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I've seen a couple tag wikis added recently that apparently were copied verbatim from BoardGameGeek: catacombs and viticulture.

I rejected them as suggested edits, using the canned "copied content" reason:

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.

but they were approved by others. I know BGG descriptions are also user-edited, but I don't think there's any way to make this okay without total rewriting (I don't see a CC license or anything on BGG, so merely adding attribution would not be sufficient) so:

  • Could I get some help looking through tag wikis for other copied content?
  • Could others help remove the copied content we've discovered (those and others - see answers)? Trusted users (4k rep) can do this themselves, while others will have to make suggestions.
  • Could a moderator acknowledge having seen this? We have no way to notify these users that this is not acceptable, since the edits were long since approved, so it's up to you if you want to superping in chat or anything.

And of course, in the future we need to be a bit more vigilant reviewing those edits.

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  • There should be no reason to remove the tag wikis if proper attribution is added. – Joe W Jan 3 '16 at 23:29
  • @JoeW At the very least, the excerpts need to be rewritten, since there's no way to make them clearly quotes and provide attribution inside the excerpt (which is all most people see). And I'm pretty skeptical about tag wikis (outside the excerpts) which are simply large block quotes. That canned rejection reason makes it fairly clear that's not the idea of tag wikis, even if it's not plagiarism with the attribution - anything that's mostly copied is supposed to be rejected, and this is allco-op copied. ("It's not technically plagiarism" isn't exactly a resounding endorsement of content.) – Cascabel Jan 4 '16 at 0:32
  • (If I've missed something and BGG is CC-licensed or something, then it might be okay to use in the tag wiki body, but as far as I can tell they haven't given people the right to copy their content wholesale like this.) – Cascabel Jan 4 '16 at 0:44
  • In the terms of use. 'By uploading User Submissions to Geekdo, you hereby grant each user of the Website a non-exclusive license to access your User Submissions through the Website, and to use, reproduce, distribute, display, and perform such User Submissions as permitted through the functionality of the Website and under these Terms of Service.' – Joe W Jan 4 '16 at 1:06
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    @JoeW as permitted through the functionality of the Website and under these Terms of Service. unless the ToS includes copying text verbatim onto other sites (either explicitly or via very broad terms like CC), we can't use the copied text and must, at minimum, paraphrase it. – Dan Henderson Jan 4 '16 at 8:33
  • I think the best course of action would be to contact BGG, and check if they see an issue. If the description from BGG is fine, and SE description would carry the same information, while using the different words solely to avoid "plagiarism" then such rewording is just a waste of human effort. If the description can indeed be improved to better fit SE, then that's a matter separate from this one. – tsuma534 Jan 5 '16 at 15:33
  • @tsuma534 Go ahead if you like - it doesn't appear it's meant to be copied wholesale, but I suppose it's possible. Doesn't make it okay that it was copied without attribution, though. Plagiarism isn't something you can make go away by putting quotes around the word. – Cascabel Jan 5 '16 at 15:37
  • @Jefromi I would need one such plagiarized tag as an example, so I could have a better idea what am I messaging about. The ones in this thread are already cleared. But I can at least improve the tags for the games I know. This should be done in few days. – tsuma534 Jan 5 '16 at 15:42
  • @tsuma534 You should be able to see revision history on the tag wikis. – Cascabel Jan 5 '16 at 15:43
  • Also worth noting that the copied content rejection reason applies even with attribution, and that it explicitly calls out ad copy (e.g. publisher's description) as not useful. Many of the tag wikis we found here were in fact publisher descriptions, and the BGG descriptions are often same or similar to those. – Cascabel Jan 5 '16 at 15:47
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This is certainly a problem. I think I was one of the people accepting these edits, it never occurred to me to check the internet for plagiarism.

I found a couple of potential candidates by going through the user pages of the two edits you mentioned. Note that I haven't done any in-depth checks on these edits, but a lot of them read the same way as the ones you're linking to.

From this page:

Two more from a different user:

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  • I may well have approved some of those before too. I'm not sure what it was that caused me to think of checking this time. Thanks for looking through those - I'll try to see look through some examples not by those users too. – Cascabel Jan 4 '16 at 18:00
  • Shadows of Brimstone's wiki matches a forum post (though a lot of the content is in the BGG entry too). Monopoly Empire and Tzolkin match the publishers' product descriptions, which I'm guessing are okay to quote with attribution. – Cascabel Jan 4 '16 at 19:16
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    I'm guessing that a lot of BGG descriptions are also copied from publishers (possibly with modification) so some of these may actually be slightly more okay than others (with attribution), but I think it's a bit beyond our purview here to clean up. – Cascabel Jan 4 '16 at 19:18
  • @jefromi there's another tag wiki currently in revision by user Beewee, that's a copy of the Fantasy Flight product page. I think we should inform him that this is not how tag wiki pages should be used, but I don't know how to reach him. – freekvd Jan 5 '16 at 7:47
  • Rejecting as copied (as we did) seems like about all we can do here - if they're paying attention it'll be enough. I did ask for mod help; they're the ones who can contact users privately if desired (plagiarism is one of the templates for that, so it's definitely a possibility) or ping them in chat even if they haven't been there. – Cascabel Jan 5 '16 at 7:59
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I've cleaned up all tag wikis listed in my answer and freekvd's as of 19:30 January 4 UTC.

In all cases I rewrote excerpts, since they don't leave room for clear attribution, and moreover, taking the first paragraph of a game description does not make a good excerpt. For those that were obviously publisher's descriptions, I left block quotes. For others, I left only the useful links if present.

I flagged the question and it was marked helpful, so a moderator has seen this. I assume that means they're okay with things as they are!


I've gone through the suggested edits review queue history back to August.

This user:

Expansion Adrift is entirely a block quote from the publisher - suppose that's okay (but meh) as well. Also the excerpt ends with "From the publisher:"

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