I came across this answer which received the following comment

Beg pardon. Not product. Blog. Using StackExchange to drive traffic to your site is bad form.

And then in an edit by another user the blog post was copied seemingly verbatim with the comment

I've added your instructions here, since there was absolutely no reason to link to your blog other than to drive traffic there.

The original answer could have been improved and had a disclaimer stating that it was his blog, but the blog does state All content © 2012 Seb Maynard, so having someone edit his answer with an exact copy doesn't seem like the right move.

The blog owner seems to be OK with this edit, but should this edit have been done in the first place? It seems like he should have been given a chance to improve his answer with an appropriate level of detail. I understand that there needs to be some context, but if someone spends the time to post a blog article then their copyright should be respected.

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1 Answer 1

Since the text was copied verbatim from the source, I would have used the "quote" feature. Perhaps that's just me, though.

Answers in which the only useful information can be found at the end of a link aren't really answers. Links to the author's blog/site are particularly self-serving and "spammy". So, if there is good information, those answers should be edited to include that information. Otherwise they should be flagged as "not an answer" and/or "it is spam" and deleted.

Generally speaking, however, information from third-party sources should not be copied verbatim. If memory serves, there is even a Moderator tool to warn users and one of the options is to warn copiers. Yes, this is in order to honor copyright (where it applies) and fairness (where it doesn't).

In this particular case, the author of the post is self-identified as the owner of the blog being copied. How does one plagiarize oneself? Part of the purpose of copyright is to keep other people from taking credit for your work. In this case, the person who wrote the original is getting credit for writing it. Copyright is being respected.

If the author has a problem with his work being used in this way, as the original author of the post he can very quickly and easily edit it out or delete his question.

In this particular case I think the right thing was done. A not-useful answer was turned into a very useful one, and the original author of the information was given credit.

Now, when dealing with someone posting verbatim information from a third-party site that they didn't write, well, that's pretty clearly a no-no.

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Having looked at this and seeing that I made the edit, I will note that this was basically my thought process in this instance. Since the author of the blog wrote the answer, I felt his work was still being attributed to him (although I usually do blockquote external snippets and such, I apparently forgot here). I also quite honestly forgot to check the blog footer for any kind of copyright notice since the author of the answer was the owner of the blog and posting the answer here implied to me a desire to share and allowed him to retain control (he could delete it, as you note). Mea culpa –  eldarerathis Oct 1 '12 at 14:14
    
please take another look at the answer in question. Another user (the above commenter) edited in his work-Seb did not edit in the verbatim copy, so did not plagiarize oneself. In a later comment Seb thank's for editing it for me, but perhaps he felt he could not argue since the two previous comments pretty much told him that you cannot post a link to your blog. My understanding for copyright is that you can reproduce Text: 10 percent or 1000 words, whichever is less so quoting the entire post with attribution is not acceptable. –  row1 Oct 2 '12 at 1:52
    
Oh, I get it. It would go against copyright if eldarathis posted his own answer and copied Seb's blog post and presented it as his own. In this case, he just added it to Seb's answer. So Seb's answer is a copy of of Seb's blog post. No one is suggesting that Seb's work is anyone's but Seb's. If that's not acceptable to you, well, I'm not a lawyer and, apparently, neither are you. This then would be an issue to take up with the Stack Exchange team. –  Al E. Oct 2 '12 at 1:57
    
Even if you clearly state the original author you can't just post an entire piece of work-don't need to be a lawyer to know that. So I guess my question is, if an edit should have taken place by another user, how much should have been quoted? –  row1 Oct 2 '12 at 4:19
    
@row1 I think you might be right that the editor doesn't have the right to use the content in full, even in the original creator's post ... however, it's complicated, and I would also refer you to the SE team if you have concerns. Note that the answerer did acknowledge the edit and left it as-is, however, which I would consider "permission granted" in this case. –  Matthew Read Oct 3 '12 at 23:38
    
@MatthewRead yeah I didn't want to get hung up on this particular example too much. –  row1 Oct 4 '12 at 4:28
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