Probably got started with a perfectly reasonable idea: A form has been received by a group of people; one person well-experienced in filling it out passes his finished version around, to show how the task might be handled. A template, meant to be used as guidance for dealing with the matter at hand.
Not with the idea that every word be plagarized.
So the Oregonian story today about the House Republican caucus members who wound up submitting word-for-word same answers on the paper's candidate questionnaire raises a string of issues. That the filled-out form by Representative Bruce Hanna, R-Roseburg, was sent around to the others, isn't an issue; it might simply have shown some useful ways to address whatever was asked. But what does the direct copying by some of his fellow caucus members (all of which would be sent to the same people) say about the members' capacity for or willingness to exercise independent thought? Among other things.