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  1. Please see the question in the title. Suppose that a quote answers a question so clearly that you don't truly need to add anything. Books and journal articles are obviously on-topic.

  2. Does the source of the quote matter? Reddit? Quora? Internet posts?

  3. Does the identity, or lack thereof, of authors matter?

In the past, linking to, and quoting, a Reddit post was avouched to be plagiarism, yet I lighted on this answer that merely links to a YouTube video.

  • I think this one (by you) is a pretty good answer: music.stackexchange.com/a/86403/6070 Note that it is not 100% quote, it has the citation and brief explanatory information necessary. Also note that upvotes and downvotes are at the sole discretion of the voter, so anyone who likes or dislikes the quote(s) used or the way they are cited or anything else about any answer can vote as they like. A negative score on a quote-only answer may be related to the fact that the answer is mostly quote, but could be related to any other aspect of the answer. – Todd Wilcox Jul 1 at 13:26
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Before we get into specifics, a quote can be a good answer as long as it is coherent and directly addresses the question. That being said there should be somethings from the poster 1) citing the source and where it came from 2) the poster should add a little more substance in either explanation or summary so it's not just a quote in the answer. The source really doesn't matter as long as it's properly attributed and correct.

The current answer you link to is not a very good example of this. It is what is called a link only answer and if the link rotted away as they do some times the content would no longer be an answer. So this post may be deleted if the OP does not bring the information into the post that cannot just rot away.

If you are talking about this deleted answer in the past, you did not attribute your sources and the quotes did not coherently answer the questions. After the first draft when you at least attributed them there were still problems that we have discussed before on the meta 1) being it read like a rant rather than an answer 2) the quotes themselves didn't really give an answer to the question. Also your answer was just those two very different quotes with no explanation or anything tying them together.

I'm going to link the other two meta questions where this issue was discussed:

  • Hi! Thanks. Your last para: I meant to ask a different question, sorry. How didn't I "attribute your sources"? Why was I avouched to have "plagiarised"? I think I did provide the URL to that Reddit post. – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Jul 1 at 0:45
  • @Greek-Area51Proposal See the comments on DrMayhem's answer in the first bullet point link. We've been over this in the past. – Dom Jul 1 at 13:25
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Yes, given the right circumstance, I think a quote could stand alone as a good answer (provided it actually answers the question).

But for me personally, I always like to add some kind of extra explanation or context. I recall one question that simply asked something like "Is C♭ to A♯ a doubly augmented sixth?" The answer was just "yes," but it seemed more proper to show them the logic of it: here's a major sixth, then an augmented, and so here is why it's a doubly augmented sixth. One thing I often ask myself when I'm writing an answer is: "If this answer is still confusing to a reader, what else can I add to try and walk them through the process?" It doesn't work for every answer, but it's served me well in the past.

And no, I don't think the source of the quote matters, although I think we should always strive for the most reputable sources; all things being equal, a quote from a textbook will be better than a quote from Quora. To me, the democratic aspect of Stack Exchange will save the day. If the information is bad, the community will (hopefully) downvote it and upvote a more proper answer.

And proper citation is actually discussed in the help center; the Referencing page explicitly states that plagiarism "is frowned on by our community, and may result in your answer being down-voted or deleted."

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