While browsing a site in the network I thought of a question that hadn't been asked before. Before posting it I did a quick online search and found what seems to be a reliable answer.

Is it now bad form to ask that question and post the answer with a quote block and a link to that site? I don't really have the technical knowledge to add a personal touch and would really just be copying the answer given on the other site.

Answering your own questions is encouraged, is it encouraged even in this case?

To clarify and summarise: is it frowned upon to answer your own question with an answer you didn't write yourself but copied from an external site (assuming the source allows such reuse)?

3 Answers 3


Quoting directly from the site depends on their copyright. If they have one similar to SE's (CC), then yes, you can just copy and put it in a quote block, with a link to where it came from.

Otherwise, you'd be best off summarizing it in your own words.


Are you referring to other sites, external to the StackExchange network, or resources inside of it?

For external sites, you'd usually supply a link. As others note, the external site might have its own policy on quoting them, so this option might not always be possible.
Still, a link-only answer is not considered a good practice in SE, thus you'd need to put some effort in paraphrasing the important parts of the linked content. Another benefit in doing so is that external resources might become dead links, while the explanation in your post could still be useful.

If a question has an answer within the SE network, then it is a duplicate to the post the linked answer comes from, and should be marked as such. In case the topics are related, but not identical, marking would signal the OP to make the necessary edits that show how his issue is different.


"Is it bad form to ask a question and post an answer?" No. This is encouraged.

"Is it bad form to post a link-only answer?" Yes. This is bad.

If you don't have the technical answer to add a personal touch, fine. Just summarise the key points, with a link to the original source material. That way, if the original source goes down, the content is replicated here, on SE.

  • I'm aware of your last point, I'd be posting the answer on the third-party site, not just the link.
    – Lilienthal
    Nov 24, 2014 at 12:04
  • Don't see any harm in that. As long as you put in something like "taken from my answer at [link]" and them summarise the conteant again.
    – tombull89
    Nov 24, 2014 at 12:40

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