14

Give feedback. This is why votes and comments exist. More specifically, diagnose whatever the problem is (unsourced opinions in this case) and offer a possible solution if the answer can be fixed. To quote someone else on a recent answer as an example: A source would greatly improve this. And myself on a different recent answer: In this answer you ...


13

Any source is always better than no source, and no source is ever required. For instance, in increasing order of preference: We wash our hands in the morning. My parents taught me to wash my hands in the morning. I learned in 2nd grade to wash my hands in the morning. I learned in 2nd grade from Rabbi X in ABC Torah Academy to wash my hands in the morning. ...


11

Don't edit or delete. We are not in the business of deciding who is a legitimate rabbi. Cite your sources and let others evaluate their value. After all any source is better than no source. If you want to comment suggesting an improvement, go ahead.


10

I think that we should support and encourage various different styles of answers to Halacha questions (and all other types, too), chosen in each case by the answerer to best utilize the knowledge, skills, and energy of the answerer to satisfy the curiosity of the asker and all future readers who share that curiosity. In some cases, a comprehensive tracing ...


10

The pattern I have noticed consists of 5 sources of information: Closed or open library sources. e.g. Sefaria, HebrewBooks.org, Otzer. Google searches in Hebrew will often turn up articles. Recollection of a discussion from Yeshiva, a Shiur, etc. An obscure (or not so obscure) reference that someone actually read and remembered. An article from something ...


9

Yes. This is a great thing to do. Please do this whenever you see a chance to do so. If you see a comment that's pointing towards​ an answer, and you are able to flesh it out into a helpful answer post, please do so. Providing inspiration and assistance to you writing such an answer is why such comments exist. If you've used all of the relevant information ...


9

Tack-on point to DoubleAA's answer: A decent rule of thumb is that if someone feels moved to challenge you for a source, then your assertion is probably one of the following: Unknown to at least one reader in the target audience Incorrect, at least according to some Insufficiently precise In any of these cases, looking up the best source you can and ...


9

I don't think anyone would say that it's mandatory to include links (it can't be because providing sources in the first place is never mandatory – see here with comments). But I think that everyone would also agree that links improve the answer (and certainly don't detract). I think the primary value of links is that readers can see the original source ...


9

This is my approach; others can feel free to disagree: For my own posts I specifically link to certain resources and not others. I prefer linking to something which actually contains the original version, rather than a mere transcription of the words. This retains the tzuras hadaf, as you noted, and often contains other useful information (e.g. various ...


9

Regarding comments that point to a source that could provide an answer, the optimal outcome is that someone uses that source to write up a proper answer. One example of a community initiative that can result in many such upgrades is an Answerathon, as such comments often provide good opportunities to contestants to generate answers to unanswered questions by ...


9

Yes, it is wholly appropriate to edit questions so that they refer to Jewish translations, unless the non-Jewish translation is essential to the question.


8

A link is never required and always better. The harder a particular source would be to find without a link, the more value a link adds. See our FAQ post about citing external material: At a minimum, always provide a reference to the external material. If it's on a website, your reference will be much more helpful if it includes a link.


8

I can't speak for others, but when I leave such comments I'm seeking clarification, not challenging the question. If somebody says "I've heard" or "I've seen", I naturally ask "where?" -- not as a challenge but, rather, because if you tell us where you've encountered the teaching/practice/idea, it can help prospective answer-ers to investigate. We want to ...


8

Unless the question specifies a particular type of source that it's looking for, even answers that do no cite any source at all are "valid", information that comes from informal or mimetic sources is better than information with no cited source. Regardless of the type of source, the more information that the answerer can include about the source, to help ...


8

Thank you for asking this important question. There are several reasons we frown on link-only answers: Web pages change all the time. Today that link directly answers the question. Will it in six months? Sometimes links break, which is at least obvious, but sometimes content changes, and those changes may affect accuracy and/or applicability to the ...


7

Google! 😀 ... and Sefaria, Mercava, and Google Search in Hebrew are all superb resources.


7

I agree with Alex's answer. I think that the general rule to apply for editing someone else's work is that you should make sure that your edit improves the post without violating the [on-topic] intent originally expressed in it, sort of parallel to "zachin le-adam shelo befanav". So, like Alex says in his last paragraph, if you have a reference link that ...


6

I think there are two aspects to bringing in questions from elsewhere: impact on the source, and impact on the community. Impact on the source Stack Exchange welcomes questions from anywhere, and in a blog post I can't find now, Jeff Atwood or Joel Spolsky (IIRC) explicitly suggested the following strategy for promoting SE sites: find a question "in the ...


6

Some questions looking for sources (you linked to one in your question, and that user has had several similar questions) clearly start with a source, but they are hiding the ball. It is too specific to be otherwise (how did they know that elephants are only required for the north west, but north east allows for horses?). Essentially they saw something ...


6

If you have the ability to improve the quality of the question without taking away from its intended meaning, you should go ahead and do so. In this case, the question would certainly be improved by the addition of sources for its assumptions, as indicated by multiple comments to that effect. The only reason I can think of not to add a source would be if ...


6

I can see this situation turning into a hot political issue. Let's keep Mi Yodeya a neutral community where people of all persuasions can safely ask and answer questions. I also see little gain from spreading further the disgrace of an already disgraced Rabbi. Mi Yodeya is an open forum, and we reach out to Jews and non-Jews from all over the world and of ...


5

I agree that secondary sources that simply quote primary sources are generally less valuable than the primary sources. Some exceptions: If the secondary source is authoritative in its own right and more familiar to many readers than the primary source, could be valuable to include the reference to it. For example, many (most?) comments of Rashi on Torah are ...


5

I would like to expand on Monica Cellio's "Don't be so quick to dismiss the value of your summary" and the points that she and Scimonster made about what summarizing in your own words adds. Here are some types of value that your summary can and should strive to add: As both Monica and Scimonster note, a summary can be useful for people who want to learn ...


5

Absolutely. The more information you can give about the conclusion(s) in your answer (who made them, when they made them, what led them there, etc.) the better. It's hard for me to imagine how extra information can hurt.


4

A few things. There's no guarantee that the other resource will stay online. There's no guarantee by us either, but SE is pretty big, and is likely to stick around. We also hit high in search engines, letting people find the information more easily. Not everyone has the patience to read the full article, me included. I often find that the simple summary is ...


4

People's votes are their own. That is the official StackExchange position. Explaining downvotes is encouraged but not required. See also Why do you cast downvotes on answers? It's not true that we're not welcoming. We are in fact much more welcoming than other SE sites - Stack Overflow for example. There is no official rule that answers must include ...


4

I think that that's important information that should be in the question body itself. Quite obvious, as i was the one who asked the OP to edit in the source. :) From the help center: When should I edit posts? Any time you see a post that needs improvement and are inclined to suggest an edit, you are welcome to do so. The original author of a question or ...


4

A similar phenomenon does indeed occur on other Stack Exchange sites. For example, on the flagship site, Stack Overflow, for programmers, there can be multiple techniques to solve a particular programming problem, or multiple aspects or steps necessary to solve a problem. I don't know if such multiplicity of valid answers to programming questions ever ...


4

Someone who posts a question asking for "Jewish sources" might get the Shulchan Aruch, Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rashi, Rabbi Harold Kushner, Moses Mendelssohn, Martin Buber, Anita Diamant, Adam Sandler, Jon Stewart, Joe Schmo, or his brother Sholom Schlepper. If they want to get a specific type of source, they should specify what they want. If they aren't ...


4

Sefaria is a wonderful tool to access reference material and drill deeper on multiple layers of commentary. It is however not the most convenient when trying to learn a text from beginning to end. It would be wonderful if Sefaria would offer different styles of user-interface to match different use cases. Next to the current "look up some text" user ...


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