In the last few hours, I have raised four (4) flags in SO and five (5) flags in Data Science SE (DSSE), all of them concerning systematic plagiarism (and attempts of) by a specific user.

In brief:

  • Said user sees an SO question, posts an exact copy to DSSE, gets an answer here, then comes back to SO and posts this answer word by word (including a clarification in the comments) without attribution; FWIW, he does not even bother to accept (or even upvote) the DSSE answer he plagiarizes, while he prompts the OP in SO to "tick my answer as correct" (and ends up with 3 upvotes).
  • User sees a DSSE question, posts an exact copy at SO, gets an answer, then comes back at DSSE and posts this answer again word by word without attribution. Again FWIW, and in contrast with the short answer of the previous bullet, this answer is a long and comprehensive one, including quotes and code snippets.
  • User sees a question in SO with a bounty of 50, posts an exact copy to DSSE without attribution, but unfortunately (!) he doesn't get any answers here, so the act stops here.
  • User does the exact same thing as in the last bullet above with three (3) more SO questions, this time without bounties; again, no answers here at DSSE, hence no further acts at SO.

With one justifiable exception, all these flags here and at SO were found helpful and accepted.

The result?

  • Here at DSSE, user gets only a temporal suspension for plagiarism for 7 days
  • At SO, nothing; user maintains his ~ 700 rep, and he is let loose to leave comments around, accusing me of "taking advantage of your reputation"...

So, to break down the question in the title:

  • Isn't it clear that here we have a case of systematic, intentional, recurring, and planned plagiarism practice, aiming at gaining undeserved reputation across SE, which, had it gone unnoticed, could have gone on for who knows how long for? Or is it just my idea?
  • If yes, what more is needed in order to permanently suspend such a user?

And to conclude, will I find myself eventually in the defensive, trying to complain for retaliation to people unwilling to listen?

Just asking... Because if I find myself in such a situation in the future, it would be obvious that I have done something very wrong...


2 Answers 2


Thank you for taking the time to flag! Please know that they are looked at, dealt with, and remembered.

I understand your frustration, since so much of this is opaque to non-moderators. Sorry it took me so long to respond here, my family was in town for the Remembrance Day weekend.

Please know that the moderators do care. In addition to your flags here, multiple SO moderators also flagged the posts here. I am assuming they did this in response to your flags on SO.

If the answers and comments on your SO Meta question have not satisfied your need for information, please feel free to comment back here. In the context of specific moderator actions not being public information, I will try to fill in more details as I can.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Many thanks, Stephen, for this sincere response; it is highly appreciated, especially the fact that you do sound like a human being, and not like an intelligent chatbot, as is sadly the case with the response in SO Meta... $\endgroup$
    – desertnaut
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 12:37

Another solution to the behavioral issue you raised would be avoiding the fragmentation of the content across multiple Stack Exchange websites, by either better defining the scope of each site or simply allowing cross-website questions. Because even if you ban the user you mentioned, other users might still post duplicate questions in good faith, as it is the case with so many questions on this data science stack exchange.


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