I actually take issue with that comment. You write
Well, I don't see value in providing references on a forum site (that seems really silly). My answer stays as is (in terms of reference). I see it silly for 2 reasons, A. it's a forum site. Forum site's are ridiculously known for misleading people, so it is absolutely worthless to add reference.
A few specific responses to that:
Stack Exchange is not a forum. We're a network of Q+A sites. Each site's tour states
This site is all about getting answers. It's not a discussion forum. There's no chit-chat.
We do get quite touchy about this.
- Even if we were forums - which we aren't - we don't have a reputation for "misleading people". Stack Overflow, for instance, is extremely popular among programmers and developers worldwide. I come from non-programming Stack Exchange sites, and when I began programming, I was shocked to see just how well-respected SO is. If Stack Exchange was consistently misleading, would this be the case?
- I'm never a fan of the idea that if a ship's sinking, you should give up. Your last sentence seems to suggest that adding citations won't do anything; it would be like bailing out the Titanic with a soup bowl. It's not. It works, on a surprisingly large number of sites - because Stack Exchange isn't a sinking ship. We're not awash in a sea of trash like you might find in, say, Yahoo! Answers. This brings me to Point #4 . . .
- . . . most of the rest of Stack Exchange is not like Stack Overflow. Again, this is my bias from smaller sites speaking, but other topics may require references that a programming question won't. For instance, you can often test code from an answer just by running it. On the other hand, on English Language and Usage (to take the site your comment's on), you can't really test out a word or phrase in the same way. You need to know definitively what it means. But in answer to your question, yes, the necessity (or lack thereof) of citations differs, for reasons such as the one I gave above.
Take my answer in context: I come from sites where citations are either required or strongly encouraged. If I claim, in an answer on Mythology, that Homer described X in the Iliad, I should back that up with a reference to the exact passage. On Astronomy, when presenting results of measurements of the solar wind, I should link to where I got the figures from. So citing sources is, to me, a personal requirement in most cases. I generally don't answer without doing so.
Just take that into account when considering my points. I also hope this didn't come out too harshly; citing sources has always been one of my pet peeves, so to speak.