This FAQ is aimed at providing clarification on a few common questions on the topic of providing sources in posts.
Sourcing material quoted from other sites
Do I always need to provide a source when quoting material from another site ?
Yes, if you are quoting material from another web site then you must credit it with a source link as not doing so constitutes plagiarism, please make sure that the link points to the specific page containing the material as oppose to the home page of that site so that others following the link can easily locate it.
How much material is it acceptable to copy ?
Unless the material is yours or permission has been granted to reproduce it then you should only ever quote a small portion of it on the forums, for copyright reasons please do not copy and paste large quantities of text or entire articles - quote only as much as is necessary either to prove your point or to let others know what the material is about ( usually one or two sentences is sufficient. )
Sourcing information in a discussion
What is the best way to provide a source for information in a discussion ?
The clearest and most effective way to do this is to provide a short quote and then a link underneath to the page the quote is from, this way you are providing the specific information while giving others the chance to visit that source and read it up in full for themselves.
Do I have to post sources when I present information in a post?
We do not have a specific requirement for members to provide source links to relevant data when making a claim or presenting factual statements in their posts however it is often a very good idea to do so whenever you can. If there are specific facts you are relying on in a discussion to support your argument and the provision of a source is possible then being able to provide one to back up those facts helps you to solidify your position and will go a long way to convincing others that your argument has merit. Obviously there are many cases where it isn't possible or practical to provide a source but where it is and where one is warranted then its a good idea to do so.
Why should I post a source - its up to everyone else to do research and validate what i'm saying
No it isn't, if you are making a claim that requires validation and you are able to provide it then it is generally up to you to do so; you are making the claim and therefore you need to back it up with sources if you want it to be taken seriously. Again while there is no strict enforcement of this if you are looking to convince others that your point is correct but are telling others that they will need to look up the facts themselves or to "do their homework" then you are unlikely to elicit much support.
Can I ask someone to post a source ?
If someone has made a claim and you feel a source can be provided and is warranted then it is acceptable to ask that person to provide one.
I've been asked to provide a source, do I have to ?
If you are putting forward an argument, a source has been requested and it is possible to provide one then while not compulsary it will substantially harm your position and likely render your argument void if you deliberately refuse to provide one. If you are unable to provide a source when one has been requested it is good practice to respond by explaining the reason behind that.
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FAQ: Providing sources
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