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https://literature.stackexchange.com/a/5127/175 was removed because "it is substantively only copied from other places.".

  1. Citing and reproducing content from other websites, appears allowed? See https://math.stackexchange.com/search?tab=votes&q=is%3aanswer%20reddit.

  2. My answer is not "substantively only copied". I have significantly edited the original post.

Screenshot of the answer, for those who can't see it.

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Citing and reproducing content from other websites is different from copying an answer wholesale from somebody else.

We have some explicit guidance on how to reference material written by others in the help center.

I'll call attention to this line:

Do not copy the complete text of external sources; instead, use their words and ideas to support your own. And always give proper credit to the author and site where you found the text, including a direct link to it.
(emphasis not added)

In the answer that you provided, you took three Reddit posts, slightly edited them, and posted that as an answer. You did provide links to the original source, which is good, but the answer failed on a couple things:

  • The entire answer consisted of copying from from another site
  • You are potentially putting words in other peoples' mouths, as you say that you are quoting, but then don't use quote blocks and have claimed to have edited the text.

On this site, we generally discourage answers that just provide a quote - especially when that quote can be found elsewhere on the internet. We expect answers to provide an explanation of what they are quoting. We expect users to not copy the entire text of the sources; it says so quite explicitly in the help center page ('Do not copy the complete text of external sources;').

While using a post on the Internet as the basis for your answer is fine, you shouldn't just quote that and leave it at that. Quote relevant portions, but actually answer the question in your own words. Don't just take credit here for what someone else wrote on another site. Instead, use their post as a starting point for writing your own answer, and write an answer that uses that as a source.

I'll quote this line from Robert Cartaino, from a comment on a now-deleted post:

The purpose of creating this site is to curate a collection of knowlege[sic] for the folks searching for this stuff. Please do not simply duplicate content that can already be found elsewhere. Posts that are copyied[sic] almost entirely from external sources are not considered an answer in the context of this site.

If someone searched for what is post-modernism in literature, and they find the Reddit posts, then they have what information is included those Reddit posts. If they then find Literature.SE, and find that exact same information, phrased in the same way, then this site isn't being helpful. We should strive to provide better, more complete answers than other corners of the Internet. This means that we shouldn't be copying posts wholesale that can be found in other places. We should be providing high-quality, original posts.

I'll also point out that when quoting from a source you should use quote blocks, for one thing, and when making a change to the text, clearly mark what you changed. If you're adding words, you can add brackets around your addition, sort of like this:

Citing and reproducing content from other websites, appears allowed [on Stack Exchange]? See https://math.stackexchange.com/search?tab=votes&q=is%3aanswer%20reddit.

Or, if you believe that the original text has an error, you can add a [sic] in the quote... like I did when quoting the comment from Robert Cartaino above.

If you make any change to the text you're quoting - including spelling fixes, emphasis, and anything else - you should mark that clearly.

So - when writing a post, please don't just copy from another site. Instead, use that site as a source, and write your own answer.

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    "If someone searched for what is post-modernism in literature, and they find the Reddit posts, then they have what information is included those Reddit posts. If they then find Literature.SE, and find that exact same information, phrased in the same way, then this site isn't being helpful." - what, so any answer which reproduces information that can also be found elsewhere on the internet isn't useful? What happened to our policy of embracing non-Googlers? – Rand al'Thor Dec 20 '17 at 10:35
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    "We should be providing high-quality, original posts." - yes, but moderators shouldn't be unilaterally deleting posts which they feel aren't high-quality. That's what downvotes are for. – Rand al'Thor Dec 20 '17 at 10:35
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    Will you also be deleting this answer, which is entirely based on a single Reddit post (quoting it, plus redundantly summarising it)? Or this answer, which is entirely based on a single article (partly quoted, partly paraphrased)? – Rand al'Thor Dec 20 '17 at 10:38
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    Don't get me wrong - the answer could definitely be improved, and you've provided some good advice in this post on how to do that. But mod-deletion isn't the right way to handle (researched, clearly cited, informative) answers which could be improved. – Rand al'Thor Dec 20 '17 at 10:40
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    @Randal'Thor you're kind of missing the point. Copying the relevant portions is free use. Copying an entire page isn't. – user111 Dec 20 '17 at 14:21
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    I've made edits to the post following your suggestions, adding quote formatting and square-bracketting all the changed/paraphrased/added/removed bits. Do you really think the answer looks better now? Really really? – Rand al'Thor Dec 20 '17 at 22:43
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    @Randal'Thor - I've undeleted it. Now that it can't be considered plagiarism anymore - although I still think that it should rely on quoting less and actually writing their own answer - yes, I agree that it should be undeleted now (and have done so). – Mithical Dec 20 '17 at 22:49
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    @Mithrandir OK, firstly thanks for undeleting it. But I'm not sure if you know what plagiarism means: it's defined, including by SE, as posting the work of others with no indication that it is not your own. In the case, the user clearly stated upfront exactly what they'd done: copied posts from Reddit and edited/paraphrased them in places. They'd even linked directly to the sources. That's not plagiarism. – Rand al'Thor Dec 20 '17 at 22:54
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    @Randal'Thor that answer still infringes on the copyright rights of the original authors of those reddit posts. The help center is pretty clear about only quoting relevant portions of content, quoting an entire post is the opposite of that. The answer should remain deleted. – user111 Dec 20 '17 at 22:54
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    Also, more subjectively, don't you think it looks horrible now with all those brackets all over the place? Do we really have to make posts look that ugly whenever we want to use resources in our answers? I've posted many answers which are paraphrased from (attributed) off-site resources - do I really have to go back and edit them all to huge blockquotes with square brackets everywhere? – Rand al'Thor Dec 20 '17 at 22:54
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    @Hamlet Copyright infringement is emphatically not for moderators to deal with. If the Reddit posters want to file a complaint with SE, let them do that and an SE employee handle it. Issues like this are above the paygrade of anyone in this thread, including Mith and Zyera. – Rand al'Thor Dec 20 '17 at 22:57
  • @Randal'Thor - re: plagiarism - Yes, I'd say that this is indicating that it's theirs, by not providing quote blocks and other formatting that clearly indicates that it's not original. Re: brackets and off-site sources: There's a difference between editing a quote and paraphrasing. This answer was editing a quote, not paraphrasing. Paraphrasing is something else - this wasn't doing that. (And no, I don't think the brackets look ugly.) – Mithical Dec 20 '17 at 22:57
  • @Mithrandir the blockquotes aren't the differentiating factor: the answer was already very clear that it was quoting those reddit posts (through explicitly stating that the content was taken from those reddit posts and linking to them). Blockquotes are nice but not necessary, and shouldn't be the differentiating factor. – user111 Dec 20 '17 at 23:11
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The rules could not be clearer:

When you find a useful resource that can help answer a question (from another site or in an answer on Literature 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

...

Do not copy the complete text of external sources; instead, use their words and ideas to support your own. And always give proper credit to the author and site where you found the text, including a direct link to it.

(emphasis my own)

The post meets requirements one and three, but fails requirement two. Quoting an entire post is not OK. It's a pretty easy way to violate someone's copyright, e.g. pirating a movie isn't OK even if you give credit to the producer.

(To be honest, I have no idea why the post was undeleted, given that the rules are so clear about this.)

In response to the claim that moderators shouldn't handle copyright claims, fine, this isn't a copyright claim (e.g. a DMCA takedown notice), it's a violation of Stack Exchange's rules about quoting. Which moderators should be able to enforce.

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From the help centre article on referencing 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 Literature 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

You clearly indicated that this answer wasn't your own work, and cited - with links - the sources you got it from. You changed some of the phrasing rather than quoting directly, hence why you didn't use block quotes (although since your changes seem to have been quite minor, maybe it would've been better to block-quote and use square brackets where you made changes).

The answer is not plagiarised, nor is it even just a copy-paste of a single source. You've examined several different ways of answering the question, of varying lengths, and quoted/linked to them in your answer. That's called DOING RESEARCH. It's no worse than many other well-received answers here, such as this one (entirely based on a single source), or this one (quoting or paraphrasing from a few different sources), or this one (almost entirely quoted from a single source), or this one (ditto).

Your answer would be improved by adding a summary in your own words - although, since your sourced material is of such varying lengths, even this might be unnecessary; the first source can act as a summary for the second, and so on. For that matter, your answer would be improved by using different sources - Reddit is far from the most reliable or authoritative site on the internet.

But I believe it's inappropriate to delete - and certainly to unilaterally mod-delete - an answer which is clearly attributed and cited, using multiple different sources to provide different perspectives and answers to the question, just because you didn't include your own personal thoughts and words. You've done research online, found some people who've answered the question, and shared the results of your research with us. Why shouldn't that be an acceptable answer?

TL;DR: this answer should be undeleted (and perhaps edited or downvoted).

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