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I have asked a question a couple of weeks ago and I was given a very detailed and nicely presented answer. I was wondering if I would like to use such an answer how do I cite the person or what do I have to write in a paper so it is not plagiarism?

I have seen the cite button below their answer however it looks really unprofessional I think if someone looks and sees "@NoName(https://...)

Note:

When I say "unprofessional" I mean by the usernames some people use. For example, I would not want to cite someone whose user name is "FatUncle" on my paper even though the answer was what I was looking for.

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All content contributed by users on Stack Exchange is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. Under this license, complete attribution requires that you include the following:

  1. The copyright notice for the work [CC BY-SA 3.0 § 4(c)]
  2. The URI of the license [CC BY-SA 3.0 § 4(a)]
  3. The original author's display name [CC BY-SA 3.0 § 4(c)(i)]
  4. The title of the work [CC BY-SA 3.0 § 4(c)(ii)]
  5. The URI of the work [CC BY-SA 3.0 § 4(c)(iii)]

And, obviously, if you've made any changes (remix/adapt), then you must clearly indicate those, making it clear that they were not the original words of the author.

So, a complete citation would look something like:

According to Gilles in an answer to "How to properly cite someone on Stack Exchange?":

"it's rather unprofessional to levy accusations at people when you don't have all the facts and there were rather big clues that you apparently didn't try to understand"

(Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.)

Or, in print medium, perhaps something like:

Gilles. Answer to "How to properly cite someone on Stack Exchange?", Meta Stack Exchange. 13 April, 2019. <https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/326765>.
(Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0: <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>)

The copyright notice can be omitted when you're citing this on other Stack Exchange sites, since that copyright notice is already provided on every page.

  • Thank you very much for that. I was just a bit concerned about what my Professor might think when looking at my sources and seeing the funny names that some people chose to call themselves. – Hidaw Apr 14 at 15:38
  • I understand your concerns, @Hidaw, but there's nothing you can really do about that. It's the display name that the user chose, and what they wish to be referred to by, so you need to use that. If they have a silly or unprofessional one, it should reflect poorly on them, not on you. Think of it as being similar to a pen name under which an author might publish a book/article. – Cody Gray Apr 14 at 15:53
  • If you want to, you can even use (pseud.) after their fake name to demonstrate that you know it is a silly name. The acceptability of "(pseud.)" depends on your citation style; MLA, APA and Chicago don't call for this, but the Library of Congress (CIP) used it in the past. – whiskeychief May 8 at 9:40
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if someone looks and sees "@NoName(https://...)

That's not the way this text is supposed to be used. As it says right above, this is BibTeX. BibTeX is the preferred source format for citations in mathematics and related fields. It's also the name of a piece of software that translates this source into typeset text formatted according to each journal's conventions. BibTeX is part of the suite of typesetting software which is best known for LaTeX.

If you're citing the answer in a paper written in (La)TeX, the BibTeX format is what you need. If your paper is written in a different system, look for software that can convert BibTeX to your system's format. If you can't find any, just copy-paste each field manually and typeset according to the rules applicable to your paper.

As an aside,

it looks really unprofessional

it's rather unprofessional to levy accusations at people when you don't have all the facts and there were rather big clues that you apparently didn't try to understand (the fact that it says ”BibTeX“ above, which you might not know about but is trivial to find information about on the web; the fact that there's a button above to choose between different formats, showing that each of them is some specific format that someone thought about; the fact that this is obviously some kind of syntax with weird punctuation intended for computers).

  • When I said "unprofessional" I meant by the usernames some people use. For example, I would not want to cite someone whose user name is "FatUncle" on my paper even though the answer was what I was looking for. – Hidaw Apr 13 at 23:47
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    @Hidaw People's username is their choice. If they identify as “FatUncle” or “user123” on Stack Exchange, that's their business. If the username doesn't look like a “normal” name, you may wish to clarify it with some expression like “user FatUncle on Mathematics Stack Exchange”. – Gilles Apr 14 at 0:03
  • thank you very much for that! That is what I was looking for I wanted to know if there is a way to credit them correctly on my paper. – Hidaw Apr 14 at 0:06
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The cite button only appears on Mathematics and MathOverflow. On those sites, it's preferable to use the default text shown when you click cite, and modify parts of it to reference the source you're citing.

There are still ways to reference other's works elsewhere on the network, though. This is the way I most commonly use:


According to [source]:

Bla bla bla

This solves your problem because...

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