I answered a user's simple question with a simple answer.

He wanted to learn how to make Ubuntu look more like Windows 7.

So I gave him this link: How to Make Ubuntu Look Like Windows 7

A moderator deleted for copyright issues.

Now the user does not have an answer to his question.

I thought the point of StackExchange was to give users solutions to their problems.

Because of the complex social dynamics of this website, I have been unable to help another human being.

Why should my answer be deleted?

My link fully answered the user's question.

I am not interested in spending my time rewording a useful link on the internet, like some high school kid copying his buddy's essay to trick the teacher.

The answer provided was sufficient for the user to fix his problem and continue on with his day.

I am not trying to "rob, rape, and pillage my way through supermarkets".

I am trying to help a fellow Ubuntu user with his problem.

Update: The question was answered, it was marked as a duplicate. Thanks, @fossfreedom. At least a solution was provided to the user's question.

  • re "Now the user does not have an answer to his question" - yes he/she does have an answer. The question was a duplicate - that link is now visible in the question itself. If you look at the duplicate you'll see a very similar answer but without the copyright issues that have led to your copy-paste answer to be deleted.
    – fossfreedom Mod
    Jun 18, 2014 at 19:39

2 Answers 2


Because it copied a whole swathe of text from another site that didn't make its content available through a permissive enough license. In short: because it's copyright infringement.

Read the Subscriber Content section of the Terms and Conditions you agreed to, notably:

Subscriber represents, warrants and agrees that it will not contribute any Subscriber Content that (a) infringes, violates or otherwise interferes with any copyright or trademark of another party

You [probably] don't own the license to that content, nor do you [probably] have the license to grant Stack Exchange a licence to that that content.

And yes, Copypasta like that is well outside the realms of Fair Use. So if we see stuff like that, we delete it. It's simply the fairest thing to do. If you can provide us with proof that you have the right to post it on the site, do so and we'll undelete.

In terms of doing the best possible job, there are starving people out there but that doesn't mean I should rob, rape and pillage my way through supermarkets to make sure they're fed tonight. You have to remain within the laws and terms set out on the site.

If you think you have a useful link, and you don't want to write your own content, leave it as a comment. Otherwise if you've got some time, develop the ideas from the link in your own words and and include the link as a reference.

Short excerpts are acceptable but it's important to note that you're not ripping off a whole copyrighted work. The line there is blurry so always err on the side of caution.

  • When providing only the link, i was risking deletion. I'm not allowed to provide barely more than a link. What would you suggest i do to keep the post?
    – RyanNHG
    Jun 18, 2014 at 18:48
  • 1
    @RyanNHG you need to do the work yourself and provide a answer you have gone through - If you follow the tutorial and write your own original steps taking considerations for the asker - then you can place links as supplement to a question. NOT get points for some other site answering the question for you.
    – Mateo
    Jun 18, 2014 at 18:52
  • I understand, I only copied the text to preserve my post, but it wasn't a step in the right direction. And it's a vicious circle. Due to the rules of this site, I was unable to leave a simple comment. Because I have less than 50 points, I am only able to leave answers. I am trying to accumulate enough points to be able to utilize the comment function by answering the questions. However, when I find helpful links to provide they are deleted.
    – RyanNHG
    Jun 18, 2014 at 18:55
  • Also @Oli, "that doesn't mean I should rob, rape and pillage my way through supermarkets"? Really, is that the equivalent of providing a link to someone looking for an answer? I hope you don't consider me to be a rapist for that offense. I understand if that violates copyright standards, but I'm just trying to help someone with an issue. The only reason I care about points is that this site disables simple features unless I have a certain score.
    – RyanNHG
    Jun 18, 2014 at 19:01
  • 1
    @RyanNHG "Helpful links" != "answers". See the help center for more information about what we consider a real answer. And yes, it does require 50 reputation to comment, for various reasons outlined in quite a few places that I don't have time to go hunt down, but you can start here. So, to sum up, links are not considered answers here, and hardly comments either. If you want points, post real answers or suggest some good edits.
    – Seth
    Jun 18, 2014 at 19:04

Not being able to see the deleted question here is a small list of some relevant information:

  • Would the method count as copyright? (all the commands and stuff)
    – Wilf
    Jun 22, 2014 at 10:49
  • 1
    no... but you hardly answer with just sudo apt update and sudo apt update all the stuff in between saying "First do this: it does this blah blah", but you should still reference(link to) any material.
    – Mateo
    Jun 22, 2014 at 11:47

You must log in to answer this question.

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