Here I report a subjectively funny case of a person who posts a wall of text over and over, since at least two years, to answer questions. He does modify it in order to adapt it to the asked question, so one might argue that what he does is entirely legitimate. I personally think that in this case, what would be better suited, is a redirect to his own answer and stating that the case applies for the current question.

What's also funny is that sometimes his answer is widely negatively viewed, whilst other times it is quite positively viewed, but that's another story.

I was wondering whether such a behavior (that one may call "bottish", from robot behavior) is accepted/tolerated. Is it?

For starters, here are nine of his answers that are similar:

  1. Energy Levels and Photons Absorption
  2. What makes the pre-slit photon detector act differently than air in a which way double slit experiment?
  3. Acceleration of photon
  4. Could light bounce infinitely?
  5. Concerning the passage of light through a glass medium and it's apparent re-acceleration, is the absorption explanation supported by evidence?
  6. When a photon hits a moving atom and stops it, why do we take momentum of photon rather than energy to calculate the change in motion of atom?
  7. In refraction how does light interact with electrons if it is not absorbed?
  8. What is light’s behavior in a medium?
  9. Electron Absorbing a Photon.

Google returns more of such of his answers, but I think nine examples is enough.

  • I'm not sure if this is against any rules, since he seems to be trying to tailor the response to the question. In my opinion, the major offense here is that the list he copies is never starting each number off with a capital letter even though the formatting would be a lot nicer if you ask me. – JMac Aug 28 at 18:36
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    @AccidentalFourierTransform The PSE users are typically curious :-), what is the problem with it? Or it sounds awkwardly on English? – peterh Aug 29 at 2:41
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    @peterh There is no problem. I was just pointing out that this user has a tendency to use the same phrases over and over (perhaps because of English being their second language), which may make it look like they are copying and pasting content from an answer to another. – AccidentalFourierTransform Aug 29 at 2:51
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    @AccidentalFourierTransform I mean, if we're gonna go that way... – knzhou Aug 29 at 17:39
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    There is no problem, because the substantive content of the answers is different. Forcing somebody with English as their second language to rephrase the same few sentences over and over again to avoid "copy pasting" is a big burden, and really unnecessary. – knzhou Aug 29 at 17:41
  • @knzhou I blame it on QMechanic ;-) – AccidentalFourierTransform Aug 29 at 19:27
up vote 10 down vote accepted

While there is some overlap, I wouldn't call it a 'wall of text' (which has generally negative connotations). Nor is it particularly 'bottish'. The user appears to be legitimately answering a variety of fundamentally similar questions, which require a fundamentally similar answer. Perhaps your complaint should be why most of those questions have not been closed as duplicates.

Many people have certain phrases that they use often. The comments above serve to remind us of that fact!

Our Moderator David Z says:

"The policy is that content which is copied from another source should be either deleted, or edited to make it clear what was copied and where it came from. If it happens repeatedly, it could lead to moderator action. Plagiarism is not tolerated on the site as an ethical matter.".

Wikipedia's page on self-plagiarism says:

"The reuse of significant, identical, or nearly identical portions of one's own work without acknowledging that one is doing so or citing the original work is sometimes described as "self-plagiarism"; the term "recycling fraud" has also been used to describe this practice. Articles of this nature are often referred to as duplicate or multiple publication.


In academic fields, self-plagiarism occurs when an author reuses portions of their own published and copyrighted work in subsequent publications, but without attributing the previous publication. Identifying self-plagiarism is often difficult because limited reuse of material is accepted both legally (as fair use) and ethically.


"Self-plagiarism" is a term with some specialized currency. Most prominently, it is used in discussions of research and publishing integrity in biomedicine, where heavy publish-or-perish demands have led to a rash of duplicate and "salami-slicing" publication, the reporting of a single study's results in "least publishable units" within multiple articles (Blancett, Flanagin, & Young, 1995; Jefferson, 1998; Kassirer & Angell, 1995; Lowe, 2003; McCarthy, 1993; Schein & Paladugu, 2001; Wheeler, 1989). Roig (2002) offers a useful classification system including four types of self-plagiarism: duplicate publication of an article in more than one journal; partitioning of one study into multiple publications, often called salami-slicing; text recycling; and copyright infringement.".

Notice that I properly quote and attribute. I could have provided my own opinion but it would hardly have the same weight as pointing out established practices. In the event that anyone else or I desire to make reference to this answer there is a 'share link' available to include with your written citation; some sites also have a separate 'cite link' to use.

Self plagiarism is StackExchange's pithy Laconian version version of "Welcome to Corneria". We don't want to be a platform for creator's apathy - where if you ask about one subject and try to find out more information you are confronted with the same high reputation author expounding their favorite stories.

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