This question was asked and answered by the same user. That's totally fine — actively encouraged on SE. But the answer consists primarily of a recapitulation of — not plagiarism of — this non-SE article, including reusing its animated GIFs. The answer does cite the article, right at the end of the very long answer.

Is this in keeping with the standards of the Movies & TV SE? Even on StackOverflow, which has the stated explicit goal of being the one place where programming questions have definitive answers, I'm not at all sure this would stay open and well-received. But if the goal of M&TV.se is to be a central reference for all things Movie & TV — even when covered comprehensively and easily found elsewhere — then it would be in keeping and appropriate. Is that the case?

  • 1
    We discourage outright plagiarism .... its been a problem with tag wiki content, being cut and pasted from wikipedia and/or imdb. I've rejected a ton of these over the years. I've not read the answer here in detail, but if its originally written material, not containing cut and pasted text based on the two referenced sources - I'm not sure I have a big problem with that.
    – iandotkelly Mod
    Jul 27, 2016 at 14:38
  • @iandotkelly: It's definitely not plagiarism. Jul 27, 2016 at 17:07
  • So is the issue here the info source, or that it was a self answer? Cause neither is wrong and neither does combining the two make it wrong. Even though some people have publicly stated they hate self answers for idiotic reasons, SE actively allows them.
    – cde
    Jul 27, 2016 at 17:48

2 Answers 2


This is fine.

The answer has taken its gifs from the Agony Booth article but not its text, which appears to be original and is also much shorter than in the AB article. It also clearly lists the Agony Booth article, with a link, as its primary source.

If someone had

  • based their answer on an off-site article without linking to it
  • copy-pasted text from said article without acknowledging they were doing so

then that would have been dodgy. But none of that has happened here. All we've got is someone writing a really good answer for the benefit of the site, based on an Agony Booth article and other sources, clearly cited, and including gifs from the AB article but only short summaries of its text.

I say, +1 and keep up the good work.

(Disclaimer: I'm not very experienced as a M&TV user, but I am a moderator on The Other Site.)

  • Cool, thanks for that. Yeah, v. familiar with your involvement in the other site. I think the experience likely transfers. Jul 27, 2016 at 16:15
  • @T.J.Crowder Especially since I've even had to deal specifically with plagiarism issues over there :-) Jul 27, 2016 at 16:16
  • Oh, there was no question about it being plagiarism -- it isn't. It's just that the sole purpose for the question was answering it, with reworded content from an off-site article. It wasn't own work, in any real way, and the AB article is easily found. That's what twigged my radar. Jul 27, 2016 at 16:17
  • 1
    The answer should be judged on its merits: answering your own question is fine. I'f far rather people discussed the content on the answer which has some issues.
    – matt_black
    Jul 27, 2016 at 16:38
  • @matt_black Agreed. I didn't mention anywhere the fact that it was a self-answer. Jul 27, 2016 at 16:40
  • This is fine. I can't helping thinking of this comic: knowyourmeme.com/memes/this-is-fine#origin
    – A.L
    Jul 29, 2016 at 10:09

Full disclosure: I am the author of the question and answer that prompted this meta discussion.

Self-answers should be treated no differently than other answers

As you said, having one user ask a question and answer it themselves is absolutely encouraged. Going through Meta Stack Exchange's information on self-answering, there is no indication that self-answers should be treated any differently than somebody else answering a question. In other words, when judging whether an answer is acceptable or not, you should ignore the name of the poster. So if there is an issue with this question, it's not because it's a self-answer.

There are similar situations where this already seems to be okay

We have several questions that have answers derived entirely from another site:

In all of these cases, the source was clearly stated and the answer seems to be sufficiently transformative of the original work, meaning that it isn't plagiarism (which we don't allow on this site).

Images from a third party site are fine if they first came from the movie

You mentioned in particular reusing the animated GIFs first found on Agony Booth. I don't believe that this is an issue because

  • The original website doesn't own the GIFs (they are from a movie not created by the site)
  • The short clip falls under the criteria of fair use for most countries anyway
  • An identical animated GIF could be created from footage of the same source

It would still be courteous to link to your source. And again, we already have questions that do this, such as Man of Steel Easter Eggs.

  • You've used the word "plagiarism" more than once in this answer. I haven't said anything about plagiarism in the question. (Edit: I have now, to say unequivocally that I am not in any way asserting plagiarism.) Jul 27, 2016 at 16:35
  • @T.J.Crowder Removed one usage of it and clarified another. Hopefully that addresses your concerns. I agree that it's not an issue of plagiarism here, my point was that is a lot of precedent for the things that this question is doing. Jul 27, 2016 at 16:37
  • I frankly don't think any of those three examples is remotely in the same category as the answer in question. But ignoring that, it seems to me that the responses here are (so far at least) very much coming down on "Yup, it's fine, or even good" (in particular rand al'thor's). Jul 27, 2016 at 16:49
  • 2
    @T.J.Crowder .... I don't think we're saying you meant plagiarism, I think its being discussed in the comments and this answer because its the obvious danger of a long blog post style answer. The Q&A we're discussing however doesn't seem to fall into that trap.
    – iandotkelly Mod
    Jul 27, 2016 at 18:09
  • 1
    Yup, based on both comments and votes on rand al'thor's answer, looks absolutely in keeping with community standards. Nice one! Jul 27, 2016 at 18:58

You must log in to answer this question.

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