Today [Apr 21 '16] and yesterday there were a considerable number of suggested edits to previously empty tag wikis and tag wiki excerpts (browse here; viewing the full list requires >=10K points, I think), all by the same user. These edits mostly didn't really follow the guidelines on writing good tag wikis, in particular they often didn't make clear which questions should have the particular tag. On the other hand, having a tag wiki may be considered better than having no tag wiki, at least unless the contents are too unreasonable. It happens that these tag wiki edits were accepted by some users (like myself, at least in most cases -- though I don't know whether this was the 'right' choice), and rejected by others. -- Any opinions?

  • $\begingroup$ It is true that see the suggested edits in the list you linked requires some reputation. But I guess that if you link to specific examples of reviews - using links like this or this or this, then they will be visible to everybody. (In fact, I tried to view them while not logged in and I saw the review.) $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 7:30
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    $\begingroup$ Another link where these suggested edits could be visible to all users could be link to all suggested edits of that particular user. (This was not intended as pointing to a single user, my intention was to show some examples of suggested edits you mention. But if this is for some reason inappropriate, I - or the moderators - can delete my comments.) $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 7:34
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    $\begingroup$ The recent edits simply copy-paste material from Wikipedia, without attribution. When done on such a large scale it could be considered a violation of Wikipedia's CC BY-SA license. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 10:39
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    $\begingroup$ well, some of it is already being improved... $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 11:51
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    $\begingroup$ In light of Dmitri Pavlov's observation, could it be that the user misunderstands the meaning of the word "wiki" in "tag wiki"? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 20:30
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    $\begingroup$ These posts on Meta Stack Exchange are related to this problem: Would it be OK to paste content from Wikipedia into a popular empty tag-wiki? and Can we do anything against tag wikis copy-pasted from Wikipedia? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 11:06

2 Answers 2


The problem seems to be more serious: the tag wiki edits by this user seem to copy-paste material from sites like MathWorld, which requires a license for commercial use (http://mathworld.wolfram.com/about/faq.html#copyright), for example, https://mathoverflow.net/tags/axiom-of-choice/info is copy-pasted from http://mathworld.wolfram.com/AxiomofChoice.html.

Some other tag wiki edits by this user copy-paste material from Wikipedia, which allows commercial use, but requires attribution. However, no attribution is given. For example, https://mathoverflow.net/tags/calculus-of-variations/info is copy-pasted from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calculus_of_variations.

  • $\begingroup$ While I agree that this is problematic, I am not sure if this qualifies as commercial use. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 10:19
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    $\begingroup$ @TobiasKildetoft: MathOverflow carries advertisements for other StackExchange sites, which are commercial. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 10:39
  • $\begingroup$ Ahh, good point. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 10:42

As pointed out in the question, the problematic tag-wikis came mostly from a single user. Since this user has deleted his account in the meantime, they can be no longer found through his profile page. (In case somebody wants to help and improve the tag-wikis which are still missing source/attribution.)

To help with this problem, here are a few SEDE queries which might help to find them:


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