Forums: Helping Hand > Plagiarism and deletion policy

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Hi there. I had some thoughts about the FR Wiki's policy on deleting plagiarised pages. That is, I think we should stop. I'm wholly against plagiarism, obviously, but I don't we need to bother all deleting pages that contain plagiarised history. For reference, the policy: Forgotten Realms Wiki:Plagiarism.

It's a fine policy, but I've seen how it can be problematic in practice. Procampur and Tsurlagol were originally plagiarised before I began rewriting and developing them, but as per the policy, they needed to be deleted and recreated. So User:Cronje and I made back-up pages for my original and new work, I waited until they were deleted and and reinstated fresh, then published the new pages. Another case was Shar, which was formerly an original work (AFAIK), then someone added plagiarised information and it had to be deleted and remade as before, but lost its history.

The current deletion and recreation process loses the revision history, which loses all record of editors' work ("Who wrote this?") and makes it impossible for an editor to investigate the prior history if they need to ("What happened to this citation?"). Plus, editors lose credit for their work. Is it possible for an administrator to restore revision history as well, or to undo the edit and selectively remove history?

It's relatively a lot of effort, and a bad way to vandalise the wiki: stick some plagiarised material on Drizzt, then watch an admin waste some time deleting it and remaking it, with history wiped.

I don't think we need to go to these lengths. Anyone who wants to pirate a sourcebook won't be scouring an article history on the off-chance they find something, they can just download it. Few users will even look at the history, only fussy editors. In the history, it's effectively buried and forgotten. Total deletion is also not a policy I've seen on other wikis, such as Memory Beta, where plagiarised text is simply undone, removed, or rewritten.

I'm fine with deleting a fresh page that only contains plagiarised material (e.g., -6400 DR), whether from a newbie or some old cruft: nothing is lost by losing it. But if it contains/contained original work as well (e.g., the latest revision to Lantan), I think it would be better to simply undo it, remove the offending text, or rewrite it. In addition, information that is freely available online, such as in a web enhancement, is fairly safe to simply undo or cut.

BadCatMan (talk) 13:48, July 15, 2012 (UTC)

The problem isn't necessarily with cheapskates looking for Realms source material and finding our wiki (though I'm not sure I agree about it not being an issue). The real problem is the lawyers at Wizards of the Coast perceiving it as a problem and suing us over it. While writing articles in our own words doesn't necessarily protect us from being sued over copyright infringement (history is rife with authors' lawyers suing fan sites - look at the early history of J.K. Rowling's fan fiction writers), but it will make that less likely.
Cronje (talkcontribs) 15:02, July 15, 2012 (UTC)
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