In the discussion "Research which began at the website", we wondered what the best way to publish a reference to a stackexchange discussion thread.

Presumably it would be the publication's standard for a URL. Is that the best way? (I would think so but I wonder).

I notice that if you truncate the title that is in the URL it goes to the same place. What is the expected permanence of the id number of the question?

  • $\begingroup$ Somewhat related, the attribution required link in the footer of every page leads to a blog post explaining the expected reference/attribution under the cc-wiki licensing. $\endgroup$
    – Isaac
    Commented Mar 31, 2011 at 14:24
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    $\begingroup$ you should accept Geoff's answer, it is much better than mine! :) $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 4:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Jeff: your answer was more of a direct response to my initial question (and I hadn't seen the 'cite' link work yet.). But now changed so that people will look for it rather than the plain URL because that's really what Asaf is looking for. $\endgroup$
    – Mitch
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 12:50

3 Answers 3


We have implemented citations using the same model as MO using both Bibtex and amsref. Click link, then click cite on the link popup.

link menu panel

citation panel

  • $\begingroup$ I could only find tea.mathoverflow.net/discussion/7/cite-mathoverflow. Is that what you were referring to? $\endgroup$
    – Mitch
    Commented Apr 3, 2011 at 22:03
  • $\begingroup$ Much obliged. I might be using that very soon too! $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Apr 3, 2011 at 22:21
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    $\begingroup$ @Jeff & Geoff: Thanks! That's very useful. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 22:13
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    $\begingroup$ This is so cool. I will use it to cite math.stackexchange.com/q/28413/8536 Whoa! It works awesomely. My only complaint is that "how published" is inadequate and should be "Mathematics Stack Exchange" or something more descriptive. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 0:24
  • $\begingroup$ Oeh I'd like something similar for Fitness :D $\endgroup$
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 15:12

The abbreviated form


is probably sufficient and easier for print publication, since it would have to be typed in by interested readers anyway.

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    $\begingroup$ Is it possible to add a "cite" button like on MathOverflow? $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Apr 1, 2011 at 8:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Asaf: It's already there. Click on the link button right below the posts. The second number is your user number which is used for stuff like the famous publicist badge of which we're reminded every now and then by a css-popup, so it can be safely deleted. $\endgroup$
    – t.b.
    Commented Apr 2, 2011 at 17:53
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    $\begingroup$ @Theo: On MO you can have a BibTeX/AMSref code automatically generated. I meant something like that. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Apr 2, 2011 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Asaf: actually, that is not a bad suggestion. It may also be useful for sites like physics, tcs, or stats, so I suggest that you should bring it over to Meta.SO $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 2, 2011 at 20:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Willie: I am very lazy (which is why I turn to mathematics), so I hope that someone picks the ball which I have just created and never even dropped ;-) $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Apr 2, 2011 at 20:48

It depends on what referencing method you use. There are standard ways of referencing a website. In the social sciences, the Harvard method is used frequently. I know that scientific papers may well use a different method to Harvard, but I will show you the Harvard reference below out of interest (the part that goes in the bibliography).

Dalgas, G. 2011. What is a good standard for publishing a reference to a stackexchange thread? answer. Available: http://meta.math.stackexchange.com/q/1876/151595 [2015, 26 October].

In the body of the text, I think a number such as $^1$ or [1] is common for the citation in scientific texts. In a social science text this would be cited in the body as (Dalgas, 2011). I have referenced Geoff's answer because I think it is rare that you will reference a question. Disclaimer: there are many different versions of Harvard and no universal one. I have put "answer" in lower-case because I usullay put subtitles in a lower-case, and only the first letter of the title in upper-case. The URL had to be escaped because with no back-ticks it was automatically converted into a hyperlink, but it is usually in plain text. Today's date at the end of the URL indicates the date that the website was accessed on (websites can move).

  • $\begingroup$ I understand your expectation that a question will be rare to reference, but often, even though there is a single accepted answer, it turns out that a number of answers are correct and offer insight. Also, it is often useful to see the question statement first, which may have subtle differences from what is expected in the referencing paper. $\endgroup$
    – Mitch
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 13:10

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