Beside what is outlined in the Attribution Required page, what are some potential citation formats that could be used? Think along the lines of how you would cite a question/answer in a book, blog posting, paper, etc that you are writing. Not for re-use of the contents, but to the contents.

I feel that a good format would conform in spirit to other commonly used formats such as IEEE/ACM, APA, etc. This way it would be easier to convert from your proposed style to any of the previous, should strict bibliography and reference rules apply to you work.

I've posted my suggestion below.


Please note that the purpose of the citations are not for the reproduction of content, as described on the Attribution page, but citations to the content.

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    I would use whatever the "standard" formats describe for citing an internet article, listing the poster as authors.
    – snicker
    Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 17:29
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    Jeff's comments in the podcast about the meta users being a little nasty are just turning out to be accurate. I'm guessing that the community sees a lot less value in this topic than I do. Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 17:40
  • @I'm really.. Sorry to have wasted your screen real estate, please proceed to the next question, which you possess less dislike for. Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 17:42
  • @Dana the Sane: Too bad; this is the newest question and I've already read the others.
    – Welbog
    Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 17:43
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    @Dana: If you feel people are nasty, it is likely because you asked something stupid.
    Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 17:45
  • @Rich, I'm not complaining about the response, just remarking that it was negative. If you feel it's a stupid question, you're welcome to that opinion. Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 17:49
  • @Dana: You certainly look like you are crying to me.
    Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 17:50
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    @RichB: There's something to be said about tactfulness and general respect for human beings when responding to a dumb question that is well-formed, grammatically tolerable, and at least shows some thought was put into it, regardless of how dumb the question is. Unfortunately, whatever it is that can be said... cannot be said by you.
    – snicker
    Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 17:50
  • @snicker: I have no reason to sugar coat my response to this person.
    Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 17:52
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    @Rich B: I think we're all a tad curious as to what reason you have to respond at all, if you think so poorly of this question. Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 18:12
  • @Jonik, I've reworded that part. Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 18:22
  • @Quack: I could ask the same of you.
    Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 18:51

2 Answers 2

  • Book — however you want to attribute them, as long as they adhere to the attribute rules (URL to question, author's name, URL to author's profile, contextually establish that the source is Stack Overflow and not you)
  • Blog post — link to the question. (Congratulations, you're using the Web!)
  • Paper — generally papers have their own styles for attribution when citing sources, so use that style instead of trying to make your own.
  • Something else — just make sure you use the right attribution and make it clear that the content isn't yours. This isn't rocket science, it's copyright law.
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    One more thing: in a book/paper, note the date at which you accessed the online resource (i.e. webpage). Unlike dead trees, online content is subject to change without notice.
    – Stephan202
    Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 17:53

The <ANSWERER> fields should probably stick to the top ~3 answers, otherwise we could default to an et al.

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    See this post: Dana the Sane, I'm really awesome. Really., RSolberg, Rich B, "How should the Trilogy and Stack Exchange be cited in external works?", 28433, 2009-11-03T13:37:11 AST There isn't even a URL in this style, and it doesn't even say it's from Stack Overflow. There's not nearly enough information here to find the original work. This format is utter failure at satisfying even a poor set of attribution rules.
    – Welbog
    Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 17:37
  • You're right, I intended to include the URL. I've fixed it. Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 17:39
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    Now you're missing the fact that you're supposed to link to the author's profile, too, according to Atwood's attribution rules. Having multiple authors confuses this. If you reference them, you'd probably have to link to every one of them. It's better to just reference the answer that contains the details, and list only the author of that answer. If you linked to a forum post, would you attribute it to everyone who participated in the thread, or just the author whose content you're focusing on? In this case, it's usually only the accepted answer that matters.
    – Welbog
    Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 17:42
  • @Dana: Did you even bother to read the blog post before posting this?
    Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 17:43
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    If I thought I had the complete answer, than I wouldn't have asked the question. I figured I'd provide my own answer to give others an better idea what I was thinking (perhaps unsuccessfully (or impossible)). Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 17:45
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    @Rich, yes, several times. It specifies what should be included. The purpose of the question is to identify some specific ways how it should be included. Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 17:47
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    I don't understand why you'd want a format in the first place. What is the benefit of having one?
    – Welbog
    Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 17:48
  • @dana: But your 'standard' includes none of the necessary attribution. Did you not understand what Jeff was saying?
    Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 17:48
  • I will update my question to explain a bit better, let me think on it for a few minutes. Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 17:51
  • I think the misunderstanding is that what I'm asking isn't the same thing as what is on the Attribution page. This isn't for reproducing content, it's for referencing it from somewhere else. Commented Nov 3, 2009 at 18:04
  • +1 This is my problem, too. Multiple authors/contributors makes it challenging.
    – Iterator
    Commented Oct 22, 2011 at 0:59

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