Currently, the tag wiki excerpt for reads:

Pertaining to preventing, punishing, or handling the consequences of academic dishonesty. Also, defining what constitutes academic dishonesty.

The tag wiki excerpt for does not exist, but its wiki is:

Academic fraud can include: Plagiarism, Fabrication, Deception, Cheating, and Bribery etc.

The tag wiki excerpt for is:

Plagiarism is the practice of taking credit for someone else’s work. Also included in this tag are questions on self-plagiarism, which involves redundant publication or reuse of one's own work in an unethical manner

There seems to be a lot of overlap here. I'm also concerned with the word 'cheating', which doesn't always seem appropriate and can be ambiguous and used inconsistently. I therefore would like the community to consider three closely related proposals:

  1. Rename 'cheating' to one of the following: 'academic-misconduct', 'academic-dishonesty', or 'dishonesty misconduct'. (Moderators can silently rename the entire tag without bumping all the questions)
  2. Merge 'fraud' into this new tag, whatever it's called. (Again, mods can do silently).
  3. Also merge 'plagiarism' into this new tag? There is a lot of overlap with 'cheating', I'm not sure whether it's worth losing the added specificity of 'plagiarism'.

I'm asking here rather than just proposing a tag synonym because I'm interested in hearing the rationale for approving or disapproving of these proposals.


Update: in response to the objection raised by Wrzlprmft, how do we feel about renaming "fraud" to "research-misconduct"? That way it preserves the context and makes it explicit in the tag name, and will also include things like theft of intellectual property and espionage.

Second update: per the response to this question, I've renamed to , with the following tag wiki excerpt:

On distortion of the research and/or research publication process through dishonest or otherwise unethical behavior. Includes (but is not limited to) issues such as fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, violation of ethical standards related to human subjects research, and theft of intellectual property.

and updated the tag wiki excerpt to clarify the context in which it should be used:

Pertaining to preventing, punishing, or handling the consequences of academic dishonesty in coursework or examinations. Also, defining what constitutes academic dishonesty. (For questions on dishonesty in the research and/or research publication process, use 'research-misconduct' instead.)

This makes the essence of Wrzlprmft's answer - that these tags differ in the context of the misconduct - explicit in the tag excerpt.

1 Answer 1


From the ten questions tagged cheating, nine are about students cheating at courseworks, exams and similar and one is about diploma mill (and thus mistagged anyway in my opinion, as using diploma mills serves rather to deceive outside of academia).

The questions tagged fraud on the other hand are all about academic misconduct at the “research level”.

I would thus suggest to keep unchanged and edit the tag wikis to reflect the following categorisation paradigm (maybe renaming ):

  • and classify the level at which misconduct happens. The former is about exams, coursework and similar; the latter is about publications, research and similar.
  • classifies a certain type of misconduct, which can happen at both levels. Other types would be faked data, etc., which do not seem to deserve their own tag yet.
  • I don't know why we would have two tags for dishonesty depending on the context; isn't that what the other tags are for? (And, I think it's problematic to have tags that are indistinguishable to potential users except by reading their excerpts)
    – ff524
    Sep 14, 2014 at 13:15
  • 1
    @ff524: Well there are some basic differences in the way “cheating” and “fraud” (according to the proposed paradigm) are handled and regarded. Also I do not think you need to read the excerpts, as for example cheating is arguably the first thing that comes to mind when describing, well, “cheating”, though it is technically also fraud. The fact that nine from the ten questions tagged cheating are already correctly tagged according to the proposed paradigm supports this.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Sep 14, 2014 at 19:37
  • I agree that they are handled differently, I just don't know whether we get enough volume of these questions to need two separate tags. And I think the only reason those tags are so clearly separated now is because they're so underused. 'plagiarism', which has been applied more widely, is sometimes used on questions about theft of ideas - probably because we have no general 'misconduct' tag
    – ff524
    Sep 14, 2014 at 19:46
  • I think it may be too much to expect those asking questions to determine if the behavior they're asking about is 'cheating', 'fraud', 'plagiarism', 'theft', or something else (i.e. sharing past exams from a course). I wouldn't be opposed to 'dishonesty-coursework' and 'dishonesty-research', but I'm not totally convinced we need that distinction.
    – ff524
    Sep 14, 2014 at 19:57
  • 4
    I agree on keeping cheating. Nine question is not a small number, it's reasonable. As well, I believe that the tags should be intuitive to people not quite familiar with the site, and then cheating is the first thing you think of for students cheating, while plagiarism, fraud or possibly even espionage come to mind with the scientific side or academia. I would keep this distinction focused on the context rather than on the crime.
    – yo'
    Sep 15, 2014 at 8:24
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    @tohecz How do we feel about renaming "fraud" to "research-misconduct"? That way it preserves the context and makes it explicit in the tag name, and will also include things like theft of intellectual property and espionage.
    – ff524
    Sep 17, 2014 at 6:53
  • 2
    @ff524 That sounds really good to me.
    – yo'
    Sep 17, 2014 at 7:09

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