This question has been closed as a duplicate. The OP was asking "whether it is possible to do something without the use of specific packages" and the duplicate reference only have answer about loading packages.

I don't think it is the right way to mark this as a duplicate. Can't someone do that without the explicit use of these packages by replicating the behavior of one them? However, marking it as a duplicate says "no" implicitly. This is contradicting/misleading... and doesn't seem to answer the question... (a new user's first question...)

Wouldn't it be more appropriate to set a question like this to be a duplicate of sg about "copy-pasting code snippets from packages"? If there's anything like this... or is this the first?!

  • what does 'sg' mean?
    – Tyler
    Dec 9, 2013 at 19:12
  • @Tyler "something"
    – masu
    Dec 9, 2013 at 21:01

2 Answers 2


I think you have a point. Even though I find that specific question quite ridiculous, because whatever solution would just use the same idea as natbib, it's actually not a simple task and I don't think it'll get a reasonable answer, I voted for re-opening (and 2 other people have done so even before me). It is a question that suits the site, and it is certainly not a duplicate of the other one.


I don't think this can be answered in all generality.

If the purpose of the question is more like "how can I program this effect myself", I doubt it would be considered a duplicate of a question "what package do I have to use".

But in this specific case,

  • The effect which was asked about is tricky to achieve because it requires patching into and interfacing with a lot of internal code which is potentially influenced by other packages.
  • With the cite package there exists a package very specifically for this purpose, by Donald Arseneau no less, which is at 768 lines probably as minimal as it can be for all the influences which have to be considered.
  • The requirement "without using specific packages" by the OP seems arbitrary; it is not explained what makes impossible to use the cite package.

So, in a case like this where the alternatives to using a package existing very specifically for the requested purpose are

  1. make an ad hoc reimplementation which is likely to have robustness issues;
  2. copy practically the whole code of the package into the preamble of a document;

I would say these alternatives are clearly bad style which should not be encouraged.

  • 1
    Something very close to this answer would be a great answer for the original question. Explain what the issues are, and ask for clarification about why they can't use the package in the first place! Closing it as a duplicate doesn't seem to be the way to go.
    – lnafziger
    Dec 15, 2013 at 15:42
  • 1
    @lnafziger I think that you consider a posting which does nothing to answer the original question a "great answer" goes a long way to explaining why this is a problematic question ;-) Dec 17, 2013 at 4:25
  • Actually, it does answer the original question. You give two examples at the bottom of your answer, but even better yet you explain what the problems are and why it isn't recommended. In this way, you give more information and background which can be used, while still answering it. (And I did say "something very close to this....") :-)
    – lnafziger
    Dec 17, 2013 at 4:35

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