Lately, we have had a rather large number of cases where an answer is flagged and/or commented on because a significant part of the answer is quoted from elsewhere.
A few current examples:
In most cases, everybody agrees that the answers are basically correct...
But they are still not an expression of original content and there have been some requests for an original answer instead of a quote and a source and/or attribution.
In a few cases the discussion in comments has become rather heated and I would like to keep this on the meta site... Especially since we see more and more direct moderator messages as part of the wars requesting us to take side. Which not the idea of the moderator system.
In quite a few of the cases, one can discuss whether anybody on the site can/could have come up with a better, clearer or more precise answer than the one that is given. Something that can be even more difficult for those of us that does not have English as our native language.
How to Write a Good Answer
Link to more information and further reading.
Quote relevant material to keep the user from having to click on every link given to get basic information.
Revise your answer to include more information as it comes along.
Be sure to monitor your question for comments so that you can reply with explanation if questions come around about your answer.
Given this answer, one can question whether any of the above answers really are outside the spirit of SE or not.
Before the moderators start deleting answers and comments, I would like to make sure we all agree on the rules :-)
So... how original should an answer be before we can accept it?
(From other discussions on Sports.Meta, I think we are going to see more and more questions that are easily answered with a quote from some web source, so I fell this is a very relevant discussion.)
Apart from the raised issues above, there are also some general issues with quotes in general:
There are no source or attribution for the quote. This is clearly not good as it makes it rather difficult to get more information on the subject or even check an answer. Almost all content licenses on the web - including the one used by SE itself - requires a proper attribution for all quotes (if they allow you to quote at all - see below).
In some cases, the quoted text is not marked as such, and readers can be in doubt whether the content is original. I believe this is something everybody would object to.
The quoted text is more or less similar to some existing text. How similar an answer can be to some existing text is basically a copyright question. And given the number of copyright cases worldwide, it is probably safest to either include a strait unaltered quote or rewrite the material completely.
The content is copyrighted. This is a fussy situation as there are certain Fair Use rules. Although these rules differs between countries and depends on the type of content (e.g. facts or results versus prose or description), it is usually safe to quote smallers parts in answers - as long as you have a proper attribution for the quote. Also see Is there a guideline to quoting from copyrighted rule books?.