Two weeks ago I was first to answer a question but I admit in a very concise way (I was new here). The next days I found out that my answer was removed, and in its place there was basically the same citation, but with the reference to the origin of it.

However I asked myself if it was ethical removing completely the original answer.

I want to listen to the community about the way someone, being in the same situation, should behave. Post a comment with a link to additional support, leaving it up to the answer's author (so he can get some credits) to incorporate or re-edit completely?

A similar discussion is at Etiquette: When is it ok to edit your answer to include information from someone else's?

  • For reference, from the comments under Andrew's answer, the deleted answer which spurred this question is OP's on the Can one correctly hyperbolize the "take with a grain of salt" idiom? question. Though I don't see anything in he remaining answer which reproduces any of OP's original (limited) answer. In other words: I still don't see what the issue is.
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 5, 2017 at 11:28
  • @DanBron That actually has no answer that uses information from OP's deleted answer. Beats me.
    – NVZ Mod
    Sep 5, 2017 at 11:38
  • english.stackexchange.com/questions/407440/…. The question here some lines below: "Question: Is there an explanation for the origin of this idiom which allows its meaning to change with the amount of salt described?". Then my answer to this latter question.
    – ealy
    Sep 5, 2017 at 11:43
  • 1
    @user252044 But your answer doesn't answer "... which allows its meaning to change with the amount of salt described", which was the critical thing OP was seeking. Your answer didn't answer the question. Setting that aside though, you raised concerns the other answer has material similar to yours but you didn't get credit for it. But the other answer doesn't mention Latin or the origins at all; it merely says "these can be looked up". It seems orthogonal to your answer. Can you clarify these points for us so we can address your concerns more helpfully?
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 5, 2017 at 11:48
  • @AndrewLeach Is it possible that this OP posted a comment there which in turn was copied, instead of the answer?
    – NVZ Mod
    Sep 5, 2017 at 11:54
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    @NVZ There are currently no deleted comments on any posts on Q407440.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Sep 5, 2017 at 11:56
  • 1
    @NVZ The deleted:1 operator is a 10k privilege. OP can use the "deleted recent answers" link in their profile, i.e.: english.stackexchange.com/users/recently-deleted-answers/252044. (For everyone else that link is a 404.)
    – Laurel Mod
    Sep 5, 2017 at 20:05
  • @Laurel Thanks. I'd forgotten what it feels like for a new user.
    – NVZ Mod
    Sep 5, 2017 at 20:09
  • Please link to the post that cited your answer.
    – Lawrence
    Sep 7, 2017 at 6:36

1 Answer 1


In the comments under Andrew Leach's now-deleted answer, you mentioned that you're referring to the following question:

Can one correctly hyperbolize the "take with a grain of salt" idiom?


Your deleted answer has the following words, and nothing more.

The origin is from the latin "cum grano salis"

You claim that another user copied information from your answer.

This is the only other answer there, exactly as it is posted, the whole thing. It has no edits done on it. And the answer in no way copies yours.

The origin you can look up and we can discuss it. It is used as you say and so its usage it real. You may find people misusing it merely to emphasize what they hear and not to discount or throw doubt onto it.

Particularly •"I heard that restaurant is bad, but take it with a huge grain of salt" would mean that the doubt was great and place was wonderful while the tone made me think it was a terrible place.

To me if the speaker is altering the phrase I would think that they may not know how to use it but take that with a grain of salt.

I don't see where the issue is.


If you're referring to an edit suggestion of yours rejected, I see no such thing on your profile at all. This is what your profile says:

This user has no suggestions


If you're referring to someone using information from a comment you posted there, then that is not possible either. You have not posted any comment there. Andrew Leach (a moderator of the site) has said that there are currently no comments removed from under that question.

So nothing was copied from you in any way.

  • 1
    It's also worth noting that the deleted answer didn't answer the very crux original question, by making a case for or against the idea that the idiom's origins permit or prohibit hyperbolization. In other words, the answer was very short, offered no explication or justification (like citations), and ultimately did not answer the question, which is likely why it was deleted. IOW, it was a comment, not an answer. (And for you, NVZ, worth imagining it was left as a comment, in he context "what should be done with partial answers left as comments?". It's a good counter example.)
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 5, 2017 at 11:52
  • NVZ you say that there was no other post other than that, so why I asked?The issue is that inside the post there was this question marked in bold "Question: Is there an explanation for the origin of this idiom which allows its meaning to change with the amount of salt described?". My answer was to that, and it was deleted.
    – ealy
    Sep 5, 2017 at 12:02
  • @user252044 See Dan Bron's comment above explaining why your answer was deleted.
    – NVZ Mod
    Sep 5, 2017 at 12:04
  • 1
    @user252044 NVZ's answer here is addressing your concern about possible plagiarism, expressed in your question as "and in its place there was basically the same citation, but with reference to the origin of it". I think he took from your sentence "I admit in a very concise way (I was new here)" that you understood the rationale for deleting your answer. So he isn't addressing the deletion in this answer, only the potential plagiarism, which we are not seeing. Leaving aside the deletion (for more on that, see my earlier comments), can you elaborate on who and where you think someone copied you?
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 5, 2017 at 12:05
  • Still I don't understand, thanks anyway for the effort to explain
    – ealy
    Sep 5, 2017 at 12:08
  • 2
    @user252044 Your answer was deleted because it did not answer the question. The other answer answered the question (whether the answer is incorrect or not incorrect), so it was not deleted. So there was no inconsistency of treatment. The other answer was not "basically the same citation", and did not use any ideas, text, or material from your answer. So there was no plagiarism either. If anything else is unclear, please describe the issue in more detail, and we will try to address it.
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 5, 2017 at 12:12
  • Thanks Dan, I think that now is clear
    – ealy
    Sep 5, 2017 at 12:13
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    Is it possible, @ealy, that you followed links from the question to this answer to another question? It reads in pertinent part "The phrase is likely derived from the Latin cum grano salis, which in turn was used by Pliny the Elder in his work Naturalis historia" (followed by a Pliny quote). That does, indeed, look a lot like your answer but with a reference; however, it was posted over six years ago, not after your answer.
    – 1006a
    Sep 6, 2017 at 21:28
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    User 1006a, thanks for your effort, yes I think it's possible that I have made a very BIG mistake. For which I have no excuse and apologize to everybody.
    – ealy
    Sep 7, 2017 at 7:56

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