Someone has copypasting Wikipedia's contents into tag wikis verbatim (Tibet, Chile, World-War-1, World-War-2). I've been rejecting them as plagiarised, though I see now Tibet and Chile's has apparently been approved. On that note I'm pretty sure that wikipedia requires being attributed for reusing its contents...

But my question is: generally speaking, is using Wikipedia to fill in the tag wikis (with or without attribution) a good idea? What does the community feel about copying wiki's contents for the empty tags? Might it a good starting basis for future edits?

2 Answers 2


Here's a question from Meta.Stackexchange, the network-wide meta site:

and here is some similar discussion we've had over on SciFi.SE:

These post agree that Wikipedia-based tag wikis

  1. Violate Wikipedia's terms of use, and
  2. are bad tag wikis, because they're out of context:

[they] are almost always substandard — Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, for the general public; what we want in a tag wiki (and especially in a tag wiki excerpt) is an explanation of what the tag means for the site's community.

Unfortunately, I haven't seen many proposed solutions other than urging people to pay attention when reviewing tag wiki edits and revert changes when they're found to be copied verbatim. Some proposed solutions - like putting placeholder text in the edit box saying "Don't copy-paste from Wikipedia!" - were proposed several years ago but didn't really get any traction.

As is usually the case, eternal vigilance is the key!


I've gone and nuked the edits for the Chile and Tibet tags. (Although I did leave in the picture references for Chile)

I had problems with them for almost exactly the reasons Avner listed, although I'm not sure I'd put it quite that mildly.

Neither was doing much of the main job of a tag description, which is to help users decide when a question is on-topic for that tag. In addition, I just have this thing about verbatim copying of website contents. I won't use the fancy P-word. If you don't say you got the contents elsewhere, the natural assumption is that you wrote it yourself. So if you didn't write it yourself you are lying.

Morality aside, if we really want to say verbatim "what Wikipedia said", we'd better serve our users to just link to Wikipedia in the tag wiki, so that they can go read the latest polished contents, not some random snapshot of it.

Now, all this being said, my personal philosophy on tag wiki edits on empty tag wikis is to be very generous. Something is almost always better than nothing (even a wrong something can be a good start and a spur for improvement). So I can see where stuff like this might slip through.

The best defense against it IMHO is to write a tag wiki yourself.

You must log in to answer this question.

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