Actually this question was asked in PSE and after googling it I gave the same question on yahoo with an answer.

So my question is:

can I copy paste that answer?


This is an answer to your question from my perspective, not wearing my moderator's hat.

That particular answer was written by someone else and is their intellectual property, which they've explicitly licensed to Yahoo (via the appropriate Terms of Service) but not necessarily elsewhere. For you to take those exact words and display them elsewhere as if you had written them yourself wouldn't be honest.

I think that you, Ramanujan, are perfectly capable of distilling the differences between the existing answer on the question you link and the answer you have found elsewhere, and the world would be a better place for your efforts.

If you think there is something ineffable about the answer you've found that can't be reproduced by your efforts, a link in a comment would sit better with me than a big block quotation in an answer.

I don't think that any of your options here are wrong in a way that would cause trouble, but copy-pasting content from elsewhere is my least favorite among them.


Here's a checklist to run through when considering this:

  1. Is this really the best source to use? Perhaps I'm overly harsh, but Yahoo! Answers, is generally not the best choice when it comes to even referencing an answer. If you insist on copying an external source, try to find something of higher quality. Stack Exchange is better than sites like Yahoo! Answers; why should we drop to that level?
  2. Could you rephrase the content in your own words? This is highly recommended; see e.g. the tag wiki on plagiarism. The odds that the phrasing you've found is the single greatest way to explain the concept are slim to none, and you might as well try to improve on the wording. See if you can rewrite the explanation, adding ideas of your own. At the very least, write better than the "best answer" there, which opens with

    this smthg abt zero vector and its uses...

  3. Did you cite the source correctly? If you're still bent on copying the text, note that plagiarism on Stack Exchange is not okay, and could be deleted, although it's more likely someone will simply add in the link. Now, I don't know if the text on Yahoo! Answers is copyrighted, but if it is, the answer may be removed outright. If you can't confirm that it's okay to copy the text (with attribution), don't.

Frankly, I see no reason whatsoever to do what you're doing, but yes, legally and by the rules of Stack Exchange, you can do it (again, if the content isn't copyrighted).

Is it recommended? No. Is it allowable? Yes.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I agree with all except point 4. As long as you follow the attribution guidelines and copyright laws, there's no need to make an answer community wiki just because it got quoted from somewhere. The work that is being rewarded lies in finding the text, and making the judgment that it was better to quote it than paraphrase it. That's enough to deserve reputation. If an answer doesn't deserve rep, it's not worth posting in the first place. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Oct 12 '16 at 15:51
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZ Fair point; I hadn't considered that. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868
    Oct 12 '16 at 16:16
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ This answer is at least a bit misleading. "If the content isn't copyrighted" is a weird conditional: everything is copyrighted unless it's been actively released into the public domain or the copyright term (multiple decades) has expired. $\endgroup$ Oct 13 '16 at 8:54

According to a non-mod answer on the mother meta site, it is very much frowned on to copy a Yahoo Answer without attributing it, but it seems perfectly okay from a legal standpoint.

I recommend going through that post and any related posts to be sure, but so long as you cite your answer, you should be fine for the most part.

  • $\begingroup$ OK,so can I copy and paste same answer from Yahoo to this site? $\endgroup$
    – Fawad
    Oct 12 '16 at 13:52
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Legally, yes. But you should cite your source; state where it came from and don't just take credit for yourself. Otherwise, you'll earn a frowny face. $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Oct 12 '16 at 13:53

You must log in to answer this question.

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