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The following answer is taken from a question I posted in Arqade here. The question was regarding the contents of Iron Lockboxes.

Warface:

Gives random accesories, shadow keys (lots of them) , Cool Wolver Tail, and other stuffs which in that case are rare.

The thing that surprised me the most is that he copied his answer directly from the Spiral Knights forums without citing them.

Comparing his answer with the Forums answer, linked here:

Gives a random cosmetic accesory. It's like gambling, 90% of the time, like shoebox says it's useless.

and

Yep. Got a Cool Wolver Tail on my first lockbox :3

and

As for what is inside of the boxes...

Accessories, and shadow keys. That is all. (and your chances of getting anything good are slim.)

Essentially, he took his answer from the forum, without linking them or citing them. Not to mention his answer was extremely vague. Is this behavior acceptable? Should answers be cited?

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If it was directly quoted, it should be attributed to the source. It's its taken directly from elsewhere but only paraphrased, it's still best to say "I found this information here". –  Jim Oct 26 '12 at 17:51
    
It should be noted, though, that if the same question is being answered in two different places, it's expected that the answers given will overlap to some degree. His answer may or may not have been based on the forum's content. –  Jim Oct 26 '12 at 17:52
    
So generally, should answers at least reference a site where you found the answer? –  euphoria overlord Oct 26 '12 at 17:52
    
Yes, it gives credit to an original author (if you are quoting, or if you are paraphrasing somebody else's work and didn't really do a lot of work yourself), and it shows people where the information came from (allows them to double-check and decide for themselves whether they think it is reliable). –  Jim Oct 26 '12 at 17:53
    
Should I flag his answer then? Or edit it? –  euphoria overlord Oct 26 '12 at 17:55
    
However, a large quantity of questions (I'd say "most" but I'm not sure of the numbers) on Stack Exchange are/can be answered based on domain expertise and personal experience. In these cases, a link to another source can be useful to back you up or provide additional information. If you have to actually look something up somewhere to answer the question, though, it's best to point to it. Since the answer is derived from some other content, it's possible there are multiple interpretations of the source –  Jim Oct 26 '12 at 17:56
1  
@Retrosaur I'd start by leaving a comment. It's possible that the answer is based on the info from the forum, but just based on your post here I don't think it's necessarily guaranteed. –  Anna Lear Oct 26 '12 at 17:57
    
I wouldn't flag it - it doesn't seem to violate and rules of an ansewr. I wouldn't edit it, either, since you don't know for sure it came from there. The best case of action here would be to comment and ask the answerer to explain whether he based the answer off personal experience or found information elsewhere on the internet, and to share a link if he did. –  Jim Oct 26 '12 at 17:57

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

In general, yes. But as pointed out in the comments, there are a couple cases to consider:

  1. Direct copy/pasting. This should ideally be marked as a quote and properly sourced. We don't police copyright issues (unless contacted by the copyright holder), but plagiarism isn't cool and communities should not (in my opinion) condone it.

  2. Paraphrasing or a comprehensive answer based on various research. It's always nice to cite your sources, but there's a caveat: in the case of games, it's possible that the answerer looked on the forums and grabbed information from there, or maybe they just played the game and knew that that was the answer.

Heck, answers based on personal knowledge and experience are frequent on many of the SE sites. I know for myself, sometimes I have to Google (and then I cite the source as a supporting reference), but when I just know the answer - what's there to cite even if the same thing is posted elsewhere?

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+1 for personal knowledge being a factor. I'm often citing myself "because I know." :-) –  Joshua Nozzi Oct 26 '12 at 19:32

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