Citing materials is a way for someone who doesn’t know there are different editions of the game to tell us what edition they’re using.
When I got into Dungeons & Dragons, I didn’t know there were editions. I went to my local game store and said “how do I get started with D&D?”, and the clerk said “Buy this” and handed me the Player’s Handbook. I didn’t know there were proper editions of D&D. I just figured they had been making books since the 80s and you just used whatever you wanted.
It wasn’t until I started reading this site that I learned that D&D had different editions. Before I started using the site, I didn’t even know that D&D had editions to specify. But I could have included in a question for the site, “In the Player’s Handbook it says [direct quote from the 5th Edition PHB]”. By including this quote, I have specified the edition I’m using without even knowing it.
This is a common sense step toward improving the way new users relate to the policy we currently have. Users who don’t even know that games have editions should find their inquiries unimpeded by our policy when they cite and quote materials that definitively identify the game system being used.