26

This is primarily a PSA to get users to be sure that tag wiki content is not plagiarized.

The fact that only 20k+ users can edit tag wikis without being reviewed first carries quite a bit of weight here, as there are only 41 users with this privilege on all of Arqade. (Even less, considering that 8 are moderators and 1 is a Stack employee who have the privilege regardless of their rep, as noted by @Robotnik in the comments)

On top of that, only 241 users are eligible to review suggested edits to tag wikis and their excerpts, as that privilege comes with having 5k+ rep. However, I've rejected two blatantly-copied suggested tag wikis, only to see them get approved by two other users. This pretty much defeats the purpose of assigning these privileges to such high rep numbers.

From the Tag Wiki review rejection reasons:

This edit copies a significant amount of content from an external source. Generic descriptions such as encyclopedia articles and ad copy do not provide useful guidance; try creating something useful to this community specifically, and be sure to attribute the original author. See: How to reference material written by others.

Simply copy-pasting the bodies of the following tag wikis into Google brought me to external pages with the same text as the tag wiki.


Example 1: Paladins

This occurred within the past 24 hours. The tag wiki can be seen here, while the review can be seen here:

Paladins: Champions of the Realm is a hero-based cooperative shooter with strategy and deep character customization. Through a unique collectible card system, players can amplify and augment a character’s core set of abilities to play exactly how they want to play.

Simply googling the body of the tag wiki brought me to the Steam store page for Paladins, which features this description:

Enter a fantasy world of ancient technology in Paladins, a team-based shooter with strategy elements and deep character customization. Through a unique collectible card system, players can amplify and augment a character’s core set of abilities to play exactly how they want to play.

I have bolded the parts that are identical between the two.


Example 2: Super Mario 64

This one is a bit older, but seeing the previous tag wiki be approved brought the tag wiki review to mind.

You can see the tag wiki here and the edit review here.

Super Mario 64 was the first 3D Mario game first released in Japan on 23 June 1996. It is considered a 3D platformer where the player controls Mario through several courses. Each course is an enclosed world in which the player is free to wander in all directions and discover the environment without time limits.

It was the best selling Nintendo 64 title, with over 11 million copies sold. The game had ground breaking 3D technology, and is critically acclaimed to be one of the best and revolutionary games of all time.

While less blatantly plagiarizing, copy-pasting the first paragraph into Google brought me straight to the Super Mario 64 Wikipedia page, where you can find the following passage under Gameplay:

Super Mario 64 is a 3D platformer where the player controls Mario through several courses. Each course is an enclosed world in which the player is free to wander in all directions and discover the environment without time limits.

I have again bolded the identical parts between the tag wiki and Wikipedia article.


That said, there have only been maybe three or four suggested tag wiki edits total that I have reviewed so far that have been blatantly plagiarizing, but the fact that two of them have gotten approved is a bit upsetting. Plagiarized tag wikis aren't extremely prevalent, so this isn't a huge deal, but I believe that Arqade (as well as all SE Network sites) is against plagiarism. Thus, I think it is important for reviewers, especially tag wiki reviewers, to double check before approving.

  • This is the main reason why the rep requirement for editing without approval is so high - you can be generally trusted not to plagiarise. And realistically it's closer to 27 users that have '20k rep privileges' - of those 36 20k'ers, 8 are the current mods and 1 is a Stack Exchange employee - even without hitting the rep requirement they could make edits without approval anyway (I started my modship with < 20k rep so I know this firsthand). – Robotnik Dec 15 '16 at 0:22
  • @Robotnik yes but the rep requirement is a moot point if reviewers approve reviews without double checking for plagiarism, which is what I was getting at. – Vemonus Dec 15 '16 at 0:26
  • 3
    I know, I was reinforcing the point of how high it really is :-) – Robotnik Dec 15 '16 at 1:15
  • 4
    Just so we're clear: The Paladins one had attribution, which is why I skipped it. Is that still plagiarism? Or are we rejecting it with the same reason because it was just copypasta? – Frank Dec 15 '16 at 1:18
  • 6
    @Frank It included a link to Wikipedia but it didn't attribute anything to Wikipedia. But beside that, the plagiarism reject reason notes that “Generic descriptions such as encyclopedia articles and ad copy do not provide useful guidance” — tag wikis are meant to be Arqade-specific guidance for how to apply the tag, not informative mini-articles about the games. – SevenSidedDie Dec 15 '16 at 1:22
  • 2
    @SevenSidedDie I'm aware of the reasoning, but my understanding of attribution is that it just needs a link; nothing else special. That said, I'm not clear on our culture for tag wikis, and the guidelines on copied content. So I was just looking for clarification on how people see it. – Frank Dec 15 '16 at 1:27
  • 3
    @Frank Attribution might consist of just a link, but a link isn't automatically attribution. To serve as attribution the link has to be written such that it actively indicates to the reader an attribution. This one was just quietly sitting elsewhere on the screen without any indication of a relationship between the text and link. But beyond that, copypasta from encyclopedias is just not the content that tag wikis are meant to contain. – SevenSidedDie Dec 15 '16 at 1:31
  • 8
    I feel that if it's a direct quote, it should be in quotes (or a quote box) with the link to the article firmly placed underneath/in the quote box to count as 'Attribution'. Obviously this is impractical for tag excerpts, however I consider that a feature: an excerpt shouldn't be a direct quote from Wikipedia. Write something unique that describes the tag in the way it should be used on this site. – Robotnik Dec 15 '16 at 2:07
  • What about feature-requesting that accounts with a lot of proposed copy-pasted tag wikis get banned from tag info edits? – user3.14159265359 Dec 15 '16 at 20:20
  • 3
    @user143228 actually, this system is already in place. If you have a certain percentage of edits rejected in a 7 day span (I think?), you're banned from suggesting any more edits until your percentage goes back to acceptable levels or you have less than 10 edits suggested in the past 7 days. Somebody correct me if that's wrong. The problem there is that if reviewers don't reject these kinds of edits, the users are able to keep potentially suggesting copy-pasted material. – Vemonus Dec 15 '16 at 23:54
  • @user143228 is a rolling windows. – Braiam Dec 16 '16 at 15:16
  • 2
    It may also be worth taking a look at our more popular tags to ensure that the info there has not been plagiarised. I recently edited the modern-warfare-2 tag for this reason. – Robotnik Dec 17 '16 at 0:46
  • 2
    I edited paladins and added a tag excerpt. Here's my tag wiki suggested edit and here's my tag excerpt suggested edit. – haykam Jan 8 '17 at 19:08
  • "blatantly-copied" is only plagiarism when it lacks attribution. #deadhorse – Mazura Dec 5 '18 at 0:22
6

As this is still an issue, I felt it would be best to (finally) post an answer to this.

The solution to preventing blatantly plagiarized tag wikis and excerpts is to google the suggested edit text.

I will attest that this takes no more than 15-30 seconds, at the most, even on mobile. If you, as a reviewer, do not feel that you have the time to spend less than half of a minute of your day to verify the quality of a suggested edit (as reviewers are expected to do), then leave it to others who do feel they have the time.

In the past few weeks, numerous plagiarized tag wikis have been suggested. Luckily, the previous batch (some examples are this, this, this, and this review) was caught and rejected outright, but today, I noticed multiple approved tag wikis that were both unapologetically stolen from the game's Wikipedia articles on top of not being useful tag wikis in general.

Three of these plagiarized edits have been approved within the past hour or two:

The first of these is the LawBreakers tag wiki. Its tag wiki review can be found in link provided.

Interestingly, an equally plagiarized tag wiki was suggested yesterday, but was rejected, while the one approved today was the exact same paragraph, plus four more paragraphs from the Wikipedia page.

The second plagiarized tag wiki was the SuperHot VR tag. The review for it can be found here.

This is how simple it is to determine that an entry was plagiarized:

Step 1: Copy a paragraph from the edit.

copy the text

Step 2: Paste the text into the search bar in your browser of choice and hit Enter, then look at the top results to look for similarities. In this case, it was blatantly obvious.

google results

Step 3 (optional in most of these cases, since Step 2 is already pretty damning): Look at link that text may have been copied from to verify plagiarism:

evidence

While the pictures are specific to the LawBreakers suggested edit, it works for others as well:

The SuperHot VR edit:

superhot google

The Tekken 7 tag wiki edit:

tekken 7

The bottom line of all of this is that those who take it upon themselves to act as reviewers should understand their responsibilities in doing so. If you don't want to spend the small amount of time required to verify the quality of the posts you're reviewing, then leave the reviews to others who will spend that time.

  • I've been finding that a lot of the edits recently haven't been conforming to standards put in place. I've been rejecting them as so. They just don't look as nice, or provide the appropriate information. – Timmy Jim Aug 11 '17 at 20:37
  • 1
    @TimmyJim that's a different issue, but still an issue. The proper formatting and standards are less blatantly obvious, though, I feel, so they're a little more excusable than these plagiarized edits. – Vemonus Aug 11 '17 at 20:39
  • Protip for iOS: tapping "Look up", then "Search web" is even faster and easier. – Laurel Jan 7 at 20:56
-9

Usually when I create a tag for a game that doesn't have one yet, I'll copy a sentence or two from somewhere that describes the game, and maybe change a word or add some punctuation.

If that's plagiarism, then we have some incredibly high standards for plagiarism.

It's usually from the official site for the game, meaning that that's the advertising language they want used anyway.

I find a tag that says what the game even is to be quite useful, myself. If somebody has some specific advice for using it on this site, they can always add it later.

If we want a link to the original source of two sentences, I can certainly add that in the future.

  • 3
    This is different than what I'm talking about. The Paladins tag wiki's body is entirely composed of the Store Page description for the game from Steam. There is no additional info in it. The Super Mario 64 one was word for word from Wikipedia, as well. I did not bother going further in the original post, but the second paragraph was composed of sentences ripped from different areas of the article, as well. – Vemonus Dec 16 '16 at 0:13
  • 4
    It's also worth noting that paraphrasing is not the same as plagiarizing. Googling these tag wikis gives results where entire sentences are bolded because they match word for word what you put in the search bar. Tag wikis are important for directing Arqade users with how they use the tags. Simply presenting them with the exact same verbiage they'd find by googling the word simply prevents a google search, but doesn't tell how to use the tag. – Vemonus Dec 16 '16 at 0:20
  • 1
    @Vemonus I mostly posted this because it was a little long for a comment and i wanted to get some feedback to make sure I wasn't doing something considered wrong by consensus. Can't really tell based on these comments, as it seems like you're criticizing the relevancy of the comments, rather than the content. – DCShannon Dec 16 '16 at 19:09
-9

However, I've rejected two blatantly-copied suggested tag wikis, only to see them get approved by two other users. This pretty much defeats the purpose of assigning these privileges to such high rep numbers.

I think you need to appreciate a couple of things.

Firstly, it isn't blatant because in order to determine plagiarism you need to copy and paste parts of the tag documentation into a search engine. As shown by the Super Mario example, you have to get the search just right to show a segment has been plagiarised. This is an extensive effort for every review, to which I doubt was undertaken prior to this meta. I doubt it is something that will significantly change (in terms of future reviews being conducted as you describe).

Secondly, I think the onus is on the author more than the reviewer with plagiarism. If reviewers okay a suggestion that is plagiarised I don't think there should be any corrective measures on the reviewers, with the assumption that the reviewers did not know the content is plagiarised. The author is the one that needs to be informed of the site rules.

That being said, NO! - I don't believe reviewers should be required/expected to cross-reference content against other sources. It's wasted effort and something that is unlikely to be enforceable. As already pointed out it seems rare to encounter such cases. You need the majority of reviewers finding such plagiarism.

A more suitable course of action would be to look into automating the process of searching tag content vs. search engine hits. If that process flags anything then it can be manually checked.

Whether we use scripts or a manual process of finding such cases, seeing as the reviewers are moderators in many cases (perhaps?) it may be suitable to just use moderator flags for such verified cases (rather than relying on multiple reviewers to go through the process of using google to find matching sub-texts).

In any case, we should really be enforcing this policy better: https://gaming.meta.stackexchange.com/a/7845/101016. I would say it would have caught the Paladins example easily, and probably the Mario example too.

  • 2
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Wipqozn Dec 21 '16 at 2:18

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .