As some users that follow ELU as well may have noticed, there has been an update in the help section about how to reference material written by others (link from ELL):
When you find a useful resource that can help answer a question [...] make sure you do all of the following:
- Provide a link to the original page or answer
- Quote only the relevant portion
- Provide the name of the original author
In some recent topics on ELU meta, the consensus seems to be that the third point means that just providing a link is certainly not enough, the source of the link has to be explicitly mentioned.
Moderators are instructed to delete posts that violated this rule immediately on sight.
That would mean that an answer like this (link from ELL) should be deleted on sight, because it does not explicitly state the author of the cited source.
Mind you, this question clearly does not claim to consist only of original work, texts that are quoted from elsewhere are clearly marked, and the source is very clearly indicated. However, the site that the link refers to is not mentioned.
Note that the "standard" way of including references as used in that answer does not comply with the new rule!
On ELU, there seems to be some feeling that "normal" users can decide to report such terrible infractions or not (and I think one can see why some users would opt not to mark useful answers for destruction), but moderators should delete as they are told.
That would mean that users are actually encouraged not to help moderators — if you want a useful answer to survive, better fix it before a moderator sees it!
What do moderators and users on ELL feel about this new strict rule and how should it be implemented on ELL?
Should we indeed insist on explicitly mentioning that link to a word(1) is a link to the merriam-webster definition of the word, and insist that users include that text?
Should we, if users fail to include in plain text what the link says, flag the post for deletion?
Extra food for thought: after I flagged an ELU answer, a moderator told me that a picture attribution was fine, (partly) because the source was mentioned in the image's [ALT] text. If an [ALT] text is fine for attribution, then why isn't a link target?
(1)This is a link to the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary.
A sad result...
The answer on ELL that I edited to comply with the new rules has now been deleted by the owner, which I think is a loss to the site. If compliance to the rules offends users so much, we may indeed need to think about how strictly they should be applied and how much moderators should be urged to "delete on sight"...