Why I am Asking

There was a little editorial dispute between me and another user, who was not the original author of the question. The complaintant was requesting clarification from the author, because he felt inadequate information was provided by the links. I added the information I felt to be relevant, but asked me from where everything I did came, and after I explained he indicated that either me or the questioner should have done some google searching. The exact details regarding the exchange can be seen in this transcript, if anybody is curious.

Despite that, at least for now, I have rolled back the question because I am not the original author either, and I want to be sure that my contribution was represntitive of the original question, permissible, and most importantly left the question in a better state than how I found it.

The dispute regarded How Old is the Use of Steal for Non-Rival Goods?

What I am asking

I am asking about three things:

  1. Does the information in the links originally provided by the questioner adequately explain the questioner's circumstance.

  2. Was Revision 2 an overall improvement to revision 1.

  3. Did I go overboard with the edit, or was it compliant with editing guidelines?

What I (Suppose I) Did

In my opinion, I did a few practically meaningless things, because when we edit posts, we are not supposed to change the meaning. However I thought the changes I made were useful:

  • I added details regarding the linked articles.
  • I included a quotation from a linked Wikipedia article to help try and define a term of the art, which I supposed would clarify its meaning.
  • I added requisite CC-BY-SA legal information for the quotation in a footnote.
  • I subdivided the question into a few portions to account for the extra length.

I did not make a comment requesting these changes since I have the edit everywhere privilege, and I figured everything I was doing was reflective of the questioner's understanding of his problem. My edit was drastic, but I tried to preserve the originally intended meaning of the post.

However, because the relevance of my own answer to the question has been questioned, perhaps I misunderstood. I am not sure how I could have possibly changed the meaning of the post, since I derived almost everything from author provided resources.

My Basic Understanding of the Question

For anybody wondering if I can explain my interpretation of the problem, there is a debate regarding whether or not theft and stealing are appropriate words to use in the context of copyright infringement. Some people believe that the words are too harsh, because they indicate depravation of non-deprivable resources and add needless severity to the crime as a result.

The questioner does not want to know if this meaning is applicable. He wants to know for how long these words like these, most particularly steal have been used in specific reference to non-deprivable resources, which are called rival-goods in economic terminology.

Desired Outcome and Finishing Thoughts

If consensus determines that my edit was a permissible improvement, nobody cares to try and do any better, and the original author does not object, I would like my edit reinstated, but only if all three of these conditions are met. If they are, it should probably be done manually since there was a small typo in my edit anyway. Besides wanting to have the edit reinstated, if appropriate, I think guidance here may help me to be a better editor. I defer to community judgement and look forward to your opinions regarding this matter.

  • I am the OP of that question, and I confirm that your interpretation of my question is correct. It seems like the use of that technical word "non-rival" confused several people, so maybe the best thing to do is replacing it with 'making a copy of a thing that can be copied with zero cost, like a reproducing a poem, making a photocopy, or downloading a file', and refer explicitly to online piracy as an example. Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 7:39
  • Also, I see plagiarism as a related but distinct idea: when I download an mp3, I am not claiming I am the author of that song and I am not committing plagiarism. Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 7:42
  • I'd be happy to reinstate Tonepoet's edit and then go on with some improvements in the direction of the above comments, but given the previous history I don't want to do it without at least a brief discussion. Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 7:43
  • 3
    @FedericoPoloni If you, as the OP, are happy with the edit and use it as a jumping-off-point for further editing, I don't think anyone will object. It might be useful if you put the definition of "non-rival" in your own words, and/or give a couple of examples of both "rival" and "non-rival" theft (e.g. taking someone's copy of The collected works of Shakespeare would be taking a rival good, but sneaking into a performance of Hamlet without paying would be taking a non-rival good).
    – 1006a
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 15:55


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