So I was presented with the following tag wiki approval screen below. Basically it's a copy of the first paragraph of the project's homepage.

I know it's a relatively minor priority from our site's perspective, but I think we need to stop ignoring copyright law and strongly discourage the copying of these short descriptions (even from project homepages and Wikipedia).

See also:


  • If a text is copied from a place with a nice license there's no problem, e.g. from Wikipedia or open source documentation.
    – N.N.
    Commented Sep 25, 2011 at 11:02
  • But open source licenses usually required attribution and in a tag wiki excerpt there's no room for attribution.
    – 8128
    Commented Sep 25, 2011 at 12:45
  • 6
    You suck at anonymization of pictures. :P ;) Anyways, I agree - we definitely should care about copyright/licensing.
    – htorque
    Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 23:36
  • 2
    @htorque seeing as you can go to the tag wiki history page it didn't seem a big deal :P
    – 8128
    Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 17:12

2 Answers 2


It seems that Wikipedia only requires a link back to the article as attribution. That's according to an answer from one of the questions you posted.

In general, I think it's better to write original content for tags, but if a paragraph from Wikipedia is apt, then including it with the link shouldn't be that big of a deal.

I agree though, that anything more than a link (e.g., a licence agreement, or requiring the entire article, not just a part) would be too much for the tag wiki.

  • 1
    The problem with tag wiki excerpts is that they are plain text, there's no room for a link to Wikipedia. For the main body of tag wiki text that is of course a good idea :)
    – 8128
    Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 17:13
  • 2
    Ah, my bad, I didn't read closely enough. I certainly agree if we're just talking about the excerpts. It's not hard to come up with some original words to say on a topic. Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 17:50

In addition to the license issue, external content is often not well-adapted to the use in tag wikis. Wikipedia articles tend to be too encyclopedic; they often start with too much background detail (such as a history of project versions) and don't contain enough practical information of the kind that's useful here (such as a link to the Ubuntu package or PPA, or to official or unofficial documentation). Project home pages are often worded too much like ad copy, and tend to lack a lot of context (it's not the case here, but many project home pages leave me to wonder what that software actually does).

I think I reject a majority (or at least a sizable minority) of the suggested edits to tag wikis across Stack Exchange because they're lifted directly from an external source. Not for legal reasons (though it can happen), but because it's rarely the right information for Stack Exchange.

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