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Is referencing papers like my answer in the below question link (I usually do for complicated questions) good? I saw @Connor_Garcia in this question explained it in their own words while I did so with blockquoting and sourcing papers. Plus @Connor explained a lot more unlike I did.

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It's best to do things more in your own words. Using lots of quotes is fine, but quotes generally shouldn't make up the bulk of your answer.

(I sometimes make an exception to this rule when the source I'm quoting is public domain or copyleft and a large verbatim section would be more helpful than trying to rewrite everything, but best practice is to try to express the general idea in your own words and use quotes to support.)

For what it's worth, "sourcing papers" just means citing them as a source in your answer because you used them for reference. What Connor did is also sourcing. There's nothing wrong with sourcing. Generally, that's what makes for the best answers, unless you're an expert on the topic, but it's better to source the way Connor did where the meat of the answer is in your own words.

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    $\begingroup$ Ah thanks a lot! I'll keep this in mind to use my own words next time. $\endgroup$
    – DialFrost
    Oct 25, 2022 at 13:20
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    $\begingroup$ nicely phrased, I agree. $\endgroup$
    – Connor Garcia Mod
    Oct 26, 2022 at 0:14
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There are times when I have been sure I understood something. Then when I attempt to answer a question, I realize I don't have a really thorough understanding. Luckily, this realization usually happens before I post. Writing an answer in my own words often forces me to clarify my thoughts.

It is rare that a single paper expressly answers the question as posed. An exception to this, perhaps, are questions that ask for an example or counter-example, like Are there any stars that orbit perpendicular to the Milky Way's galactic plane? For this kind of question, the right block quote might answer the question. However, I think it is still better to write the answer in our own words.

Also, Astronomy SE welcomes everyone from beginner enthusiasts up to professional astronomers. The professional papers often aren't written for consumption outside of the expert astronomer community, so a paraphrase in more plain English allows more access from our community.

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    $\begingroup$ Sorry! I'm a "beginner enthusiast" and I find using papers nice, thanks anyways! $\endgroup$
    – DialFrost
    Oct 25, 2022 at 23:03
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    $\begingroup$ You are quite welcome! I am also an enthusiast rather than a professional! $\endgroup$
    – Connor Garcia Mod
    Oct 26, 2022 at 0:26
  • $\begingroup$ Connor I have listened to your advise and I have started to use my own words in my answers! It indeed does help understand the topic and ensure clarity! :) $\endgroup$
    – DialFrost
    Aug 20, 2023 at 21:48
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I would like to add my two cents here. My answers heavily rely on references and I tend to use quotes often (and sometimes emphasize a sentence or two). But, if the reference is too complex to my understanding or the explanation/calculation is too complex/long, I simply link the paper and ask the OP/readers to have a look if they are really curious. Sometimes, I would paraphrase, only when I understood what the author of the paper really meant. Also, I am quite selective in choosing a question to answer. I will answer only when I understood what the question really wants and know what to write given I found the proper references. Otherwise, it will be an info-dumping which won't look good.

Please have a look at my answers and you will notice a pattern.

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    $\begingroup$ P.S. I am drafting an answer to one of your question. I am busy so it is taking some time. $\endgroup$ Oct 26, 2022 at 6:53
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    $\begingroup$ @DialFrost Your question. Unfortunately, it is taking much longer than I anticipated :( $\endgroup$ Oct 29, 2022 at 10:25
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    $\begingroup$ Im in no hurry to see your answer, take your time! :3 $\endgroup$
    – DialFrost
    Oct 29, 2022 at 10:35

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