# A plagiarized question [closed]

This question: If $x^2\pm px \mp q$ both factor into terms with integer coefficients, then $p$ and $q$ are the hypotenuse and area of a right triangle. is an exact copy of an AoPS question. I flagged it yesterday. Why did not the moderators take care of this?

• It is impossible to delete. Oct 4 '20 at 19:53
• Please do not vandalize your question. Please also note that a question with an upvoted answer cannot be deleted by the original asker.
– Xander Henderson Mod
Oct 4 '20 at 20:11
• There is a prolific young man on both sites, Michael Rozenberg. Some other kid posted one of his questions. He did get the kid to post a link. I asked Michael about it, he said he does not mind very much: math.stackexchange.com/questions/3850734/… was my comment... Oct 5 '20 at 0:05
• Related (and cuter) is Fibonacci's Lost Theorem $\equiv{\rm FLT}_4\ \$ Oct 9 '20 at 9:24

## 1 Answer

A couple of comments:

1. If you suspect that a problem has been plagiarized, please flag it for moderator attention. Please include a link to the original source in the flag, as this will make it easier to track down. In general, it is not appropriate to post copyrighted material onto Math SE. Please also note that flags can sometimes take time to be dealt with, particularly on the weekend. If it has not been handled after a day or two, please feel free to poke one of the moderators in the Math Mods' Office. Both quid and I are generally @-pingable there.

2. If you believe that a problem has been plagiarized, and is therefore inappropriate for Math SE, do not answer it. If you find out after the fact that the question is plagiarized, it would be appropriate to delete any answer which you have provided. If, after a moderator handles your flag, you decide that the question is appropriate, you can always undelete your answer.

That being said, the situation here is a bit muddled. For one thing, AoPS does not own the copyright on that post (it is owned by the original poster). Moreover, with an appropriate citation, I think a good case can be made that fair use applies. Finally, while a particular presentation of a problem can be copyrighted, mathematics itself cannot be copyrighted. In the case of a short problem like this, I am not sure where the line between mathematical content and presentation is, precisely.

I have added a link to the original AoPS question and cleaned up the formatting a bit. I am not going to take any other action at this time.

• I did 1). The link was discovered by another user (it is in a comment below the question). As for 2), I answered the question before I discovered that it is an exact copy. The AoPS question **does not ** have an answer. So I kept my answer after I flagged the question. Oct 4 '20 at 18:46
• @JCAA Please reread my second point. If you believe that a question is inappropriate for Math SE, for any reason, then you should not answer it. If you have already answered it, and find out after the fact that it is inappropriate for the site, then please delete your answer (for example, I have deleted several of my own answers after learning that the question I answered was a duplicate). In this case, it would have been entirely appropriate for you to delete your answer and await moderator adjudication.
– Xander Henderson Mod
Oct 4 '20 at 18:49
• @JCAA It is, indeed, quite par for the course (for responsible users) to delete their answer after they discover they answered a duplicate. If the duplicate is elsewhere on Math.SE, it is then (in my opinion) ok to delete and repost the answer to the duplicate target. Of course, we also have users who answer and reanswer duplicates wantonly. I rarely use respectful words when describing such behavior. Oct 4 '20 at 19:07
• Expecting diamond moderators to deal with everything is misplacing the burden a bit. After all, the site is supposed to, first and foremost, be moderated by the crowd. Oct 4 '20 at 19:09
• In this case, I would also add that there is no particular reason to believe the question was copied from that obscure AoPS thread. Much more likely is that both the AoPS thread and this asker copied the question from some other source. Oct 4 '20 at 23:48
• @EricWofsey That is a very good point, though in this case, it seems to me to either be a copy-paste from AoPS, or a copy-paste from some common source.
– Xander Henderson Mod
Oct 4 '20 at 23:52
• @EricWofsey that is probably the most common explanation, but see my comment math.stackexchange.com/questions/3850734/… and Michael's reply. Michael was not upset, but he did not give the answer either. Oct 5 '20 at 0:08
• The post in AoPS appeared one year earlier. It is possible that both posts plagiarized something else. What is absolutely clear is that the post on this site is not original. It did plagiarize something and nothing has happened to the poster or to the post. Oct 5 '20 at 0:13
• The only innocent explanation of this is that maybe the person at AoPS and the user here are the same. But since the user here has disappeared, only the moderators can find that out. Oct 5 '20 at 1:55
• @WillJagy Please do not edit answers to get around closures. You can always leave a comment.
– Xander Henderson Mod
Oct 5 '20 at 17:48
• Sorry. ....................... Oct 5 '20 at 19:46