User TylerDurden brought up that link-only answers were discouraged in a discussion about this answer being a quote from wikipedia.

I'm of the opinion that answers should include at least a tl;dr or paraphrase of the quoted content, rather than just copying wholesale out of, say, Wikipedia — but I'm interested in hearing what others think we ought to encourage or discourage.


If the quote answers it well, it's not huge problem for me, but there should definitely be a link back to the source if at all possible. In most cases, a little bit of context around the quote is desirable.

Quoting from Wikipedia is always a little odd to begin with though, since it's not particularly authoritative. In my personal opinion, it comes across as a bit lazy in this case, and I think the votes reflect that. And I'm okay with letting the voting handle issues like that.

  • $\begingroup$ Quoting Wikipedia might be lazy but so is asking questions that are already answered there! $\endgroup$ May 19 '15 at 9:19
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby: Why? I'd say it's encouraged. Asking questions adds to StackExchange's usefulness as a general source of answers, even if the information could already be found elsewhere. $\endgroup$ May 21 '15 at 22:10
  • $\begingroup$ @MarcksThomas Because if a question is answered on Wikipedia, that "answer" is likely to be kept up to date. Old answers on Stack Exchange are rarely updated so answers here that were taken from Wikipedia are essentially just an out-of-date mirror. $\endgroup$ May 21 '15 at 22:47
  • $\begingroup$ Comments on this answer are the wrong place to have this discussion. If it's something you're concerned about enough to debate, then start a separate question. $\endgroup$ May 22 '15 at 3:20

Quote-only answers are fine if the quote is not more than a few lines long. Anything longer than that probably deserves some description or explanation. Copying a large section with no description sounds a bit rude, or at least lazy.

I agree the content should be paraphrased, or at least, highlighted in a long quote.

This is a very long and detailed quote which answers the question you asked. It may be a bit boring to read. Many readers have fallen asleep while reading this. Some just skip it all over. I believe that if a quote is long, the author should summarize it. However, highlighting a short sentence in a long quote can be very helpful. It helps readers locate the important piece of information in a long paragraph like this. The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog. Reproduction by mechanical or electronic means, including photocopying, is strictly prohibited. Do not write under this line.


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