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I have asked a question about interpretation of references in literature and was told that this is not a history question!

Here is the question that I'm referring:

Understanding what these reference shortforms represent

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While references are a part of history the interpretation of how they are written is not a historical question, you would not ask a question in history about grammar rules and this is very similar.

As per the FAQ ask questions ABOUT historical topics, not about reference material. There are ways to learn how to read the notations about reference material but this is not the place to do it, the links to English SE were correct and you would get far more on that site than here.

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    Absolutely disagree. These abbreviations are history specific. English and grammar analogies are irrelevant. – Suzan Cioc Oct 21 '12 at 16:14
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    Sorry, but I agree with Michael on this. This question is more about understanding the use of reference materials. If you has asked when such references were first used, then that would have a historical context. As the question stands right now, it is more about grammar than History. I would suggest trying the English or Writing SE sites for a question like this. – Steven Drennon Oct 22 '12 at 4:35
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    @SuzanCioc If this is a literature book as you note in the question I don't see the historical connection. And considering that English StackExchange [english.stackexchange.com/q/87660] got you an answer and rules on how the footnotes are written it shows our point that it was the better forum to ask. – MichaelF Oct 22 '12 at 12:16
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I want to be as supportive as possible. We can always use good new users, and I'd love to see future questions and answers from you.

However, from what I saw of that particular question, I couldn't see how to answer it. Heck, I didn't even understand it (which, to be brutally honest, isn't all that unusual an experience for me here). However, it looked like much more the kind of thing my mother (a PhD in English Letters) would know about than I. More to the point, in order to understand it, I would have had to read up on how references are typically done in English written works. There's no history reference book I could go to in order to find that information.

I really, honestly tried to see a way in which it would be on-topic here, but I failed. Perhaps you're right that it is, and I'm just not smart enough to see it. But this is a crowd-sourced site; I have to vote how I see it and trust the wisdom of the crowd to overrule me if I'm wrong. It appears that didn't happen in this case.

I'm very glad to see that you did finally get a good answer over at english.SE where we directed you. Again, I hope this experience doesn't put you off if in the future you have a question that the community here can help you answer. I think you'll find we're quite happy to help when it's something in our bailiwick (and of course direct you to a better place when it isn't).

  • Have you read the answer? It was just a luck to have a guy who knew the topic about historical research about Giordano Bruno in English SE. Your History SE won't go out of BETA not because of disappointing such persons like me, but because of lack interest of such persons like Cerberos. Look: he was answering in History SE a year ago but stopped. – Suzan Cioc Oct 24 '12 at 18:44
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    @SuzanCioc - Yup, I went and read it. I will even freely admit that it tickled my little History Jones. You do have to realize though that the user Cerberus is one of the top users on what is one of the top SE sites. You attracted a very big dog there. We on the other hand, as you rightly point out, are just a struggling beta. If you think it sucks, I suppose you now have the choice of staying around and trying to make it suck a bit less, or not wasting your time. We're quite happy for those who chose the former, but I certianly understand if you chose the latter. – T.E.D. Oct 24 '12 at 19:31

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