Background and motivation

So, I saw this question on a edited video of an interaction between journalist Jim Acosta and a White House intern:

Was the video Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted out against Jim Acosta altered?

I had originally added a couple comments pointing OP to a third-party forensic analysis of the video (qua a video, the video-as-an-artifact) by a sui generis forensic video expert on Twitter.

These comments have been removed¹, with a moderator note saying:

Removed answers and political opinions from comments.

So presumably these comments were removed as “material for answers, not comments”.

Relying principally on quoted material

Fair enough. I do think this analysis is a material and valuable response to the claim that the video is doctored.

But I — Dan Bron, the guy who would like to submit the analysis as an answer on Skeptics.se — am not a forensic video expert nor qualified to actually analyze video in any capacity. Nor am I in a position to validate or challenge the Twitter user’s analysis.

As such, my answer would be, for the majority, a recitation of the Twitter user’s analysis. That is, principally quoted material, which I am simply passing along to the community of Skeptics.se to make their own collective judgement of.


Is this acceptable? Is it desirable?

I ask because over on my main stack, ELU, we require answerers to supply their own expertise, supported and corroborated by quotes and citations of external authorities, but answers which are fundamentally simply quotes of third parties are promptly deleted.

I know from reading your Meta that Skeptics.se takes somewhat the opposite track of rejecting original research and synthesis, but I am new here, and have never contributed, so I want to ask before falling afoul of the rules.

¹ And I have absolutely no problem with that, and this question is not about the removal of comments, so answers addressing the removal of comments are misplaced on this Meta question.

  • What surprised me about this question is the characterisation of ELU. I "only" have a couple of thousand rep there, which puts me in the top 10%, but I am not familiar with all their rules. Among my top answers are ones that simply refer to external authorities. I haven't encountered the rule you describe. – Oddthinking Nov 13 '18 at 0:27
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    @Oddthinking We’ve been much more strict about it in recent months and quarters, as we’ve attracted a few rep-farming contributors who have twigged to the fastest way to generate rep is to quote the dictionary at any and every question that washes up on our shores. Prior to that, we were focused on the opposite side of people who posted pure opinion unsupported by any external material. The dike has many holes, and we few fingers. – Dan Bron Nov 13 '18 at 0:32
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    @dan Keep up the good work. I can read a dictionary anywhere. – fredsbend Nov 14 '18 at 16:28

We do require answers to be from our own expertise, like any other stack exchange. Our expertise is finding reliable evidence from authoritative sources.

So, it's OK to quote an expert in the field, and their analysis. Be aware of a few things:

  • an expert opinion (fundamentally an argument from a relevant authority) is not usually very reliable, but often it's the best we can get on certain topics
  • be sure to quote it fairly and try not to add your own bias to the analysis
  • keep in mind that our users will vote based on how good your evidence is and how fairly you are summarizing it

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