Combating plagiarism with helpful checkers.

Recognizing itself as a site that relies on user-generated content, WikiAnswers has created and enforces a detailed Plagiarism Policy. It doesn’t happen every day, but when members do come across copied information in answers, it helps to know that there are ways for handling it:

  • Removing the copied material is a must.
  • Adding the web page with the helpful material as a Related Link is a great way to guide readers towards it without copying it directly.
  • Summarizing the content in your own words in the answer and citing/linking the resource is also acceptable and encouraged.
  • Of course, informing the user who copied the content into the answer is crucial so they don’t make the same mistake again. Most users are just trying to help out, and sometimes lose track. Use the message boards for this.

Earlier this week, I came across this blog post in Search Engine Journal which rates online plagiarism checkers.

They’re rating five checkers based on data source, registration required, reliability and usability. Seems like Copyscape came out the winner.

So if you come across an answer on WikiAnswers that seems to be from another site, plug it in to the checker and hope for the best.

2 thoughts on “Combating plagiarism with helpful checkers.”

  1. Interesting tool, Liz – thanks for posting about this! I noticed that Copyscape works by URL. So if you find an answer that may be plagiarized, copy the question’s URL from the browser address bar into the search bar on Copyscape, and you’ll see a list of places on the web that have the same content. Of course, the content may have been copied *from* WikiAnswers in the first place!


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