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There have lately been a lot of answers on this site such as this one: https://hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/2928/419

While the answer itself is correct and does cite references, it consists almost entirely of quotes with only one sentence of original content (not counting transitions to quotes).

IMO this doesn't seem like a good standard to be setting. I would think that the purpose of this site is not to just paste what other people have written somewhere else, but rather to condense the information from multiple sources into a concise and clearly directed answer to the original question.

As far as the use of quotes goes, my thinking has been that they are primarily to be used when quoting directly from scripture. Quoting from blogposts or less credible sources seems iffy and at the least ought to be paraphrased somehow.

That being said I still don't believe that an answer which consists almost entirely of a quote from scripture is appropriate either. High quality answers tend to be more directed towards the questions, using scripture sparingly but in key places to give credence to what is being said.

What are your opinions? Is a quote-only answer acceptable or should we encourage users to do more than that?

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  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. According to me, if a site is answering a question then we can cite from that source particularly when that source mentioned that it already gathered the info from a standard scripture like (in my case) "Garuda purana". IMO, one should add their own content when there is a need to explain things clearly which is necessary to answer the OP's question. In the above answer, the sources explained everything which was asked by OP. So, I think my post is valid. but still lets see what other users want to say about this. – Mr_Green Aug 30 '14 at 16:35
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    @Mr_Green I think it would be better to find actual quotes from the Garuda Purana rather than quoting some random blog that claims to be giving information that's there in the Garuda Purana. I wouldn't consider blog posts like that to be reliable sources. – Keshav Srinivasan Aug 30 '14 at 19:57
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I think Mr_Green already provided a link for that which is almost duplicate of my question posted few days back which says

Answers which are totally copy pasted from other websites should be deleted

Coming to the rule which says that such answers should be discouraged, down voted and eventually should be deleted IF a user doesn't take any efforts to explain the answer in his own words.

Now why this?

  • It forces user to read the article and understand first
  • It makes user write in his own words so it somewhat helps him learn more about Hinduism while he writes articles on his own

So now coming to the post you shared in your question

At first I thought you shared some old link before I suggested my rule to the community but when I checked, the answer was posted yesterday and I was amazed to see that the answer was posted by Mr_Green, because he is one of the most active user on Meta and Main and helps suggesting better rules for the site.

But in a way, he wanted to share the correct answer to the question, so shouldn't we delete the answer? - Answer is YES we should delete such answers, but when I saw the question, I didn't deleted. Reasons?

  • His answer is now accepted.
  • Also when Jabahar answered, he didn't answered entirely but a part of it to share scripture references

I do delete accepted answers but I was late here because I was bit busy with Ganesh Chaturthi. I tend to delete such answers right away with a comment explaining why I deleted?

So what now?

I have left a comment so I may delete his answer if the necessary edits are not done.

But please note : I am not deleting the answer because its too late now but this doesn't mean the site will allow users to copy paste and run away. Keep an habit of writing answers in your own words, failing to do so will result in deletion of your answer, we have made such rules so that the site can get quality content, simply copypasting from other websites is no helpful.

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  • I think I misunderstood your point way long back itself. Anyway, I had read the blog completely and also the other referenced links by which I had shown different types of hell section according to other scriptures in my own words (not entirely copy pasted) but cited it thinking that the content was read from that source. I updated my post. – Mr_Green Aug 31 '14 at 2:38
  • coming to the explanation of type of Hells, I checked the english grammar which is already perfect (better than mine). Please check and let me know. – Mr_Green Aug 31 '14 at 2:39
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The problem is that the answers are just quotes of a different site. The root cause of that problem is that the questions being asked are very high level and don't require much research besides a basic Google search. We have to cultivate a higher level of questions on the site and this will naturally go away. Until then, if there are appropriate references and it is cited, the answer should be there. Just like in StackOverflow, they have old simple questions locked but the answers are still there for everyone to see.

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    I don't think just quoting some guy's blog post is adequate in a question like that. I think a good answer would give quotes from the Garuda Purana describing the different kinds of punishments, rather than hoping that some blog post has accurately characterized the content of the Garuda Purana. – Keshav Srinivasan Aug 31 '14 at 3:57
  • @KeshavSrinivasan I think cheenbabes is discouraging questions which are easy to search on google like the "types of narakas" question (according to him). – Mr_Green Aug 31 '14 at 4:03
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    @Mr_Green Yeah, but I'm saying that even questions for which it may be possible to find some answer via Google search can still be answered in a better fashion by looking in scripture and the like. – Keshav Srinivasan Aug 31 '14 at 4:12
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    Agreed with both, but users may be discouraged from writing more involved posts if they see a well sourced quote. If someone asks what the different narakas are, and someone posts a list, is the question answered? Yes. Someone could provide a more thoughtful back story and mention the descriptions in Srimad Bhagavatam as well, but there's a lot less impetus for that. It would be better if the question was something like, "What do the Vedic scriptures say about going to hell?" Listing the hells could be part of the answer. Users should search Google first for "What are the different narakas." – cheenbabes Aug 31 '14 at 15:40

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