I think that a good question should provide some context that led the OP to ask that question. Thus I am trying to provide links to the sources that inspired me to ask a question.

One of my questions uses this Psychology & Neuroscience answer as a reference. Since SE thinks that up/down breakdown is an important privilege (1000+ points required), I cannot see the downvotes, so I have considered +5 votes good enough to use as a reference.

This reference was heavily criticized in comments and now I am wondering if using other SE sites answers is actually considered a good reference or I should try to provide more reputable references.


1 Answer 1


I don't think it matters how you establish context for your questions. The criticism in the comments is about the content you referred to, not that you referred to another SE answer rather than some primary source. I think you would have received the same feedback if you had cited the American Academy of Pediatrics directly rather than through an answer on Psychology SE.

If what you are citing is controversial then it helps to present the source in that light. The way you quoted the excerpt in your question seems okay to me, you restate what was posted on Psychology SE passing little value judgement. If you wanted to be more cautious, you could introduce the quote as follows:

This Psychology & Neuroscience answer provides a quick overview of how the American Academy of Pediatrics defines the difference between sex and gender:

That way, you provide no endorsement at all as to the correctness of 'the difference between sex and gender' as stated in that source. Even without your endorsing the source it can be useful to include in your question because it establishes the different viewpoints.

For more on that, consider this article entitled Cautious Language and Hedging by University College London. As you can see, striking the right tone when referencing information is a universal issue, it's certainly not unique to citing from other Stack Exchange posts.

So to answer your question, yes it is okay to use other SE posts to provide context for a new question.

  • Did not know about hedging outside of the investments :).
    – Alexei
    Dec 27, 2021 at 14:55
  • Yeah, it's good to provide factual information in questions (including both sides of disputes) but bad to provide opinion unless it's necessary to understand the question. You could be voted down legitimately if people think you're posting a question primarily to push a political view or a rant in form of question, and also be voted down if your question is too long and full of irrelevancies, just as if it's too short. Plus it's the most controversial subject on SE, which the SE overlords have failed to effectively handle, preferring to antagonise everyone and allow wounds to fester.
    – Stuart F
    Dec 30, 2021 at 13:35

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