Question: Why do you use citations?
Answer: They show you’ve done research; they prevent misunderstandings by keep thinking people on the same page; they provide reading material, demonstrations and examples that can be used as evidence; they elevate a discussion by encouraging people to read more before spouting their mouth on things they know nothing about. Suffice to say that better debates have them. I cannot assume everyone I meet has read what I have, and it’s easier to provide a link to some sources. I usually prefer to leave posts that are rich in information that can be called out (except when my opponent is a lazy idiot.)
I don’t try to hide what I’ve read unlike someone who only wants to persuade, because if I’ve inadvertently made errors I want someone to find them rather than to be convinced by a bad argument. Scholars, professionals, priests and lawyers can’t argue formally without citations to their scriptures. They’re also fun to use, unless you want a rigid forum for pure thought. Citations are a sign of a formal debate and let people contradict each other on material grounds by providing evidence, which makes it more obvious when someone’s events and facts are wrong.
I’ll give a favorable shout out to anyone who occasionally provides examples and references, while entering the litigation game with links when there was a point of contention. I prefer a debate where someone understands a subject and has read enough of his position to provide examples and can make a case that requires fact checking, unlike with someone whose opening post is so fallacious that you can usually defeat it with logic without even checking what he is talking about. Many people have become used to making stupid arguments and not being challenged. They’re not used to actually providing evidence and litigating of the relevant points in an opposing argument, but if you can’t show your work you can’t prove it, and if you can’t prove it then you don’t know it.