Most of the answers (and questions) on Stack Exchange websites do not cite external resources or references (papers, official websites regarding a specific topic, Wikipedia, etc.), like for example Wikipedia articles.
The contents of an answer are usually the result of the knowledge of the author of the same answer (and the reviewers). This makes these answers not always reliable, even though the votes this answer may or not have received may help in understanding if those contents are actually reliable. In reality, these votes tell us more about the number of people that share or not the ideas on those answers, the number of people that find or not those answers useful, etc. So, the voting system is clearly useful, but highly depends on opinions.
My suggestion is to add an explicit system to cite external resources/references while writing answers and questions, similar to Wikipedia's one.
Let's take this answer as an example where this explicit system to cite external resources/references would be useful.
The author says
No; you don't cast the result, since:
- It is unnecessary, as
void*is automatically and safely promoted to any other pointer type in this case.
This statement could cite, for example, the C standard, where that's explicitly stated (if there's such a place). This would clearly make this answer more reliable.
Overall, this citation system would make Stack Exchange websites even more reliable, which, in my opinion, would be an improvement. The citations do not have to be enforced, but they could eventually be required (by any user), in a similar way that this is usually done on Wikipedia. Eventually, this idea could be extended: a template system could be created; other types of templates could be introduced.
Why or not would this be a good idea? How difficult would it be to implement this?
One problem of introducing this system would be how to deal with all existing answers and questions whose contents are currently evaluated only based on the votes.