Sorry this is not the most eloquently worded question, and I admit is loaded, but I am hoping some useful meta answer could come from it.
I just noticed this hot meta topic The MIT License – Clarity on Using Code on Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange and thought it was useful to just bring it as a question on this site.
As a few questions have asked a persons role as a programmer in terms of contribution, as well as questions about help on mathematical problems. Maybe this has already been answered in an actual question, but I thought I would ask here. Would the change of licenses on SE make any difference in how the use of code in research would warrant contribution.
I guess I am looking at this in a 'meta' way, in which code is similar to me as a mathematical notation of a problem, a sequence of steps in an experiment, or a specification of a gear reduction. Maybe I am interpreting it wrong, but when I look at code in MIT license, it is about contribution to 'public domain', which I view in academic terms as 'public knowledge'.
I would not cite something that is common knowledge in my field. I realize there may be a difference between public and common, but I still think there is an interesting difference when something becomes intellectual contribution, especially if the use is not from an original poster. For example, person A asks a question, person B answers with the intent their answer is completely public domain and contribution to the general knowledge without any attribution.
If person C finds this information and uses it to solve their own problem, does the fact of where they found this information change based on persons B intent?