I have a doubt regarding posting answers. If I find a question interesting but I'm unable to answer 100% correctly with my own knowledge, I may refer to points from other websites, blogs, etc. for improving my answer. Is this fair and in line with Stack Exchange standards?

2 Answers 2


Why wouldn't it be? If you've found more information, or an authoritative source, or someone else's experiments with the problem at hand, or whatever-else-relevant, include it! Stack Overflow is designed to be a repository of useful knowledge; including more useful knowledge is good.

One caveat: don't just link to the other resources. Quote them, interpret them, comment on them; just don't just link to them. Link-only-answers are a subject of some contention due to broken links etc., and a lot of them get deleted.

(Also, don't just blatantly plagiarise. Give credit where credit is due.)

  • Thanks for your answer, but how it affect the standard of stackexchange sites. If this is happening widely, this may affect the standard of this sites....dont you think?
    – Kiran RS
    Mar 22, 2014 at 7:59
  • @KiranRS I don't see why you're concerned. People are putting more useful information into their answers; this has a positive effect on quality and standards. Where's the problem? Mar 22, 2014 at 8:00
  • Programmers may google without thinking about its solution for both time saving and accuracy , also may increase their laziness... I'm thinking psychologically !!!
    – Kiran RS
    Mar 22, 2014 at 8:04
  • 1
    @KiranRS That was very difficult to understand, but I think you're trying to say "lazy programmers might just copy-and-paste code". To which I say, that happens anyway. You can't fix lazy. But you can summarise the state of the problem in one answer on one webpage on Stack Overflow, so that the non-lazy people don't have to spend as much time finding all the information they need to do things properly. Mar 22, 2014 at 8:10
  • +1, thats an impressive reply.
    – Kiran RS
    Mar 22, 2014 at 8:18
  • 2
    @KiranRS Being a chemist, I mostly write on Chemistry.SE (so this is just a comment and not a full answer) but I always found it good scientific practice to support my answers with DOI links to peer-reviewed journals when I answer questions beyond textbook level. This is particularly true when I don't have professional practical experience in a field but can answer a question because I how to find, analyze and summarize findings of others. I think, giving credit is mandatory in these cases. Mar 22, 2014 at 16:23

If you find a useful resource, provide a link to it - that's ok as long as you first explain the solution within the SE answer box. Your answer has to stand on its own even without a link. A link can just support it.

If a quote provides a great explanation, include it, properly attributing it. There's no need to come up with your own words if someone did it well already.

Be careful to make sure that the source is reputable. There are sources that are notorious for their poor quality (e.g. w3school).

There's one category of links/quotes that should be considered important: original documentation of the language/system/etc. I find it that quite often you can answer a question just by pointing to the right section of the documentation. This is the best way in this case, I believe.

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