The title should say it all, but for clarity, I'm wondering what the community thinks about this. Is it acceptable to copy the description of a tag from another SE's site and if so, do we need to cite that?

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    $\begingroup$ See here and here $\endgroup$
    – TheSimpliFire Mod
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 7:05
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    $\begingroup$ Those were great links. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – EhsanK Mod
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 12:56
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    $\begingroup$ @EhsanK would you summarize the content of those links in an answer (and accept it, if you see fit). That way future readers will have a quick answer to this question. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 14:08

2 Answers 2


TheSimpliFire comments "See here and here", and our main Meta "What is a tag wiki" offers a link to SO's Blog; so it's useful to use brief quotes, offer links, and provide attribution.

But, if there's any tailoring to be done which explains the difference between the tag on our site and an identical tag on another site then be certain that your wiki tag edit includes it.

Similarity is good as it makes it easy to understand the tag and its usage.

It's every bit as important to detail the differences from other's usage and how its usage is unique to the OR site.

Take the tag for example, SO's version isn't helpful and Math.SE's version is non-existent. Searching on the main search page buries our results in over 2,300 others from everywhere else; where a word unique to OR could be used that's a preferred choice in the first place. Unique words and content individualize our site and make it a valuable resource.

Remember not to go overboard like they did for SO's Scala Wiki, better examples are on our Super User site: Microsoft Office (yes, images and other tags are OK), Mac (brief summaries for each tag-link, and "do not use for" cautions), Debian or Bash - notice how the temptation to copy was replaced by summarizing and linking.

Also of interest is the main Meta Q&A: "New tags page mangles tag wiki excerpts", where Jeff Atwood's (unpopular) answer explains that Tag Wikis are subject to re-write rules where after your edit is saved a script runs against your edit and "... it tries to be clever, and removes some stuff in front of the tag excerpts to avoid repetition ..."; sometimes mangling your edit.

Always proofread your edit before and after saving it.


Summarizing the answers and comments from the links that @TheSimpleFire posted in the comment:

About copying from other SE:

(Summarizing this link)

  • Don't be mislead by the term "Tag Wiki". It's advised not to just provide generic descriptions such as encyclopedia articles. Apparently, there is even a specific flag for copying a significant amount of content from an external source.
  • The purpose of Tag Wikis is to create something unique for that site because different sites serve different purposes. So, no blind copy-pasting. It's like asking a programming question on Stack Overflow vs. OR.SE. A pure programming question is more suitable on SO while those related to the practice of OR or combined with tools or techniques that are used in OR can get better answers on OR.SE.

About appropriate attribution:

(Summarizing this link and adding my own opinion as this part felt more opinionated to me!)

  • The authors of the tag wikis are not visible on the tag wiki page. Especially, that tag wikis can be changed and modified over time by the community (think of a case where some version information or functionality described on a tag becomes outdated).
  • However, personally, I prefer to cite in case there is a good portion borrowed from another SE site, similar to what the OP (from the above link) does. Here is his example which I like (keep in mind, no blind copy-pasting):

The contents of this tag-wiki originates from "julia" tag-wiki description at Stack Overflow and was edited to reflect usage guidance and advice specific for the Computational Science community.


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