In this answer on Meta.Islam.SE, Caleb essentially suggests that summarizing the response of another scholar is an inappropriate answer for a SE question. He says

If you can actually research the subject until you understand the issue and can formulate the answer based on your own knowledge and use the sources you studied as external references then by all means jump in.

This does not seem to be the typical rule that we follow here on Mi Yodeya. Over here, summaries of teshuvas by rabbonim that address the question are typically considered good answers. We don't generally go for answers written by members of the MY community without some evidence backing up our assertions.

Are we just different from other SE sites? It seems to me that we need to have some kind of authority behind our answers over here. Otherwise, it's just some person on the internet saying what he/she thinks about Judaism.

1 Answer 1


First of all, the issue I was responding to on the Islam site is very different than the issues you face on this site. Besides, I think you misunderstood what I was saying. Maybe I wasn't clear, maybe you just read it out of context because you had this site in mind.

I did not intend to "suggest that summarizing the response of other scholars is inappropriate". Quite the opposite, I was saying that it WAS appropriate.

The issue I was addressing was copy/pasting other people's research without even really understanding how it applies to the subject. Doing a search for some keywords and dropping whatever content you dredged up in the answer box is not good practice. I was trying to say that people need to research the issue so that they understand it and can formulate the answer summary themselves even if they use others work as reference.

  • I don't really understand the distinction you're making. "If all you can do is lookup the answer somewhere else and rehash it here, just let it alone." Well if someone asks what the halakha is, and I go look up what Rambam (for example) said about it, and summarize his answer here, isn't that exactly what you're talking about?
    – Daniel
    Jul 29, 2013 at 20:28
  • @Daniel No, that is not what I'm talking about. An example would be me googling halakha (not the foggiest idea off the top of my head) and copy/pasting the first thing I found without even reading it and NOT giving a summary because I didn't actually learn what it was.
    – Caleb
    Jul 29, 2013 at 20:30
  • If my answer is "Rambam says in xyz that abc is forbidden because it is like the practice of the non-Jews", how do you know whether I understand what that means?
    – Daniel
    Jul 29, 2013 at 20:34
  • 3
    @Daniel The fact that you could write that sentence is pretty much good enough. At that point if you are misrepresenting what you claim to be representing the voting system will do it's job.
    – Caleb
    Jul 29, 2013 at 20:38

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