Every few days there is a question asking how to cite this or that.

I feel that

  1. these questions are often only minimally different,
  2. belong on academia.SE, because they are less about writing than about academic standards, and
  3. show a clear lack of initial research, because most of them can be answered by a look in the relevant style guide (asking them here is like using english.SE as a human dictionary instead of perusing Webster's)

I would therefore recommend making how-to-cite question off topic here.


Academic writing is on-topic here, so even if those questions would also be on-topic at Academia, it's ok to ask them here.

I agree that many of them are simple style-guide lookups, but I think the answer is to close those ones rather than also shutting out questions where the style guide isn't so clear (or guides conflict and the asker is not bound to a particular one).

In other words, askers should ask these questions responsibly, and people should take the amount of effort shown and the specifics of the question into account when voting. If it's nothing more than a simple MLA lookup, you can use a custom off-topic reason when voting to close.

  • 1
    I agree with this; if these questions start accumulating votes to close, we can consider making this more official. But there aren't so many of these questions that they're clogging up the site, and these questions have clear answers. Dec 18 '14 at 5:30

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