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Why are questions on citation style on topic? They are mechanistic rules that only tangentially have to do with academia.

Whether you choose to have sentence capitalization or word capitalization, use a comma instead of a colon, or have the citation inside the quote or outside -- the answer is the same: look at your style guide.

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They are mechanistic rules that only tangentially have to do with academia.

While I agree that they somewhat differ from the majority of questions here, citation style is something that primarily concerns academics. Hence, I do not see why it should be off-topic. If you specifically do not want to see such questions, you can simply ignore the tag.

Whether you choose to have sentence capitalization or word capitalization, use a comma instead of a colon, or have the citation inside the quote or outside -- the answer is the same: look at your style guide.

Taking a brief look at the questions tagged citation-style, I found none that looked as if it could be answered with “look at your style guide”. Rather the questions are, e.g., about handling rare cases not covered by some style guide, the rationale behind certain styles, or the exegesis of a popular style guide.

If a question could only be answered with “look at your style guide”, I would indeed consider it a case for closing as depending on individual factors.

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    Yes, there are a lot of rare cases that are quite fun to consider and sometimes troubling to some people. Someone, somewhere, surely has tried to figure out how to cite a box of slides, a ham radio transmission, or a town crier. The "standard" answer is to find the closest thing actually in the style guide and then try to mimic that style as close you can, making appropriate changes, but that certainly can lead to discussion as to what the closest thing is and how to adapt it. For example, is a box of slides more similar to a filmstrip, a movie, or a book composed entirely of illustrations? – Robert Columbia Sep 20 '16 at 1:33
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They are mechanistic rules that only tangentially have to do with academia.

Preparing the list of references is certainly a major task when writing an academic publication, whether a report, a paper or a book: thus, I would not consider citation style only tangential to academia.

the answer is the same: look at your style guide.

Here you assuming that every university or every journal have a style guide, and that that style guide covers all possible citation cases. Both assumptions are generally false: many universities around the world don't have a style guide (as many universities don't have policies on certain aspects of academic life, or don't have a student health office, psychological help etc.), and many style guides, even journal ones, don't cover all cases.

Thus, I think that questions about citation style should be on topic.

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    If there's no style guide available, how are we random internet strangers able to then give a conclusive answer? – RoboKaren Sep 17 '16 at 8:50
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    @RoboKaren We have lots of answers here that are not conclusive, because many questions don't have a conclusive answer at all. Nonetheless, we can give good answers and guidance on the basis of our experience and practice on writing academic publications (and on other subjective topics like relationship with the advisor, with lab members etc.). – Massimo Ortolano Sep 17 '16 at 8:55
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    … not to forget rational thinking. Citations serve a purpose after all, and answers can be given on the basis of what possible choices suit or defy that purpose. – Wrzlprmft Sep 17 '16 at 8:58

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