.stackexchange.com/questions/19508/… stating that Mods have 0 responsibility to delete posts they consider to be "copyright infringement" because the holder has not issued a takedown request. – Venture2099 Jun 1 '17 at 15:04
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    @Venture2099 But it's not a minor single incident. Most of your answers contain large parts copy-pasted from various sources without any indication that these are quotes, and without any attribution. You can't really expect us to go through all of them, identify all stolen content, and fix it for you? Also note that I am not a mod, I'm just trying to explain how this site works, and how you can avoid deletion in the future. – tim Jun 1 '17 at 15:04
  • And here is the official answer on the whole thing - "Diamond mods should remember, then, that they are an agent of Stack Overflow, but not an agent of copyright holders. But there is something they can do, because there is a separate plagiarism issue: they can make sure the content is attributed properly, by use of a simple edit." meta.stackexchange.com/questions/114275/… – Venture2099 Jun 1 '17 at 15:07
  • So you took upon yourself to review all of my answers. I am flattered. eyeroll You are not explaining anything. You are generalising. Which answers specifically? – Venture2099 Jun 1 '17 at 15:07
  • It's almost unanimous that Moderators just take the position that they're not in the business of making decisions on copypasta issues (i.e. redaction), beyond providing a link to the copied material. Please cite any alternative view accordingly and then un-delete my answer. – Venture2099 Jun 1 '17 at 15:10
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    wikipedia for example requires attribution -> Note that copyright violations and plagiarism are two different things. There is a lot of text in the public domain (because copyright expired), but posting that as an answer without attribution would still be plagiarism, as this implies that you wrote it, which is not true. – user11249 Jun 3 '17 at 19:49
1

Deletion isn't permanent.

I think you can improve the answer while it is deleted and flag for undeletion when it is fixed.

  • So can the Mod. It needs 3 undelete votes which are unlikely since only users with reps over 2000 can even see it now. – Venture2099 Jun 1 '17 at 13:29
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    It doesn't need 3 undelete votes. It can also just be undeleted by a mod if a mod notices it has been fixed. So you can just use a flag to bring it to their attention when it is fixed. – K-C Jun 1 '17 at 13:33
  • No. If the Mod feels it requires citations then they should add them accordingly. – Venture2099 Jun 1 '17 at 14:42
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    That principle doesn't have consensus on this site. It would be a novel requirement to have mods attempt to fix an answer before deleting it. First, there aren't enough of them to do that work. Second, it is possible to recognize the need for references without knowing what references they should be. Third, you have a path to undeletion: fixing the answer. – K-C Jun 1 '17 at 17:17
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Diamond mods should remember, then, that they are an agent of Stack Overflow, but not an agent of copyright holders. But there is something they can do, because there is a separate plagiarism issue: they can make sure the content is attributed properly, by use of a simple edit."

Does SE containing copyright violations make content re-use harder?

Mod was wrong and being over-zealous. No doubt it will happen again but shrug, it is SE where a little power goes a long way.

  • Someone saying something 6 years ago in an answer with four upvotes does not represent community consensus – much less Stack Exchange policy. – user11249 Jun 3 '17 at 19:50

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