While browsing questions on Stack Overflow, I managed to find the answer to well-received unanswered question on the AutoHotkey Forums.

The answer is fairly well written, and includes both a code-block demonstrating the solution, and a complete explanation of how the posted code works.

On one hand, I think reposting and citing the answer would be helpful, as it provides a fairly definitive answer. On the other hand, I'm not sure whether simply citing the answer is enough.

Is it acceptable to repost answers from an external site if I give proper attribution? What would proper attribution look like?


Referencing external sources is absolutely fine, and encouraged, but you should really be quoting the important parts and explaining in your own words how it answers the question at hand.

How much you quote and how much you explain in your own words is really up to you. Posting an answer that consists entirely of external material doesn't sit well with me. But a well written explanation of the answer, in your own words, tailored to the question you are answering, with links to and quoted portions of that referenced material to back it up is exactly how you write a good answer...

If you can't explain it in your own words, maybe you don't understand it well enough to know it answers the question; if you simply can't explain it as well, just give it as much context as you can and quote more. But at least try to explain it in your own words.

What proper attribution looks like comes down to how the content is licensed, the site you are posting on and/or your writing style. If you can find instructions on the site you're referencing on how to attribute then do as it says, if the site you're posting on has guidelines on how to reference material then follow that, otherwise use commen sense...

From John Smith on example.com


It depends on the Terms of Service of that forum. If, like Stack Exchange, it's CC BY-SA, you're allowed to repost the answer, provided that you give attribution, which would look something like this:

originally posted by Steven Vascellaro on Meta Stack Exchange, licensed under CC BY-SA

Name of the author, name of the site and a direct link should be enough...

... but officially, you need to state the copyright, the corresponding license and a disclaimer. This all might or might not already be implied by all content on Stack Exchange being under the same license; in any case, it's AFAIK not common practice on Stack Exchange, to do this.

and it s***s that I can't copy the 'appropriate credit' hover text from the Creative Commons website. So I can only rephrase it and make it look like I didn't copy it.

If it's another type of license, you have to check what terms and conditions apply. In any case, I couldn't find which license applies to the content on the AutoHotkey forum. It seems they simply forgot to add a license.

  • If some other content is not licenced to allow you to copy it then just stating the other content's licence doesn't give you the right to copy it. If the other content is licensed under the CC By SA licence then you don't need to say as much, as it's already covered by SO's terms.
    – Servy
    Aug 16 '17 at 21:23
  • The largest part of my answer is written based on the assumption that the forum is operating on a similar license as Stack Exchange.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Aug 16 '17 at 21:26
  • As I said before, if the other content is CC BY SA then you don't need to say as much, as all user contributed SO content (to which this would apply) is already labeled as being CC BY SA, so the appropriate licence is already being applied to the content.
    – Servy
    Aug 16 '17 at 21:29

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