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I liked an answer here and want to use it in a sermon but I don't know how to cite it since the user name isn't actually a name and there is no info in the profile about the person who wrote it. What is common practice on this site for using each other's work?

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  • You could try to follow the APA convention for a blog post, omitting the author. For example, this question would be referenced: How does one cite from this website? Retrieved January 18, 2018, from http:// hermeneutics.stackexchange.com – user33515 Jan 18 '18 at 17:57
  • @user33515 there are specific guidelines that are required for citing any material from the Stack Exchange network. See my answer for more details. – Dan Jan 18 '18 at 19:23
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    Dan's answer looks pretty comprehensive (and authoritative) to me(!), but it mostly deals with forms of (re-)publication. For oral delivery from the lectern/pulpit in a sermon, on the other hand, simply acknowledging that the insight you're sharing comes from "an article I was reading on a Hermeneutics website" would be appropriate, and satisfy natural justice. When you publish your sermon (or blog it, etc.), you can follow-up Dan's more detailed guidelines. – Dɑvïd Jan 19 '18 at 20:02
  • I added @Dɑvïd 's great point on oral delivery to the bottom of my post (with an explicit link to his comment and user profile :P ) – Dan Jan 28 '18 at 17:36
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On the bottom right-hand side of the desktop site, you'll see this:

site design / logo © 2018 Stack Exchange Inc; user contributions licensed under cc by-sa 3.0 with attribution required. rev 2018.1.18.28464

The links in this statement explain how to properly cite content from the Stack Exchange (SE) network and under what terms it is licensed. You should read the content at both links and this will guide you on how to properly cite content from the SE network.

Specifically, note the following (customized for this site where indicated in brackets):

So let me clarify what we mean by attribution. If you republish this content, we require that you:

  1. Visually indicate that the content is from [Biblical Hermeneutics] or the Stack Exchange network in some way. It doesn’t have to be obnoxious; a discreet text blurb is fine.
  2. Hyperlink directly to the original question on the source site (e.g., [ https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/12345 ])
  3. Show the author names for every question and answer
  4. Hyperlink each author name directly back to their user profile page on the source site (e.g., [ https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/12345/username ])

By “directly”, I mean each hyperlink must point directly to our domain in standard HTML visible even with JavaScript disabled, and not use a tinyurl or any other form of obfuscation or redirection. Furthermore, the links must not be nofollowed.

As an example of this, in one of my open source projects I cited an answer from Stack Overflow (another website in the SE network) in my README page like this:

The hash function is based on a StackOverflow answer posted by user Nico Westerdale to this question posted by user Alex Wayne (the answer is written in C#). StackOverflow user contributions are licensed under cc by-sa 3.0 with attribution required.

I used the username as provided (it is not your responsibility to determine the user's real name, simply use their username at the time of the post and link to their profile—that way if they change their username, it will still point to the correct user's profile).

From their you will need to follow whatever citation guidelines with which you have been provided or as dictated by your publication format—so long as you cover the four areas referenced above you'll be fine.

Concerning citing this in an oral presentation (sermon/homily), as Dɑvïd noted,

[This post] mostly deals with forms of (re-)publication. For oral delivery from the lectern/pulpit in a sermon, on the other hand, simply acknowledging that the insight you're sharing comes from "an article I was reading on a Hermeneutics website" would be appropriate, and satisfy natural justice. When you publish your sermon (or blog it, etc.), you can follow-up [with these] more detailed guidelines.

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  • SE's additional requirements are against the terms of the license and you do not need to heed them. In any case, citing in an academic context won't involve the license at all, even if you quote part of a post, as that comes under fair use. – curiousdannii Mod Jan 20 '18 at 14:07
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    See law.stackexchange.com/q/419/136 – curiousdannii Mod Jan 20 '18 at 14:10
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    @curiousdannii interesting! I tend to agree more with the second answer that it is probably prudent to comply with their stated requirements, but hyperlinking the author is likely not enforceable under the license (but law is not what is written on the page in the US —> it’s the interpretation and application by a court, so you never know...). However, given that the username is not a unique identifier (and it can be changed), it is reasonable to expect a URL to be used as the identifier. But all of this is highly unlikely to ever be litigated over a citation made in good faith. – Dan Jan 20 '18 at 15:00

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