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Please consult the question Is there a single word for people who inhabit rural areas? Scroll down to an answer provided by me (deleted; requires 10k). The comment by @tchrist immediately following complains that my answer had already been given. He's right about that: Even though I scrolled down seeking a similar answer, I missed it. (It wasn't a long answer, and indeed there wasn't much in it by way of typography to catch my eye.) I would have inevitably noticed it, and I would have flushed it myself.

Except I was not given the opportunity to do so. Someone (I suspect the guy who complained) had in some way contrived to make it impossible for me to do anything at all with my answer, including deleting it. And his complaint was accusatory and quite snotty. What can be done?

  • That answer was deleted by a moderator, so you won't be able to delete it again, or undelete it. You can add another answer, if you wish. I'm not sure what the actual problem is here. – Andrew Leach Oct 7 '16 at 12:14
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    @AndrewLeach My guess is that a person (Senex) put effort into something they felt responsibility for and then someone else (tchrist) took care of its problems, taking away that responsibility, which, for a responsible person spending energy, might not feel so good. – Mitch Oct 7 '16 at 12:18
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    @Mitch That's part of it. My guess is that the other part is the implied and gratuitous accusation plagiarism. If it's clear that the definition is "copied-in text" (and it never occurred to me that is was anything else), then pointing out the ownership is unnecessary. The irony is that lexicographers have been stealing from each other for so long that (at least in the US), it's almost impossible to copyright dictionary definitions. – deadrat Oct 8 '16 at 4:14
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    What can be done? As a low-rep user, nothing. tchrist outranks you by a factor of over 50 in addition to being a moderator. If it's any consolation, it never occurred to me that you were trying to take credit for a dictionary definition, which -- see my comment above -- was likely swiped from another dictionary. It would have been better to say, "Please provide links for your cites; it helps users." But that's not the way things are done at ELU. – deadrat Oct 8 '16 at 4:21
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    @deadrat \ About the dictionary: Some time ago I provided the entire lengthy text of a dictionary entry as justification for my opinion on an issue. Some chap -- must have been a moderator -- told me that it might be better if I were to prune the non-germane part. Seemed sensible to me. Well, this time around the pertinent dictionary entry had numerous non-germane sub-definitions which I jettisoned. I made sure to retain the numeral associated with the part I retained so that it would be obvious that its source was a dictionary. End of story. – Senex Ægypti Parvi Oct 8 '16 at 10:08
  • @SenexÆgyptiParvi I trust you understand that with regard to attribution, you're preaching to the choir. It's clear to me that you weren't trying to pass of the definition as your own, and posters, particularly moderators, shouldn't be making asides that might imply otherwise. But that's just not the way things are done in these precincts, where some denizens regard the place as part of a serious and seriously strict academic enterprise. – deadrat Oct 8 '16 at 18:46
  • @deadrat \ Thank you for your understanding. Please receive me as a friend. – Senex Ægypti Parvi Oct 8 '16 at 18:51
  • @SenexÆgyptiParvi A gracious offer and accepted. – deadrat Oct 8 '16 at 18:57
  • Was it as accusatory and snotty as on this question: "U dont want 2 use 1 4 "one" unless U want people 2 h8 U 4ever. – tchrist♦" If not, you got off easy. A significant number of users have not gotten off so easy. – anongoodnurse Oct 8 '16 at 23:13
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"That guy" (tchrist) is a moderator (as you can tell from the little diamond thingy, ♦ , after his name) and he deleted your post because it fell afoul of our attribution requirements as noted on our "Referencing" help page, at https://english.stackexchange.com/help/referencing (under "Help > Help Center : Answering > How to reference material written by others"):

How to reference material written by others

Plagiarism - posting the work of others with no indication that it is not your own - is frowned on by our community, and may result in your answer being down-voted or deleted.

When you find a useful resource that can help answer a question (from another site or in an answer on English Language & Usage Stack Exchange) make sure you do all of the following:

  • Provide a link to the original page or answer
  • Quote only the relevant portion
  • Provide the name of the original author

There is additional material on proper attribution form at "New attribution rules" and its top answer.

The short answer, though, is that an improperly attributed answer may be subject to immediate deletion regardless of its other redeeming qualities. I am sorry you ran afoul of this requirement, but there it is.

As to the nature of the comment he left, I can only say that reading tone into a text-only comment is fraught with opportunities for insertion of ill will where none was meant. Yes, it was a bit terse, but I don't believe it was intended to be rude or accusatory; rather it was a (brief) explanation of why he felt deletion was justified ("it's a duplicate and it lacks the attribution we require").

I apologize if you feel you were robbed of your agency in determining how to manage your own post. However, if your response would have been to delete it, that has been taken care of. If you believe you could have expanded it and added attribution to make it more comprehensive and useful than the other post which also mentioned the same word, you are still free to post a new version of your answer with the enhancements.

(Also, just for reference, you can find the complete list of moderators by selecting the "Users" link under the site header, and then choosing the "moderators" tab (all the way to the right)., which will take you to this page.)

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