I was curious after reading this answer. At what point do we disallow answers which are primarily a quote (or quotes) from others without much substance in the way of personal additions?
It depends on the type of question. Most of the time it is okay IMO. The question you linked to asks
How is this inconsistency explained by theologians of the various major denominations of Christianity, especially the ones that believe in Biblical inerrancy?
What is wrong with an answer that presents the attempts at reconciling this inconsistency by five theologians? The question isn't asking for personal thoughts, it's asking how theologians have looked at the issue before, and that's what the answer presents. If fact, none of the other answers actually address this question!
The only improvement I'd like to see for the answer is for the denominational affiliations of these authors to be shown, because it's unlikely that very many people will be familiar with all the authors quoted.
I'm the "author" of the answer in question. You are right in that it is just a series of quotes. I "wrote" this back in Feb 2012. If it is breaking the rules of this site, then I am fine with it being pulled. I meant no ill will.
The question was:
"How is this inconsistency explained by theologians of the various major denominations of Christianity, especially the ones that believe in Biblical inerrancy?"
so I quoted some theologians who hold to inerrancy. I've updated my answer to include which denomination or theological framework they came from to maybe be a bit clearer.
I see three scenarios in answers that exclusively or nearly exclusively quote other content:
- The quoted material is in the public domain and the source is cited here
- The quoted material is not in the public domain and the source is cited here
- The source of the quoted material is not cited
Number 3 is clearly plagiarism, and should be immediately cited or removed. Examples of number 2 need to be carefully considered; they are likely copyright violations, as fair use probably doesn't apply.
Examples of number 1, on the other hand, are neither a violation of copyright law, nor plagiarism, and thus should be allowable. Of course, they usually won't be ideal answers, and may be more susceptible to downvotes.
Thanks for raising this issue!
I personally do not upvote any answer that is only quotes without analysis - whether the quotes come from the Bible itself or commentary, and sometimes post a comment complaining. In short, I don't think someone should earn reputation for simply posting someone else's work - it is essentially a "link only answer" with the link content posted instead of linked to. The proper way to post someone to a helpful source is via a comment.
Besides the reputation issue, there is a serious copyright issue here. While it is perfectly acceptable to quote a portion of a work as part of a larger body of work, when you post only a quote you quickly get into a legal/ethical gray area because "fair use" is not clearly established. (I certainly don't expect publishers to actually sue, but I would expect C.SE to respect copyright laws.)
So, what to do? Unattributed quotes are unambiguous copyright violations. They must be fixed or deleted. Beyond that, the first option should always to be encourage the OP to add analysis or convert it to a comment. If that doesn't work or the answer is old, the situation is trickier. I have supplied what I view as the two main option in separate answers so that people can upvote/downvote each option separately.
This answer refers only to answers that are nothing but a single, attributed quote
Assuming gently asking the answer to revise their answer does not work, in most cases ignoring the answer or downvoting it is sufficient. Although an answer that is only a quote does not take much effort, it still may be useful to some readers.
This answer refers only to answers that are nothing but a single attributed, quote
An answer that is only a quote should be treated the same way a link only answer is. That is, it should be deleted if the OP does not correct the problem in a timely fashion. Simultaneously, a comment on the question can be added with the source information, which will be sufficient for later readers to find the information. We want to encourage high quality, original content, not mere research assistance.
Answers that are quotes defy one of the site goals - they are not redistributable under the CC-BY-SA licensing because the poster has not supplied any creative effort that would copyrightable. (That is the original writers copyright is the only thing that applies to the post).