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I think the Wikipedia article I want to work on was plagiarized from another website

asked 2019-11-01 11:11:48 -0600

I found text from my assigned Wikipedia article on another website, and I don't know if it copied Wikipedia, or if my article was copied. I don't want to work on a plagiarized article, but I don't know how to tell.

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answered 2019-11-01 11:30:31 -0600

Because Wikipedia content can be freely re-used, you will often find its content all over the web, which makes it difficult to identify plagiarized content in a Wikipedia article. Here are a few steps to help you decide.

First, examine the page carefully to see if it provides attribution. Often it will be buried down at the bottom of the page, or even concealed in a collapsed section. If it credits Wikipedia, you're probably safe.

Visit the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine at http://archive.org/web and enter the URL of the page you found. Go back to the earliest date that the page appears. Now open the History tab on your Wikipedia article and see what the article looked like just before the oldest version of the page on the Wayback machine. If they look identical, that's evidence in favor of the Wikipedia article being older. If they look different, skim through the history of the Wikipedia article since then. Do you see a large addition of text? Check out the diff - it's often easy to pin-point the process of copying because large blocks of text were added.

Sometimes it's hard to locate that point in the article's history where the text was added. You may need to gradually narrow it down by looking at the state of the article at different points in time. This might be a good time to contact the Wikipedia Expert assigned to your course to see if they can help with this.

If the Wikipedia article is older, you aren't safe yet - absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence. Not every page gets archived by the Wayback Machine when it's created. The Wikipedia Expert assigned to your course is always a good resource for help on this.

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Asked: 2019-11-01 11:11:48 -0600

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Last updated: Nov 01