I asked a question on CV and linked it to an author of a paper. They are not on CV, but gave me an answer. Is it OK to post it as an answer, as long as I say who it is from and that it isn't my own words? I figure it is better to share the answer here than to keep it just to my inbox.


Sure. Just quote them and give the source:

john.doe@example.com answered my question in a private e-mail, I'm posting his answer below:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Of course assuming that the person who contacted you has nothing against quoting them publicly. If in doubt, you can always make them anonymous source, and paraphrase their answer rather then quoting it directly.

I would encourage you to do so. We gain nothing from having unanswered questions hanging in the void, while the answer may be helpful for other users as well. Moreover, if by chance, the answer is wrong, you can get comments pointing out the mistake, so it may help you to validate it.

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    $\begingroup$ In principle +1, however posting an other person's email online without explicit consent is not really okay, and some people might get offended (imagine that an email contained some opinion that the author would not like to make public). If one is not absolutely sure that in this particular case it's okay, it's better to ask first. $\endgroup$
    – amoeba
    May 27 '19 at 12:19
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    $\begingroup$ @amoeba good point, I assumed the consent. $\endgroup$
    – Tim Mod
    May 27 '19 at 12:21
  • $\begingroup$ +1 I think there is a very straightforward answer to the OP's question, and you have given it. I have done exactly this. $\endgroup$
    – Alexis
    Jun 2 '19 at 15:40

I generally agree with @Tim's answer, but I'd like to make a few other points.

1) As noted by @amoeba, consent is really important. I can't emphasize this enough. I have tons of opinions about statistics that aren't well developed enough to be taught to the world / are probably wrong. I'd hate for someone to take some of my opinions and present them as facts.

2) Given that the other party has consented, it's still important to back up the claims with explanations and supporting material. The last thing crossvalidated needs is "PCA is better than factor analysis. Trust me, Obama told me so".

3) Finally, if someone gives you a solution but would prefer to stay anonymous, I don't see anything wrong with posting it as a solution. If you want to be humble, you could mention "a colleague mentioned solution X".


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