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I am pretty new on Stack Overflow. Normally when I do articles, I do quote people and put in the references. But, not very long time go I put a quote from Wikipedia in an answer to this question, and at the end of it I put (source). I don't know why, but it looks like people just get "mad" because of it.

On Stack Overflow should we not quote others' work?

Any constructive advice on how to give an answer will be appreciated.

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Do you feel like you are answering the question using your own expertise, or merely stringing together quotes from other primary sources? Are your quotes the vast majority of the content of your answer, or do the quotes merely support your own words? Anyone can go to Wikipedia and read an article; people come to Stack Overflow to ask experts their questions and benefit from that expertise. –  Robert Harvey Nov 24 '12 at 19:24
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Quoting is good. Copy & pasting without attribution is bad. You fixed the missing attribution, I don't think there's a problem now –  Pëkka Nov 24 '12 at 19:24
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Note the double quote button at the top of the answer box- you can select text and hit that button, and it will highlight that section of the text as a quote. That will make it clearer what is a quote and what is not. –  David Robinson Nov 24 '12 at 19:25
    
@RobertHarvey I know the concept because I work with numerical algorithm, I just don't know how to put in a good english like the one was there. –  dreamcrash Nov 24 '12 at 19:26
    
And I did put the source, I always do. –  dreamcrash Nov 24 '12 at 19:26
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@DavidRobinson I comment like that is easy to understand, and more than welcome, in contrast of using sarcasm to say the same thing. –  dreamcrash Nov 24 '12 at 19:27
    
Well, I read your answer, and I don't think you're actually answering the question that was asked (upvotes notwithstanding). Your answer describes what +0 and -0 are, but you don't explain why they exist. In the absence of the quoted text, your answer seems link-only to me. –  Robert Harvey Nov 24 '12 at 19:30
    
@RobertHarvey I as planning to do it so, but I waste the time responding to the comments. Nevertheless, the issue that people raise was about the copy past. But, as soon I got from work, I will edit the question and improved. –  dreamcrash Nov 24 '12 at 19:32
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Oh, you gave the source from the beginning (albeit a bit obscured). I apologize. In that case, I guess the only thing left to do in the future is to make super sure that it's crystal clear you're quoting. Quoting from Wikipedia is not a problem in itself –  Pëkka Nov 24 '12 at 19:34
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I'm not 100% sure all the answers here actually address the issue. The user put the material in a quote block. The user also included the "source" link to Wikipedia. I recently had an edit rejected for a similar reason, and I'm just as confused and baffled as dreamcrash.... well, not that baffled and confused... ;) I think I know why my edit was rejected... but it would be cool to get an official Stack Exchange response as to what is and isn't good attribution. –  jmort253 Nov 24 '12 at 19:40
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@jmort253: If you write an essay for university, the teacher expects it to be your own work, not the work of others. It doesn't really matter if you attribute properly; the work should be your own work supported by quotes, not primarily quotes from other sources. –  Robert Harvey Nov 24 '12 at 19:42
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@jmort253: That is the usual end game, yes. Posting links is lazy; enabling that laziness by fixing people's link-only answers with quotations (also lazy) kinda disrespects those folks who are trying to post real answers. –  Robert Harvey Nov 24 '12 at 19:49
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Funnily enough, one of the people complaining about quoting wikipedia has quoted wikipedia. –  fgb Nov 24 '12 at 19:52
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@RobertHarvey - When I post answers of my own, I go into great detail, one only need to check my activity to see that I am very thorough. However, something just really bugs me about answers that contain just a link and nothing else. My approach may not have been the best way to fix that problem, but I thought it was "less lazy" than merely flagging it as not an answer and moving on. This whole experience has sort of turned me off to trying to help people improve their link-only answers. There were times when I provided valid edits, and had stubborn people roll them back. –  jmort253 Nov 24 '12 at 19:52
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@dreamcrash If you are quoting the content of blog blabla then yes, they deserve explicit attribution and any attention that your post generates. –  Asad Nov 24 '12 at 19:55

3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

If you quote a source, format it as a quote, so it is easily distinguishable from your own content. Like this:

Quoting dreamcrash:

I am pretty new on SO, normally when I do articles I do quote people and put the references. But, not very long I put in a answer to this question a quote from wikipedia, and at the end of it I put (source).

I don't know why but looks like people just get "mad" because of it.

My question is, on SO we should not quote others work? Any constructive advice on how to give an answer will be appreciated.

That said, it is generally a good idea to have original content that introduces or elaborates on the material you have quoted, no matter how self explanatory the quote.

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"That said, it is generally a good idea to have original content that introduces or elaborates on the material you have quoted, no matter how self explanatory the quote.". I've never been accused of being a plagiarizer when quoting material and providing explanation. This is the key piece that dreamcrash is missing. –  jmort253 Nov 24 '12 at 19:48
    
@Asad Thanks for the inside. –  dreamcrash Nov 24 '12 at 20:11

You should quote if you just copy other peoples content.

But it would be best to put it in your own words and give an answer that fits the question best. And personally I don't like that wikipedia content because it's hard to get. It tends to be spelled very formal.

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Note the double quote button at the top of the answer box- you can select text and hit that button, and it will format that section of the text as a quote. That will make it clearer what is a quote and what is not.

In most cases, an answer should be more than just a quote and a link. (One exception might be a very specific question about a language feature, and a quote from the documentation that precisely answers it- though even in those cases I would usually put a sentence afterwards summarizing it).

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If you look at his answer, that's what he did. However, people are still asserting that it's plagiarism, even though he put the text in a quote block and also included a link to the source. –  jmort253 Nov 24 '12 at 19:37
    
@jmort253 It wasn't actually originally formatted as a quote, and didn't even explicitly mention Wikipedia (just had a hyperlink entitled source). The accusations weren't so much ones of plagiarism as of unoriginality, since there wasn't much to go with the quotes. Additionally, I think people tend to frown on Wikipedia as a source here. –  Asad Nov 24 '12 at 19:42
    
@jmort253: no, he hadn't put it in a quote block, he has edited it as such since my answer. See the edit history. –  David Robinson Nov 24 '12 at 19:43
    
@Asad and David, I see that now. Thanks for pointing this out. It does sound like dreamcrash could have done a better job of making it clear where the material came from. Additionally, I think Robert Harvey is right. dreamcrash should also have elaborated on the content and provided his/her own explanation as well. –  jmort253 Nov 24 '12 at 19:46
    
@jmort253 Actually, checking now Robert Harvey was actually the one who edited the question to include a quote block, not dreamcrash. –  David Robinson Nov 24 '12 at 19:47
    
Ah, you're right. This was the edit right before RH's: stackoverflow.com/revisions/13544352/3 –  jmort253 Nov 24 '12 at 20:02
    
@DavidRobinson I put block quote, as soon I read the answer of Asad here. –  dreamcrash Nov 24 '12 at 20:04
    
Before that I was assuming (wrongly) that just putting (source) was enough. I had read Faq, I and did not remember reading about it, maybe it was nice to have a subsection for this, i don't know. –  dreamcrash Nov 24 '12 at 20:09

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