Forgotten Realms Wiki
Forgotten Realms Wiki
Forums: Helping Hand > Plagiarism and deletion policy

Use the following template for a nicely presented post:

{{Forum post|Write your message here!|~~~~}}

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)

Thanks everyone for fixing my post, I was wondering why it wouldn't work.

To clarify: I entirely agree that we should get rid of plagiarised material. I just want to discuss and adjust the way we handle its removal.

BadCatMan (talk) 15:17, July 15, 2012 (UTC)

I like this idea, and if this policy works for other wikis then I think we should consider it. The trouble is, one policy does not fit all wikis. We have to assess the risk of litigation for our wiki regardless of what other wikis get away with. If Wizards aggressively protects their copyrights and frequently threatens alleged infringers, then the risk is higher that we lose everything. However, if they see the value of fan-generated sites and realize that resources like this only increase interest and therefore sales, then they may tolerate a little plagiarism living on in the history as long as they see we are actively discouraging it and correcting it as we find it.
Moviesign (talk) 15:18, July 15, 2012 (UTC)

Glister was another problem; part of it was original, the rest was copied.

Has WotC been a problem about that sort of thing? I know sites like Crystal Keep (?) were cut back, but they showed all the crunch. Anyway, I've been researching plagiarism policies at other wikias, and will get back when I have good list of examples.

BadCatMan (talk) 14:00, July 22, 2012 (UTC)

Okay, I'm back and I bear copyright and plagiarism policies! :D I went through some bigger, more developed wikias that I had bookmarked. My other haunt, Memory Beta, simply follows Memory Alpha (both Star Trek-based); the policies are discussed here and here. In these, it's encouraged to simply remove or rewrite the plagiarised/copyright infringing text. It's stated that the history isn't easily accessible to general readers, and that maintaining the rest of the revision history is desired. Only pages where the entire content is plagiarised should be deleted. Apparently, it's possible for administrators, designated agents and/or developers to selectively remove history of offending content.

The great Star Wars Wookieepedia has much the same policy, here.

The big one, Wikipedia, has more legalese: here. Again, they say to simply remove the offending text, or delete the page if the entirety of it is copied.

So, (fortunately for me) it's just what I said above. Like the bigger wikis, we can simply undo, remove or rewrite offending material from existing pages, or delete pages that only contain offending material. We don't have to delete and restore otherwise good pages. On the off-chance someone complains, there must be a way of removing it from the history.

BadCatMan (talk) 08:07, July 30, 2012 (UTC)

So, any thoughts on this? Looking at all these other wikis and Wikipedia itself, it should be safe for us to simply remove offending content, rather than go for full page removal.
BadCatMan (talk) 01:34, September 19, 2012 (UTC)

Personally, I will follow the wiki policy... if it changes... I'll change... since I do not have the power to delete pages... I will continue to place a deletion tag... of course, if we just rewrite or remove plagiarized material... well, that is something I can do :) Of course, vandals can still just undo... and poof, their copied work returns... if you look at Category:Articles nominated for deletion, I have bagged a fair amount copied pages... and many of them are entire pages of plagiarism. I definitely think profanity added to pages should be deleted... not that I don't swear, but to protect the young people who visit this wiki :)
Darkwynters (talk) 01:50, September 19, 2012 (UTC)

I know, I've put deletion tags on copied pages myself as per policy. The FRW has had a serious problem of unchecked plagiarism we need to fight against and clean up. I just think we can make it a little easier on ourselves to handle. And we'll continue to fight the good fight against vandals, as we always must.
BadCatMan (talk) 02:08, September 19, 2012 (UTC)