re: What is curried tapenade?

First, let me say that I was not aware that recipes were protected under copyright law and learned something today and for that I am appreciative. I will not copy/paste recipes anymore and will instead link to the original source.

That said, as a very new member still trying to get his water wings, I'm sad that I went from 51 to 47 today because I was trying to help someone out.

I asked in the post if there was any way to correct the answer and get my downvotes removed somehow. It's very off-putting to try to be helpful and essentially get penalized for it. I understand why the downvotes came, but I'd like to try to reverse them. I was truly just trying to help the OP, which I thought was the point of this site.

Unfortunately I don't have anything else to add to this particular discussion because I know very little about tapenades, I was just looking at threads that didn't have a lot of responses and trying to help them out. So I can't really edit the post, just delete. Would deleting remove downvotes, or would the downvoters have to explicitly remove them? Would they be able to once I deleted?

tl;dr: Any way to "undo" my post and get back my points that I lost because of downvoting? I realize it was my mistake, and consider myself schooled about copyright law, if that matters.

  • Just wanted to thank everyone who stopped in to help me out with this one. Learned a lot and am much better off for it! Whether I get my rep points back or not doesn't matter nearly as much to me at this point as it did initially - I'm truly just happy to be part of such a great community. Aug 2, 2010 at 20:40

3 Answers 3


Hi Stephen. First of all, thanks for contributing!

Here are some things to keep in mind while using this site. Down-votes are not an attack on you as a person, nor even an attack on your answer. It is a subjective judgement of the quality of your answer by a member of this community. Like virtually everything done here, a down-vote can be undone. It can either be removed, or turned into an up-vote. However, once 5 minutes have elapsed a vote cannot be changed, unless the answer/question is edited.

You can edit your own answer by clicking the edit link below it. It is completely up to the persons who voted your answer down if they want to change their vote. I typically do, and don't see any reason not to in this case.

Regarding copyright-fu. First, I'm not a lawyer. However, as noted by the U.S. copyright office here: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl122.html "a recipe ... accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook ..." is protected under copyright law. In the absence of any license or other indicator it is considered an "all rights reserved" license. Meaning, you must have the express permission of the author to reproduce the work. Even in the absence of a copyright symbol (©) or statement, copyright is assumed. That said, there are conditions called fair use which permit the reproduction of parts (e.g. a small excerpt) of a work without author permission.

I'd like to be clear that I don't expect you or any new-comer to know this stuff. It's hardly common knowledge, and that'd be a ridiculous expectation to have.

Here are some rough guidelines I use when copying a work from another source:

  • If I'm referencing a blog post, article, or wikipedia entry I'll stick to a brief excerpt and provide a link to the full source. Sometimes I'll just summarize and provide the link to the full article.
  • If I'm quoting a recipe I'll sometimes copy the ingredient list, because it makes a better answer than a simple "go look here: http://example.com". In most cases I'll also contribute some knowledge or experience of my own.
  • I try to minimize my answering of questions in which I don't have any first-hand knowledge or experience, which would involve me simply providing a link I googled. I do this occasionally, but I always make it clear that I'm doing so, and it's usually due to there being a lack of any good answers to the question.
  • Thanks Dave. Didn't mean to get so upset, cooking is a passion of mine, even if it is just a time consuming hobby at this point (I'm a web/multimedia/mobile developer by trade - oddly enough I work in Pharma so we have something in common) and I took it personally, which was stupid. Rough day at the office today - big client deliverable Friday. No hard feelings from my end, and a sincere apology for being a little nuts. The copyright stuff makes perfect sense and I see no reason why I should paste an entire copy instead of linking when relevant :) Aug 2, 2010 at 20:29
  • Also, great advice, especially the third one. In my defense, I did think about/try to make it clear that I didn't really know and was just pasting [smile], but even so, I'm definitely seeing that I probably should stick to things I know about and not just trying to get rep - that will come naturally. You and Tim Gilbert and some of the other posters are just so fast and so good, I feel inferior trying to keep up! But thank you for all the copyright info and especially taking the time to explain about the site, etc. This really is as great a community as SO (where I'm a lurker, for now). Aug 2, 2010 at 20:31

You need only click the edit link at the bottom of your post (under the tags). That won't automatically undo downvotes, but most people are reasonable and if they see your edit (and the edit is good) then they'll reverse them.

You can also delete your post by clicking the delete link. That won't automatically undo the rep loss from the downvotes, but if you're especially concerned about the 4 points, what you can do is click the flag button on one of your posts, select "Requires Moderator Attention", and for your message, ask to have your reputation recalculated. This will cause any rep loss (or gain) from deleted posts to be reverted.

I would also like to point out (as I originally did in the comments) that the majority of traffic on Stack Exchange sites comes from Google, and that questions/answers on these sites tend to rise to the top of the Google results very quickly.

For that reason - as well as general politeness (you may not see it this way, but it is slightly demeaning to suggest that the person who asked the question wasn't smart enough to Google it himself) - we do not encourage Googled answers unless you are adding content of your own and/or consolidating information from several different places.

  • Thank you Aaronut - my concern is, I don't want to seem like a whiny brat about this either (too late, right?). I'm just nowhere near as fast or knowledgeable as some people here (such as hobodave) and every upvote I get is really important to me right now. Is flagging a downvoted post to get a reputation recalculation a common thing? In any other instance, I'd gladly edit and ask the downvoters to check my new post. Unfortunately I've never made a tapenade so I don't really have anything to discuss, I was only answering here because of how few answers the post had at the time. Aug 2, 2010 at 20:06
  • @stephen: I understand of course - you don't want to sound bitter, and we don't want to turn people away. We all want to answer questions and create a successful community and so, as tempting as it may be to Google answers you don't already know, it's also very risky if you get called on it. Anyway, yes, it's normal to request a recalc from time to time, but you need to delete the post first, and flag any of your other (non-deleted) posts to ask for a recalc.
    – Aaronut
    Aug 2, 2010 at 20:13
  • Makes perfect sense, I truly meant no harm but I absolutely see your point. Luckily this was the first time I had Googled to help someone - honestly, I was trying to beef up my rep a little by helping people who didn't have a lot of answers and this was my first time doing that as well. From now on I'll stick to questions that actually speak to me like I did last week, and not go off number of responses :) Aug 2, 2010 at 20:13
  • @stephen: It's fine to research on Google; if you get some hits and understand enough about the topic to form your own answer, that's great, you've contributed something valuable. Linking or copying directly, though, tends to be frowned upon. No harm done, pencils have erasers here.
    – Aaronut
    Aug 2, 2010 at 20:16
  • thank you again for taking the time to respond/explain. Trust me, if I had thought about it at all, I would have probably come to the same conclusions you did re:Google, and not answered at all. In my hurry to try to get in before anyone else and hopefully get some rep points, I made a dumb mistake and fully admit it. I've deleted my post and flagged another one for review to see if I can get the rep points back. Fingers crossed! Aug 2, 2010 at 20:18

Unfortunately, the question was created in a way where it was begging for a Google answer and you being new to the site saw an opportunity to participate and were dragged into it.

I'm not a particular fan of the "What is X?" because all you need to do is go to google, search X and you will be given plenty of results.

All I can advise is, answer questions that interest you, make you want to do a little bit of research on, or already have some knowledge regarding the question.

Don't do someone's Googling for them.

Now, using Google to find a reference to back up your statement, go right ahead.

If you have an opinion about something, write it up in your own words, then search on Google for someone that agrees with you and point out you aren't the only one saying it.

  • "Don't do someone's Googling for them." is great advice. I tend to send my friends to lmgtfy.com when they ask me that kind of question but I was fishing for points here. Oops - bad idea! I do like the "write your own opinion and then point to other sites" idea when relevant, thanks! I feel much better and more knowledgeable about the rules of the site and how people answer having posted here in Meta. Thank you for taking the time to help out, I promise to try to pay it forward. Aug 2, 2010 at 20:35

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